Business Direction 62

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Business Direction


MORE THAN JUST THE NUMBERS Ballards LLP Chartered Accountants offer a full compliment of services to support your business across its entire life cycle. From expert tax advice and accounts compliance to strategic planning and digital transformation.


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The resilience and determination shown by businesses across the two counties over the past 14 months has been fantastic. The future outlook is positive, with businesses now regaining lost sales and profits, whilst beginning to feel confident about planning ahead and regaining profits and confidence, which will power the economic recovery both locally and nationally. AND RESILIENCE N REJUVENATIO

Issue 62 2021 July/August

BUSINESS DIRECTION Business Direction, Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce’s full colour bi-monthly publication. Designed and produced by business people for business people. Distributed to 4,000 businesses. Please send all submissions to


Rahim Bas 01905 673 639



Distinctive Publishing, 3rd Floor, Tru Knit House, 9-11 Carliol Square, Newcastle, NE1 6UF


Angie Smith Business Development Manager, Distinctive Group 0191 5805472

As we continue to move through the government’s recovery plan and edge closer to normality, now is a good time to reflect on the innovation demonstrated and success of Herefordshire and Worcestershire businesses. The success of the local business community will be spotlighted at the Chamber Business Awards 2021 evening, sponsored by Folk2Folk and held at the Worcester Arena on Thursday 2 September 2021. There are 15 category awards to announce on a night that will celebrate the achievements, growth and resilience that businesses have shown over the past year. This is a perfect way to make a return to normality and will be the biggest black-tie business celebration event of the year. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased by emailing We are also pleased to announce the much anticipated return of the Chamber Business Expo, giving businesses the opportunity to showcase and spotlight their brand and take advantage of the opportunity to make new connections and business contacts, promote your company and generate sales leads. The return of the Chamber Business Expo in its physical form will take place on 7 October 2021 at Three Counties Showground, Malvern. More information can be found here business-expo. This edition of business direction will showcase just some of the excellent examples of resilience and rejuvenation shown by businesses across the two counties. With a number of insightful articles and feature interviews with Westons Cider, DRPG and the exciting launch of NMITE, this edition is packed full of success stories and examples of fantastic local businesses.

First Word


Chamber News


Presidents Column


Business News


Policy News 11 Business News




Worcestershire Works Well


Chamber Training


Business News 24-25 Big Interview






Two Counties


Business News


Movers and Shakers


New Members 39 International Trade Business News

40-41 45

Charity News 47 Member Benefits


People to do Business With 49 Last Word


Best wishes Sharon


Helen Compson

26-27 Disclaimer: Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, the publisher accepts no responsibility for omissions or errors within this publication. Editorial submissions are included at the discretion of the editor. The opinions expressed in articles and letters within this publication are not necessarily those of the Chamber. All offers, promotions and competitions appearing in Business Direction are the sole responsibility of the advertiser/ promoting party and Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce does not accept any responsibility for any representations made within them.


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July/August 2021

Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



CHAMBER NAMED AS ONE OF TOP COMPANIES TO WORK FOR The organisation has been recognised for its commitment to workplace excellence with a place on the coveted list of the Top 20 Best Business Services to work for, Top 100 Best Business to work for in the Midlands and finally Top 100 Best Small Companies to work for in the UK (the 4th consecutive year on this list). It is an accolade that demonstrates an organisation that upholds the very highest workplace standards and genuinely cares about, and values, its employees. The achievement is especially impressive after the challenges of a global pandemic, during which time a number of new staff initiatives have been introduced to support employee wellbeing. These have included daily top tips for physical and mental wellbeing, a virtual resilience workshop, and numerous virtual events to help keep everyone connected. A photography competition was also introduced inspiring staff to get in touch with nature for Mental Health Awareness Week.

PROMOTING NATURE AND ITS BENEFITS DURING MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK Monday 10 May marked the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week, the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health.

Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) opening the Shell Store

SECRETARY OF STATE OPENS £7.3M SHELL STORE IN HEREFORD The Chamber’s Herefordshire presence will be expanded with the opening of the Shell Store, which was officially opened by Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State Ministry

Dawn Hardman, HR Director, said: “We are delighted that we have been placed on 3 of the Best Companies to Work For 2021 lists. Staff engagement has always been a priority for us and has remained a key focus since the beginning of lockdown and the move to homeworking.

of Housing, Communities and Local

“We recognised that ongoing staff activities, which bring people and teams together, had to be a priority during what has been a very challenging time for all. Staff engagement will continue to be a key focus of our HR strategy moving forward.”

project has developed commercial

Government (MHCLG) in June. The Shell Store has a rich history, having been built in the First World War and used as an ordnance site during the Second World War. The space within the existing building footprint, retaining much of the original factory including its steel roof structure. The £7.3m refurbishment of the

The Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce joined businesses across the two counties in getting involved with shining a spotlight on mental health issues and promoting the benefits of nature. The Chamber ran a staff photography competition to coincide with the theme, where staff were encouraged to find their inner Attenborough and be at one with nature. The best photographs were then used to create a collage to promote the message of Mental Health Awareness Week across all Chamber media. As part of the Time to Change initiative, which looks to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health problems, the Chamber has its own Time to Change Champions who look to support the campaigns overall message. Dawn Hardman, HR Director at the Chamber, said: “We are pleased to be supporting and being involved in the promotion of Mental Health Awareness Week, particularly after the challenging times we have all experienced over the past year. “Our Time to Change team play a valuable part and are passionate about helping to end the stigma associated with mental health. This is more important than ever during these challenging times and as a local employer we believe we have a crucial role to play.”

building has established more than 2,100 sq metres of employment space, with room for new and growing businesses to set up and expand alongside facilities for development and innovation. The Marches Growth Hub, Hereford Enterprise Zone team, and Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce will be located on site providing businesses with access to advice and support services.


July/August 2021


RESILIENCE SHOWN BY BUSINESSES CREATES OPPORTUNITIES MOVING FORWARD This edition of the Business Direction magazine is all about “Rejuvenation and Resilience” – factors which the 2 counties business community have demonstrated throughout the last 18 months. The economic shock caused by the global pandemic created challenges unlike any we have seen before. Huge swathes of the economy were shut down for substantial periods of time, with many businesses effectively forced to mothball their operations until the regulations allowed them to open up again. The “opening up” of things brought with it a different type of challenge, with supply chains struggling to meet the huge surges in demand…and we probably haven’t seen the last of the negative impact either…with the unwinding of the furlough scheme likely to lead to further redundancies as companies have some tough decisions to make moving forwards. However, it hasn’t all been doom and gloom, with many businesses thriving during these difficult times. In recent months 5 businesses across the 2 counties have been announced as Queen’s Award Winners – Fibex Ltd, OLPRO, Payara Services Ltd, Landau and M Lloyd Engineering. These businesses were able to demonstrate how they have excelled in areas such as innovation, international trade and sustainable development despite the ongoing impact of the Covid pandemic. In addition, the wide range of organisations vying for glory at the upcoming Chamber of Commerce Awards in September show that there are plenty of positive stories to shout about.

Back in February, the Bank of England’s Chief Economist, Andy Haldane, described the economy as like a “coiled spring” ready to bounce back as lockdown ended. Whilst there are still some restrictions in place, it is fair to say that this pent-up demand is a reality and the firms that got themselves ready to exploit these opportunities are now reaping the rewards. One of the impacts of Covid-19

It would be churlish to suggest that absolutely everything is rosy right now, many firms still face substantial challenges caused by the Covid pandemic, and the personal and professional impact on many individuals will very much be long-term. Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

was that businesses really had to take a hard look at themselves in the mirror, with many making significant changes, resulting in them being more lean, more efficient and vastly more productive. This has led them to be in the right position to take advantage of new opportunities and increased demand as the restrictions have relaxed. It would be churlish to suggest that absolutely everything is rosy right now, many firms still face substantial challenges caused by the Covid pandemic, and the personal and professional impact on many individuals will very much be long-term. But where there is adversity, there is opportunity and the business community in Herefordshire and Worcestershire – particularly SMEs –have shown tremendous resilience. It is this tenacious approach, allied with an entrepreneurial eye, that will ultimately lead us out of the economic shock caused by the pandemic.




Socially distanced station staff at Toddington

GWSR EXPANDS SERVICES TO CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE AND BROADWAY STATIONS The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) have expanded its services following the successful resumption of train services on its 14-mile railway through the Cotswolds, in April. Services since then have comprised a round trip starting and finishing at Toddington station. The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway is a volunteer operated heritage railway in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire offering a round trip of 28 miles. It uses part of the route of the former Great Western Railway's main line from Birmingham to Cheltenham which used to run via Stratford-upon-Avon. Richard Johnson, Voluntary Chairman of GWSR Plc, commented: “As government guidance changes we are able to adjust the service we offer. “We plan to offer two steam trains on each operating day (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) and with two additional travel packages, from Broadway and Cheltenham Racecourse. It’s another positive and exciting step on the journey to full, unrestricted train services.”


DRPG was able to dust off the flight cases and deliver one of the first live physical events of 2021. The event was the end of season awards for football club Wolverhampton Wanderers. In pre-Covid times this event is attended by a mixture of players, sponsors and fans. Due to the pandemic and following guidelines, this had to be limited to the club sponsors only. The event was still a milestone opportunity to celebrate the club and what it achieved this season. Blending a traditional awards format with full production values and presenting pre-recorded films from players. The event included a drinks reception and a sit-down dinner on tables of six with social distancing in place.


Emma Stanley, Producer at DRPG, supported the event and talked about the excitement around the delivery:

Last year businesses had cause for concern as they reacted to the pandemic. The business landscape for many, literally changed overnight. Inturi Technology are predicting that this year businesses can become more agile by looking inward at the infrastructure they have and making investments in process efficiencies and streamlining.

“We have quite a jam-packed week with events happening. It’s good to get back to delivering live experiences again. Although there are additional factors to consider now, everyone is glad to be producing great experiences for clients again. We are all adapting, and it’s great to be working with Wolves again, supporting with bringing their brand and club values to life.” DRPG have manoeuvred around the pandemic and been able to help many clients with virtual solutions. This week has seen a gradual return to live experiences, and long may it continue.

Clare Kay, CEO of Inturi Technology, says: “By looking at your processes and isolating issues that cause bottlenecks, you will see the bigger picture and come out stronger for it. Office based manual repetitive, low value and error prone tasks can be automated, saving you time and money. More concise data handling will also be proactive for staff morale, and this will naturally pass on to customer satisfaction.” Using Dynamics 365 as a hub, and integrating legacy platforms, will mean all data becomes consolidated and can be seen on one dashboard, across all media devices - phone, tablet and laptop. Remote staff and field operatives will be able to see all information in real-time, so communication is maintained, companywide. In a data-driven culture, businesses from SME’s to global enterprises will benefit from digitally transforming their systems to gain agility and increase ROI.

July/August 2021

For you and your business

BACK TO THE FUTURE While many key-worker employees have stoically continued to attend their normal workplaces throughout the covid pandemic, many employees have been furloughed, or working at home for over a year. With the gradual release of lockdown, employers should now be turning their thoughts to the “new normal” and how they are going to manage the “return to the workplace”. But what are the legal implications? It is inevitable that as soon as the government’s dictat of work from home if you can is lifted employers will be at the receiving end of requests to continue working at home for some or all of the time. A request to be based at home is effectively a flexible working request. Employers can agree to such a request on an informal basis, but it is still advisable to clearly document the terms of such arrangement going forward. If you are going to deal with the request as a formal flexible working request, you can only decline it for one or more of 8 ‘permitted reasons’. This could be tricky given the fact that people have been working from home relatively successfully for months. Remember too that the employee’s reason for wanting to work at home is not relevant to your considerations – the focus is on the impact to the business. Employers may also have to deal with those who continue to be fearful of the

covid risk. Much has been talked about of the right for employees to stay away from work (on full pay) if they have a reasonable belief that their health will be endangered by doing so.

twice-weekly testing as a pre-requisite for being permitted into the workplace. This is arguably a reasonable instruction given that the “greater good” is likely to be given precedence over individual inconvenience.

However, as long as the employer has taken al reasonable measures to minimise the risk of covid transmission and has clearly communicated what these measures are to its workforce, it is arguably difficult for an employee to demonstrate that their belief in the danger the workplace poses is reasonable.

Thursfields have built our reputation by providing timely and practical advice to our clients.

Can you insist on mandatory vaccinations before allowing people to return? Probably not, except in very limited circumstances. However, employers should certainly encourage the employees to take the jab unless they have a good reason not to do so. It is perhaps more reasonable to insist on regular testing. Employers can access lateral flow tests for use by employees and many do now require

We will tailor our approach to suit you and take your instructions in whatever way best suits you – by ‘phone, video conference or in person at our Birmingham, Solihull, Worcester, Kidderminster or Halesowen offices. We have an excellent team of specialist employment solicitors to advise you, on work-related issues, always seeking the best solution for both employers and employees. If you would like more information, please contact Helena Morrissey at Thursfields Solicitors on 0345 20 73 72 8 or

Tel: 0345 20 73 72 8 | | S O L I H U L L | B I R M I N G H A M | WO RC E S T ER | K I D D ER M I N S T ER | H A L E S OW EN Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



IT SPEND PRIORITIES SOAR AMID POST PANDEMIC PLANNING As businesses around the globe bounce back from the difficulties of the pandemic, 2021 is set to be the biggest year for IT spending on record. According to the latest forecasts by global research firm, Gartner, worldwide IT spending looks to hit $3.9 trillion by the end of 2021. As we continue to feel the fallout and effects of the pandemic, businesses will be forced to accelerate digital transformation plans by at least 5 years to survive in a post Covid world. Unsurprisingly, spending related to remote work will be a key factor in driving IT growth, with a total of $332.9 billion to be invested in remote work infrastructure and digital transformation initiatives. Our own report, conducted with the Worcestershire and Herefordshire Chamber of Commerce predicted that 62% of Worcestershire businesses are set to increase their digital technology spend. But what do IT and business leaders deem the most essential areas of investment?

serving as catalyst for cloud interest. With an increasing number of businesses looking to modernise legacy infrastructure, the biggest cloud spend will come from ‘infrastructure-as-aservice’ (IaaS) – including compute, storage and networking. This will be closely followed by ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS), where heavy investments in hosted applications, alongside collaboration, productivity and security tools, will look to further support flexible and remote work, as well as innovation.

As we start our journey down the road to recovery, ‘digital business’ will continue to dominate technology trends, with priorities such as cloud, end-user and security leading the way.

Security: We only have to look at recent headlines to realise the enormity of cyberattacks causing crisis among businesses and organisations worldwide. Cashing in on the pandemic, cyber criminals have ramped up their activity with 172,079 attacks on UK businesses reported between January and March 2021 alone.

Cloud: Driving the economy through the instability of Covid-19, cloud triumphed as the true business hero of the pandemic. Any reluctance toward cloud has been swiftly disregarded, with the pandemic

Looking to meet the demands of remote working, cloud and SaaS vulnerabilities, security investment will focus on end user security such as; secure access, end-point protection, multi-factor authentication and backup.

According to the latest forecasts worldwide IT spending looks to hit $3.9 trillion by the end of 2021.


Security strategies will need to be realigned with the rise of new digital products and services implemented over lockdowns, in addition to personal employee devices and unsecure home Wi-Fi connections. Outsourced Services: As our appetite for technology grows, so do the costs of planning, implementing and managing new technology strategies. SME’s with smaller IT budgets and resources will look to outsource some, or all elements of their IT infrastructure. Managed Service Providers, like EBC Group, provide state-of-the-art services and solutions for a fraction of the cost of sourcing hardware and software in-house. Businesses looking to digitally transform, update or overhaul their existing technology will invest their money with reliable outsourced providers. Helping to bridge the technology gap, businesses can access market leading solutions, services and on demand support that would otherwise not have been financially viable. Helping our clients to invest in the best IT and technology for their business needs, EBC Group’s award-winning managed services can you understand your current IT setup and identify ways to make it more efficient, cost effective and easier for the end-user. For more information on EBC Group’s workplace technology solutions contact or 0121 368 0154 or visit

PRAGMATICK CHANGE MANAGEMENT Q: Why approach change differently from my normal, day-to-day management style? Pragmatick: Because, after making a decision to put a change in place, the tendency for many businesses is to start work straight away - ‘moving things’ in the direction they want to go… “The sooner we start, the sooner we’ll get there, yes?” No. Unless you've defined your destination very clearly and you've planned the route carefully, you could end up somewhere you had no intention of going, and will have spent time, effort and money on getting there. Q: So, how SHOULD I approach business change? Pragmatick: By defining where you are going in detail. By looking at how that destination will impact your wider business.

By picking apart the risks that could stop you succeeding - if you leave the journey to chance, it will be eventful, it will be time-consuming, and it will be expensive. So, build a plan of your journey clearly showing how you will move through each step of the change.

By planning the route to achieve it very carefully.

A plan that includes who you need help from, when that help is needed, what their input will be, and how long for.

By getting your key people involved, making sure they understand the destination, so they can see where the journey could go badly wrong.

A plan that defines how much it will all cost - after all, you don’t want to leave it to the end of your journey to find out how much you’ll have to spend to get there…

better to know the cost of the ticket up front. And get help if you need it! Don't struggle by yourself – help is only a phone call away. 01432 233 930

Is Introducing Chang A Change Too Far Fo Your Business?

Is Introducing Change A Change Too Far For Your Business? We help you to make change happen without interrupting business performance. We can manage the whole process or coach and support you along the way. Please tell us your challenge. And we’ll share ideas on how we might help make the change with you.

help you to make change happen wi WhateverWe Your Change interrupting business performance. We

Adapting to newthe regulations? manage whole process or coach and Changing a process? support you along the way. Adapting a workflow? Please tell us your challenge. Re-imagining your business? And we’ll share ideas on how we might make the change with you.

The Right Support Helps

Creating the plan for change 01432 233 930 | nigel.higgs@pragmatick Team communication Coaching and 1-2-1s Implementation 01432 233 930 |


July/August 2021


BUSINESS CONFIDENCE GROWS AND RESILIENCE STAYS STRONG DURING FIRST HALF OF 2021 Over the past year, many firms have experienced challenges related to Covid-19. With numerous lockdowns and cases of Covid-19, many firms have faced uncertain times during the past year. However, with the vaccination programme and the government roadmap, firms are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. In the lastest Quarterly Economic Survey, conducted by the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, 30% of businesses advised they were looking to increase their workforce over the next 3 months. With businesses experiencing a drop in sales and trade for the past year, businesses remain optimistic they will be able to remain open and bounce back to pre-pandemic levels within the coming months.

BUSINESS CONFIDENCE RETURNS IN QUARTER 1 The Quarterly Economic Survey for the first 3 months of 2021 reported business confidence in yearly turnover has more than doubled since last quarter (Q4 2020) from 19% to 44%. This increase in confidence is due to a range of factors such as the government roadmap, which has allowed non-essential shops to reopen and, from May 17, the return of indoor hospitality in efforts to boost the local, regional, and national economy. Business confidence will continue to grow as we progress, however according to the monthly Chamber Coronavirus Impact Survey, 16% of businesses are worried about further national lockdowns if Covid-19 cases continue to rise. With this in mind, the government remain optimistic the vaccination programme will be effective in helping to keep Covid-19 cases low and retain business confidence.

BUSINESSES ARE LOOKING FOR POST-PANDEMIC OPPORTUNITIES Throughout the pandemic, many businesses have been keen to identify new ways to expand their products and services. According to the Chamber Coronavirus Impact Survey, 43% of Worcestershire businesses were looking to expand their products into new markets. The pandemic has no doubt changed

many firms strategies as they continue to adapt to changing circumstances. However, what does remain clear is that businesses continue to look for growth and expansion opportunities into new sectors. Furthermore, 21% of Worcestershire businesses are looking for access to finance, to help support their growth. Whilst firms are reporting positive growth plans, many firms are seeking private investment from banks and financial institutions to put these plans into place.

BUSINESSES INVESTING IN DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND DIGITAL SKILLS REQUIREMENTS TO IMPROVE RESILIENCE Working from home has increased significantly since the start of the pandemic, with firms now investing in new technology to help keep up with demand for products and services. In the Chambers Employment Report 2020, it was found that 78% of businesses adopted or increased their use of at least one type of technology due to the pandemic. Many businesses across all sectors and industries continue to plan to work from home after the pandemic in order to reduce costs.

Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

Firms throughout the pandemic have analysed their workforce to help identify whether an ageing population exists within their workforce. As described in the Worcestershire LEP Local Skills Report, Worcestershire’s population is older than the national average, and is ageing more rapidly compared to rest of UK population. 1 in 3 of the current workforce is over 50. Firms across Herefordshire and Worcestershire have signed up to the Kickstart Scheme and/or apprenticeship programmes to help combat an ageing workforce by recruiting locally and focusing on employing young people to create a skilled ready workforce. As we continue on the road to a full recovery, firms are beginning to feel confident for the months ahead, with reported increase in trade and sales. The vaccination programme continues to have a positive effect on driving down Covid-19 infections, however with new variants being discovered the government continue to monitor the infection rates. Firms remain quietly optimistic and hope trade will be able to return to pre-pandemic levels as the economy continues to reopen.



STREAMLINE YOUR BUSINESS PROCESSES WITH CRM When it comes to productivity, it is a well-known fact that the UK’s averages are below other G7 countries and well below where it should be. But there’s no reason your own business can’t buck that trend. Part of it will be about hiring the right people, but that’s not the end of it. You also have to make sure that they are able to work efficiently and that your business processes are streamlined. Having streamlined business process is all about ensuring that all those tasks your team carry out are assigned to the right person, to complete at the right time, with the right resources, and without any unnecessary steps to slow things down. Talking about streamlining processes is much easier than actually doing it. In reality, it takes close examination of each stage of each process to assess whether it is being done as efficiently as possible. And that’s where your CRM system comes into play. Once you have identified a step in your processes that is causing a slow down or even an entire process that is just generally clunky, it’s time to find a way to streamline it. This could involve automating certain steps using your CRM system or just documenting the completion of them better. It’s probably easier to explain this with an example…

A MESSY SALES PROCESS When new Leads land on your sales


team’s desk, let’s assume they are distributed out equally among the team. That sales person sends out an email introducing themselves and plans to call the person within an hour or two to kick off discussions. If you are carrying this whole process out manually, there are lots of places where it could fall down. The distribution could be uneven, leading some people to be overly busy while others are just twiddling their thumbs…neither being good for your business. Then sending out the email brings with it the risk of someone sending out the wrong email or just missing out on sending it at all. And finally, the call…making sure that the call gets made AND notes are recorded? Knowing sales people as I do (hint: I am one), that call will get made 90% of the time. And making sure that call and notes from the call are documented somewhere central? …I wouldn’t hold my breath. With a CRM system, though, you can automate ever single step and go from a messy process to a streamlined and efficient one.

STREAMLINING THIS WITH A CRM First off, instead of relying on one person to distribute new Leads or relying on the team as a whole to share, you’d be better off using Round Robin functionality. That way, the Leads are distributed equally, respecting people’s holidays. Now everyone has an equal chance of meeting their target and no one is bored or overly busy. At the same time, you can automatically send out that initial introduction email without your team having to do anything at all. It’ll will send the right email every time and even send so that it looks

as though it comes from whoever the assigned sales person is. And finally, getting that call scheduled and documented? Again, use your CRM system to automatically schedule the call and set up your mandatory fields to ensure your sales people can’t save it without adding their notes. You could even add a series of custom fields (maybe tickboxes?) to outline your prospect’s requirements. That way you don’t have to rely on your sales team to write up detailed notes. They can just tick the things that apply.

BENEFITS OF STREAMLINED BUSINESS PROCESSES This is just one example of how you can take a fairly nebulous way of doing things and turn it into a simple, three step process that achieves a set business goal. By taking the time to examine every part of your business processes and working to streamline them, with a CRM system or something else, you can improve the general efficiency of your business as a whole. That means your team have more time for the important bits of their job. And that in turn can only improve your profitability. To talk to a member of the OpenCRM team about your CRM software can benefit your business, call 01748 473000 or visit us at Graham Anderson, is the CEO and founder of OpenCRM, one of the UK’s leading customer relationship management systems.

July/August 2021


GETTING REALLY CLEAR! The most frequent word I have used during my coaching and leadership development experiences in 2021 is the word clarity. Whilst most people know that “the state of being clear and coherent “is a beneficial state for all human beings to experience, creating clarity as a leader and thus a core element of their leadership is such a valuable and powerful ability to possess and then to grow. Clarity alone has the ability to create and then articulate vision, create solutions to complex problems or work out why we are feeling limiting negative emotion or mindset. Blending clarity with action furthers this leadership potency with clear advantages appearing for leaders and their business including enhanced performance and productivity, reduced anxiety and worry, enhanced communication and employee engagement and optimal products, services and delivery for customers. My name is Alan Clark and I am an executive and business coach with 25 years of senior corporate leadership, coaching

experience and the founder of Exponential Coaching Ltd. I am passionate about helping leaders and businesses to navigate their uncertainty and complexity, creating optimal change, value, productivity and outcomes for themselves and their customers. My clients tell me that one of the most valuable aspects about working with me is the space that I create for them. A space to be, a space to think, a space to talk and a space to create from. I create genuinely bespoke 121 and team executive coaching, business coaching and leadership development experiences for executives and senior leaders and business owners, experiences designed to create clearings, clarity and optimal change. I am particularly passionate about helping leaders to create optimal outcomes in any situation and I have developed my leadership development and coaching philosophy and frameworks to support this aspiration. Leadership really is the creator of company culture, operational delivery, financial performance, colleague engagement and customer astonishment and this is why leadership is such a huge passion for me. And the really great news is that leadership can absolutely be learned, developed and grown!

I would love to have more conversations about the power and possibility of leadership. If you the development experiences that I provide then please reach out to myself, Alan Clark by email ( or mobile on 07824837636, or go to my website (


WCG is encouraging individuals and businesses across the region to donate old cars to help train the next generation of mechanics.

“Students at our Evesham site would be extremely grateful for any donations from people living in Herefordshire or Worcestershire. “We hope people will think twice about scrapping a vehicle and instead contact one of our colleges to see if that vehicle could be of use.

WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group) appeals annually to people in Herefordshire and Worcestershire to donate unwanted cars to help students at Evesham College, on their motor vehicle course, gain vital experience.

different vehicle types will bring when out in the workplace.

The pandemic has seen a reduction in the number of vehicles donated but the college still requires a regular supply of vehicles to train the automotive technicians of tomorrow.

Lee Kirk, Head of the Motor Vehicle Department at WCG said: “It has been more difficult for us to access a regular stream of vehicle donations over the past year due to the pandemic.

Small hatchbacks are particularly in demand to allow students to regularly practice maintenance skills and boost knowledge of mechanics.

“We are now back in face-to-face learning across our college sites and it’s essential we have the vehicles available to support the development of students.

But a range of vehicle types are also necessary to ensure students are up-to-speed with the varied challenges

“With regular access to different types of vehicles we can build students’ knowledge base, repair skills and better prepare them

Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

“By donating to our college courses, people will be supporting the growth of more skilled individuals to work in garages and businesses across Herefordshire & Worcestershire.” To arrange the collection of an unwanted vehicle, contact Joshua Saul from the Motor Vehicle Department: E: T: 0330 135 6711



MINISTER PUTS CYBER SECURITY IN RANGE WITH VISIT TO NEW CENTRE FUNDING & ADVICE TO REDUCE CARBON EMISSIONS AVAILABLE UNTIL MARCH Lowering your energy bills can make a big difference to your bottom line and the Business Energy Efficiency Programme (BEEP) can help. Eligible Worcestershire and Herefordshire businesses with under 250 staff can receive support to become more environmentally friendly, saving money on energy or other resource costs. The support on offer is twofold – firstly to assess your business premises (free of charge) to see what improvements can be made through energy and resource usage. Secondly, grants of up to £20,000 (or up to 40% of the project costs) for upgrades to lighting, compressors, heat systems and production equipment, that deliver energy or carbon dioxide savings either directly or indirectly. If you have a carbon saving project in mind contact BEEP now, a grant application could be fast-tracked. Other eligibility criteria apply including, turnover under £44million or balance sheet under £37million.

Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), visited the Hereford Enterprise Zone recently, finishing with a tour of the new £9 million Cyber Quarter – Midlands Centre for Cyber Security at Skylon Park. The Minister officially cut the ribbon on Hereford’s Shell Store, newly refurbished into a modern business incubation and innovation centre, before taking a tour of the Cyber Centre and meeting University of Wolverhampton academics and local business leaders who are taking advantage of the services on offer at the site. The centre is a joint venture between the University of Wolverhampton and Herefordshire Council and part-funded by the Government’s Local Growth Fund, via the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Welcoming them to the new building, which is due to officially open later this year, were members of the University Cyber Centre team – Professor Nazira Karodia, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Regional Engagement, Professor Amar Aggoun, Dean of the Faculty of Science & Engineering, Professor Prashant Pillai, Head of the School of Mathematics and Computer Science and Digital Project Manager, Hugo Russell.

Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for MHCLG, said: “If you think back a decade ago, this was a derelict brownfields site. What has been achieved here is phenomenal. “We want to make sure we build back strongly from the pandemic, and the Enterprise Zone will play a part in that because it provides really high-quality space for businesses, conference spaces, and spaces for incubation of new businesses. I think the future is very bright for Herefordshire.”

SURVIVAL OF THE FLEXIBLE – BUSINESS IN A NEW ERA The Office for National Statistics is reporting an increase in businesses trading, from, 77% to 83%, in the last month. Meanwhile, Sage report 80% of small businesses expect profitability to return to normal in the months ahead. Despite a challenging year, this shows many businesses are thriving. Whether you are a new or established business, it is however essential to take advice in these coming months. Clare Lang, Partner at mfg Solicitors, has detailed the key areas that businesses should be considering:


If you are diverging into new products, have you got supply agreements with suppliers and distributors; and is intellectual property protected?

These are just some key considerations businesses here in the two counties should be addressing.

If you have entered into a new venture, have you got an agreement setting out the terms? If you are vacating property in favour of homeworking, have you taken advice to ensure that you can terminate your lease without liability? Have you got employment contracts for new recruits?

July/August 2021


TRANSFERABLE SKILLS, MILITARY AND CIVILIAN LIFE West Midland Reserve Forces & Cadets Association (RFCA) is a governmental ‘arm’s length body’ established by an act of Parliament. The Association helps to promote the Reserves and cadets within the community through liaison with local authorities, employers and other influential groups. They also own, manage and maintain some 30 Reserve Centres and over 200 Cadet Centres, promote the Armed Forces Covenant and act as a bridge between Reservists and their employers. Championing the benefits of employing Reservists and the wider Armed Forces community, including veterans, military spouses and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, is a key part of their work. The Reserve Forces make up approximately one third of the UK’s Armed Forces, with men and women from all backgrounds training in their spare time, often alongside their civilian careers. Drawn from the Royal Naval Reserves, the Royal Marines Reserves, the Army Reserve and the Royal Air Force Reserves, they can be deployed anywhere in the world to support the Regular Forces. Reservists receive the same world class training as their Regular counterparts, have the opportunity to take part in adventurous training and gain new skills; which are transferable to the civilian workforce. West Midland RFCA spoke to Sub-Lieutenant Victoria Duffield-Smith, a Reservist at HMS Forward, Birmingham’s Royal Naval Reserve unit, about her experiences in the Reserve Forces. “The Royal Navy has six values at its core; courage, commitment, discipline, respect, integrity and loyalty. Whilst immediately applicable to military service, I had underestimated just how valuable and transferable those skills would be in the civilian world. “When things are tough, and they have been tough for all during the pandemic, it is these core values that I fall back on. Having the courage to make brave and effective decisions, the commitment to see those decisions through. Maintaining the discipline to preserve procedures to protect ourselves and the public. “Officer training within the Royal Navy

is a hugely influential development programme. You find and nurture skills throughout the course of training that may have been inherent, but you had never really paid any great attention to previously. “Honing those organisational skills has proven particularly useful outside of the service. In the Royal Navy, ensuring that you have the right people, correctly briefed, with the right kit, in the right place, at the right time is fundamental to the success of your operation - and the same is true in my civilian life. Translating those skills across to everyday life has made me more efficient and effective. “Much of the initial training is focused on the 5% of being an Officer, which involves crisis leadership. The battle responses, the immediate actions and the emergency situation - this is important because it sharpens your abilities rapidly. “As the training develops you experience the routine 95% of the role; the people development, the parental figure, setting the example. These blended aspects have allowed me to reflect on my own personal style. I know that as a result of my Navy training, I am much more of an agile leader in my civilian life and I have a much smoother transition between incident and crisis management, and the long-term development of those in my care.

extremely fortunate to have a very supportive employer that is engaging and welcoming of innovation. “The opportunities for personal development in military service are vast and that has only increased during my time with the Reserves.” Having recently assumed the role of Junior Officer Training Officer, she is helping to develop the leaders of the future. Victoria is part of the Amphibious Warfare branch and has experience of UK Maritime Enforcement Operations. In her civilian employment, she is an Inspector with Warwickshire Police, and is the force’s silver commander for the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To find out how your organisation could benefit from supporting the Armed Forces community, please contact our Regional Employer Engagement Director, Philip Sinclair, on Learn more about the Reserve Forces at

“In overall reflection, much of my civilian success is thanks to the foundations and teaching of military service. I am

Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



UNIVERSITY OF WORCESTER PROMOTE LEARNING THROUGH SPORT Chamber Patron, University of Worcester, are planning to organise a ‘Learning through Sport week’ in the summer. They recognise that schoolchildren across the county have experienced real challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic.


The current year 6 pupils at primary schools now have to prepare for the huge transition to secondary school in September at a severe disadvantage and many may be feeling very anxious. The aim is to bring Maths and English lessons to life through sporting activities that will not only help youngsters to catch up on some of their learning, but also to develop their confidence and social skills that may have been affected during the past year.

The University are hosting the event, but are also looking for funding to support activities. It’s anticipated that local and national media will follow the activities and that public acknowledgement will be given to those who offer support.

Employers will be able to claim £1000 for every T Level student they host on a high-quality industry placement, as part of a new incentive scheme. The T Level employer incentive fund recognises the impact of the pandemic on many businesses and has been designed to help cover financial constraints employers may face as a barrier to hosting placements in the short term. Employers will be able to claim £1000 for up to 20 students they host on a 45-day (315 hour) industry placement from now until July 2022. The incentive offers businesses an excellent opportunity to tap into the emerging talent pipeline, whilst supporting the skilled workforce of the future. T Levels uniquely combine classroom study with industry placements, generating the skilled workforce that businesses need for the future. Those interested in accessing the incentive payments and offering T Level industry placements should contact: 08000 150 600 (choose option 4) or fill out an industry placement contact form online here: uk/employers/ next-steps. Find out more by scanning the QR code.


FARM SURVEY 2021 HELPS HEREFORDSHIRE UNDERSTAND SEASONAL WORKFORCE NEEDS The Farm Survey 2021 was carried out in March 2021 for the first time since 2014. During the Covid-19 pandemic it was felt that there was a lack of up to date information about Herefordshire’s seasonal workforce in terms of providing necessary support during an outbreak. Therefore, it was recommended that a new survey should take place. The results showed that 59% of respondents intended to recruit in 2021, 4,500 seasonal overseas workers are expected on Herefordshire farms during 2021, 34% more than the 2014 figure. Two thirds of overseas workers are still expected to come from Bulgaria and Romania (who were previously covered by

the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Scheme). However, a higher number than previously are expected to come from outside the EU and farms also intend to employ more British workers this year. The survey also detailed the difficulties that farms had faced in 2020. Out of 15 farms, 11 experienced a shortage of seasonal workers linked to Covid-19, 7 experienced loss of crops because of labour shortages, 5 experienced a shortage of seasonal workers linked to Brexit and 3 experienced loss of crops for other reasons, e.g. weather. A full summary can be downloaded here: economy-place/topics-relating-to-theeconomy/workforce.

July/August 2021


Lunchtime at the Orchard

Visitors to the NHS City Art Trail including Sanctuary Group

NHS CITY ART TRAIL A GREAT SUCCESS Throughout May, people across Worcester took part in the Now We're Talking With Art trail through the city, spreading positivity, highlighting mental health support and supporting local businesses.

The Department for International Trade team at the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce also joined in the fun, celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week by following the Art Trail.

Last week, the Time to Change Champions from Sanctuary Group, part of the Time to Change Worcestershire Employers Group, took part in the Now We’re Talking With Art trial through Worcester City Centre.

Gail Dendy de Santos, International Trade Advisor, said: “It was great to get outside, see my colleagues in person and to have a chat along the way. The rain even stopped for us!”

This campaign aims to spread positivity, highlight mental health support and encourage people to get out, exercise and support local businesses and artists.

If you missed out on the Worcester trial, don’t worry! The trial will be moving to Redditch in July and Hereford later in the summer. To find out more information you can visit

SAVE THE DATE – THE NEW WORLD OF WORK The next Worcestershire Works Well bi-annual event is set to take place on Tuesday 14 September where recently accredited organisations will be recognised and an update on the Worcestershire Works Well programme will be provided. For those businesses who are looking to find out more about how they can develop their workplace health and wellbeing offering, this event will be the ideal place to find out more.

of remote working and how we can support workers mental health. There will also be opportunities to network with other attendees and share best practises. More information will be released in the coming weeks, keep up to date via the Chamber events and training calendar here:

The Bi-annual event will discuss the new world of work and how in a post-covid working environment businesses can support their staff’s mental health and wellbeing. The event will also see a number of speakers discussing various topics based around how employers can spotlight workplace wellbeing and take care of their staff, new styles of leadership, legal aspects

Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

PITMASTONS PRIMARY SCHOOL ACHIEVES LEVEL 1 ACCREDITATION Pitmastons Primary School have become the latest organisation to sign up for the Worcestershire Works Well accreditation. The free accreditation scheme is designed to support businesses to improve health and wellbeing of their employees which has shown to improve productivity and profitability. Assistant Headteacher, Jane Lyons, said: “Pitmaston Primary School are thrilled to have achieved Level 1 of the Worcestershire Works Well scheme. Pupil and staff mental health and wellbeing has been the priority of our school development plan for a couple of years now and we are committed to ensuring we keep up to date with initiatives, ideas and strategies to support every single member of our staff team. “Working beyond an educational framework has been an incredibly useful process as we have been encouraged to think differently about the health and wellbeing of all staff in school. We look forward to continuing our work in this area, which given the current climate, is an essential part of our role in school.” Employees can play a vital role in improving the health and wellbeing of workers, this could include ongoing health promotion, raising awareness of specific health issues and supporting and encouraging healthy lifestyles. To find out more please visit worcestershireworkswell.



TIME TO TONE UP YOUR MARKETING POLICY The way we do business has certainly changed and, as sure as night follows day, the way we go about business-to-business marketing has got to be recalibrated too.

In short, is your marketing policy fighting fit – is it up to the challenges that lie ahead? We’re working from home, if not all the time, then probably most of the time. Our meetings are on Zoom or Teams or some such. Our conversations are on WhatsApp or Messenger. And our marketing … well, where is that happening? How and where should it be happening as we emerge tentatively into our new, post-pandemic world?

START AT GROUND ZERO This is the time to re-evaluate your marketing strategy, from root to branch to anticipated fruits. How effective was it before Covid-19 and lockdown? Did it produce the results you wanted? If not, why not? Moving on, into 2021, can you define what effect the changes of the past year have had on your business, and are likely to have going forward? Has the way you communicate and interact with clients changed, and have you had to modify the way in which you deliver services? These answers are key to producing a crystal clear and, importantly, realistic marketing strategy that will support the latest evolution of your business – a marketing plan that your staff can both sign up to and deliver.



response, perhaps, to those who have stuck with us through thick and thin.

If it wasn’t true before Covid, it certainly is now: the fully digitised business is king!

Social media is the perfect platform, of course, through which to not only stay in touch, but to personalise the contact and nurture the loyalty. Post articles or snippets of information that educate customers about your latest product, notify them of new appointments and achievements, and provide a user-friendly means of taking questions ‘from the floor’.

B2B marketing is increasingly about the creative content strategy at its heart and the means by which it will draw in and engage with customers, old and new. The greater the digital weaponry at an entrepreneur’s disposal, the greater the rewards they will reap. But it is also the case that the way in which the collective power of websites, social media, digital adverts, emails and virtual presentations – in short, all forms of digital advertising – is wielded requires a heightened degree of sophistication nowadays.

BE HUMAN Yes, we work in a digital world, but at the end of the day we’re not promoting and selling our wares to robots. There are real people at the other end of that datalink! Key to a successful strategy are the empathetic and personable overtones that make would-be customers feel like you are talking directly to them. That is the starting point for a long-term relationship born of customer loyalty and trust. Nurturing existing clientele has emerged as a priority in B2B marketing – a grateful

Be relevant, be friendly, use humour when appropriate, put up interesting pictures. In short, give customers every reason to keep in touch. You are pushing at an open door.

CRUNCH THAT DATA It can be hard to get the true measure of the effectiveness of your advertising when it’s happening across more than one digital platform. This is where all-in-one social media management and analytics solutions or customer relationship management (CRM) software come into their own. Designed to help you collate and publish automated campaigns across multiple digital platforms at once, they also gather the relevant data afterwards – who’s read your advert, when and where? And most importantly of all, did that convert into a sale?

July/August 2021


MARKETING EXPERTISE FROM A TEAM THAT REALLY CARE. We Are Marketing has traditionally worked with large corporates and charities, developing effective marketing plans to engage and retain customers. Since March 2020, when the pandemic took hold, small to medium sized businesses have turned to them to help support their marketing activity. Their team of marketing experts support businesses who know they should be reviewing their marketing activity, but simply don’t have the time to make it happen. We Are Marketing listen, research and understand the business goals, the market in which the business operates in, the competitor scene and, most importantly, who their existing and potential audiences are. From here We Are Marketing can help shape an effective marketing plan tailored to the audience,

the internal resource, and the budget available. Understanding your existing customer base is crucial in growing that audience and helping to pinpoint new audiences. Often businesses know this well, but don’t have the time to really understand why their customers engage with them or to identify new, prospective customers. Knowing this is key to developing messages that articulate the need the business fulfils, in a way that resonates with customers. This messaging can be developed for the most appropriate channel to maximise reach. We Are Marketing support small to medium businesses in a variety of ways, from workshops helping define ‘Why you’ to your audience, to developing ongoing marketing plans, reviewing, and optimising activity to becoming a virtual marketing department. Their set up is designed to scale easily depending on the requirements. Heather Westgate, Managing Director is passionate about marketing and wants

No time for marketing?

to bring the team’s years of experience working for large companies to help businesses that don’t necessarily have the scope or budgets for a bespoke marketing department. As Heather says the best endorsement comes from their clients, “They gave me the tools and confidence to create a marketing strategy and template to determine who my customers were and how to find more of them”.

We Are Marketing do. You work hard, so we work hard to be the best support. Whether developing marketing plans, finding creative ways to engage your customers or just being your ‘virtual’ marketing team, we pride ourselves on our flexibility, agility and the ability to scale for any requirements. Whatever size of business, you still need a marketing plan that delivers to your business goals. We could tell you how amazing we are, but we think you’d prefer to hear it from our clients.

WAM bring enthusiasm, passion, energy, commitment, experience, strategic input – they make us think differently and help us to achieve our goals no matter how challenging they may seem.

Head of Direct Marketing, Blue Cross

We would wholeheartedly recommend Heather for anyone looking for marketing advice with a friendly, professional and vibrant outlook. HD Masonry

For an informal chat about how we could help, contact Heather 07976 266 101 v2 WAM Chambers of Commerce Ad half page.indd 1

Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

29/06/2021 11:21



METHOD GOES BEYOND MARKETING – WE GROW YOUR BUSINESS Whether working online or using more traditional tools such as print and events, truly effective marketing is much more than pushing information out, and hoping people respond. We don’t just do your marketing - we grow your business. We are a Worcester-based, full service, growth agency. We get you in front of your ideal customers, and show them how you can make their business work better and boost their bottom line. They will then be keen to start a conversation with you.

HOW DO WE DO THIS? Well, how about fast-loading websites and social media content to help and support your potential clients, or perhaps PPC and re-targeted ads, that land right in front of them?


Attending business events and expos? Set your visitors up for a truly memorable experience with online tools, graphics, print collateral and workflows to re-engage potential leads after the event. Print can be very effective too. If your B2B audience reads specific trade magazines, we’ll get you in there. Or how about your visuals? Our in-house team creates engaging graphic design that gets you noticed. Yet another example of Method’s ‘go deeper’ approach is aligning marketing, sales and service. Have you ever been involved in a bid, got on the shortlist, but then been pipped at the post by a competitor? Do you call the bid company a few months down the line to see how everything is going? Often, if things have not gone well with the winner, the company maybe be open to another conversation, after all, you’ve already been pre-qualified!

Equally, do you talk to your customers about cross-selling and upselling? Once again, we can put workflows in place to reach these customers, while you carry on with the day job.

BUILDING YOUR BRAND Business support from Method uses the most effective tools on the most direct channels and is measured and scored. We help you get connected, bag a bunch of new clients and grow your business. Sounds good? Great. Then we should talk. Call - 01905 814038 Email - Visit -

July/August 2021


DIGITAL MARKETING: CUTTING COSTS WITHOUT CUTTING CORNERS Like many businesses, you may be preparing to welcome back visitors and start getting back to normal.

encourage repeat business and find new customers. Post-lockdown tip: if you’ve been closed for a while, this could help to tempt your regulars back and create new ones. 3. Create an email newsletter

However, if you’ve had to cut costs over the last 18 months, you may not have much budget for marketing! Here are some simple tips to help you save money: 1. Use the power of social media Hopefully, you’ve carried on using social media throughout lockdown to keep your customers informed. Keep it up! If you’ve posted about reopening or a change to your opening hours, pin that to the top of your profile. Post-lockdown tip: use hashtags like #OpenForBusiness to make it clear you’re back!

Email campaigns are fantastic for generating leads and revenue. If you’re not already using email marketing, get started now - building a subscriber base takes time. However, if you provide exclusive content and special offers they won’t find on your site, it won't take long for them to start signing up and spreading the word. Post-lockdown tip: include your reopening offers in your newsletter with an added incentive for subscribers. 4. Ask for reviews and testimonials

2. Encourage customer loyalty with discounts and offers

Reviews and testimonials are one of the best ways to generate trust, and they're free! Don’t be afraid to ask your customers if they’ll leave a review - people often won't think to do so without prompting.

Everybody loves a special offer! A loyalty bonus, or a discount when you recommend a friend, is a great way to

Post-lockdown tip: recent reviews send an instant message that you’re open for business.

5. Done something newsworthy? Write a press release! Even if it's just the news that you're reopening after lockdown, that's of local interest! Put together a simple press release and send it to local news outlets with a photo and a quote. Post-lockdown tip: this is a great free route to local coverage of your reopening.

Find your digital voice! Engaging your brand with audiences that matter. E: T: 0191 580 5990

Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL! “Train your employees well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to” – Richard Branson As businesses start to reopen their doors again to their customers, there is light at the end of the tunnel. With the Government’s roadmap well underway and restrictions starting to lift, just how do we re-establish ourselves and bounce back stronger and more determined in the aftermath of the global pandemic? With resilience and rejuvenation! A lot has changed over the last 12 months; working from home, shifts in consumer behaviour and the uncertainty of job retention to name a few. For some, a year of home working and virtual conferencing has become “the norm”. Employers and employees have witnessed the advantages and disadvantages of this. Some businesses may have already adapted and implemented a flexible working policy as part of their build and recovery strategy, giving their employees greater flexibility in obtaining a healthy life/work balance. It’s understandable that changes to peoples work environments over the last 12 months have caused unrest and uncertainty. Some employees may have a great deal of anxiety about returning to the office, while for others it is long anticipated welcome news. Your employees are your most valuable asset. Giving them the confidence to return to work in a Covid secure environment is paramount. Many people may feel anxious about returning to work and therefore it’s not just their physical wellbeing that is at stake but their mental wellbeing too.

Staff will be looking to their managers to provide support and guidance, and therefore will need to be much more aware of the effects that retuning to the office environment may have on their teams. Preparation is key. If we want to build trust and resilience within our teams then we must take appropriate action to deliver this. It’s anticipated that there will be a


dramatic increase in those seeking

Mental Health First Aid (1 day)

mental health support post pandemic.

Mentoring in the Workplace

According to Mental Health First Aid

IOSH Managing Safely (4 day)

England, at any given time 1 in 6 working

IOSH Working Safely

age adults have symptoms associated with mental health. Mental Health is responsible for 72 million working days lost and costs £34.9 billion each year. To protect and build a resilient work force we need to have the awareness to be able to spot the signs that others may need our help. After all a happy workforce is a healthier workforce!

IOSH Managing Occupational Health & Wellbeing Workplace Mental Health Awareness- Enhancing Wellbeing for All Take a look at our course calendar for further details or email for more information.

All courses can be found here: Can’t find what you are looking for? Email with your course suggestions.


July/August 2021

CHAMBERTRAINING JULY COURSE DATES Professional Telephone Techniques Tuesday 6 July - 9.00am-4.00pm £160+VAT Members £200+VAT Non-members

Google Ads - Part 1 Thursday 8 July- 2.00pm-4.00pm £60+VAT Members £85+VAT Non-members

Creating a Customer Care Culture Monday 12 July - 9.00am-4.00pm £160+VAT Members £200+VAT Non-members

Google Ads – Part 2 Tuesday 13 July - 9.00am-4.00pm £60+VAT Members £85+VAT Non-members

Effective Presentation Skills Thursday 22 July - 9.00am-4.00pm £160+VAT Members £200+VAT Non-members

How to Understand, Challenge and Review your brand Tuesday 27 July - 9.00am-4.00pm £160+VAT Members £200+VAT Non-members

How to Generate New Leads Virtually Thursday 29 July - 10.00am-12.00pm £60+VAT Members £85+VAT Non-members


Excel Masterclass Wednesday 11 August - 9.00am-4.00pm £200+VAT Members £250+VAT Non-members

IOSH Managing Occupational Health & Wellbeing Thursday 12 August - 9.00am-4.00pm £160+VAT Members £200+VAT Non-members

PowerPoint for Presentations Tuesday 17 August - 9.00am-4.00pm £160+VAT Members £200+VAT Non-members

Introduction to WordPress Tuesday 17 August - 9.00am-12.30pm £90+VAT Members £110+VAT Non-members

Effective Time Management Wednesday 4 August - 9.00am-4.00pm £160+VAT Members £200+VAT Non-members

Role of the Team Leader Thursday 19 August - 9.00am-4.00pm £160+VAT Members £200+VAT Non-members

An Introduction to Finance for the NonFinancial Manager Thursday 15 July - 9.00am-4.00pm £160+VAT Members £200+VAT Non-members

Advanced Microsoft Excel Tuesday 10 August - 9.00pm-4.00pm £160+VAT Members £200+VAT Non-members

Canva - Simple and Effective Designs for Digital Marketing Tuesday 24 August - 9.00am-12.30pm £90+VAT Members £110+VAT Non-members

Workplace Mental Health AwarenessEnhancing Wellbeing for All Thursday 15 July - 9.00am-4.00pm £160+VAT Members £200+VAT Non-members

Train the Trainer Wednesday 11 August - 9.00am-4.00pm £160+VAT Members £200+VAT Non-members

7 Steps to Closing the Deal Thursday 26 August - 9.00am-4.00pm £160+VAT Members £200+VAT Non-members

Conducting Effective Team Appraisal Wednesday 14 July - 9.00am-4.00pm £160+VAT Members £200+VAT Non-members

IOSH Managing Safely Tuesday 20 July - 9.00am-4.00pm £495+VAT Members £595+VAT Non-members

Introduction to Digital Marketing & PR Tuesday 20 July - 9.00am-12.30pm Free Members £110+VAT Non-members

Effective Professional Proofreading Tuesday 20 July - 9.00am- 1.00pm £90+VAT Members £110+VAT Non-members

Whilst we are continuously expanding our online offering, please let us know if there are any training courses you would like the Chamber to deliver in the future. All up to date courses can be found on our website: We are looking forward to welcoming delegates back to the Chamber office for future courses. For more information on any of our training courses, please see our website or email our training department on

Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



L-R Senior Production Operative Andy & Kay Frost, Co-Founder of The Posh Shed Company

ROOM TO ZOOM IN A POSH SHED It is estimated that 20% of the population are still exclusively working from home and significant increase in homebuyers looking for properties with gardens, garages, and offices to support the shift from office to home. Chamber Member The Posh Shed Company saw a significant increase in sales of garden sheds as the pandemic gained momentum, with a strong demand from customers looking for additional garden space to create that all-important work-life balance. The Posh Shed Company’s co-founder, Kay Frost, said: “Early into the first lockdown of 2020 enquiries for our sheds followed a distinct trend; customers were looking for garden buildings that provided a solution to working at home away from their house but could also easily be used as a hobby space, potting shed or a just a beautiful storage solution that blends into the garden perfectly. This is where our new ‘Comfortably Posh’ range has developed from.” 2020 was, like many other online garden businesses, one of the company’s busiest years on record. To meet the increased demand, the company has taken on six new staff in their office and production teams with more job creation expected before the end of the financial year.


TIME IS NOW FOR NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS “The 2020s is one of those decades that will go down in history as defining, momentous and significant. Its impact on people’s lives is still yet to be written, but one thing for sure is this will be the decade when the X-Gen will come into their own.” The opening lines of the LeaderX book, written by Lucy Barkas who predicted a decade of change. Leaders are well rehearsed in how to pivot, reinvent and become agile. Now is the time to do so strategically rather than

reactively as we move from the sprint into the endurance race. The skills now needed are openness, curiosity and creativity with a huge dose of grit. The world will never be easy and smooth, and changes will continue to cause problems. Yet, when you keep searching for ways to change or improve your situation for the better, you stand a chance of finding the solutions you seek.

EBC GROUP CHOSEN AS TECHNOLOGY PROVIDER Global manufacturers Titan Europe PLC have selected EBC Group as their chosen technology provider, as part of ongoing investments in their IT infrastructure. Through a rigorous tender process, EBC Group were chosen to provide Titan with a full suite of managed services. The addition of Managed Cloud, Cyber Security and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) will a deliver a number of service improvements throughout the business. Chris Askers, Managing Director, Wheels Division at Titan Europe, comments: "We are experts in making wheels, but not experts in IT and this is a really important part of our business and with Covid it is becoming even more important. Thankfully we have

expertise purchased through EBC Group.” ‘’EBC Group are big enough to have the expertise and remain updated in a fast-moving industry, but small enough to be human and care about the customer."

Chris Akers, Managing Director, Wheels Division at Titan Europe

July/August 2021


IS YOUR CASH WORKING FOR YOU? Keeping on top of your working capital requirements is crucial to ensuring a viable business. The more cash tied up means there is less available for investment and growth. Working capital is the cash tied up in the running of a business on a daily basis. The higher the working capital requirements in a business, the greater the amount of funding it will require. If a business can keep its working capital requirements low and still meet its everyday needs, the more cash is free for investment and growth. Oxford Biomedica’s Oxbox facility

LARGEST-EVER FMS INSTALLATION HELPS VALIDAIR ACHIEVE SPECIAL TSI AWARD STATUS Notable among Validair’s business successes in 2020 is the largest Environmental Monitoring System installation in the history of TSI Inc, the world leader in particle counters and monitoring software.

Bishop Fleming Restructuring Directior, Luke Venner suggests that businesses should be focussing on releasing working capital to help fund investment and growth The Restructuring Team at Bishop Fleming helps businesses assess and

implement strategies to more effectively manage working capital. This might involve reviewing your existing systems and supply chain management, preparing financial forecasts, restructuring, or raising finance.

RESILIENCE OF THE OFFICES MARKET How and where we work has been slowly evolving in the past few years, leading some to question the role of the office. The way offices are viewed and used has changed now that businesses have had time to take stock and think clearly about their office needs since being away from them. With many starting to worry that the offices market would face the same issues as the high-street – Gowling WLG conducted a survey among circa 500 senior decision-makers and found that only 3% are considering moving to full time home working.

this research have indicated that it does not replace the need for an office environment. Although the market is not in jeopardy, office landlords will need to upgrade existing space to higher specifications and provide flexible models to help meet changing occupier needs and flexible working arrangements.

Validair is a Gold Standard Channel Partner to TSI. With over 1,000 sample point capacity, the TSI FMS5 installation at Oxford Biomedica’s Oxbox facility was delivered, installed and commissioned by the Validair team late in 2019 and during the first coronavirus lockdown in 2020. Coincidentally, the Oxbox FMS solution is playing a prominent role in the production of one of the Covid-19 vaccines.


This prestigious installation was one of many during 2020 for Validair that contributed towards special recognition by TSI, and it elevates Validair to TSI Directors Club status.

Back in March 2020 Modus CEO, Guy Marson called a team meeting presenting his strategically thought-out SWOT analysis detailing the affects the pandemic could have on the business, should it not be prepared.

“Naturally, we were delighted to provide the environmental monitoring and critical alarm system to Oxford Biomedica last year, and rewarding to know that the expertise of our team is contributing to the highly acclaimed national vaccine programme.” says Deborah Haisman, Commercial Director at Validair Monitoring Solutions Ltd.

Flexibility was key to their survival, and that wasn’t just letting staff work from home, sitting in their pajamas whilst on a morning Zoom.

Despite the adoption of increased remote working, the respondents to

effectively and clinically perform a Covid Rapid Antigen Test with Professor Sir Chris Evans OBE. The agency also branded, packaged and created informative, punctual marketing campaigns for Breathe Happy, a reusable face mask which still to this day offers the highest filtration available on the consumer market.

The marketing agency operated transparently, navigating through the challenging times, hunting down, and pitching to new clients whose wants and needs didn’t typically follow their traditional business model. Working closely with covid throughout the pandemic they created educational videos and launched a website on how to

Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

Richard Hurst being filmed talking about the Breathe Happy Reusable Face Mask




Rooted in the soil of Herefordshire for five generations now, multi-award winning Westons Cider yet proved fleet of foot in adapting to the exigencies of the pandemic.

Within weeks of its descent, the management team had ramped up the online business 20 fold, all the while adjusting the nature of the stock they held. Darryl Hinksman, Head of Business Development, said: “It’s been quite remarkable. From March last year, since we first went into lockdown, we met as a leadership team every day for the first hundred days.

Australia, looking after the company’s antipodean brewery, when Covid-19 began to emerge. “I flew out of Melbourne just as it went into lockdown and I got back saying ‘we are going to follow suit’,” he said. “There was an almost instant recognition that business had to change and we pretty much got on with it.” In a sure indication the team did indeed find the sweet-spot for consumers suddenly house-bound, Westons’ online turnover of yesteryear, somewhere in the region of £50,000 to £100,000 per annum, has become £1.5m. It also has 70,000 followers too, people who haven’t just clicked on ‘like’ but have also given permission for Westons to contact them with offers.

“We made a lot of changes! We worked through the whole process, from the production line to the focus of our stock-keeping.”

While the online takings are small beer in the scale of things – the business as a whole has an annual turnover of £60m – the team recognises the shift forced on consumer trends in the past year is here to stay.

Westons was forewarned and as a result, forearmed, when Darryl got a taste of things to come in early 2020. He was in

“OK, yes, the on-trade business is coming back pretty swiftly as pubs and restaurants reopen,” said Darryl. “The recent spurt

We made a lot of changes! We worked through the whole process, from the production line to the focus of our stock-keeping.


of good weather has certainly helped there and each time there is a lifting of restrictions, we see a bit of an uplift. “But with the way the online orders are flowing in, they will soon account for 2.5% of our overall turnover. “Our best guess is that while people are returning to pubs and restaurants, they will probably go out less often, but will expect a premium offer when they do. For us that means they will drink less, but choose the best.” The nature and ratios of stock held have inevitably changed in line with customer demand and, in turn, the type of packaging needed. Lockdown’s root and branch reform saw the rise of the mail-order friendly bag-in-a-box and the (temporary) demise of the keg. “The bag-in-a-box range goes from three litres to 20 litres and they are best sellers, especially the 10 and 20 litre sizes,” he said. “People buy them – they’re only available online, not in supermarkets

July/August 2021


– in the way they do larger packs for barbecues and the like. They’ve been very successful.” Established in 1880 in rural Much Marcle, the company is now in the care of the fourth and fifth generations of the Weston family. Managing Director Helen Thomas is the great-granddaughter of founder Henry Weston. Using the wide variety of regional fruit grown in the surrounding orchards, Henry started pressing and blending the ciders and perries that went down a treat with his thirsty neighbours.

Thereafter one of the few manufacturing elements outsourced will be the production of the CO2 used to carbonate the cider.

Today The Bounds, the charming 17th century farmhouse and cider mill where it all began, is still at the heart of the business.

Even then, that is done with best sustainable

Most of Westons’ production lines have long been in-house, all bar the canning process. But with the demand for cans growing exponentially, that process is currently being brought under the same roof as its bottling and keg-filling plants too.

anaerobic digester.

practice in mind. The CO2 is produced from the apple waste, known as pomace, left from Westons’ pressings by a company with an

Looking to the future, Westons is intent on growing export sales. It already sells business to business and exports to 44 countries, key among them Germany, Scandinavia,

Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

the Baltic states and the USA. China and southeast Asia are now firmly in its sights. Darryl said: “Virtually every single country in the world grows apples and when you start to dig you find there is often an indigenous taste for some type of cider. China is the largest apple-grower in the world and has a history of cider stretching back hundreds of years. “So, we know there is a latent taste for our product in many countries we aren’t yet exporting to. It’s all about finding the right distributor to be honest.”



COUNTDOWN TO SEPTEMBER OPENING OF HEREFORD’S NEW UNIVERSITY IN THE MAKING NMITE (New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering) will open its doors in Hereford on 21st September 2021 and is now just weeks away from welcoming its Pioneer Cohort of students to the purpose-fitted Blackfriars site in Central Hereford after years of planning. Professor Elena Rodriguez-Falcon, President & Chief Executive Officer of NMITE explains why she believes NMITE will be such an important milestone locally and nationally. “There really is a feeling of excitement as we get ready for September. We have made no secret that we intend to do things differently and be a challenger institution for engineering education. We look forward to welcoming students from all walks of life and at varying life stages as we believe these differing perspectives is exactly what the engineering industry in the UK needs.” Originally conceived by the Rt Hon Jesse Norman MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire as a new, higher education offering, NMITE evolved over the years to become the institution it is today with an “innovative approach to engineering education which means that by the time our students graduate, they’ll have worked on real projects with employers and partner organisations and be ready to hit the ground running as a professional engineer.” According to Elena, NMITE’s MEng Integrated Engineering Degree has been designed to prepare its graduates with high quality, work-ready skills in just three years without lectures or traditional exams. Unlike other engineering institutions, prospective learners will not be required to have a Maths or Physics A-level as these subjects can be taught within the curriculum for those that require it. Applications have been considered on an individual basis to identify the qualities that will create a successful


learner. Elena explains that curiosity, determination, grit and interpersonal skills are equally important as academic track record for their students. One of the key jobs this year, according to Elena, has been finalising the team of innovative educators for this unique engineering programme because NMITE’s approach is so distinct from traditional engineering education strategies. Led by Chief Academic Officer, Professor Beverley Gibbs, this team has been brought together to enable learning integrating both engineering science with liberal arts in a series of sprints and challenges, set by potential future employers in real-world contexts. The Pioneer Cohort will be learning at the Blackfriars site which includes seven teaching studios, a factory (manufacturing space with a range of specialist industrial equipment for metal working and wood working) and library space. From the start, NMITE set out to work in partnership with the local community - in particular with businesses who understood the need for this new engineering degree, many of whom have pledged much more than practical support. As Elena says: “We are hugely grateful to our Pioneer Funders who have understood our vision and helped remove the barrier to engineering education for our Pioneer Cohort by offering generous bursaries for our first learners.” NMITE’s Pioneer funders range from local and national businesses such as Prometheus Medical Ltd and Avara Foods, as well as groups and individuals within Herefordshire. NMITE has established itself as an attractive prospect for funders, having raised an initial £1m plus in its Founders Fund. More recently, NMITE has been awarded a European Social Fund grant to develop contemporary careers advice and skills in Herefordshire’s SME and Microbusiness communities. It will supply Herefordshire-wide graduate training, amongst other initiatives, to help make Herefordshire businesses more appealing on a national scale. Activities will run through until

December 2023 and Herefordshire will see NMITE setting up a Future Skills Group and a series of Employer Engagement Forums. “This programme has three key areas of focus” says Elena: 1) Helping SMEs and Microbusinesses understand gaps and opportunities in their current and future workforce and offering support to enable them to reach their growth potential 2) Engaging SMEs and Microbusinesses with educators (schools, colleges, FE and HEIs) through extracurricular workshops to help individuals gain skills relevant to the needs of the local labour market 3) Developing enterprise and entrepreneurship skills amongst young people to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs who can start and grow businesses in the county. As the countdown to September continues, Elena says she is extremely proud of how much has been achieved in setting up this new higher education establishment from scratch. “It really has been a team effort from so many individuals, organisations and partners as well, of course, from the NMITE staff. Now we look to the next stage of our journey with huge optimism, the chance to educate the changemakers and gamechangers of tomorrow, and to put Hereford and engineering on the UK’s map for the future.”

July/August 2021


CAPTAIN OF INDUSTRY EMERGES FROM THE STORM FIGHTING FIT With his lorries already on the road, heading for a huge job at Birmingham NEC, Dale Parmenter took the call on 5th March 2020 that signalled the seriousness of the situation descending. He was informed that the exhibition and conference scheduled for 5,000 delegates – the type of event that was bread and butter for DRPG, one of the UK’s largest creative communications agencies - was cancelled. “All live events were just cancelled,” he said. “In late February, we were seeing through the news that people were getting nervous and we knew that COVID-19 was going to hit us at some point. So by early March we had already put an emergency three-point plan in place. “Having lived through numerous recessions, we knew we would have to act quickly. You know you won’t get it all right, but cash is the number one priority – profit goes out the window. “Just look after the cash and your people! That has been my mantra since day one.” Prince of the large-scale live event, DRPG’s sales plummeted by 60% in the months that followed. But having built the company he started in 1980 from the ground up, Dale is nothing if not adaptable. He is adept at moving with the times. DRPG’s roots are in video production and digital solutions. This background gave the team a great foundation to build virtual experiences. Before COVID-19, DRPG did around four or five virtual events a year. This past 12 months, it has done more than 600. “It’s been a huge learning curve,” he said. “We had a very small (virtual) team to begin with, and getting the digital, camera and production people we needed was time consuming.

“The thing is, those types of people were also being sought by our competitors, so as well as going on a recruitment drive, we also started a big internal training programme to retrain our own people and redeploy them.” Rather than pulling its horns in, DRPG did just the opposite. It implemented the biggest investment programme in the company’s history, spending north of four million pounds on improving its facilities and hiring 80 new members of staff. The company, in effect, went onto a war footing and rearmed, ready to fight another day. Dale said: “At first, we described it as a ship we had to prevent sinking, but then there is this opportunity to refit the ship while it is out of the water. “You spot things and have the time to do something about them much faster than you can when you’re running at full speed. “We brought forward quite a few investments in new computer systems, buildings and technology we had planned in the next couple of years, so that when we come out of this, we will be in a better position to go forward.”

Just look after the cash and the people! That has been my mantra since day one. Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

The new virtual production arm, that operates out of the company HQ on Kidderminster’s Ikon Trading Estate, is now worth nine million pounds in its own right. Having begun as a one-man band with just a camera and local carpet company Brinton’s as his first client, Dale now employs 380 people in a handful of offices spread across Europe and America. DRPG’s remit includes FTSE 100 companies and contracts on just about every continent, chief among them BT, Nationwide, Triumph, Jaguar Land Rover and Hyundai. A succession of business acquisitions, made as and when he needed to bring new disciplines on board, has produced a deep pool of talent proficient in digital communication and ‘comms’ strategies in general, design, video, animation and events management, making it a self-sufficient, multi-channel provider. In May, His Royal Highness Prince Edward paid a visit to hear more about DRPG’s futureproofing, including the Corporate Social Responsibility charter that drives the ethical and sustainable policies at its heart.






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July/August 2021


GROWAGRI Supporting development in horticulture and agriculture

FESTIVAL OF HORTICULTURAL TECHNOLOGY › Talks, Tours & Workshops Wednesday 21 July 9am – 5pm

PROFESSIONAL COACH DEVELOPMENT AND QUALIFICATIONS 3D Leadership offer high quality Coach Training, Qualification and Supervision. This year we are offering the ILM Level 5 Coach training along with accredited Certificate & Diploma programmes. These qualifications are suitable for both independent practitioners as well as organisational coaches and managers. The training consists of 7 dates over seven months and take place regularly throughout the year. Certificate and Diploma programmes are £1,750 and £1,950 + vat respectively, which includes all training, assessment and certification. Alongside Management and Executive Coaching the 3D Partners, Tony and Toni, regularly supervise, research and publish in the coaching field. If you would like to discuss in-person you can contact them at or 01684 575852

A brand new event that explores the benefits of agri-tech and explains why it is important that Worcestershire businesses get on board this exciting sector. Your first opportunity in over 12 months to personally meet with our agri-tech experts in a Covid-safe environment! Join our programme of expert-led talks that showcase the cutting-edge technologies being developed to revolutionise the way we grow our food by maximising productivity, protecting our natural resources and helping to create a climate-resilient agricultural system. Discuss the potential of the agri-tech market, the impact of Brexit in the horticulture industry, how to improve supply chains and enhance market offer. Browse a variety of industry stalls, highlighting the latest in lighting, hydroponics, seeds, fertilisers and irrigation.

For more information or to book your place call 0330 135 7229 or visit

You can also download the brochure at

Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



CHAMBER BUSINESS AWARDS 2021 SPONSORED BY FOLK2FOLK The Chamber Business Awards recognises the best of Herefordshire & Worcestershire. Entertain and engage your clients and staff at the largest business celebration ceremony in the region, with over 650 guests in attendance. Entries for the annual Chamber Business Awards opened in April 2021 and closed in May. The black-tie ceremony with over 680 attendees will take place on Thursday 2 September 2021 at the Worcester Arena. This will be a perfect opportunity to mark a return to normality and will present winners with a unique marketing edge over their competitors and will bring attention to the great work that businesses have been involved with during the course of the year. Sharon Smith, Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, said: “We have seen a real interest from businesses across the region looking to shout about their success and spotlight their brand. “The advantages that winning an award presents can give a platform to stand out from your competitors and demonstrate to your customers that your brand is prestigious and reputable. “I for one cannot wait to meet all entrants at the in-person ceremony in September and look forward to celebrating the business community and all the resilience and innovation shown over the last 12 months.” On the return of the Chamber Awards and live events Dale Parmenter, DRPG, said: “After an unprecedented down time for the events industry, it’s good to see it starting to

open up and it’s brilliant we will once again be able to enjoy the Chamber Awards in September. “Undoubtably, face to face communication is the most powerful way to get a message across. As humans we love shared experiences and also love to be able to say “I was there…” whether it’s our favourite band, a product launch or an emotional acceptance of a Chamber Award. “While virtual events have filled the gap and are here to stay, our research shows there

is a considerable pent-up demand for the return to live events. We predict there will be a surge of people wanting to meet face to face for the next 12 months before we see a new norm for the industry, where digital and live create a powerful hybrid solution.” Single Tickets: £99.00+VAT for Members | £119.00+VAT for Non-members Table of 10: £890.00+VAT for Members | £1,070.00+VAT for Non-members Tickets can only be purchased by emailing the events team on

CONFERENCE DATES FOR YOUR DIARY Women’s Business Conference, sponsored by Bishop Fleming Friday 24 September 2021 Join business professionals from across Herefordshire and Worcestershire for our Women’s Business Conference in association with Bishop Fleming. Hear from our inspiring female speakers, enjoy a delicious two course lunch, and benefit


from plenty of networking opportunities throughout the day. HR Professionals Conference, sponsored by Hewett Recruitment Thursday 18 November 2021 At this annual HR Conference you will hear from relevant industry speakers, and meet other professionals in the HR industry. The event is aimed at HR

Professionals from companies of all sizes and sectors. It is a date not to be missed for those wanting to understand the current and future innovations and challenges facing businesses. To book onto either of the conferences please do visit the events and training calendar here events-and-training-calendar or contact

July/August 2021


CHAMBER PATRON LOCALIQ CHAMPIONS LOCAL BUSINESS Run by the Worcester News, Malvern Gazette and Evesham Journal, in partnership with Worcestershire County Council, Worcester BID, Crowngate Shopping Centre, the University of Worcester and now One Worcestershire, Love Local Business aims to help traders recover from lockdown. One Worcestershire is the latest organisation to champion the campaign which encourages readers to back traders by spending their money locally. One Worcestershire is a novel approach to raising the profile of the county. It is not owned by any one organisation or partner. It is a public and private sector partnership reflecting the county-wide pride in championing Worcestershire as a place to live, work, invest and visit. As businesses continue the recovery effort from the past 15 months, it is important that local traders are supported and receive as much exposure as possible in order to shout about how great they are. If you’d like your business to be involved in Love Local Business, call Dale Godliman on 01905 742372 or email

ROYAL VISIT FOR MALVERN PANALYTICAL TO CELEBRATE KEY ROLE IN VACCINE DEVELOPMENT Malvern Panalytical, analytical systems manufacturer and contract services provider were delighted to welcome His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex to its Malvern, Worcestershire, headquarters on Thursday 27 May. Malvern Panalytical was selected for the Royal visit, amongst a small number of other Worcestershire businesses, primarily because of its scientific and technical contribution to the development of medicines and vaccines to treat and prevent COVID-19. Andrew Heath, Chief Executive, Spectris plc, stated: “It has been our pleasure to welcome Prince Edward to our Malvern development and manufacturing facility today and to explain how Malvern Panalytical’s people, products and services are assisting the global effort to fight COVID-19. We are immensely proud of the role the team here is playing in applying its technical and scientific expertise to help alleviate this humanitarian crisis.” His Royal Highness was introduced to a number of Malvern Panalytical employees from across the business during his walk through the facility, learning about the roles they play in the development of new technologies and services. The vital role science has played in the fight against COVID-19 is clear. Malvern

Panalytical is proud to play a key role in the global effort to develop treatments and vaccines, providing analytical instruments and expert support to SARS-CoV-2 vaccine labs across the globe. Mark Fleiner, President, Malvern Panalytical, commented: “Throughout 2020 and 2021, we have witnessed our analytical systems and services make a real contribution to the development of protein antigen and mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines, as well as to the development of antiviral drugs. Malvern Panalytical provides the instruments and expertise to support robust and rapid vaccine development and assist pharmaceutical organisations in assuring the quality of vaccines and other treatments.”

REGION’S LEADING CYBER CLUSTER RETURNS WITH DYNAMIC REBRAND Midlands Cyber, the regional Cyber Security Cluster for the West Midlands is thrilled to announce its new brand identity which launched in June. The introduction of a new logo and website symbolises the brand’s commitment to represent the Midland’s Iindustry focus of ‘security by design’ and promote growth across the region. The Cluster which is made up of experts, professionals and those working in digital security across academia and business aims to shape and support the development of this new strategic economy in the Midlands.

Operating alongside Commercial Tech Accelerator, BetaDen, and working closely with Worcestershire’s first commercially operated 5G testbed, The Cluster is ideally located to do just that.

Re-energised with new banding and a clear new message, Midlands Cyber are sure to reignite the cyber network and become a hub of growth and investment potential.

Linda Smith, CEO and Founder of BetaDen, and a close advisor of Midlands Cyber, spoke of her vision for the relaunch: “The relaunch of this regional cyber cluster will create new opportunities and new focus for both existing and future collaboration to support growth of the cyber associated industries in our region and create a real voice from the Midlands Cyber network.”

Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



LOOKING TO THE HYDROGEN FUTURE The UK Government has committed to a net zero emissions future by 2050. As many of you know, the transition to this target is challenging to say the least. With around 15% of the country’s CO2 emissions coming from heating and hot water, the heating industry has a huge part to play.

EXPORT ACADEMY WELCOMES AWLHAD MIAH TO SUPPORT WORCESTERSHIRE BUSINESSES Based at the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, Awlhad Miah has been welcomed to the Export Academy team as Trade advisor for Worcestershire.

As the UK’s leading boiler manufacturer, Worcester Bosch has been actively involved in developing hydrogen-ready boilers. This, along with its diversifying portfolio incorporating solar thermal and heat pump technology, is one of the many ways the company intends to support decarbonising the domestic heating. The award-winning hydrogen prototype is currently being used in a number of field trials across the UK, including HyStreet in Northumberland and the

Hydrogen House in Gateshead. This will help determine the feasibility of introducing them to the market. Worcester Bosch is confident that hydrogen is a viable, zero carbon alternative to natural gas in heating and will fit well in the future technology mix, alongside heat pumps, bio-oil and renewables.

Awlhad has worked with a number of West Midlands based companies, supporting them towards their International trade development for the past 5 years. Having gained a wealth of experience in the export field, Awlhad is well-qualified to offer practical insight into the best way to operate overseas. “Within the region there are a lot of small independent businesses that are not aware of Department for International Trade support. My primary focus is to raise awareness, be more accessible for businesses and spearhead our tailored support and services in the region. My secondary objective is to engage with many local and national trade organisations, partners and external stakeholders to drive the Export Academy programme in the region.” Says Awlhad. Businesses who are looking for support in operating overseas can get in touch with Awlhad, who can help access support via a number of different programmes including the Enhanced Export Growth Project (EEGP) and the National Export Academy Workshops. The EEGP is here to support local businesses that want to improve their international strategies to export their products or services. This project offers a series of four, full-funded workshops, to help businesses gain a deeper understanding and insight to take exporting to the next level. For more information please contact


BRAND-NEW PURPOSE BUILD PREMISES FOR FRITZ FRYER LIGHTING Fritz Fryer, a rapidly expanding, home-grown business from Ross-on-Wye have an all new, purpose-built studio. The large industrial unit has been completely transformed, from an empty shell into an incredible space from which to showcase their extensive collection of hand restored antiques and range of unique, handmade contemporary lighting. The company began with humble beginnings, but as the popularity of Fritz Fryer has grown, there came a necessity for a larger space to house the expanding

team. The space consists of two levels, both complete with ample space to welcome guests with a coffee, to discuss their lighting plans. The substantially larger workshop and packing area ensures that the ever-growing demand for their lights, is met. Powered by solar panels, lit by LED lights, and heated by air source heat pumps, this state of the art, luxury space is extremely environmentally conscious. It really is the business space of the future.

July/August 2021

BECOMING MORE RESILIENT IN THE NEW NORMAL Whether you’re a business leader or team member, there are plenty of things you can do to manage the on-going period of uncertainty or could we call it evolution…. Here are my top 5 handy hints for building both your own and your business’s resilience 1. Recognise your freedom to choose uncertainty will be continuing and this we cannot control. We can however control our choices, mindset and habits – practice reflecting on your learning and gratefulness even on the difficult days. 2. Practice positive reframing – when you find yourself believing you ‘can’t’, ask yourself, what would it be like if I ‘could’ – keep practising, and with each other! 3. Keep learning everyday! Invest in your personal growth, share your learning, listen to great podcasts from people like Simon Sinek, read books by people like Declan Coyle and Andy Cope – learn from people who are good at

resilience – you can learn to do exactly what they do. 4. Define your purpose – either for yourself, your team or organisation – maintaining alignment to your ‘True North’ (Mark MacGregor) or ‘Why’ (Simon Sinek) is an excellent way to weather tough times.

Working with entrepreneurs, business leaders or individuals I enable you to develop your resilience through coaching and training. Please call/email for a free initial consultation or check out my website 07876 563787

5. Develop clear accountability in teams – know who is responsible for what, recognise individual talents and trust each other – get this right and you’ll build resilience in yourself and the team.

TURNING ADVERSITY INTO OPPORTUNITY If the pandemic’s enforced work from home directive has given you the confidence to create a more flexible working environment, Clarity Solutions can help you reconfigure your office equipment and associated contracts to suit your new normal. Like most companies, Clarity Solutions have had to navigate recent months as best we can. We set out with the goal of maintaining our high level of customer service, adjusting our product portfolio to meet the needs of the changing working environment, riding the storm and helping our customers to do the same. A more flexible working environment can benefit both the business and its staff, but implementing this will mean your office printer needs will also change. If you’re only part way through your lease term you might feel stuck with a machine that is no longer suitable but still costing you money. Clarity Solutions can help you get the balance right with both the hardware and the contracts for your equipment by:

Taking time to understand your changed business needs and making recommendations accordingly Renegotiating mid-term lease contracts so you get the right multifunctional printers you need for the next chapter Supplying interactive collaborative screens so you can maintain team cohesion when they are divided between the office and home working Offering printers on short-term rental contracts so you can maintain productivity while figuring out the best arrangement

Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

In essence, we look after all the contractual complexity in the background, aiming to avoid a costly lump sum settlement figure for any obsolete machines, so you can get the right equipment and get on with making the most of the opportunities presented by the post-pandemic world. If you need advice on equipment or contracts, call us on 01905 721400 or email our Sales Director Ken Taylor at



OVERWHELM, STRESS, ANXIETY AND THE LIFESTYLE PLAN too much on takeaway coffees, meal deals and sugary foods – all of these have a negative impact not only on the gut, but also on the endocrine (hormone system too).

As a HypnoCoach, many of the people I am currently working with have been struggling with overwhelm, which is leading them to a place of stress & anxiety – the problem though, is that they are unable to identify what the root cause of these emotions really are.

The principles of the plan are those I applied to myself during my own mind and body make over during the latter part of last year after my secondary cancer diagnosis. I now find myself 12kg lighter, with a clearer mind, sleeping better at night and with fewer aches and pains too.

The Lifestyle Plan is an 8 week course designed to help identify the areas of imbalance, discover the root course and put a plan of action in place to recreate balance and harmony. Using a combination of Coaching and Hypnotherapy techniques we are able to identify not only the area(s) of imbalance, but also the root cause of the issue. Throughout the program we also look at your relationship with food and alcohol, and for the ladies, the menopause too where needed. I offer two plans, the Lifestyle and the

Contact details: Adrienne Potter – Tel 07486 531874 Email: Lifestyle Plus. The Lifestyle plus will bring you freshly prepared food by Paisley Lifestyle, delivered straight to your door once a week. Why? What I have discovered, is that many of my clients struggling with overwhelm, stress and anxiety are also struggling with a balanced diet. They are failing to get the right nutrients into their body and are spending


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July/August 2021

WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT THE AERIS SWOPPER FROM ACTIVE-SIT-STAND? metabolism. You’ll feel fitter and more alert and

This active office chair never stands still. It supports the human body’s natural need for movement while sitting. It strengthens the back and promotes an upright posture. Your mind will feel stimulated and your body will feel alert and relaxed. So with the Aeris Swopper you can get healthier and more active just by sitting down.

GIVE YOUR BACK PLEASURE, NOT PAIN. The up and down movement of the chair is similar to the natural movement while walking or running. This way your intervertebral discs are kept nourished and fit. The result, your back can support itself using natural muscle strength – no backrest needed. And instead of tension you’ll feel a sense of physical ease.

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NO MORE HUNCHED BACK AT YOUR DESK. The chair’s pivotal joint, which is close to the ground, and the spring ensure that with every movement your whole body will move. Even if you lean forward – to read this edition of Business Direction for example – your back will stay straight without any extra effort on your part. To Try it for yourself with no obligation please contact: Tel: 07946632634 10% Discount for all members of Hereford & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce.

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Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



Jay Strange and Joe Hammond

PJ Triplow

Elias Simon Jacob




Accountancy firm R J Francis has enhanced its team with two recent hires.

An experienced town planner and regeneration specialist has joined the planning team at leading property, planning and business firm Berrys.

Elias Simon Jacob joins Apreco as Technical Sales Engineer, having worked in mechanical engineering for over 7 years.

Jay Strange manages bookkeeping and VAT returns for the firm’s clients and is working towards AAT Level 4. Jay has also been helping with automation, streamlining processes to provide better value for money for clients. Joe Hammond is a trainee accountant who joined from a national firm. Joe provides accountancy and tax services to companies, partnerships and sole traders and is studying for his ACCA qualification.

PJ Triplow has nearly ten years experience working in planning with a particular interest in infrastructure planning and managing long-term, multi-client projects. PJ’s role within Berrys will cover both project delivery and seeking out new directions for the planning team. Commenting on his recruitment, Office Head, Richard Pidduck-Smith, said: “PJ has a wealth of experience with planning for housing, infrastructure as well as large-scale regeneration projects.” “We are delighted to welcome PJ onboard where we know he will be a massive asset to our planning team.”

On his new role, Elias, comments “I am absolutely delighted to be a part of this vibrant organization. I am looking forward to working with the team and contributing towards Apreco’s growth and success.” Sales Director, Nick Loader adds, “We would like to extend our warmest welcome to our newest member of a growing and dynamic Sales team. Elias brings with him a wealth of industry experience that will allow Apreco to continue its exciting growth plans.”


Blue Print’s new team members

BLUE PRINT WELCOMES 4 NEW RECRUITS Blue Print Direct Mail welcomes four new employees to its growing team. Lorenne Amphlett, HR Assistant, Matthew Stanway, Account Manager, Danielle Holtham, Office Administrator, and Wayne Stanford, Estimator are all new roles to the company. Operations Manager, Philip Morris, explains: “We are so lucky to be growing in these difficult times. All four of the new recruits have settled in perfectly, we are so glad to have them onboard – it’s like they have always been part of the team.”


Worcestershire-based recruitment agency Hewett Recruitment recently welcomed two new Recruitment Consultants to their team, following increased demand across their Finance and Temporary Commercial divisions. At the beginning of June, Hewett welcomed Chelsea Gordon to the team as a Lead Recruitment Consultant. Chelsea will be primarily focusing on Finance roles across the region and has a fantastic background delivering a great service to clients across a broad range of sectors.

delighted to be in a position where we are not only thriving, but expanding and growing our specialist teams again. Bringing Lara and Chelsea on board will ensure we continue to truly deliver the best service possible across our divisions, as the labour market continues to recover.”

The following week, the agency saw another exciting development, with an additional member joining the team, Lara Hall. Lara joined Hewett as a Commercial Temp Specialist, hitting the ground running from day one with a busy week for Commercial Temps. Laura Hewett, Director at Hewett Recruitment, commented: “We are

Lara Hall, Commercial Temp Consultant & Chelsea Gordon, Lead Recruitment Consultant, Finance

July/August 2021


ECHO HEREFORDSHIRE ECHO is an independent, Herefordshire-based charity with 230 members and over 150 volunteers. Their main office is in Leominster but their projects run in many different communitybased venues. In 2020 they proudly celebrated 30 years of making a difference to the lives of disabled people in the county helping people make friends, learn new skills, enjoy leisure opportunities and volunteering. ECHO is the largest service provider in Herefordshire for adults with disabilities.

Most of their activities are suitable for people with moderate or severe learning difficulties, but they will try to support anyone who wishes to take part in activities, including those with mental health difficulties and physical or sensory impairments.

Humfrys & Symonds have provided legal advice to generations of clients for more than a hundred years, and are one of the best known and trusted solicitors in Herefordshire and the Marches.

MOVING FREIGHT FORWARD – WRIGHT FREIGHT With over 32 years of combined experience within the haulage industry, Wright Freight are one of the leading freight brokers within the United Kingdom. Operating from their base in Worcestershire, the staff are able to call upon their extensive knowledge of the transport sector to provide a thorough, efficient service that goes above and beyond customer expectations.


ensuring your product gets where you want, when you want. Wright Freight are able to offer an extensive package of tailored haulage solutions covering a wide range of freight forwarding services across the UK and Europe.

they recognise the need for the provision of high-quality services at cost effective rates, therefore they work with hauliers to maximise the efficiency of each journey, reducing both cost for the customer and their own carbon footprint. Furthermore, they pride themselves on identifying haulage solutions tailored to your requirements,

By understanding their client’s specific needs they provide an excellent service to suit your exact requirements. Their excellent record of retaining clients through loyalty and trust in them leading to long lasting relationships with both their commercial and private clients. They take pride in ensuring a professional service with transparency in all their fees and pricing. At Humfrys & Symonds they ensure that they give outstanding quality of advice as well as the finest level of service to their clients. They work hard to get to know each and every client, and whatever your reason for contacting them you will be guided through the legal process efficiently, professionally and under the personal supervision of one of their highly experienced directors.

ECONOMIC AND SELF-SUFFICIENT SOLUTIONS TO HEATING YOUR HOME Eco-Wright Energy have over ten years experience designing renewable heating systems for both private homes and commercial properties. They are a small family run company dedicated to helping create more ecofriendly and self-sufficient ways to heat homes and workspaces. These systems can be installed into a new build or retrofitted in to an existing building. The main types of systems they design and install are heat pumps. Heat pumps are a complete and reliable alternative to gas fired boilers by providing the entire space heating and hot water for

the property. The two main types of heat pumps are air or ground source, they are up to four times more efficient than a gas, oil or LPG fired boiler, making them cheaper to run while reducing the owner’s carbon footprint.

or small to be greener and more energy efficient through bespoke renewable heating systems.

By 2025 the government have announced that no new building projects will be able to install gas fired boilers. Building contractors, architects and self-builders will need to look at different ways of providing heating and hot water for the homes and properties they build. Eco-Wright Energy can help future building developments no matter how big

Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



BUILDING RESILIENCE THROUGH AN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS STRATEGY “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” - Mike Tyson.

This article sets out how, by using a business strategy an internationalising company can create resilience through competitive advantage in an ever-changing global market where continuous macro social, economic and political change as well as increasing competitor rivalry is the order of the day. Firstly, a word about strategy - there is no agreed-upon definition of strategy that describes the field and limits its boundaries. Yet strategy remains the best word we have for expressing attempts to think about actions in advance in the light of our goals and capacities or even, more generally, as a way of doing something or dealing with something, for example, “follow this strategy for avoiding any mistakes”. It captures a process for which there are no obvious alternative word or words, although the meaning has become diluted through promiscuous and inappropriate use. So, in order to build a possible definition let’s start by understanding when a strategy is used or not used. An example of the latter may be in the context of describing the simplest of tasks, when ends are easily reached and when there is very little at stake – all of these barely count as strategy. By and large, strategy or strategic thinking comes into play where there is actual or potential conflict, when interests collide, and forms of resolution are required. In the commercial world, conflict will arise directly from the competitive arena or as a result of business environment factors affecting the firm e.g. political, economic, social, technological or legal factors that impact upon the organisation. A plan, on the other hand, supposes a sequence of events that allows one to move with confidence from one state of affairs to another - as the quote from Mike Tyson above illustrates, a well-aimed blow can thwart the cleverest plan. A strategy is required when others might frustrate one’s plans because they have different or opposing (or similar, in the case of commercial competition) interests and concerns. If this last statement is the case, then strategy must primarily be concerned


with the ongoing creation or maintenance of power to prevent frustration of one’s own plans, aims, clashes of interests and objectives whether that is in the political, military or commercial world. In the commercial world, we might call power by another term – “competitive advantage”. As such, we can perhaps state that a business strategy seeks to create “competitive advantage” (power) in its chosen industry/market at the same time as maintaining a balance between ends, ways and means; identifying objectives; and the commercial resources and methods available for meeting such objectives. Sources of competitive advantage (measured against the market which it is seeking to supply) can be the firm’s core competences, intangible and/or tangible assets and derived from a number of sources from within the organisation, some examples might include: Marketing (business differentiation through strong brand development), Operations (lean manufacturing), Finance (low operational costs, strong cost control), R and D (new product development). From an international perspective, given that a company’s competitive advantage can decrease as it internationalises, due mainly to its size and a lack of financial resources (a reason many SMEs may often struggle to gain international traction and which can lead to a lessening of brand strength, increases in costs, dilution of market focus etc.), what might an appropriate strategy for an SME or medium-sized business use to achieve competitive advantage in its chosen international market? Michael Porter proposes two generic competitive strategies for outperforming competition in a particular industry: cost leadership and differentiation. Cost Leadership: a low-cost strategy that aims at a broad mass market, but which requires aggressive construction of efficient scale facilities and benefits from scale, vigorous financial management, especially cost and overhead control. As a result, because of its lower costs, the cost leader can charge a lower price for its products than its competitors and still make a satisfactory profit (think Amazon). Differentiation: aimed at the broad mass market and involves the creation of a unique product or service for which a premium is charged (think Apple).

This speciality can be associated with design or brand image, technology feature etc. Ability to provide unique or superior value to the buyer in terms of service quality, special features, or excellent pre- and after-sales service and may charge a premium as a result, this also creates buyer loyalty thereby increasing barriers to entry. Both the above strategies are aimed at a broad target – not always possible for SMEs in a global marketplace. However, use of a hybrid strategy, Differentiation Focus, might be appropriate. This strategy focuses on a buyer group or geographic market. By doing so, it creates competitive advantage by serving its narrow strategic market more effectively than the competition. To work most effectively, a differentiation focus strategy targeted at a chosen geography enables development of strong commercial relationships with its clients, detailed knowledge of routes to market and the actual market itself. This, in turn, requires investment in strong strategic marketing (not just marketing communications) to enable, for example, development of a strong local brand. This focus also provides the necessary insight for understanding international competitor and market activity in the chosen geography which in turn provides information for new product and/or service development (which can create further competitive advantage by offering the market new services/products etc.). A differentiation focus strategy for a specific international geography, that is, “getting under the skin” of a chosen market geography to the nth degree, creates strong competitive advantage (power) and makes most efficient use of the firm’s scarce resources.

SUMMARY The meaning of strategy has become over-used, diluted, generic and has many definitions across many different spheres e.g. political, military, business or even just in the everyday usage. What we really mean by the term strategy in a business environment is the creation or maintenance of power or competitive advantage in a firm’s chosen industry/ market while at the same time maintaining a balance between ends, ways and means; identifying objectives; and the commercial resources and methods available for meeting such objectives.

July/August 2021


A strategy is not a plan but underpins and or/ overlays any business plan and the strategy may have to be fluid and flexible to accommodate market, external business environment conditions as well as internal changes. There can be many operational plans but they all should align to the underpinning business strategy of achieving competitive advantage – those plans may also include HR, Operations and

Manufacturing, Marketing and Finance – a strategy always underpins and directs a plan for the creation and maintenance of a company’s competitive advantage. It is about getting more out a situation then the starting balance of power would suggest. For existing or would be internationalising companies, particularly SMEs or

A strategy is not a plan but underpins and or/ overlays any business plan and the strategy may have to be fluid and flexible to accommodate market, external business environment conditions as well as internal changes.

Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

medium-sized businesses, a way to work within existing scare resources and core competences to create competitive advantage is use of differentiation focus strategy where all of a firm’s efforts are aligned and focused, laser-like, on a narrow geographic target (or niche market) and the competitor advantage is derived by serving that narrow strategic target more effectively and efficiently than its competitors – being better, faster, closer (relationships) than the competition. Given that strategy is emergent and live and does not gather dust on a shelf, a robust international business strategy will create resilience in a firm by enabling it to constantly audit itself and the environment it operates within to align its core competences viz a viz its chosen market enabling it to create the competitive advantage it needs to achieve its stated financial objectives. For further advice and guidance on international business strategy, get in touch with the Chamber’s International Trade teams by contacting internationaltrade@hwchamber or visit the EU Exit Support Hub www.hwchamber. for more information.


PAYCARE | WHY INVESTING IN WORKPLACE WELLBEING PAYS OFF… The importance of a happy and healthy workforce has become even more apparent over the last 18 months, writes Paycare Corporate Account Manager Stephen Burton-Pye. More workplaces are realising that focusing on the physical, mental, financial and emotional health of staff is a must rather than an option – and it’s not just those individuals benefitting from this renewed vigour, companies embracing workplace wellbeing experience a raft of positives as a result. There are so many reasons why this is the case, not least because sickness absence falls in a third of companies who introduce mental health assistance1, and presenteeism (which costs the UK economy an incredible £15.1billion per year2) also drops within companies where there’s a focus on employee wellbeing. Productivity rises by 123% when mental


health is addressed – and more than half of companies also see engagement and morale increase too1. In fact, for every £1 a company invests in employee mental health, they can expect to see £5 back in reduced absence, presenteeism and staff turnover4. Recruitment is also impacted – one in every eight people leaving the labour market does so because of ill health5, and a third of applicants consider wellbeing benefits as a top priority when deciding whether to accept a job offer6. To start seeing these changes – and making a real difference to employee health and wellbeing – an impactive Wellbeing Strategy needs to be implemented. The strategy should protect the emotional, mental, physical and financial wellbeing of every member of the team – not only focusing on responding effectively to existing problems, but also looking at prevention and early detection. Perks and benefits need to be effectively communicated to staff and other

stakeholders, as well as other core considerations such as flexible working, health and wellbeing training, and adjustments for those experiencing health conditions. Visit to find out more about developing a Workplace Wellbeing strategy that works for you and your team. Or to find out more about Paycare’s Health Cash Plans, simply email Sources: 1. 2. default/files/2018-09/managing_presenteeism.pdf 3. 4. articles/mental-health-and-employers-refreshing-thecase-for-investment.html 5. Older%20workers%20report%20final.pdf 6. news/google-asos-airbnb-20-best-perks-benefits-ukemployers-a6938716.html

July/August 2021

HOW WILL COVID AFFECT THE VALUE OF YOUR BUSINESS THE IMPORTANCE OF EBITDAC You may well have heard of EBITDA, or Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, and Amortisation. It is used widely as an approximation for the amount of cash a business generates annually, and that its owners can deploy as they wish depending on a variety of factors such as the chosen financing structure, growth plans, reward strategy etc. In the context of a transaction, a similar idea in the US is Seller’s Discretionary Earnings or SDE, which is a helpful way of thinking about cash generation. As a result of the pandemic, finance professionals have started to think about EBITDAC, which adds the impact of COVID to the list of adjustments made when thinking about the on-going value of a business’s cashflow. Whether this is a positive, or more likely, a negative impact, this needs to be taken into account when considering the value of a business in the post pandemic world, and how to articulate this value to the outside world.

Businesses, be they independent SMEs, PE portfolio companies, or larger corporate entities are often valued by using sector multiplies applied to their EBITDA, or EBITDAC as of recent periods. Understanding, calculating, and expressing underlying EBITDAC is therefore vital if you are thinking about buying or selling a business in the short or medium term. The table below shows the dramatic impact on a valuation that small changes in the revenue and cost base can have. The example below shows how a 5% increase in revenue and a 6% decrease in the cost base can double the valuation of a business.

Understanding the impact of COVID and other factors on a business, and making sure these can be expressed in numbers can ensure you recognise and express the full value potential of a given asset.

Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

If you are a vendor, this will highlight strengths and ‘demystify’ potential risk areas. If you are a purchaser, this will help you properly to understand value-driving issues, and revenue and operational upsides can be considered in your financial models. This will either defend against value erosion, or can provide further value protection. For more information on understanding a business’s current or potential value, please contact James Maynell on or visit


HELP AT HAND FOR ORGANISATIONS SEEKING TO BUILD CLIMATE CHANGE RESILIENCE An international authority on mitigating the effects of climate change, Climate Sense has joined forces with Learning & Development Associates (L&DA), a leading training provider to the UK water sector, to roll out the newly accredited Adaptation to Climate Change qualifications. Climate Sense, the UK’s representatives at the writing of the first ever international standards on climate change, and L&DA, well-established providers of higher-level education, qualifications and assessment of competence in the water sector, have proudly launched the much-anticipated Level 3 and Level 5 Adaptation to Climate Change qualifications, with the first course expected to be delivered in September 2021. The two companies also plan to hold a free-to-attend webinar in August 2021, to offer organisations a preview of course content. The new qualifications, which consist of the Level 3 Award in Understanding Adaptation to Climate Change, and the Level 5 Certificate in the Management of Adaptation to Climate Change, are the first programmes of their kind available within this increasingly critical subject and have been developed to support the


implementation of climate-resilient actions across all sectors. In a joint interview on the launch of the new qualifications, Doogie Black, Lead Analyst and one of the founding directors at Climate Sense, commented: “Adaptation to Climate Change grew out of two decades of experience in building climate change resilience. What people have to understand is that no matter how well we manage emissions now, we are locked into certain elements of climate change. “These qualifications are designed to help organisations understand the impact climate change is already having on them and what they need to do to make themselves resilient to the very different climate of the future. “A key focus is the measurement and development of the adaptive capacity of organisations, their people and their systems, and making sure adaptation to climate change is being embedded in the decision-making processes in the most constructive way.”

a wealth of experience in the delivery of national framework qualifications within the water and environmental industries and we are delighted to have formed a partnership with Climate Sense. “A subject that we as the water industry pay very close attention to is climate change and resilience. We live in a planet known as the ‘water world’ and water is arguably the most important thing that we need to be careful about, look after, and preserve. “The launch of the new qualifications presents an opportunity to both the UK and global water sector to enhance resilience capability and adapt to an already changing climate.” Further information about the Adaptation to Climate Change qualifications and upcoming course dates is available at

Commenting on the role of L&DA in the roll out of the new qualifications, Glenn Jackson, Managing Director, said: “Learning & Development Associates has

July/August 2021


HELPING BUSINESSES MANAGE THEIR CASHFLOW AS THEY START TO REOPEN CASH IS KING – HOW BUSINESSES CAN TAKE CONTROL OF THEIR OUTGOINGS The impacts of the pandemic will be felt well into the future but for now, businesses are taking their first steps in gradually reopening. Coffee shops and cafes are welcoming customers inside, hairdressers and beauty salons are switching on the lights and workers are starting to return to the office. Despite these first steps, trading will continue to be difficult for some time, especially for small- and medium-sized firms. These are the ones who will have seen their cash flow significantly hit and are now looking for all the help they can in trying to budget and plan for the future.

HOW BUSINESSES CAN AVOID SPENDING MORE THAN THEY HAVE TO In these uncertain times, many businesses are looking for ways to save money and maintain a healthier bottom line. The good news is that getting a smart meter for your business is a small change that could make a big difference.

We all want to work smarter not harder. Smart meters send your gas and electricity readings directly to your energy supplier so you don’t have to!

MANAGE YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT It is also important to bear in mind that it’s everyone’s responsibility to become more conscious of their environmental impact. Regardless if your business has three employees, or three thousand, we all should be aware of how much energy we’re using and a smart meter is a simple way of doing this. A smart meter is a positive step in taking control of business outgoings and if your firm has 10 employees or less your business could be eligible. To find out more please visit here You can also contact your energy supplier or broker. It could be one of the best calls you make this week.

The company’s multi-award-winning technology provides real-time reporting 24/7.


Clare Kay, CEO Inturi Technology, says: “By looking at your processes and isolating issues that cause bottlenecks, you will see the bigger picture and come out stronger for it. Office based manual repetitive, low value and error prone tasks can be automated, saving you time and money. More concise data handling will also be proactive for staff morale, and this will naturally pass on to customer satisfaction”.

TURN UNPAID CCJ’S INTO PAYMENTS TO ENHANCE YOUR CASH FLOW Neil Jinks of Court Enforcement Services has given his top tips on debt enforcement and how to avoid incurring bad debt write offs. Neil has well over 30 years of debt enforcement experience across all sectors and has been recommended for it in The Legal 500.

A smart meter can help businesses take control of their energy bills as they enable accurate, not estimated billing. Meaning, they only pay for what they use – helping to take the stress out of budgeting.

Inturi Technology are predicting that this year businesses can become more agile by looking inward, at the infrastructure they have, and making investments in process efficiencies and streamlining.

Neil Jinks of Court Enforcement Services

able to see all information in real-time, so communication is maintained, companywide. In a data driven culture, businesses from SME’s to Global enterprise will benefit from digitally transforming their systems to gain agility and increase ROI.

Using Dynamics 365 as a hub, and integrating legacy platforms, will mean all data becomes consolidated and can be seen on one dashboard, across all media devices - phone, tablet and laptop. Remote staff and field operatives will be

Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

County court judgements for over £600 can easily be transferred up to the High Court for enforcement and this tends to be a much quicker and more effective solution than instructing the County Court Bailiff Service, which is currently facing a significant backlog. High Court Enforcement fees are recovered from the judgment debtor when enforcement is successful. If enforcement is unsuccessful, as judgment creditor you only have to pay a compliance fee, which, is currently £75 plus VAT. To view Neil’s top 10 tips scan the QR code below.


Find your digital voice! Engaging your brand with audiences that matter. | E: | T: 0191 580 5990


FIND FLUFFY CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES TO SUPPORT GRACE KELLY CHILDHOOD CANCER TRUST Worcester based City Signs Ltd, have launched their ‘Find Fluffy’ campaign in support of the Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust, as a fun way to raise much needed funds to help support families who have been given a devastating cancer diagnosis.

Vivienne Mcvey

MIDLANDS AIR AMBULANCE CHARITY APPOINTS NEW TRUSTEES Midlands Air Ambulance Charity has announced the appointment of Vivienne McVey and Neal Hooper to its Board of Trustees, who joined the organisation after an open selection process. The lifesaving service relies on important voluntary support from more than 200 people across the communities it serves. They assist with various duties, including support in the charity’s shops, helping at events and as trustees serving on the Board. Neil joins Vivienne on the main Board and will also play an intrinsic role on the charity’s Fundraising Committee. Hanna Sebright, Chief Executive of Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, adds: “This year not only marks our 30th anniversary, but sees our charity start to develop our first combined airbase and charity headquarters. This, coupled with a reduction in fundraising income as an on going result of the pandemic, means it is a critical time for our vitally important rapid response service. Therefore, we are extremely fortunate to welcome the support of Vivienne and Neal. Their expertise, alongside our Chairman and fellow trustees, will be invaluable in supporting the future of our organisation.”

The ‘Find Fluffy’ Campaign which launched on 10 May, involves supporters requesting a Fluffy via the Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust website and making a suggested donation of £5. Then a competition will run throughout the year for those who share their photos on social media of Fluffy in the most unusual places and post with the hashtag #findfluffy. A prize for the best #findfluffy photo will win a voucher from Anja Potze Fine Jewellery Ltd in Worcester.

The Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust is a national charity working to help children and young people affected by cancer. Michelle Nolan, Charity Engagement Co-ordinator says “The team at the GKCCT are absolutely delighted to be involved in such a fun campaign and as always to be working alongside Darren and the team at City Signs who are long standing supporters of the charity.”

YELLOW WEEK RAISES MUCH NEEDED FUNDS FOR PRIMROSE HOSPICE Primrose Hospice held its first ever Yellow Week in June to celebrate the local hospice and raise much needed funds. The week long fundraising event saw people organise yellow themed events a yellow-themed tea party with friends to a wear yellow day in schools and workplaces in return for a donation. Sally Insley, Fundraising Manager at Primrose Hospice, said: “We think it is time we all had a celebration and a bit of fun which is why we organised Yellow Week.

conditions, their families and bereaved adults and children. At the start of the pandemic the Clinical Team were some of the only health professionals to continue seeing patients at their homes providing much needed care as well as social contact to the most vulnerable in our community.

“The community has been incredibly supportive of Primrose so we thank everyone for getting behind Yellow Week.” Throughout the pandemic, Primrose Hospice has continued to provide care and support to people with life-limiting

A yellow themed nurses tea party

2FACED DANCE LAUNCHES FUTURES FUND Hereford’s 2Faced Dance Company, who recently announced Arlene Phillips CBE as their new Patron, have launched a new fundraising campaign; the Futures Fund, to help secure and build the future of the organisation.

education workshops and inspirational engagement.

The aim of the Futures Fund is to provide sustainable income for the future of 2Faced Dance, allowing them the ability to be even more creative, engaging and more impactful within the community.

As a registered charity, the support and donations that the company receives are vital to ensure the futures of all these different facets of the charity.

The fund will enable 2Faced Dance to continue their journey in establishing a vibrant and transformative centre for novement in the region, as well as providing them with the ability to reach even more young people across the UK through

Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



BESPOKE FX AND INTERNATIONAL PAYMENTS SERVICE EXCLUSIVELY FOR CHAMBER MEMBERS Are you importing, exporting, paying for a service abroad or receiving international funding? moneycorp are here to help. Through our partnership with moneycorp, Members can access: Preferential exchange rates Zero international payment fees Free FX audit Multiple currency holding accounts when you open your moneycorp account A dedicated account manager for expert market guidance and hedging strategy moneycorp have helped more than 14,000 businesses with international payments, risk management solutions and tools to help businesses compete on the global stage. they ensure your funds get where they need to be on time and help minimise your currency costs.

moneycorp offer great exchange rates sourced through a panel of liquidity providers with funds safeguarded in segregated client bank accounts. You will receive on-going support from a dedicated account manager with the option to arrange deals online or via the phone, and help in managing currency volatility and risks associated with foreign exchange. Their secure online platform provides you access to make foreign exchange and international payments from one simple login.

Sign up for a corporate international payments account today and discover how your business could reduce currency costs and risk in a global marketplace.

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ACCESS YOUR CHAMBER PRIMARY HEALTH PLAN WITH WESTFIELD HEALTH choose the 12 topics that best meet the needs of your organisation for your annual health calendar.

Unfortunately, the pressures of work and life mean we’re not always able to achieve this. In the real world, it’s often difficult to determine who is a wellbeing and who isn’t. Someone may look like they’re coping really well, but the reality could be far different.

Each month you’ll receive a communication pack which includes campaign announcement text and weekly promotional top-tip messages to keep the campaign alive – all you have to do is send out the communications.

That’s why Westfield Health have extended their offering from health cash plans and hospital treatment insurance to provide a more holistic approach, taking care of employees in both body and mind. Here are just some of the ways Westfield Health can help you to take care of your most important asset, your staff:

HEALTH CASH PLAN Exclusively available to BCC accredited and affiliated member organisations of all sizes, the Chamber Primary Health Plan starts from just £6.13 per employee, per month and allows staff to claim money back, up to set limits, for things like sight tests and glasses, dental bills, therapy treatments and consultations. The plan also provides access to health and wellbeing services including: DoctorLine™ service providing policyholders with confidential


telephone access to a practising UK GP, 24 hours a day – every day, from anywhere in the world, with optional webcam consultations

Your monthly communication pack will include three fact sheets, a poster and a support leaflet signposting your people to national support agencies associated with the topic. Westfield Health’s wider health and wellbeing programme includes: Health and lifestyle screening days

Scanning Service – MRI, CT and PET scans

Wellbeing Workshops

24hr Advice and Information Line and up to 6 face to face counselling sessions (including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – CBT)

Lifestyle coaching days

Best Doctors® – expert second medical opinion service

HEALTH CALENDAR With 24 topics to choose from, you

Dial up seminars (webinars) Lifestyle coaching days Mental Health First Aid Training Courses To find out more information on how Westfield Health’s services can help you please visit chamber.

July/August 2021



EcoWright Energy Renewable Heating

Pharma Packaging Systems Ltd Pharmaceutical Machinery


SickleBush Limited Furniture

Excool Holdings Limited Holding Company Total Metal Recovery Ltd Recycling

BROMYARD Little Pomona Ltd Cider Producers

CHELTENHAM EV Future Solutions Ltd EC Charger Installation

DROITWICH Armstrong Integrated Ltd Packaged HCAV Solutions

REDDITCH Apogee Associates Limited Tax Consultants Cake Fantastique Bakery

STOURPORT ON SEVERN Elite Lock & Safe Ltd Locksmith & Safe Engineers

Pyramid Car Care Car Services SO Aesthetics Medical Treatment Solar Sentry Window Films Windows The Phoenix Group Therapy TRaC Defence Limited Business Services

The Civic (Stourport ) Limited Performing Arts

Wright Freight Ltd Freight Forwarding



Springfield Mind Ltd Charity

Catax Tax specialists


Lafantine Ltd Retailer

Association for Physical Education Teaching


Good Oaks Quality Care At Home Care

Worcester Timber Products Timber

Mortgages Plain and Simple Mortgages Gloucestershire Warwickshire PLC Steam Railway Station Utilisave Business Consultants

HEREFORD Humfrys & Symonds Ltd Solicitors John Crooks Associates Building Seedlings Cards & Gifts Ltd Gifts

LEOMINSTER Community Homes of Intense Care and Education Ltd Care Provider ECHO Charity Martley MAP Group Plastic Materials

Business Direction published by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce




l-R John Dillon, GJS Dillon Managing Director, Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of the Worcestershire LEP and Andrew Lewis, GJS Dillon Associate Director

The comment was made by Andrew Lewis, GJS Dillon’s Associate Director, at the launch of GJS Dillon’s Worcestershire Commercial Property Market Report 2021 which has been produced in collaboration with Worcestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership. “We need more high quality space particularly in the industrial market” said Mr Lewis, “So my message to public sector bodies is lets ensure that the allocation between commercial and residential land is done right and that we have more industrial developments concentrated around Worcestershire’s six motorway junctions.” The report is a snapshot of independent commercial property market data in

Worcestershire’s office and industrial sub-markets in 2020, including Bromsgrove, Malvern Hills, Redditch, Worcester, Wychavon and Wyre Forest. Demand for high quality office space in the county has remained largely unaffected by the pandemic and industrial property is going from strength to strength amidst a flourishing e-commerce market. Junctions 4 to 7 of the M5 and Junctions 1 and 2 of the M42 provide a ready-made infrastructure around which to base new industrial and business parks offering a range of industrial units, from 1,000 sq ft to 25,000 sq ft and of offices from 500 sq ft to 5,000 sq ft to rent and to buy. Worcester Six at Junction 6 of the M5 is an example of successful industrial development, but crucially new developments would need to provide smaller units. The report also details how the recovery from Covid-19 is underway as office take up is starting to recover and the amount of downsizing less than expected. As for the

There needs to be an even distribution of commercial and residential development to drive Worcestershire’s economic recovery forward according to a leading commercial property consultancy. 050

future of the office market, GJS Dillon say that it may not bounce back to previous levels but instead companies will adapt a more hybrid model, this presents an issue for commercial landlords as the right space will be needed if companies are looking to adapt this strategy. There have been some interesting success stories when it comes to renting office space within the past 12 months. As exampled by the Worcester Porcelain Works site, which has been fully let during the pandemic. Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of the Worcestershire Local Economic Partnership, said: “This is a fantastic report because it helps us to shape our discussions within the LEP and with our local authority partners. The details gives us an insight into the individual sub-markets so if we are going to bid for Government development grants, we are able to make informed decisions.” John Dillon, GJS Dillon’s Managing Director, said: “Worcestershire’s commercial property market has been surprisingly resilient as the report indicates. We’d urge occupiers, developers and local authorities to read the report and come and talk to us about your plans going forward.” GJS Dillon’s Commercial Property Market Report 2021 can be found here GJS Dillon would like to thank Worcestershire Local Economic Partnership, Harrison Clark Rickerbys and the Bransford Trust for their help in producing this year’s report.

July/August 2021

Why Choose Modern Office? Your Office, Your Home, Your Future Choosing the right office furniture for your company is exciting and fun but it can also be a daunting exercise for any size business. Modern Office offers many solutions to meet the requirements of your dream office layout. We offer a number of services, helping you to create the perfect space for your office, where employees can thrive. We start by looking carefully at the overall picture, taking into account not only the design and creative needs of your organisation, but all the finer details too. Style and appearance, colour scheme, fabric and finish are all fundamental, but these days it is also imperative that your office furniture meets a detailed array of ergonomic and safety requirements. With over a quarter of a century of experience in this field, Modern Office is the complete solution to all your business furnishing needs. Whether you are looking for stylish office chairs, practical office storage or an exquisite conference table, we are sure to have something for everyone.

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OF THE GOVERNMENT APPRENTICE SHIP INCENTIVE You now have until September 2021 to take advantage of the increased Government incentive payment, available to all employers who hire a new apprentice. Age Of New Apprentice

Incentive Payment



This payment will be in addition to the existing £1,000 incentive payment that the Government already provides for new apprentices aged between 16-18, and those aged under 25 with an Education Health Care Plan, where that applies. WCG Apprenticeships are the only training provider in Worcestershire to offer apprenticeships in the following areas:

• • • •

Agriculture Animal Care Arboriculture Horticulture Inc. Golf Greenkeeping & Sports Turf

• Land-based Engineering • Veterinary Nursing • Plus many more!

Contact our Business Development team who will be able to help you negotiate the incentive so that it can benefit you in the best way possible: