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Inside | 04 welcome | 05 business matters| 16 the expert | 24 cover feature | 30 town chamber news | 42 new members


the magazine for sussex chamber of commerce members

Taking advantage of opportunities in the Cloud Page 24 Sussex Chamber of Commerce


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Sussex Chamber of Commerce

this month

Sussex Chamber of Commerce currently represents over 1,000 member businesses. Membership of Sussex Chamber of Commerce offers access to invaluable business advice, money saving benefits, networking opportunities and provides a voice for businesses at a local, regional and national level. Business Edge is delivered free of charge to all Sussex Chamber of Commerce members as well as key business decision makers across the county. It has a circulation of 4,000 copies per issue.

09 The benefits of Managed IT Services

The traditional IT practice is often coined the ‘break-fix’ method.


How to connect with your potential customers


They say first impressions count and that couldn’t be truer in the B2B sales environment.

Business Edge is a Sussex Chamber of Commerce publication. If you have any stories you would like to tell us about or any comments please drop us an email at enquiries@

24 Taking advantage of opportunities in the Cloud

The world of digital technology is changing rapidly and nowhere more so than in the evolution of the Cloud, the process of storing and managing data away from servers based on a company’s premises.

SUSSEX CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Unit 4, Victoria Business Centre, 43 Victoria Road, Burgess Hill RH15 9LR



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John Neilson, Business Development Manager, Distinctive Publishing Unit 6b, Floor B, Millburn House, Dean Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 1LE Tel: 0845 884 2343 Email:

the magazine for sussex chamber of commerce members




n 04 welcome n 05 business matters n 07 business matters n 08 business matters n 09 business matters n 10 business matters n 12 focus on n 16 the expert n 17 fine print n 17 business matters n 18 feature: finance n 21 auto enrolment feature - ensure your business is ready! n 24 cover feature n 28 chamber benefits n 30 town chamber news n 31 business matters n 32 feature: legal services n 34 movers & shakers n 35 business matters n 36 feature: innovation/ entrepeneur focus n 32 feature: family in business n 39 business matters n 41 business matters n 42 new members n 44 diary n 46 five minutes with ... n 46 business matters

Inside | 04 welcome | 05 business matters| 16 the expert | 242 cover feature | 28 chamber benefits | 42 new members


John Dean & Francis Griss



Taking advantage of opportunities in the Cloud Page 24 Sussex Chamber of Commerce

Distinctive Publishing or Business Edge cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies that may occur, individual products or services advertised or late entries. No part of this publication may be reproduced or scanned without prior written permission of the publishers and Business Edge.


Please let us know if there are any burning issues you want us to take up. Send your letters to the Editor to january/february 2016 business edge

4 welcome

Welcome to the first issue of 2016! Happy New Year everyone!

Ana Christie CEO at Sussex Chamber of Commerce

This year the Sussex Chamber will be setting up some new forums. One of these will be in the digital and creative industry sector. As a global leader, the UK’s digital and creative sector makes a significant direct and indirect contribution to the UK economy. The sector is made up of digital technology and creative activities such as film, TV, radio, computer games, publishing, advertising, music, performing and visual arts, design and cultural heritage. According to the CBI, “the creative industries contribute over 6% of GDP, employ over 2 million people and export over £16bn annually”. The sector is forecast to play a bigger role in coming years. A key challenge facing the digital and creative sector is to maximise its competitive advantage by not just keeping pace with technological and other innovations but leading them, whilst at the same time meeting customers’ expectations. This means investing in quality and taking advantage of technological change and development. For example security skills will be important as data protection is a key concern for the sector. With new forms of technology, it means security has to evolve to keep-up with threats. Furthermore, we are being hit with a talent shortage. There is a huge need to up-skill and attract more talent. A further challenge is our digital infrastructure has been in dire need of repair for quite some time. Ensuring a world-class digital broadband network is a no brainer if the government wants to support growth and boost productivity. Ensuring businesses, schools, communities and homes have access to superfast broadband is essential in today’s modern age. The creative and digital sector is rapidly expanding in Sussex. Our current forums are made up of steering groups formed by our members. The aim is to help Chamber members capitalise on the advantages of new technology and discuss new developments and ideas in this fast moving arena. Our members help drive our forums. Be part of this growth! If you are interested in getting involved in this particular forum, kindly contact the Chamber.

january/february 2016 business edge

Helping you trade globally Export services from the Sussex Chamber of Commerce Once you have identified your market overseas, what next? The Sussex Chamber of Commerce offers help and advice with all aspects of export documentation to make trading overseas as easy and successful as possible. We assist exporters throughout the process of completing the documentation; from choosing the right documentation to ensuring it is correctly filled in. Chamber Certification and Embassy Legalisation of all Export Documents If you are exporting goods, correctly prepared documentation is vitally important. Incorrect completion of the required paperwork can lead to delays at Customs, which in turn can result in storage charges. The Chamber can certify all types of export documentation and arrange subsequent embassy legalisation if required. Authentication of EUR1 and ATR forms An EUR1 is a Movement Certificate used to support claims for preferential rates of duty in the country of importation. The goods must ‘originate’ in the UK or EU. The ATR Certificate entitles goods, which are in ‘free circulation’ in the EU to receive preferential import duty treatment when shipped to Turkey. This applies to all eligible goods except agricultural goods, minerals and steel which require an EUR1 Movement Certificate. The Chamber is able to authenticate these forms on behalf of HM Revenue & Customs. Notarisation Service or Foreign & Commonwealth Office Express Service Do you need documents Notarised by a Notary Public or legalised by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office? We can arrange this for you. Preparation of Certificates of Origin A certificate of origin is an important international trade document attesting that goods are wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country. Send us your signed commercial invoice and details of the consignment and we will prepare the required document for you. e-z-Cert This is an express service using electronic stamps and signatures to allow exporters to print their approved documents. Letter of Credit Processing Service This can be an arduous task and incorrectly completed documents can incur both bank charges and a delay in payment. We deliver a professional service whereby we can arrange production of all the documents, shipment of your goods and presentation to the bank. This will save you hours of valuable time. ATA Carnet for Temporary Export This is an international Customs document which allows the temporary importation of commercial samples, professional equipment or goods going to either a trade fair or exhibition to countries which are part of the ATA Carnet system. It simplifies the custom formalities by allowing a single document to be used for clearing goods through Customs. It is valid for one year and allows for movement of the goods shown on the Carnet as many times as required during the 12 months to any of the destinations applied for. Please contact the Sussex Chamber of Commerce for all of your exporting needs. Tel: 01444 259 259 or visit our website:

business matters 5

Is it time to pay a Dividend? By Paul Samrah, Partner in the Redhill office of Kingston Smith From April, the current dividend tax regime changes, resulting in a significant tax hike for many company owning entrepreneurs.

What has changed? The Government believes that the way dividends are currently taxed including the dividend tax credit is arcane and complex. The rules were introduced at a time when Corporation Tax was far higher than it is now and the Chancellor believes that many people now work via their own limited companies simply to save tax. The new dividend tax regime should provide billions to help plug the hole in the public finances, and will also fulfil another Government objective – to remove some of the tax benefits of incorporating compared to employment. According to the Government’s estimates, the new dividend tax regime is expected to raise £2.5bn during 2016/17, with smaller, but still significant income flowing to the Treasury in subsequent years. From April, the changes are: A new tax free dividend allowance of £5,000 will be available to all individuals; There will no longer be a 10% dividend tax credit; Dividend tax rates are being increased by 7.5%. The table below shows the effect of these changes to dividend rates, comparing this Tax Year with next.

2015/16 (effective rate)

2016/17 (first £5,000)

2016/17 (over £5,000)

Basic rate




Higher rate




Additional rate




What does this mean for me and my business? For many taxpayers with modest amounts of dividend income, the changes may result in less tax by virtue of the £5,000 exemption. However, taxpayers receiving larger dividend amounts will pay more Income Tax. Those involved with owner-managed businesses might like to consider whether they can plan for these changes. People’s personal circumstances will differ and professional advice should be taken but the following should be considered: If dividends have not been paid out of the company then from next year, where possible, it is worth paying dividends at a level which will utilise the £5,000 exemption. In the absence of any other dividend income, a dividend of £5,000 per shareholder could be paid without any further tax liability. At present, if you take dividends rather than salary then this reduces your effective rate of tax by around 9%. When the changes come into effect next tax year, this differential reduces to around 3%. Dividends will still probably be more attractive, but other factors need to be considered as the benefit will become much more marginal. If you are planning on taking a significant amount out of your company by bonus or dividend, then taking a large dividend payment before 5 April may be more tax effective than paying one after that date. Finally, as always, it is essential to have the proper paperwork in place for approving and paying a dividend. In particular, dividends must be approved in advance.

Buildings switching on to the benefits of lighting control Lighting is responsible for a whopping 20% of electricity produced. With businesses increasingly committing to ambitious carbon reduction strategies and energy bills continually increasing, lighting has become a quick and easy target for driving down consumption. The low-hanging fruit is converting to energy-efficient LEDs but fixtures alone are only part of the solution. But if businesses want to achieve the highest possible energy savings whilst creating comfortable, effective and responsive environments, they have to control lighting and control it correctly. Europe’s busiest train station saves energy automatically by keeping light levels to a minimum, while ensuring the safety of passengers. Nottingham Trent University is recognised as one the UK’s greenest, with a library that has achieved the BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating and an EPC of A. The National Gallery in London has been able to protect precious collections of artwork, and create an enjoyable experience for tens of thousands of visitors, while eradicating 417 tonnes of CO2 emissions. All this is made possible by simply taking control of lighting use. Intelligent controls, such as the award-winning LiGO system from Sussex-based Open Technology, consistently achieve up to 40% energy savings. But controls can also adjust lighting to create environments that respond to the changing needs of the building. Lighting can be controlled according to a wide range of parameters including available daylight, varying building use, presence detection and time control. As a result, we are now seeing lighting controls installed in buildings across the country.

january/february 2016 business edge

6 advertorial

Is Europa League an own goal? Europa League games can damage a Premier League team’s domestic performance and taking part is not financially rewarding enough, according to new research. The research by Adam Cox, Sarah Gilmore and Alan Graham, of the University of Portsmouth, is published in the journal Soccer and Society. Dr Cox said: “For many clubs, qualifying for the Europa League is a cause for celebration and can mark the highest achievement for that club in its history. It can also be a high point for individual players. UEFA provides generous financial rewards for clubs taking part in what some still regard as a ‘second-best’ competition. On the other hand, taking part puts additional pressure on squads, risking their health and the financial health of the club as they are forced to buy extra players. The financial results rarely work out in clubs’ long-term favour, Dr Cox and colleagues found.

The researchers carried out a detailed analysis of four premiership clubs – Aston Villa FC, Everton FC, Fulham FC and Newcastle United FC – which entered the Europa League competition over eight seasons from 2005/06, measuring the costs and benefits associated with taking part. For all four, qualification was considered a realistic goal rather than a consolation prize. All four made profits out of their Europa League seasons – from £2m for Aston Villa to £15m for Fulham – but the amounts were small compared to the upwards of 50m Euros seen in the Champions League. Dr Cox said: “Of the four clubs, only Fulham FC made significant money from qualifying. In addition, all except Everton FC saw their performance in the Premier League suffer, with Newcastle United’s league position dropping by 11 places in the 2012/13 season. On average, taking part in Europa League games costs clubs 0.41 league points per game. “It is often said that the extra demands imposed on clubs by qualifying for the Europa League, such as increased risk of injuries to already stretched squads, has an

Adam Cox adverse effect on a squad’s premier league performance. Richer clubs can avoid such problems by, for example, having more players, using lower ranked competitions to ‘blood’ new talent, reserving their best players for the most important games. But that is not often an option for cash-strapped clubs. The researchers say clubs without deep pockets could still make money from qualifying for the Europa League but only if they heavily restrict spending on talent. For information about Portsmouth Business School, its courses and regular events, please visit pbsevents

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january/february 2016 business edge

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business matters 7

From trainee car mechanic to MD Kogo asked Annie Dixon of Writing and Blogging to Interview Martin Bannister following his attendance at a reception at 10 Downing Street. It was my pleasure to be asked to interview Martin Bannister, the Managing Director of Kogo, an IT support company based in East Grinstead, West Sussex. Martin had recently joined more than 100 men and women who had been selected to attend a reception hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron on 8th October at 10 Downing Street to celebrate Black History Month. All had been picked for their entrepreneurial skills and are regarded as inspirational leaders and role models in their chosen fields by their fellow business colleagues. I wanted to find out why the members of the Sussex Chamber of Commerce had put Martin forward and to find out more about the event and also Martin’s plans for the future of his company Kogo. I was immediately struck by the humility of the family man I was speaking to and how easy he was to interview. I was talking to a driven man who has been spectacularly successful and yet really cares about people, not only his customers but his team and all of those around him. He modestly remarked that his nomination had come as an unexpected compliment. Martin made an unspectacular entrance to Number 10 coming in via the side door but he felt immediately at home as the policeman at the door was from East

Grinstead and both men knew each other. However, he was soon enjoying canapés and a beer and mixing with MPs, sporting legends including footballer Sol Campbell, and other industry leaders similar to himself. The Prime Minister thanked the AfricanCaribbean community for their immense contribution to Britain and the vital role that these individuals play in shaping our society. He saw Black History Month as not just about learning from the past but also a time to unlock tomorrow’s opportunities. He stated that over the centuries we have built something extraordinary in Britain where people can come with nothing and in one or two generations can rise as high as their talent allows. The PM left by the side door and Martin had the opportunity to briefly chat with him as he left the meeting. Martin asked David if he had a game plan for dealing with Angela Merkel the following day, the response was he intended to bake a football cake! Martin left school to become a car mechanic but soon discovered that this was not for him – he really didn’t like getting his hands dirty! In 1989 he joined Unisys, a computer company. He had found his niche and discovered he was passionate about IT. He set his sights on having his own company and the Elmhurst Group evolved into what is now Kogo. Today Kogo employs 19 staff and is the largest IT support company in East Grinstead. Not bad for a company that started with 1 man and an administrator!

Martin only sees the company growing marginally in terms of numbers of employees as he is keen to maintain the company’s reputation as “the best out there”. The current premises are only suitable for another half a dozen staff and there are no plans to find alternative larger offices at this present time. Martin knows all of his staff and that’s the way he wants to keep it. Kogo is constantly reviewing projects and technologies for its clients as it makes the IT decisions for them and wants all products tested so that they are right for the customer. If a client is considering a new technology, Kogo will ensure that it is right for the company and if it’s not, they will advise them. Martin is very hands-on and knows his customers. His staff are trained to understand what is critical to a company and offer tailored support. Training is ongoing and that’s the way it has to be to keep on top. Kogo is steadily growing and the order books are healthy although everyone is understandably still keen to help new customers who want the considerable expertise and personal touch that Kogo offers. It definitely is exciting times for Kogo and with Martin Bannister at the helm, I can only see further success for his company as it helps more and more businesses with their IT support.

january/february 2016 business edge

8 business matters

David Sheppard

Chairman of Sussex Chamber of Commerce

The emerging threat posed to our businesses through cyber attack

The Chestnut Tree House’s China Trekkers raise over £90,000! Marie Harris, MD of Beta Futures, and one of the Chestnut Tree House China Trekkers, returned home on 18th October. The trek brought together a range of individuals from different backgrounds with one common goal - to raise money for the only children’s hospice in Sussex. The group were presented with the physical challenge of taking on 50km of The Great Wall of China. What really surprised the trekkers was the emotional journey that accompanied the physical challenge. The China Trekkers also helped rebuild part of the Wall. Everyone brought sentimental objects to place under their brick. The group also placed foil hearts and stars in the wall, to symbolise children that are being cared for by the hospice and those who are sadly no longer with us. The group collectively raised £93,000. It costs £6,850 for the house to provide its services for 1 day. The amount of money the Trekkers raised is enough to run the house for almost 2 weeks.

january/february 2016 business edge

As we enter the New Year I cannot help but reflect on how quickly the year seemed to pass and the substantial shift for business that occurred within it. I would guess that the biggest impact has been from the election in May and the subsequent policy directives that have been issued. Whilst we applaud a focus on business growth, much remains unresolved such as the skills shortage, the lack of a decision on airport expansion and perhaps most notably on whether we stay in Europe. Maybe a negotiated agreement will have been reached with our European partners by February 2016 but the imperative for business is that the issue is settled clearly and decisively so that we can get on, whatever the outcome. A recent Chamber of Commerce survey shows that many business leaders are judging the referendum debate on the results the Prime Minister delivers but in the end we seek stability and security and providing this environment exists, then I am confident our businesses will continue to develop and grow. Picking up on the theme for this month’s Business Edge it is exciting to see the development of Creative and Digital companies in our region from media and PR through to software and systems developers. This is a core sector which we at the Chamber intend to focus more on this year. Related to this is the emerging threat posed to our businesses through cyber attack. A recent PwC/ BIS report “2015 Information Security Breaches Survey” shoes that 74% of small businesses had a security breach in the year, that the average cost of the breach for a small business was between £71K and £311K and 31% suffered staff related security breaches. In response this the Chamber, in conjunction with the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), intends to obtain its own Cyber Essentials accreditation and develop a Cyber support service to our members. It is time for us all to be proactive in the face of Cyber risk not just reactive. It is too late and costly responding only after we have been hacked or breached. David Sheppard Chairman, Sussex Chamber of Commerce

business matters 9

The benefits of Managed IT Services The traditional IT practice is often coined the ‘break-fix’ method. When something is broken, tech support arrives to fix it, and track their time and materials during the repair process. A close business relationship between the two parties is never established, resulting in misguided support and even more billable time to resolve it. A simple IT outage can add up to be a large, unexpected expense very quickly. Widespread downtime can begin to rack up substantial costs in just minutes. It’s not uncommon for businesses to treat their network and computers much like household appliances; when they break you pay someone to fix them. Many small and medium-sized businesses can’t afford to staff an internal IT department to keep up with day-to-day maintenance. This is where managed IT services come in. Managed IT services establish a certain level of support for your business and maintain a set of practices dedicated to ensuring a consistently strong service. The relationship is more of a partnership, and these methods enable them to meet all expectations. Often, day-to-day computer issues start out barely noticeable, growing to be serious before you realise there is a problem. Managed IT providers run reporting and monitoring tools that detect issues and report back whenever a potential problem is discovered. That way, it can be fixed before it causes frustration and downtime for your employees. Many workstation issues can be solved remotely without the need for an onsite visit. This allows for faster response times since the technician doesn’t need to physically drive to your business.

Network and server outages can leave some or all of your employees stranded unable to do their jobs. You continue to pay them despite a huge hit to productivity and then you need to pay for the problem to get resolved. A key element of a managed IT service is that you aren’t paying to have issues fixed; you are paying to have them prevented. With managed IT, you pay to prevent downtime and maintain your expensive IT infrastructure. Regular maintenance has a huge impact on stability, performance, security, and the longevity of your network and the devices on it. Traditional IT support also suffers from unexpected surprise costs that come when mission critical technology fails and needs to be fixed. Managed IT is based on a flat-rate payment model where you pay to prevent downtime, greatly reducing downtime and minimizing unexpected costs. When your IT infrastructure works it can greatly increase the productivity of your users, but what about goals specific to your company? Your managed IT provider serves the role of a consultant for your business development regarding how technology can drive your business forward. From new solutions to better internal practices, your goals can be achieved through professional management of your technology. Running a small business doesn’t mean you need to suffer from the lowestend solutions. When partnering with a managed IT provider, you can get access to technology solutions that are normally reserved for big corporate enterprises at costs geared towards your budget. This is a short editorial version of Kogo’s ‘Benefits of Managed IT Services’ article series, available at -

How to get the best from your staff By Anne MacKenzie, Sales and Marketing Manager, Mid Sussex Golf Club We all do it, we have an exhausting interview process, take up references and appoint someone and then feel confident we have found the right candidate to fill the role. But how do we retain our staff ? Every employee wants to feel valued and appreciated, to have their opinions considered and don’t forget that the youngest member of staff might be the one with the best idea or suggestion. They certainly see a different side of the business to the CEO and might have sensible suggestions of how to streamline or save costs. A structured training and rewards programme will improve staff performance, increase effectiveness and strengthen staff loyalty, as well as offering opportunities to recognise outstanding performance and promote from within. It can be ad-hoc rewards for exceptional employees, team building days for all, an encouragement to staff to improve their fitness levels or a combination of all three. In the 80’s, people felt rewarded only by increased salaries and bonuses, but over the last 15 years, staff incentive schemes and away days have become an additional tool in the employer’s arsenal, with wellbeing days and improving health and leisure hours high on the agenda of keeping staff happy, fit and healthy. So, save the time, expense and angst of recruitment and on-thejob training by rewarding your employees today. You know it makes sense!

january/february 2016 business edge

10 business matters

Bring your own device policy, the new black!

Investing in local talent Recruitment of talented staff can be a challenge for any company. A challenge which often sees businesses reaching out to every corner of the country in order to find the ideal person for the position, but is this always the solution? Since establishing Overline Network Consultants more than twenty years ago, company Directors Jason Young and John Davis have understood that employing and nurturing talented local people can be the key to success. Overline’s longest serving member of staff can confirm this. Having joined the company nineteen years ago, he has seen the company go from strength to strength in tandem with his own career. Overline both recruits and retains individuals through the offer of a healthcare package, progression path and regular training. This means that employees are remunerated not only through their

january/february 2016 business edge

pay cheque at the end of the month, but also through opportunities to learn, grow, develop and up skill. Ultimately, employing staff through indentifying potential can alter the perception of the recruitment process from finding the right person for the job, to finding the right job for the person. With company growth comes an increase in workforce and creating a comfortable work environment is essential to productivity. Achieving this will undoubtedly require some investment, but the reward for staff and business are proven. Overline has recently done just this, relocating their operations and sales offices to a new centralised head office in Lancing, where staff can be happy, healthy, motivated and valued. Overline has always attributed their success to ongoing partnerships with local companies such as BHAFC and more recently Adur and Worthing Councils. Through realising the value of every employee a company such as Overline can gain the asset of focused team, who are able and motivated to provide the highest level of service to company and clients.

A key finding from Ofcom’s Communications Review was the lack of separation between business and personal communications. Most employees now have smartphones and tablets, making it easier for them to use their own personal technology within the workplace. The report identified that employees worry about how much personal information, stays personal. A recent survey by Tyntec revealed 30% of UK employees use their personal mobile for work-related tasks. Staggeringly, almost 90% use their mobile phones for work outside of normal business hours. Unsurprisingly, more than 81% questioned stated they would prefer to have two separate phones or one phone with two numbers (separating personal from business use). Many businesses already have a corporate mobility strategy but a BYOD policy considers worklife balance, eliminating obvious privacy and reimbursement concerns that employees’ voice. For example, introducing a corporate phone app, with virtual phone numbers, would provide unique identifiers for employees. Once installed, the employee need only switch to the app for all work related communication.


A dynamic field of activity Healthcare is one of the most dynamic fields of activity in Great Britain’s booming economy and as the demographics show, the number of healthcare professionals required to cover the staffing needs of both NHS and the private sector is on the increase. These conditions create a fertile soil for young companies to plant their roots firmly and develop into healthy and well established business. One of these new enterprises is St Leonard’s based A PLUS CARE LTD which today, after more than a year from incorporating continues to operate with increasing efficiency and commitment to providing quality services to its clients in East Sussex, West Sussex and Kent areas. A PLUS CARE Ltd specialises in the Supply of various types of care homes (dementia units, learning disabilities units) with RGNs, HCAs, Chefs and Domestics available with a 24 hours on call contact .One of the assets aiding the company to thrive in such a competitive environment is the ability to tap directly into the Romanian workforce pool, besides using the usual avenues of recruiting, as the top management is comprised by Romanian nationals. The company recruits personnel in their country of origin, administers all legal procedures, assists with the licence process ( for RNs) and the arrival and absorption at the client facility, while the trainings and inductions are furnished by the partnership with Care Zone Training. As we enter the new year, A PLUS CARE LTD team would like to take the opportunity to thank their staff, clients and all its partners for their hard work, dedication and to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Our security response teams are out every night of the year patrolling property and dealing with alarm activations… so you don’t have to.

• •


Leadership and management training in the heart of Sussex Based in Horsham since 1946, Roffey Park offers a range of leadership, management, HR and personal effectiveness training programmes. Our approach to learning and skills development is compelling. We provide you with the tools, techniques, support and challenge that will enable you to realise you and your organisation’s full potential.

Leading with Presence was a deeply personal experience and represents a moment of massive change for me. It has given me a fundamental pragmatism that I can bring into action in my day-to-day life and since completing the programme I have made some significant changes to the business that have had a positive impact on the way we operate, as well as our success and profitability. If I had not been on the programme, these changes would certainly not have taken place. Recent programme participant

To request a copy of our latest programme brochure, please email or telephone 01293 854059 Roffey Park Institute, Forest Road, Horsham, RH12 4TB. Roffey Park Institute is a charity, registered No 254591

january/february 2016 business edge


focus on

Is Cloud the right choice for your business? Most of us are constantly being told that to be efficient and ‘Digital’ we must move all our software and services to a Cloud provider and let them look after our IT. They promise our costs will be a lot lower, we will always have the latest version of their applications, the services will be available all the time and we won’t need to purchase expensive and noisy servers any more. It all sound great but will our businesses really benefit from it? Sometimes but that’s not the case for most SMEs. ‘Cloud’ is one of those buzzwords that has been created to help marketing people sell IT services provided through complex hosted platforms, which is pretty much what Internet Service Providers have been doing for the past 20 years, but with a few shiny icons and added ‘coolness’. In short it means: renting somebody else’s computers or IT outsourcing. Naturally from a technical point of view there is a lot more to it but generally businesses are not interested in how many servers a Cloud provider is running or what technologies they are using as long as their email, web site or CRM work all the time. Start-ups that require fast growing infrastructures, global

january/february 2016 business edge

corporations or businesses that provide Internet facing services will benefit from Cloud services and platforms. So if you fit in those categories you may as well go for it but most SMEs have predictable IT requirements and use hosting providers for their web sites so Unfortunately, Cloud is also an abused term that means something different to the next sales person that is trying to sell you an email service, web site hosting or their new accounting package. Often you will be told that the investment of £10,000 to £30,000 you have made for your IT infrastructure, quite common for SMEs, is not really needed as you will pay low monthly fees each month for the benefit of renting their services and infrastructure. One service may cost as much as taking your employees out for a pizza each month, as with the next service and the next one. Soon you’ll find out that while you moved your costs from CAPEX to OPEX, which for some may be a tax advantage, the sum of your monthly costs you will have to keep paying for years to come is a lot higher than the investment you made in an IT infrastructure that generally lasts between 3 to 5 years.

Owning your Cloud Some SMEs may still see Cloud services as an opportunity to lower their running or refresh costs for their IT because infrastructures based on servers and software from traditional vendors can require large investments but there is a solution to it: Cloud, your Cloud. Cloud doesn’t work using secret components, the building blocks and the technologies used to create inexpensive, scalable and reliable infrastructures is now available also for SMEs that may have from 5 to hundreds of employees. Efficient Cloud providers set-up their services using hyper-converged infrastructures and Open Source which may not mean much to you but they are now available for your business and can allow you save up to 90% compared to traditional IT solutions. This will make your own in-house Cloud even more competitive than renting somebody else’s computer. Next time you see your IT consultant ask them about hyper-convergence and Open Source as you’d like to spend a lot less in IT to reinvest in efficiency and taking your employees out for a pizza more often. Paolo Vecchi, CEO of Open Source distribution specialist Omnis Systems

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14 advertorial

The Cloud has won A recent survey by Enterprise Strategy Group discovered that three-quarters of organisations now utilise at least one cloud computing service, which is a sharp rise from previous surveys. Not surprisingly, the implementation of cloud computing services came up as a key area of focus for IT, with this being where IT departments are most likely to increase spending for the fourth consecutive year. They see the cloud as a cost mitigation strategy and a way to relieve the internal storage burden in light of rampant data growth and the demand for stronger data protection.

As the impact of the cloud reaches ever further across the enterprise it becomes all the more important to architect enterprise software solutions correctly. Choices include switching to cloud-based software services, pure cloud deployment of existing enterprise applications, hybrid cloud and on-premises solutions requiring complex integration. And, in many cases, remaining on-premises could be the right answer, with systems not

suitable to migrate to cloud hosting or be replaced with cloud software services. As a Microsoft Gold Partner Ballard Chalmers has deep expertise in custom cloud software development, migration and integration. From application modernisation to systems migration, Ballard Chalmers has the experience to support your complex enterprise software development challenges. For more details call 01342 410223 or visit

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january/february 2016 business edge

advertorial 15

Are you Playing Russian Roulette with your Data Security? Online security and data protection has become a massive issue, and with the new EU General Data Protection Regulations coming into force in the near future, it will continue to be a talking point. Security breaches can happen and you’ll read a lot about providers monitoring and strengthening their framework as a preventative action. But in today’s world the likelihood of a breach is high enough that businesses need to think about what they can do to minimise the impact of anyone infiltrating their systems.

Data Location and Security for All Systems One particularly hot topic at the moment is the issue of data location. At OpenCRM we’ve taken steps to ensure that all of our data centres (and those of all the systems we use) are based in the EU. And that includes the back-up data centres. Even if the primary data centre is in the EU, if the back-up data centres are in the US, then so is all of your data. And that’s just your primary data, what about those ‘low risk’ systems? When I talk about this issue, the surprise always comes when I mention about the difficulty we had in finding an instant messaging system that was EU based. Or the time it took to

establish that our email provider stored all our data in the EU. When you break it down, it’s easy to see how the ‘low risk’ systems can generate a slow leak of client data.

Passwords Another example, and one that I think everyone struggles with, is the issue of passwords. My own team were having trouble coming up with enough passwords that were both strong and memorable. So we decided to use a password manager, which allows us to generate extra secure passwords that didn’t have to be memorable.

viruses, malware, and cyber threats – companies need to be aware of the security of the actual data itself, including where it will be stored, how it is accessed, and the security of the device that is being used. Customers need to be going into this level of detail with any cloud provider before signing on the dotted line. The ramifications, which could include hefty fines and worse, reputational damage, don’t bear thinking about. If you have any cloud-based security questions, concerns, or feedback, please get in touch. I would love to hear from you. Find us at or drop us a line at

Encryption One relatively simply thing you can do to protect your data is to encrypt it. By encrypting your computers, phones, etc., you know that if anyone were to actually steal the device, they would be hard pressed to make any sense of your data. Add to this your strong password control and cloud hosting of your data, any opportunistic thief isn’t going to walk away with a list of your customers.

Graham Anderson, is the CEO and founder of OpenCRM, one of the UK’s leading customer relationship management systems.

Checking Out Your Providers It’s no longer enough to assume your providers will protect your data from

january/february 2016 business edge

16 the expert

You ask the questions Our panel of experts tackle your burning issues

Fighting Fraud: Don’t be taken in by CEO impersonation scams


Gary Chown Director of Commercial Banking, NatWest

Fraud techniques are continuing to evolve as criminals look for new ways to defraud their victims and everyone is a potential target. At NatWest, we’ve learned of a new form of scam – commonly known as ‘CEO Fraud’ or ‘Whaling Fraud’ – that uses email to impersonate a senior executive to defraud businesses. What is CEO Fraud and how does is work?

How to mitigate this type of fraud

A member of your finance team receives an email which appears to have originated from a senior person within your organisation. The email instructs the recipient to make an urgent payment to a specified beneficiary. The email appears genuine as the details in the ‘From’ box may reflect the address of the individual. Believing the email to be genuine, the member of staff processes the payment, which arrives in the fraudster’s account. The monies are then quickly withdrawn.

At NatWest, we’re committed to helping you safeguard your money. We use a wide range of fraud prevention and detection processes in the fight against financial crime. Our aim is to help our customers remain vigilant and to follow best practice in order to help you safeguard your business. Here are five top tips for avoiding executive impersonation scams: n Be suspicious of any unexpected emails which asks for an urgent bank transfer. n Check any unusual payment requests directly with the apparent sender, ideally in person or by telephone, to confirm they’re genuine. But don’t use any telephone numbers or email addresses in the suspicious email as they’ll go directly back to the fraudster. n Be alert to unusual wording that you wouldn’t expect the real senior executive to use. There may be odd expressions, or incorrect spelling or grammar. n Make sure that internal email passwords are strong. n Create a well-documented internal process for requesting and authorising payments if your company doesn’t already one.

How does this happen? There are two known methods being used: Email spoofing is where the fraudster constructs a fake email that appears to have come from a genuine source. The sender’s email address will have been slightly changed from the actual address, perhaps showing as .org instead of .com. Email account hacking is where the fraudster hacks a genuine email account and starts to issue fraudulent emails. These types of attacks are typically associated with email services such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo.

january/february 2016 business edge

business matters 17

fine print

FROM CREW TO CAPTAIN III - COMMANDER OF THE FLEET Published by: Filament Publishing, Paperback £15.00 So, you’ve made the leap from working within a big corporation and have successfully launched your own business. You’ve proved to yourself and to the market that your business model works. What next? What if you want to take your company the next level? Maybe you’re even looking to sell the business? David Mellor is a consultant, lecturer and mentor who, since 2001, has helped countless people successfully launch their own business. Commander of the Fleet is the third part of his From Crew To Captain trilogy and as always, he’s ready to deliver sound, jargon-free advice that can help alleviate the growing pains that come with any developing business. Part 1 of From Crew To Captain looked at making the transition from working for a big institution to working for yourself while the second instalment guided entrepreneurs through the process of setting up as a sole practitioner. From Crew To Captain: Commander Of The Fleet is designed to help you on the next stage of the voyage – from working ‘in’ the business as owner-manager to working ‘on’ the business as leader and, when the time comes, readying that business for sale. David examines the different growth stages of business and how the founder’s role is likely to evolve along the way. There’s advice on strategic planning and implementation and a variety of metrics to help you measure the outcome of those plans. As well as a wealth of practical advice, each section of the book contains helpful checklists and self-diagnostic ‘healthchecks’ to help readers chart their own business’ progress. Visit to order your copy of From Crew to Captain.

How to connect with your potential customers By Lee Chadwick, MD WOW Analytics They say first impressions count and that couldn’t be truer in the B2B sales environment. For those that specialise in phone sales, first impressions can be a lot trickier. Prospects are prone to tuning out the speaker as soon as they find out they are a salesperson. So while they make all the right sounds, when it comes down to it, they don’t turn into a potential customer. “Establishing a personal connection with a potential customer is a crucial sales skill that can fundamentally change the outcome of your sales pitch.” - Lee Chadwick, MD WOW Analytics Get in contact before your lead knows what they want 60% of B2B customers in 2012 decided on their purchase before getting in contact with a supplier. With content marketing, this statistic has only increased. Once your lead has settled on a solution, changing their mind is difficult and time-consuming. The first step is to get in contact before they’ve done their market research. Then establish your lead’s needs together before they are biased in any one product’s favour. Ask them what prompted them to look into your product When you get in contact with a lead, ask them open-ended questions to establish what they need. Once you’ve identified

their needs, keep asking them openended questions about how they want the product to work, how they see it as a long-term solution etc. Keep tailoring your open-ended questions to help them reach their own conclusion, rather than just telling them how your product can help. Ask them open-ended questions When you get in contact with a lead and establish a relationship, ask them openended questions to establish what they need. Once you’ve identified their need, keep asking them open-ended questions about how they want the product to work, how they see it as a long-term solution etc. Keep tailoring your open-ended questions to help them to reach their own conclusion that your product is right for them, rather than just telling them how your product can help. Get specific with your follow up questions When your lead identifies exactly what they want, use specific follow-up questions so you can tailor your product as a true solution. For example, ask them how they would like the product to work with their system. Ask for examples of how they currently work or what specific features of your product they would like to see. This will lead them to believe you are building a custom solution for them and make them more inclined to close the sale.

january/february 2016 business edge

18 feature: finance

Looking ahead: key changes in 2016 In addition to the reduction in the Annual Investment Allowance, 2016 sees numerous changes to employment and tax legislation, which may have a significant impact on your business and your personal finances. Here we look ahead to some of the key reforms planned for 2016/17.

The National Living Wage (NLW)

Tax and property

The NLW is set to come into force on 1 April 2016, with the rate beginning at £7.20 an hour for employees aged 25 and above. Currently, the National Minimum Wage stands at £6.70 per hour for workers aged 21 and over.

In addition to the proposed 3% surcharge on second properties outlined above, a number of other changes to property tax are also planned for the new tax year, including the replacement of the Wear and Tear Allowance with a new relief that permits all residential landlords to deduct the actual costs of replacing furnishings. Meanwhile, the level of rent-aroom relief will rise from £4,250 to £7,500.

Employer national insurance To help offset the cost of the NLW, small firms are set to benefit from a 50% increase in the Employment Allowance from April 2016, which will rise to £3,000. Meanwhile, employer national insurance contributions up to the upper earnings limit will be abolished for apprentices aged under 25.

january/february 2016 business edge

Dividend taxation Dividends are another area on the Chancellor’s radar, with significant changes due to come into effect in

April. The Dividend Tax Credit is set to be replaced by a new tax-free Dividend Allowance. This means that for the 2016/17 tax year the first £5,000 of dividend income will be taxed at 0%, regardless of the level of non-dividend income. Headline rates of dividend tax are also set to change. From April 2016 tax must be paid on dividends over the £5,000 threshold at the following rates: 7.5% on dividend income within the basic rate band; 32.5% on dividend income within the higher rate band; and 38.1% on dividend income within the additional rate band.

feature: finance 19

Enterprise Investment Schemes: What’s not to love?

That’s Entertainment An incredibly valuable tax relief for investors in smaller businesses is the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and its newer offspring, SeedEIS. These Government-backed schemes are designed to help certain types of higher-risk unquoted trading companies raise capital by providing generous income tax and capital gains tax (CGT) reliefs for investors. Income tax relief is based on a percentage of the amount invested - 30% relief for EIS and 50% relief for SeedEIS. For example, an investor putting £10,000 in a business using SeedEIS gets tax relief of £5,000 against an existing income tax liability. This can either be in the tax year the investment is made, or it can be carried back to the previous year. Capital gains are free from CGT once shares have been held for 3 years. If the business does well and an investor wants to cash in their investment then, once past that 3-year milestone, the gains are tax-free. SeedEIS is often used for initial funding by friends and family. The investor must not be too closely connected with the founders so spouses, parents and children are excluded, but friends and most other relatives would be able to use SeedEIS (or EIS). Companies can apply to HMRC for Advance Assurance that they meet the qualifying criteria - this is something an investor often looks for. EIS and SeedEIS are extremely valuable tax reliefs; the devil is in the detail but we can help and advise on all aspects, including obtaining that all-important Advance Assurance. Contact: Sally Campbell, Hilton Sharp & Clarke 01273 324163

With the Christmas festivities over and the new working year starting, now seems like the perfect time to remind you of the rules and regulations when entertaining your staff and clients. Entertaining your Staff HM Revenue & Customs state that ‘staff entertaining is allowable so long as it is wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade.’ Any costs associated with entertaining employees including food, drink, hotel accommodation, taxi fares and entertainment are allowable business expenses. There is no limit so long as it is all for the benefit of the business. The most common event is the Christmas party. There is a £150 per tax year threshold under which no benefit in kind tax charge arises on the employee and exempts the employer from having to pay National Insurance. This only applies to annual events such as a Christmas party or summer ball and they have to be open to all staff.

Entertaining Clients and Business Contacts Any entertaining of clients, potential clients and business contacts is not tax deductible. Whereas we have already stated that staff entertaining is allowable for the purposes of the trade if those employees are in effect hosting the entertaining of a client or a potential new client the full cost is not allowable. However if the employee is carrying out that duty as part of their employment then there is no taxable benefit on them.

Reclaiming VAT on Entertaining The VAT rules are pretty much the same in that you can’t usually reclaim input tax on entertainment except if it is for your staff. If your Christmas party is predominantly for your employees but non-employees attend then VAT can be claimed for the percentage that relates to the percentage of employees at the event as long as the event is not principally for entertaining clients and potential clients. In this case no VAT can be claimed, even if employees are in attendance. Call us now on 0800 470 4820 email

Disclaimer: the above is for general information only and no action should be taken or be refrained from being taken as a result of the above.

january/february 2016 business edge

20 feature: finance

Don’t be left behind Make 2016 count Don’t be left behind by your competitors by failing to claim your Research & Development (R&D) Tax Relief. If you are a company that is involved in innovation with science or technology you could be missing out – here is what you need to know! More and more companies in the UK are making claims for R&D Tax Relief, so if you are developing, significantly improving or changing the manufacturing process of: a product; a material; a device; software or a service, and you aren’t claiming you are

putting yourself at a massive financial and competitive disadvantage. With many SME companies having a 31 March year-end, to coincide with the end of the corporate tax year and the personal tax year, you still have three months (until 31 March 2016) to investigate the potential of a claim for costs incurred after April 2013. Evidence has shown that the average claim for Research and Development Tax Relief is around £50,000. Once a company has claimed, they become serial claimers and use the historical tax relief as a means to fund further research. What difference could this make to your company? If you are developing a product for which you are also applying for a patent, you will be able to register for “patent box”. You may have seen press coverage about this

tax relief which significantly reduces the tax on profits derived from the sale of patented items from April 2013.

So how can Cooden Tax Consulting help you? We are offering a 20% discount off our first tax year’s fee for R&D Tax Relief claims on new enquiries received before 31 January 2016, if you sign up with us for a three tax years. Simon Bulteel (FCCA) is a qualified accountant specialising in Research and Development Tax Relief, he is Managing Director of Cooden Tax Consulting. Make 2016 count – call Cooden Tax Consulting on 01424 225345 or email and quote 20OFFJAN16




Validate your claim & quote 20OFFJAN16

Call us on: 01424 225 345


Office 10

Charter House

january/february 2016 business edge

email us on:

43 St Leonards Road

Bexhill on Sea

East Sussex TN40 1JA

feature: finance 21

Automatic Enrolment Get ahead of the rush and don’t leave it too late!! Auto enrolment has been a big success so far. Since auto enrolment began in October 2012, over 67,000 employers have enrolled members of staff into a Workplace Pension … but with 1.8 million small and micro employers yet to stage the greatest challenge still lies ahead! In 2016 over 550,000 employers will go through auto enrolment, increasing to 650,000 in 2017. At its peak, it is estimated that over 98,000 employers will have a single Staging Date of 1st April 2017. This will put a significant strain on both the Pensions Industry and employers alike. The new automatic enrolment requirements are not optional, The Pensions Regulator is responsible for ensuring that employers comply with these new duties and will impose heavy fines on employers who fail to act! The key to successful staging is to start planning early. There are a number of tasks involved and it is important that employers give themselves enough time to carry out each task thoroughly:Start early – The Pensions Regulator will write to you 12 months in advance of your Staging Date reminding you of your employer duties and recommending that you start your planning process right away.

You will need to appoint an individual in your business to communicate with them. Design and Select your Workplace Pension Scheme – seek advice from Qualified Pensions Experts - they will have a robust selection process and will design your scheme to ensure it is the most suitable for both your business and your workforce. If you have an existing pension scheme, you will need to see if it can be used to facilitate automatic enrolment. Communicate to your Staff – you will need to inform your employees about auto enrolment, when these changes will occur and how they will be affected. Check who will need to be enrolled – you will need to carry out a review of your workforce to determine what your responsibilities are for each of your employees. Final preparations – in the 3 month lead up to your Staging Date, you will need to carry out a final check to ensure your records and systems are up to date and compliant. At Staging – you will need to ‘assess’ your workforce to identify which staff will need to be automatically enrolled and which will be offered the right to join. How can we help - Automatic Enrolment Solutions Ltd are dedicated to providing Workplace Pension solutions for employers of all sizes throughout the UK. Our team of Pensions Specialists and Payroll Experts have designed a solution based on what Employers have told us they want from their Workplace Pension Scheme

Our solutions are designed to fully ‘take over’ the employer’s AE duties by working directly with their Payroll Processor and Pension Scheme Provider to manage and administer the entire process, from start to finish, leaving employers to do what they do best …… run their business! We believe we offer an extremely good value for money service, with a one off Implementation and Set Up Fee of £710 and Ongoing Scheme Servicing Fee from as little as £35 per month for a company with up to 5 employees (exclusive of VAT). Our “Employers Step by Step Guide to Automatic Enrolment” provides a complete overview of what needs to be done and how we can help. Call us today for your free pack. See the next edition where we will cover the importance of picking the right pension provider.

Member to Member Offer We will carry out a free noobligation Contribution Costing Report for your business. Call us now and get started!

Automatic Enrolment Solutions Ltd Tel: 0333 900 8333 Email:

january/february 2016 business edge

22 feature: finance

Buy to Let Property A Concern for Landlords The Autumn Statement offered little surprise to many of us, with much of the content being announced previously in the Summer Budget. For property owners, however, a few changes need to be considered. The new Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) outlined in Chancellor Osborne’s Autumn Statement is due to come into effect on 1st April 2016, which will have a big impact on landlords looking to build property portfolios. The new SDLT will be 3 percentage points above the current rate and will also

january/february 2016 business edge

be charged on purchases of additional properties above £40,000, such as buy to let properties and second homes. This will mean the stamp duty payment will be 3% on homes between £40,000 and £125,000, 5% on the next £125,000 up to £250,000 and 8% on the next £250,000 up to £500,000. As well as the new SDLT rates, the government will be consulting this year about a reduction in the filing and payment window, which could see the window reduced from 30 days to 14 days. This change could come into effect as early as 2017. These changes in the Autumn Statement have seen a shift in ownership in the sector, with fewer landlords owning the properties personally, instead setting up limited companies to acquire property. There are costs associated with changing ownership

structures and therefore it is important to seek professional advice. There could be benefits of any associated planning but it is important to assess whether or not the benefits will outweigh the initial costs of dealing with the changes. For guidance on the implications of changing your ownership structure, please contact me on 01403 253282 or at

For All Your Business and Commercial Insurance Needs • Local Broker with over 40 years insurance broking experience • First class professional service from our team of Account Executives, Development Executives and Account Handlers • Insurance advice tailored to your needs • Not call centre based • Part of the UK’s largest distributor and underwriter of specialist personal and SME insurance • Access to solutions from the UK’s top insurers

Tel: 01903 875422 Crawford Davis is a trading name of CCV Risk Solutions Ltd. Registered in England no 05879041. Registered Address Towergate House, Eclipse Park, Sittingbourne Road, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3EN. Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. V1.0/PB/MN/CDBE/05.01.16

24 cover feature

Taking advantage of opportunities in the Cloud n Trust in the Cloud growing all the time n 2016 will see the Cloud becoming ever more popular n It’s not enough to buy off-the-shelf products

The world of digital technology is changing rapidly and nowhere more so than in the evolution of the Cloud, the process of storing and managing data away from servers based on a company’s premises. Just a few short years ago, no one really knew what the Cloud was, and certainly did not understand its massive potential for small and medium businesses. Today, that has changed and one of the companies taking advantage is Sussex-based Fitsystems, which celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2016. For Director Ragnar Barnsby, the story of 2016 will also be the story of the Cloud and various pieces of research underline the point and the marketplace certainly seems to agree. For instance, it has been estimated that by the end of 2015, end-user spending on Cloud services will have topped $180 billion with some estimates putting it much higher. Surveys also suggested that that the global market for Cloud equipment will reach $79.1 billion by 2018 and that 82% of companies reportedly saved money by moving to the Cloud. Ragnar said: “The biggest change that we are seeing in IT is the move away from infrastructure to Cloud technology and that will definitely continue in 2016.

january/february 2016 business edge

“If you go back a few years, no one really trusted the Cloud – they were worried that data was not secure, and could be easily lost or stolen, but now the Cloud has matured these worries are quickly receding. “Now, companies trust the Cloud much more and that is opening up vast opportunities for both themselves and companies like ours.” Cloud basically means using the internet to access programmes and applications. For example, if you login to your business’s system online, then you are accessing it through the Cloud. What makes the Cloud so attractive is that it makes easy to access a wide range of software applications via the internet at a fraction of the cost of conventional servers. This is particularly ideal for the growing number of businesses operating with flexible workforces and employees on the move, who access their information on PCs, laptops, tablets or Smartphones. Ragnar said: “The trick with using the Cloud is making sure that all your systems are integrated. People look at the cheaper costs involved but sometimes they do not realise that the real cost saving is in getting all of your systems talking to each other to get the most efficient workflow and best customer experience. “An off-the-shelf product may do 80 per cent of what you need, and at a fraction of the cost, but the important bit is the last 20 per cent, the bit that happens when you customise the system to work for your business.

cover feature 25


“The Cloud is like a sweet shop; there’s lots to choose from but not all of it is good for you. You have to know how to make sure that all your systems work together.” That is where Fitsystems comes into its own and its skilled personnel work with companies to make sure that their Cloud-based systems make life easier for their employees. Ragnar said: “We provide information systems which automate a lot of processes and remove the need for staff to keep keying in the same kind of data. It is about removing duplication of work and making

your process more efficient from a website enquiry all the way to accounts. “One of the services that we provide is a ‘Virtual Chief Information Officer’/Virtual IT Director that can sit at the top of the business and see how information is being managed across the business, by all departments and assess what needs to be done to improve performance and procedures. “Not only does the approach allow companies to spend time and effort on other areas of their work but it is also more efficient and cost-effective. “I think that the Cloud is now so popular because companies can see how it can save them both time and money because it offers them so many options. We see that move away from internal infrastructure and into the Cloud accelerating again in 2016 and beyond.”

In the next 20 years there is going to be a real insurgence in technology and the question is how can your business keep up and utilise the advantages? Anyone interested in finding out more about Cloud computing and what Office 365 could do for your business should visit Fitsystems’ website or contact Ragnar on

january/february 2016 business edge

26 inspirational leaders

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Tweet usTweet yourusthoughts your thoughtson on the EU referendum the EU referendum #euref #euref | Tel: |0844 375 95 50 | @SussexChamber | Tel: 0844 375 95 50 www.sussexchambe @SussexChamber january/february 2016 business edge UnitVictoria 4 Victoria Business 43 Victoria Burgess Hill, West Sussex, RH15 9LR ria Business Centre, 43 Road,Centre, Burgess Hill,Road, West Unit Sussex, RH15 4 Victoria 9LR Busin

BE REWARDED FOR BEING PART OF SOMETHING SPECIAL! The Sussex Chamber of Commerce has launched a Members Referral Scheme which rewards current members for helping to grow the Chamber community. The referral scheme will see Chamber members receive £50 off their next renewal cost, every time a company they recommend joins the Chamber. The £50 saving will be awarded for each recommendation that results in a new Chamber member. The referred company will also receive £50 off their membership fee when they join. The Members Referral Scheme not only rewards those that loyally recommend the Chamber, but should also see us welcome a real mix of new members for you to do business with.


Free HR Helpline


Legal Expenses Cover up to £1,000,000


Discounts on Export Documentation


Access to over a hundred Networking Events!


Discounts on Training


Links with schools through Young Chamber and Your Future Careers

So, give it a try! Let us know if any of your business contacts would like to join the Chamber and save money!

28 chamber benefits


BENEFITS Membership Benefits

As a member you can gain access to a number of our business support services. The British Chambers of Commerce has negotiated these services with leading organisations to help save you money. Chamber Foreign Exchange

Chamber Health and Safety

Help your business save money and manage foreign exchange risk. Chamber Foreign Exchange, in partnership with Moneycorp, offers competitive exchange rates, free online currency accounts, reduced transfer fees and fast, online transactions. Add practical advice and a free foreign exchange health check of your FX requirements to see your business capitalise on currency fluctuations and save money on every transaction.

Not sure about your Health & Safety policy? Can you afford not to know? Get advice and support.

Chamber Healthcare

Receive up to 61% on the cost of breakdown cover.

Help to reduce sickness absence and improve staff motivation with a choice of two great schemes. The Chamber Business Healthcare Plan, offers private medical insurance for your employees. Get 10% cashback annually or 50% off your chamber membership fees for 3 years. Pay as little as £1.10 per employee per week with the cash plan scheme Chamber Primary Health Plan.

Chamber Credit Insurance

Chamber HR The Chamber HR service provides businesses with access to professional HR advice and documentation.


Chamber Legal Expenses Safeguard your business against the unexpected costs of professional legal services and get legal cover of up to £670,000 as well as access to a 24/7 helpline.

Chamber Roadside Assistance

A new service to protect businesses trading in the UK and internationally from the risks of late payment and insolvency, Chamber Credit Insurance has been developed exclusively for Chamber members of all sizes. Help better manage trade risks and gain access to market knowledge to help your business grow securely and strategically in new and existing markets. Exclusive special offers apply. To find out more about the Chamber Service please call one of the team on 01444 259 259.

For additional information on any of the above member benefits, please visit our website or call 01444 259 259

january/february 2016 business edge

chamber benefits 29

Training Courses Telesales: Profit not Pain

Microsoft Excel - Level 3 (Advanced)

Date: Thursday 14th January : 09:30 - 16:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill

Date: Wednesday 2nd March : 09:30 - 16:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill

An Introduction to Export Procedures

Senior Administrator / PA Course

Date: Monday 18th January : 09:30 - 16:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill

Date: Thursday 3rd March : 09:30 - 16:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill

People and Team Management

Modern Consultative Selling

Date: Tuesday 26th January : 09:30 - 16:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill

Date: Tuesday 8th March : 09:30 - 16:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill

Time Management & Personal Effectiveness

Inward Processing Relief (IPR)

Date: Wednesday 27th January : 09:30 - 16:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill

Date: Thursday 10th March : 09:30 - 12:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill

Microsoft Excel - Level 2 (Intermediary)

Exporting - Understanding the Paperwork

Date: Thursday 28th January : 09:30 - 16:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill

Date: Monday 14th March : 09:30 - 16:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill

Essentials of Supervision & Team Leadership 2 Day Course

Conducting Effective Appraisals

Date: Monday 8th February : 09:30 - 16:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill

e-z Cert Workshop Date: Thursday 18th February : 10:00 - 13:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill

Using Documentary Letters of Credit, Drafts & Bills Date: Monday 22nd February : 09:30 - 16:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill

Confident & Effective Communication Skills Date: Tuesday 23rd February : 09:30 - 16:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill

Developing Your Management & Leadership Skills Date: Wednesday 24th February : 09:30 - 16:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill


Date: Tuesday 15th March : 09:15 - 12:45 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill

Interviewing & Recruitment Success Date: Tuesday 15th March : 13:30 - 17:00 Venue: Alexander House, East Grinstead

HR in 2 Days - Days 1 & 2 Date: Thursday 17th March : 09:30 - 16:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill

HR in 2 Days - Day 1 Date: Thursday 17th March : 09:30 - 16:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill

Introduction to Supervision & Team Leadership Date: Tuesday 22nd March : 09:30 - 16:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill

HR in 2 Days - Day 2 Date: Thursday 24th March : 09:30 - 16:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill

For additional information on any of the above member benefits, please visit our website or call 01444 259 259 january/february 2016 business edge

30 town chamber news

History made at meeting History was made at a packed meeting of the Bognor Regis Chamber of Commerce in November, when Members of the long established organisation voted unanimously to rename it ‘Bognor Regis Chamber of Commerce and Industry’. The Chairman and President Nick StuartNicolson said he welcomed the move to reflect the diversity of the Chamber Membership, with increasing members coming from industrial businesses in addition to the more traditional retail and leisure sectors. He said “I am proud to be presiding over such a momentous occasion in this Chamber’s long and much respected history, and I welcome applications for membership from all sections of the business community, and hope that with our name change we will encourage more businesses to come forward and join us, so that we can become an even stronger and more powerful voice for businesses both large and small throughout the area.” He added that the with the new name will come a complete rebranding of the Chamber early in the New Year, when the new logo would be unveiled along with the announcement of other exciting initiatives aimed at supporting local businesses, who will be invited to attend the occasion. A very busy Agenda included The Chamber of Commerce voting unanimously to object to the planning application to convert the upper floor of the fire-damaged Jasmine House Restaurant, close to the Railway Station

in London Road, into five self-contained flats. Whilst The Chamber wholeheartedly welcomed the return of the restaurant and the ground floor extension, it was felt that it would not be conducive to the town to change a leisure use to residential when function rooms in the area are already in short supply and flats are plentiful. The Jasmine House had a function room on its upper floor along with additional restaurant seating, which would no longer be the case if it were converted to flats. HR Consultant Susan Beeby has taken over the prestigious role of Secretary of The Bognor Regis Chamber of Commerce and Industry from outgoing Secretary Sandra Daniells who now takes on the role of Press Officer. Susan will be based in an office near the town centre. Susan said she was delighted to take over such and important role, and hoped The Chamber would go from strength to strength. She has vast experience as a business woman and is a member of other local business groups as well as being active as a volunteer for several local charities and organisations. Susan said “I am passionate about helping our local businesses, and giving something back to the community through The Chamber, so I am delighted to accept this important role and thank Members for putting their faith in me”. Anna-Liisa Dyne, the previous Chamber Administrator has stepped aside to take on the role of Social Secretary.

Enterprise Zone announced It has been announced that an Enterprise Zone will be established in Newhaven in 2017. Eight strategic sites with up to 55,000 sq.m of commercial floor space, will be given Enterprise Zone designation creating at least 2000 new full time jobs. The Enterprise Zone will support the expansion of existing businesses and encourage new investment in the area. The 8 sites within the Enterprise Zone will benefit from economic incentives and relaxed planning rules in favour of employmentrelated activities, facilitating business growth, creating new employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for local people. Annie Lorys, President of the Newhaven Chamber of Commerce said “This is very exciting news for Newhaven. Newhaven is definitely ‘on the up’ – millions of pounds are now being poured into Newhaven and regeneration is now a reality for our town. january/february 2016 business edge

I believe that no other town on the south coast is receiving as much investment and attention as Newhaven is at present – Newhaven’s potential as a place to live and do business is finally being recognised. “The Enterprise Zone will help us to build on Newhaven’s growing reputation as a centre for Green, Clean and Marine business, it will help existing businesses to expand and encourage new businesses to come to Newhaven to grow and develop. “We have many young entrepreneurial people in this area – we hope that the creation of the Enterprise Zone will give them the opportunity to set up and develop new businesses and contribute to the growth of Newhaven. We also hope that the economic benefits of the zone will help the regeneration of the whole town, in particular our town centre. This is great news – roll on 2017!”

Would you like … n the opportunity to network with business people? n to meet and engage with potential clients and suppliers? n to get advice and support from local businesses in a single convenient location? If your answer to any of these is yes I would, then you should be at the Crowborough Business Expo Tuesday 1st March 2016 Crowborough Community Centre 10.00 am - 2.00 pm The second Crowborough Business Expo organised by The Crowborough and District Chamber of Commerce offers you the opportunity to do all of this and more. Whether you are a sole trader or national company, a start up or long established business, exhibitor or visitor - The Crowborough Business Expo will be of interest to you. Exhibitors Exhibiting at the Expo will give you the opportunity to showcase your business to potential new customers along with the opportunity to network and increase your contacts within the area. There are 35 spaces for exhibitors at very competitive prices so book now to avoid disappointment: Exhibitor Prices: Chamber Member: space only, no shell £10 Chamber Member: space with shell £30 Non Chamber Member: space only, no shell £35 Non Chamber Member: space with shell £70 Please note: each exhibitor will be allocated a space of 2m x 1m, electricity is provided free but is limited to 14 attendees based on a first come first served basis. Visit www.crowboroughchamber. to book your place Visitors: The Crowborough Business Expo is FREE to visit, you’ll find a host of business advice and support and have the opportunity to make new contacts and find new suppliers and customers. If you would like to be kept up to date with news about the Crowborough Business Expo please visit the Expo page of our website to register your interest.

business matters 31

Through the keyhole into eco-architect home New road opens to boost East Sussex economy

Mark’s bio-mass boiler

An Open House event programme invited 70 members of the local community into the home of an awardwinning eco-architect. Brighton’s annual Eco Open House event delivered three tours to explore a unique zero carbon home in real life daily use. Each tour showed a combination of working features including a biomass boiler, rainwater harvesting, photovoltaic panels, underfloor heating, natural materials and a solid timber frame construction. The tours were given free of charge by Mark Pellant, founder of Koru Architects in Hove. AECB members Koru Architects in Hove have been awarded the RIBA Downland Prize 2011 for sustainability for their house/studio in Hove. The Downland Prize for Architects is awarded annually to a Chartered Architect based in south east England. It celebrates the added value that an architect brings to a project costing under £1.5 million, and the importance of ‘chemistry’ between architects, clients, contractors for completing successful buildings.

The house/studio project cleverly makes use of a constricted, sloping site through split-level design and creates a series of interesting, unique spaces. A top lit vertical circulation volume floods the house with daylight and acts as the ‘lungs’ by ventilating and cooling the spaces on warm days. Glazing to the south-facing rooms maximises passive solar gain, a roof-integrated solar pv provides electricity, thermal array provides the family’s hot water, the mains grid and a biomass boiler covers the shortfalls in winter. Mark is now planning to follow the nationally accredited Responsible Business Award programme which benchmarks best practice for sustainable business operations. His independent advisor Clive Bonny is already a Gold Award winner for meeting Responsible Business Standards. Clive said: “Mark is passionate about sharing practical ways to resolve environmental problems. His own home is a testament to holistically merging the best technologies to create high quality sustainable living standards whilst saving significant costs in running a home.”

A £120 million new link road that will boost the East Sussex economy and improve journeys along the south coast was welcomed by the Transport Minister Andrew Jones as it opened. The long-awaited Bexhill to Hastings link road, named Combe Valley Way, will significantly reduce congestion throughout the local area including the busy A259, Hastings seafront and surrounding rural roads. The road will also support economic regeneration, helping deliver up to 2,000 new homes and 3,000 new jobs. Andrew Jones said: “This new south coast link will end years of frustration for local people, providing far quicker journeys across the region and unlocking ambitious development plans.” The Bexhill-Hastings link road was delivered by East Sussex County Council with the Department for Transport providing funding of £56.85 million. A new dedicated path for walkers, cyclists and horse riders will be completed this year. The scheme is already boosting the local economy as companies move into a new business park next to the new route. Glovers House – a 25,000 square foot business centre – has already welcomed its first tenants to the site.

january/february 2016 business edge

32 feature: legal

Getting on the right side of the law Legal advice remains a crucial investment, hard times or not. Those people who have tried to save money by dispensing with the services of a solicitor have often found themselves deep in trouble because they ignored that basic mantra. And in the law, ignorance of ramifications tend not to be accepted as a good defence. The reason lawyers are so important lies in the complexity of law, a complexity that is constantly changing. Each year

brings amendments, revisions and whole new areas of legislation so keeping on top of the changes is crucial for any company, whatever field they are involved in. It’s so easy to miss a change that can have a major impact on the way a business operates. Also, very few laws are simple so in an age where a compensation culture is increasingly prevalent, getting the right advice at the right time is important. With every thing from health and safety rules to retail legislation can present challenges and a single mistake can lead to a potentially costly breach.

The result could be a fine, a court appearance or a large compensation payout. Understanding the law in the first place can prevent such unpleasantness. These days, however, many law firms are appointing specialists to their staff so that they can deal with as wide a range of legal issues in-house. Whatever your company’s area of expertise, the basic, overriding message is never to mess with the law. Ignoring the advice can be as costly as it comes. Investing now can save a lot of pain and cost later.

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ADR-Alternative Dispute Resolution ADR-Alternative Dispute Resolution Richard Schaverien, consultant solicitor at QS Howlett Clarke takes Richard Schaverien, consultant solicitor at QS Howlett Clarke takes you through mediation, a form of ADR. you through mediation, a form of ADR. 2015 saw a substantial increase in Court 2015 a substantial increase Court fees, saw impeding accessibility toinjustice. fees, impeding accessibility to justice. We saw them rise, in April, by almost 85% We sawclaims them rise, in April, by almost 85% in Civil valued at above £200,000, in Civil claims valued at above £200,000, and the typical Court issue fee can be and typical Court issue fee can be fromthe £1000 - £10,000! Furthermore, in from £1000 £10,000! Furthermore, in the autumn statement released by the the autumn statement released by the Government it was proposed to increase Government it was proposed increase the “small claims” limit fortopersonal the “small claims” limit for personal injury claims. injury claims. These changes are making it harder and These changes are making it harder and less beneficial to take proceedings to less beneficial to take proceedings to Court. Mediation is an alternative, which Court. Mediation is an alternative, which is sometimes overlooked but well worth is sometimes as overlooked well worth considering a more but effective and considering as a more effective and economic way to settle disputes. economic way to settle disputes. Mediation, in short, is a voluntary, Mediation, short,prejudice is a voluntary, flexible and in without process flexible and without prejudice processa conducted confidentially in which conducted confidentially in which neutral person actively assists partiesa neutral persontowards actively aassists parties in working negotiated in working towards a negotiated settlement of a dispute. The parties are settlement of a dispute. The parties are

in ultimate control of the decision to in ultimate of resolution. the decision to settle and thecontrol terms of settle and the terms of resolution. Mediations are totally confidential and Mediations totally confidential a successfularemediation will resultand in aan successful mediation will up, result in agreement being drawn as in an agreement being drawn up, as in Court proceedings, which will be legally Court proceedings, be legally bindingas both which partieswillwill agree bindingas both parties will agree written terms which they then become written terms which they then become bound by upon signing. bound by upon signing. There are important differences There between are the important processes ofdifferences resolving between the processes of resolving a dispute via Court proceedings and athrough disputemediation. via CourtMediation proceedings and is more through mediation. Mediation is more economic than Court Proceedings, the economic than Court the fees of a mediator are Proceedings, substantially less fees of a mediator are substantially less than those of a lawyer. By resolving a than those of a lawyer. By resolving dispute through the traditional Courta dispute through the traditional Courta system, you are merely obtaining system, you are merely obtaining yes/no result, whereas in mediation,a yes/no result, whereas result, in mediation, you achieve a “win-win” you are you achieve a “win-win” result, youthat are able to agree the terms on things able to agree the terms on things that often mean quite a lot, which wouldn’t often mean quite a lot, which wouldn’t

MEDIATION; Helping Helping you you work work things things out. out.

QualitySolicitors QualitySolicitors Howlett Howlett Clarke Clarke

be considered in the judgment of your be the judgment of your caseconsidered normally. in Mediation can therefore case normally. Mediation can therefore be seen as having a much wider scope, be as having a much wider scope, andseen is all-encompassing. and is all-encompassing. Richard Schaverien is a specialist Richard is a specialist mediator Schaverien at QualitySolicitors Howlett mediator at QualitySolicitors Howlett Clarke, with over 15 years’ experience Clarke, with over 15 years’ experience mediating. mediating. 8-9 Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AZ. 8-9 Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AZ. He can be contacted on 01273 327 272. He can be contacted on 01273 327 272.

Why Choose QS Howlett Clarke? Why Choose QS Howlett Clarke? • • • • • • • •

Free car parking Free car parking Central City location accessible from all public Central City location accessible from all public transport transport Cloakroom & refreshments Cloakroom & refreshments Accommodation for up to 6 people Accommodation for up to 6 people

Richard Schaverien has 15 years’ experience as an Richard Schaverien experience as an accredited mediator,has and15is years’ also an active member accredited mediator, and is also an active member of CEDR Solve. Richard has used his skills and of CEDR Solve. Richard has used his skills experience for over 30 years in a wide rangeand of experience for over 30 years a wide range of sectors to assist parties in the insettlement of their sectors to assist parties in the settlement of their disputes. disputes. “His style of ease and confidence let the parties “His style ofissues ease and confidence let volatile the parties resolve the without the usual situations resolve issues without the usual volatile situations that canthe arise” that can arise” Client Feedback Client Feedback

Offering Offering a a wide wide range range of of legal legal services. services. 01273 01273 327272 327272 8-9 8-9 Ship Ship Street, Street, Brighton, Brighton, East East Sussex, Sussex, BN1 BN1 1AZ 1AZ

34 movers &shakers

Mike Oliver Associates moving ahead Kicking off 2016 with increased business and an expanding team, Mike Oliver Associates are no strangers to innovation and are using the latest technology to spread services throughout the South East. Retaining a base in Haywards Heath but utilising satellite offices means the firm of experts are more accessible for face to face advice.

january/february 2016 business edge

The multi award winning firm of Independent Financial Advisers provide a spectrum of services including mortgage advice and pensions to private clients and businesses. The strong brand and development of niche areas of expertise has meant the company has successfully grown in the local business community. Mike Oliver said: “In 2001 I had the opportunity to become Principal of my own firm and since then my team have strived to deliver the highest standards of ethics whilst attempting to be profitable.

“Although the credit crunch was a setback, I diversified to provide well rounded expert advice. My team is committed to problem solving with a professional edge and will leave no stone unturned to ensure clients receive the best service at an affordable price.” Actively supporting local Charitable events, Mike Oliver is Chairman of The Greater Haywards Heath Bike Ride due to take place on 10th April in support of The Maternity Ward at Princess Royal Hospital. If you would like further details contact 0845 4021757 or

business matters 35

Your Best First Decision By Alastair Murray, Director, Start-up Web Designs

The Letting Partnership named Professional Services Company of the Year The Letting Partnership, who provide client accounting services exclusively for letting agents, was named Supplier of the Year for Professional Services at the 2015 Negotiator Awards that took place at the London Hilton in Park Lane in November. With more than 360 entries to the awards, the judging panel commented: “The Letting Partnership services meet a clear need in the market, for small independents and large corporates – a superb service!” Launched in 2006, the Worthing-based company currently collects between 3,500 and 4,000 rents per month on behalf of

letting agents across UK and over the past 12 months has handled and processed more than £60,000,000 of client money. With more than 20 years’ experience in the lettings industry and having experienced the chores and responsibilities first hand of collecting rents, Jennifer Markham and Managing Director of The Letting Partnership was aptly placed and saw an opportunity to make a difference in the industry when she set up the company. Jennifer said: “Receiving this award from such an eminent group of judges will, undoubtedly, raise the company’s profile. But just as importantly it recognises and endorses the achievement of building, from concept to reality, a company that delivers ‘second to none’ client accounting and client money protection services to agents, their landlords and tenants that not only ‘does what it says on the tin’, but also raises the standards and therefore the Public’s perception of the letting industry as a whole.”

For Start-up companies the choice of Web designs and designers is huge as is the range of Web and email services. Cheap off-the-self packages and even the ones that some banks are offering to new start-ups are extremely tempting. Cheap and simple is not always the answer, as we all know, so taking time to get advice and consider your options carefully will reward you later. Whilst there are many cheap online providers of Domain, email and Web services, it may be best to find a small, reliable, even local provider who can give you a personal and understanding service at this early stage in your business development. They will be small enough to care and to give a prompt response to your needs, which over time you will come to value a lot. If you can find a provider who can arrange your Web hosting and email as well as design you an eye-catching Website and for an affordable, although may be not the cheapest price, you will get off to a good start. We are all so used to ‘Clicking’ our phone and keyboards that we just assume everything is already designed and ready to go. As a start-up or new and small business you will want to, indeed need to stand out and be seen to be better than your older and bigger rivals. Choosing a Web designer who can really help you to tailor your site into the one you dreamt of, that Google likes and your audience wants to use and not just visit once, will probably be your best first decision.

january/february 2016 business edge

36 feature: innovation/entrepeneur focus

Business Pulse Services I work with SME’s from start up to turnover of less than £10m. For small business owners, good professional advice can offer the most effective way to devise and maintain – such a strategy. The first step is recognising the importance of spending time working on - not in - your business. n Capital raising through the Funding Circle n Growing the revenue top line n Streamlining the business approach n Preparing the owners to take more dividends out of the business whilst not putting the business at risk n Preparing the stakeholders to ready their business for sale or earn out or Management Buy Out (MBO) n Preparing owners for their final exit plan Growth is a big concern for small businesses. It is something that many small business owners find hard to achieve. Putting a detailed business strategy in place is a vital first step towards growth. Not having enough time to strategise is considered a bigger barrier even than the current economic environment to growth.

Regis Removals who won Business of the Year 2015

Crown Properties who won new Business of the Year 2015

Many small business owners say that not having the time to step back from the day to day running of their business to focus on longer-term strategy, is a barrier to growth. One of the best ways to create effective strategies – and, vitally, to ensure you take the necessary time out to do so - is to take professional advice. “Having dealt with Nasser closely over the past two years, I have found him incredibly professional in all aspects. His natural

business acumen is evident and I would have no hesitation in recommending him to other businesses should they require his expertise in order to grow their business.” Ben Walker, Funding Manager, Funding Circle For more information contact Nasser on Phone: 01403 331368 Mobile: 07946 284256 E-mail:

Research & Development Tax Credits The best thing Government has done for innovative British business? Parkers have been active in claiming Research & Development Enhanced Expenditure for Tax Credits or Tax Relief for our Small and Medium sized clients (SMEs) since its inception in 2000. Two things can be said about the additional reliefs for R&D: They have been extremely successful, providing support for approximately £12 billion of R&D expenditure in a single tax year; They have been subject to a great deal of change, almost on an annual basis with, in the last few years, significant increases in the rates of relief to SMEs and a reduction in the restrictions, the most valuable of which being that you are no longer limited to the amount paid in PAYE for tax credits to be paid.

january/february 2016 business edge

The Research & Development being done by our clients is fascinating and includes software development (including gaming), biotech, plastics, horology (using new materials & techniques in clocks and watches), medical equipment, automotive engineering, electric motors, underground pumps and next generation micro-chips. We have just successfully completed our largest tax credit claim, which saw our client receive £805,000 and because, as is usual, we also prepared the accounts and worked co-operatively with our client to identify the eligible costs, we were able to make the claim for a very modest time based fee; not a percentage of the payment. See or contact Stephen Monk


! D E T N WA


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january/february 2016 business edge

38 family in business

Willetts Farm Family Partnership

Celebrating 12 years in business Celebrating 12 years in business this month, Worthing double glazing Company Newview Windows & Conservatories owners’ – Duncan and Michele Wietscher (shown above) have seen a lot of changes to their business in the last decade or so, as well as getting married along the way! Duncan started Newview fitting windows with his new apprentice Nathan Lodge. He met Michele through work in 2003-4 and together the 3 of them decided to make Newview the Number 1 window company in Worthing. 12 years later they are now the largest independent Installer in the South East working for all the National & Regional housebuilders, local customers as well as Heathrow Airport. Duncan is Sales Director, Michele is Finance Director and Nathan is now Installations Director. They have 14 teams of fitters fitting 300+ windows per week, plus 18 Head Office staff at the depot at Lyons Farm. Working for demanding clients rubs off and Newview’s ethos is very much about quality and technical proficiency – You have to stay ahead of the game to differentiate yourself and we pride ourselves on our product knowledge, Industry contacts and competitive pricing. Employing good staff and taking them with you on your business journey is also critical. This approach has reaped a 38% revenue growth in 2015 which after 5 tough years of recession is a welcome performance for a local family run Company. Newview has big growth plans for 2016 too, including opening a Trade Counter for local builders and installers. Duncan and Michele’s passion to remain No 1 shows no signs of diminishing just yet! Contact Duncan and Michele Wietscher on 01903 244449 or email Their website is

january/february 2016 business edge

Willetts Farm has been farmed as a family partnership, initially by Robin and Audrey Ashby and later joined by their son Kevin after completing agricultural college and farming abroad in Canada and Norway. Willetts Farm has been owned by the Ashby family since 1920, meaning the current farmer, Kevin Ashby, is the fourth generation to farm at Willetts. Thomas M. Ashby purchased the farm as a sitting tenant - he being Kevins great Grandfather- and it has been a dairy farm ever since. Willetts Farm Dairy Ice Cream is a high quality ice cream made from award-winning milk produced on Willetts Farm in East Sussex. In 1988, the decision was made to diversify and make a premium grade ice cream so Robin and Audrey attended short courses on ice cream making at Reading University. In 1989 they began making and selling Willetts Farm Dairy Ice Cream which is popular and widely enjoyed across the South East. Willetts Farm has always had a dairy herd, now all Friesian Holstein cows numbering around 170. In the past the herd has won various prizes for quality including being awarded 1st and 2nd place in the Herds Competition 2010 by the National Milk Records. You can contact Willetts Farm Dairy Ice Cream by phone 01892 740320 or by email or you can visit the website at

business matters 39

How your business can help young people with disabilities to pursue their potential The Sussex Chamber is proud to be supporting Chailey Heritage Foundation as their ‘Charity for 2016’. Chailey Heritage Foundation has been a part of the local community for more than 100 years, and during that time has touched the lives of many local families and young people. Today, the charity supports children and young people with complex physical disabilities from all over Sussex, Surrey, Kent & London. The Foundation provides education through its school, residential care in its on-site bungalows, and also supports young adults through their transition to adulthood through their Futures Residences and Life Skills Centre. Michael’s story Born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, Michael is registered blind and suffers from epilepsy; he cannot walk and is fed by gastrostomy. When he arrived at Chailey Heritage Foundation, he had such severe medical complexities that he was restricted from doing any form of physical activity and was so weak that he had even stopped communicating. The idea of him swimming and riding a bike would have seemed impossible. Since then Michael has made amazing progress, mainly thanks to the holistic approach of integrating learning with therapies and the positive partnership built between class members and his family. His attention levels have improved as a result of the responsive environment in which he learns. Any form of communication, the slightest smile, is responded to and built on, allowing school staff to develop Michael’s pupil voice, confidence and interaction skills. His Mum says, “Michael’s personality has developed and he is much more outgoing, which is wonderful to see. Chailey Heritage has changed all our lives”. Chailey Heritage Foundation relies on fundraising to provide vital learning resources to support the highly personalised curriculum that each pupil follows as well as funding for extra curricular activities so children like Michael can enjoy their next adventure!

Within the past year, charitable donations have helped Chailey Heritage Foundation purchase Eye Gaze technology which allows pupils to control a computer screen using only their eye movements, as well as equipment for a new multi-sensory studio, therapeutic riding sessions and many other specialist items and services. The charity welcomes support through employee fundraising, participation in events, raffle prizes, corporate donations and sponsorship.

Chailey Heritage Foundation is also able to offer a range of employee volunteering opportunities which can help with team bonding, boost morale, and leave your staff feeling inspired and motivated. If your business would like to help, please contact Sally-Anne Murray, Development Director, for an informal discussion, on 01825 724444 (Ext 718) or email

Registered Charity 1075837 and Company limited by Guarantee 3769775 (England).

january/february 2016 business edge

40 advertorial

Are you doing regular IT security audits? Are UK businesses taking IT security seriously? Some recent high profile cases suggest that even big businesses aren’t doing enough to protect themselves. If big businesses like TalkTalk can have their security easily breached, the situation could be even worse for smaller companies that have fewer resources. A recent survey of IT executives and network administrators by VanDyke Software Inc. reveals that 46 per cent of companies that undertake internal security audits find the tests reveal significant security problems. The number rises to 54 per cent when an outside company conducts the audit. In other words, there’s a 50:50 chance your company may have network security problems. The stark fact is that many smaller businesses in London and the South East only tighten up on security after something goes wrong. They fail to conduct regular security audits and rarely do penetration testing to see

where the weaknesses are in their IT systems. They may tighten up on security after a breach has occurred but will once again be vulnerable to new threats in the future if regular checks aren’t maintained. Gary Jowett from CNC in Brighton says: “Even those smaller companies that do have IT departments often fail to carry out regular audits because their IT team is too busy dealing with other daily issues. This is where an external IT consultancy can help by providing a schedule of audits and penetration tests each year that will ensure your network is protected against the everchanging threats all businesses face.” Security audit master list First, you need to identify those sensitive assets that could be vulnerable to attack so you can create a master list of the hardware and software which needs to be audited regularly. This will include hardware such as PC’s, laptops, tablets, smartphones and printers. You should also audit access to all your servers

and data sets. Checking who’s using your email server or gaining access to your website’s administration system is also essential. Equally important are door access points, employee access cards and security cameras. Are only authorised people getting into and out of your buildings? If you employ temporary staff, are their building access permissions renewed on a regular basis? A lot of businesses are already carrying out security audits but far fewer are doing penetration testing. It’s advisable to get your IT consultant to help with this because they should have the latest tools and techniques to probe for weaknesses in your network. While much of this is just good housekeeping, the fact remains that many smaller companies need an external helping hand to ensure the job gets done regularly. It’s now essential if you want to do business with large UK organisations who require business partners to adhere to high standards of IT security.

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january/february 2016 business edge

Gary and Graham—our directors

business matters 41

Taking the message to the top By Sadie Mason, CEO Active Sussex October is recognised in the UK as Black History Month, and in celebration of this the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, hosted a reception at Downing Street. My invitation to attend came perhaps as a former international basketball player, but more likely by virtue of my role as a business leader, as CEO of Active Sussex. The 200-plus attendees were typically people of Black African, and Afro-Caribbean origin who have excelled in the field of business, television, sport (community or elite) or the voluntary sector. I rubbed shoulders with sporting stars such as Sol Campbell (former premiership footballer, and recent Conservative nominee for London Mayor) and Pamela

Cookey (recently retired England Netball star and now Business Manager with the West of England CSP). Also in the room was the main architect of the Shard – I couldn’t get anywhere near him! The PM had little time to meet his guests individually, and as my trademark red jacket had spectacularly failed to get his attention, I politely but firmly extended my hand by way of introduction. Small talk ensued, before the PM asked Pamela and I how CSPs could prevent young girls (such as his 11 year old daughter) dropping out of sport completely. I resisted the temptation to say ‘make PE a statutory curricular subject’, but did point him in the direction of recent Youth Insight publication and the This Girl Campaign. ”It’s all about self-esteem and confidence amongst her peers Prime Minster, and providing alternative activities to the traditional fare,” I said.

The PM went on to address those gathered; he talked about the Conservatives being a ‘party of firsts’ and included reference to Margaret Thatcher being the first female British PM. So why not a first black PM, or first black female PM…there is hope for me yet I thought! However, his message was clear: the road to success is hard, and whilst the UK may have laws to ensure people are treated equally, there is no equality without opportunity. His Government was doing all it could to support hard working people and to ensure there was opportunity for all. Well I guess that remains to be seen, but it was nice to be recognised, good to network (a few Active Sussex business cards changed hands!) and above all to represent. I’m sure all delegates will continue to be role models in their respective sectors.

Trust – What it Means For your Business? By Myra Cooke, EQ Development With more than 15 years in business, working alongside leaders, managers, team leaders, and individuals across industries and businesses (large and small); I have come to realise that trust is the critical ingredient in the success of a business. Trust is an essential aspect of interpersonal and collective behaviour. For owners and leaders; it is a fundamental aspect to running your business because it leads to greater productivity and business outcomes. On the other hand, mistrust is expensive, time-consuming and dispiriting.

Business efficiency is increased when the energy spent on suspicion, fear and distrust are reduced. Literature clearly reveals the link between trust, connectedness, and relatedness. These bonding principles are crucial in creating positive energy and action in the workplace and in life. When there is trust, it opens up people and at the same time exposes their vulnerabilities. Therefore it is critical that this is not exploited in any way. Four Dimensions of Trust identified include: n Competence n Openness n Concern / Integrity / Loyalty n Reliability / Consistency

It is suggested that the dimensions are not compensatory with each other. For example, whilst people may have confidence in the competence of each other; if they do not believe that there is a concern for their own interest, there will be no trust. So; a high level in one dimension will not make up for a low level of another area. The element of trust is as important for an established business as for a two-person start-up. Empowered workers are more highly engaged and motivated; and perform better. It is therefore common sense for leaders or business owners to reflect on how best to create an environment driven by trust to maximise the potential of their people.

january/february 2016 business edge

42 new members

Welcome to Sussex Chamber of Commerce Membership of Sussex Chamber of Commerce can help you increase profits, get the best from your people and find new clients. Also, it saves you money, gets your voice heard and puts you in contact with even more businesses. A Plus Care 30 Freshwater Avenue, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 2HS

BikeMend Ltd Basepoint Business Centre, 20 Bridge Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 1UA

Crowther Associates Pelham House, 25 Pelham Square, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 4ET

01424 850205

01444 635005

01273 695535

Accelerated Mail & Marketing The Penny Black, Marchants Way, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 8QY

BL Enterprise Europe Network 85 High Street, Chatham, Kent ME4 4EE

D-RisQ Ltd Landon Park, 73 Cromwell Road, Hove, East Sussex BN3 3EG

01444 245917 Access Aviation Ltd Pascal House, 51 Gatwick Road, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 9RD

01634 820455 Brighton Racecourse & Conference Centre Freshfield Road, Race Hill, Brighton, East Sussex BN2 9XZ +44 (0)1273 603580

01293 881333 ADT Fire and Security Gover Cottage, Gover Hill, Tunbridge, Kent TN11 9CP 07703 338521

Business of Leadership Co. Ltd Hyde Barn, The Hyde, London Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH17 6EZ 01444 401630

07788 491727 Delphax Technologies Ltd Unit 1, Vector Point, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 9AU +44(0)01293 592880 Eden Utilities Ltd Kemp House, 152 City Road, London EC1V 2NX 08432 893826 Ellis Building Contractors Ltd Unit 15, Birch Industrial Estate, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN23 6PH Office 6 306 South Coast Road, Telscombe, Civic Centre, Peacehaven, East Sussex BN10 7ES

Cameo Education ltd 32 New Church Road, Hove, East Sussex BN3 4FJ

07921 910708

01273 778384

Application Solutions (Safety & Security) Ltd Unit 17, Cliffe Industrial Estate, Lewes, East Sussex BN8 6JL

Ceres Power Ltd Viking House, Foundry Lane, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5PX

+44(0)01273 405411

+44(0)14032 73463

Atom Promotions Ltd The Loft, Warwick Street, Worthing, West Sussex BN11 3DF

Chailey Heritage Foundation Haywards Heath Road, North Chailey, Lewes BN8 4EF

eReco EMEA Corporation Limited Olympic House, Unit A The Birches, East Grinstead, West Sussex RH19 1XZ

07758 002324

01825 724444

01342 777550

Automatic Enrolment Solutions Ltd Kennet House, Office Village, Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 1SL

Computer Systems Engineers Ltd 27 Victoria Gardens, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 9NB

Euro OTC Pharma UK Limited 1 Kings Court, Harwood Road, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 5UR

0333 900 8333

01444 238070

01403 217772


+44(0)1323 725716 EQ Development 2 Langridge Lane, Broadbridge Heath, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 3GP 01403 372150


january/february 2016 business edge

new members 43 FB Travel Ltd 4 Capenors, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 9QL

Massage in the Workplace 70 Denham Road, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 9TG

Surface 2 Air Media Ltd 18 Fox Cote, St Leonards On Sea, Hastings, East Sussex TN37 7HJ

01444 870332

03434 551066

Fitsystems Ltd Top Floor, The Lion Building, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 8AF

MRA Business Solutons Ltd 30a Highstreet, Battle, East Sussex TN33 0EA

Sussex Community Development Association Ltd Unit 11 The Hub, 3 Drove Road, Newhaven, East Sussex BN9 0AD

01273 773302

01424 776214

01273 519151

Focus All Media Kingsmead, Myrtle Road, Crowborough, East Sussex TN6 1EY

Network Maintenance Ltd Unit 4 Snowhill Business Centre, Snow Hill, Copthorne, West Sussex RH10 3EZ

Tendercare Ltd PO Box 3091, Littlehampton, West Sussex BN16 2WF

07730 130856

01342 714301

Fundraising Auctions Unit 9, Newhaven Enterprise Centre, Newhaven, East Sussex BN9 9BA

Nova Direct Mail Ltd Edward Way, Victoria Business Park, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 9UA

01273 311433

+44(0)1444 231400

GE-AET Globe Energy and Synergy Technology Systems 21 Victoria Gardens, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 9NB

Plants 4 Presents The Glass Houses, Fletching Common, Lewes, East Sussex BN8 4JJ

03331 218247

01444 250348 Goinglong Consultants Ltd T/A Business Doctors Suite 5, Unit F2, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 9NH

01825 721162

07780 705277

PRG Publicity Ltd The Point, College Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 4JJ

Graphic Supplies (UK) Ltd 2 Pepper Drive, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 9UZ

01323 411044

01444 240 240 Heyland & Whittle 1 Crompton Way, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 9QR +44(0)1293 525825 High Reach Systems Ltd Unit D, Prospect House, Brighton BN2 4JE 01273 523684

01903 726161 The Princes Trust (Talent Match South East) Room B47, Sessions House, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1XQ 01622 694280 region/south_of_england/london_and_the_south_ east/chatham_centre.aspx Virrata 14 Swift Way, Littlehampton, West Sussex BN17 7GS 07900 914870 Warden Park Academy Trust Broad Street, Cuckfield, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH17 5DP 01444 457881 Website Success 30 The Hornets, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 7JG

Southern Fire Alarms Ltd 2 Argyle Circus, Bognor Regis, West Sussex PO21 1DS


01243 870851

West Sussex Fire & Rescue A Division Headquarters, Ardsheal Road, Worthing West Sussex BN14 7RN Creative Media Centre, 45 Robertson Street, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 1HL +44(0)01424 205406

01903 228404 Westridge Construction Ltd Ruskin House, Junction Road, Robertsbridge, East Sussex TN32 5UP 01580 830600

Horder Healthcare St Johns Road, Crowborough, East Sussex TN6 1XP

Springett Associates 32 Hyde Gardens, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 4PX

01892 665577

01323 431233

JFA Environmental Planning Oathall House, 70 Oathall Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 3EN

Stiles Harold Williams Sterling House, High Street, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 1GE

+44(0)01444 455500

01293 441300

Latest Homes Ltd 14-17 Manchester Street, Brighton, East Sussex BN2 1TF

Structured Communications Carmichael House, 22 London Road, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1AY

Wow Analytics Ltd The Old Byre, Peper Harow, Godalming, Surrey GU8 6BQ

01273 818150

02033 014000

01483 411911

Westways Vending Ltd Unit 2 Apex Park, Diplocks Way, Hailsham, East Sussex BN27 3JU +44(0)01323843767 Worthing Coaches 117 George V Avenue, Worthing, West Sussex BN11 5SA 0845 389 0633

january/february 2016 business edge

44 diary

Sussex Chamber of Commerce Networking Events Grow Your Connections

Manufacturing Forum

Date: Wednesday 20th January: 08:00-10:30 Venue: Barnsgate Manor, Uckfield Join us at our informal bi-monthly purely networking breakfast. These events is designed to give you a regular opportunity to meet other businesses, share best practice, grow your connections and widen your own network of customers and suppliers. Come along - it’s a great way to start the day, meet new people and network.

Date: Tuesday 9th February: 09:00-11:30 Venue: Sony DADC UK Ltd, Horsham Come along to our first Manufacturing Forum of 2016. We are delighted to be holding this event at SONY DADC UK Ltd, Southwater, West Sussex. This event will start at the later time of 9am, and finish at 11.30am. There will be a presentation by Colin Lammie, General Manager, on the high volume of manufacturing in the UK, a tour of the Sony site is included. Light refreshments will be provided. Numbers for this event are limited, please call the office on 01444 259259 to book.

Business Networking Lunch - The Sussex PCC & Cyber Crime Prevention Date: Tuesday 26th January: 12:00-14:30 Venue: Hotel Seattle, Brighton Join us for our monthly Business Networking Lunch, at the Hotel Seattle, Brighton Marina. Our first guest speaker, Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) will discuss setting the strategic direction & priorities for Sussex Police via the Police and Crime Plan. Our second guest speaker, Chris Neilson Strategic Lead Business Crime & IP Crime Coordinator, will discuss the Strategic priorities for tackling crimes that affect businesses & the Cost to Business of Cyber Crime.

Your Future Careers Fair with Big Bang @ Hastings Date: Thursday 28th January: 09:30-14:30 Venue: University of Brighton, Hastings The Your Future Careers Fair with Big Bang @ Hastings will give young people the chance to interact with businesses and try out firsthand the activities associated with working in that industry. They will get to talk to employed young people and attend interactive Workshops to get a better idea of and prepare for the world of work. The young people will be able to gather a variety of information on further study in the form of Apprenticeships, College, University courses and more.


Business Networking Breakfast Date: Wednesday 10th February: 08:00-10:30 Venue: Cisswood House Hotel, Join us for a Networking Breakfast which is being held at Cisswood House Hotel, and enjoy a Full English buffet breakfast. Guest Speaker details will follow shortly.

Your Future Careers Fair with Coastal STEMfest Date: Thursday 11th February: 09:30-14:30 Venue: Pavilion Theatre, Worthing The Your Future Careers Fair with Coastal STEMfest will give young people the chance to interact with businesses and try out first-hand the activities associated with working in that industry. They will get to talk to employed young people and attend interactive Workshops to get a better idea of and prepare for the world of work. The young people will be able to gather a variety of information on further study in the form of Apprenticeships, College, University courses and more.

Business Networking Lunch Date: Wednesday 17th February: 12:00-14:30 Venue: The Forge Inn We are delighted to introduce Alasdair Mackenzie from the Houses of Parliament Outreach Service as our speaker for this event. Alasdair will deliver a talk on the

work and role of Parliament, and how you can get involved, find out more about the role of MPs and Members of the House of Lords, questions to Ministers, debates and how laws are made.

Construction Forum Date: Thursday 18th February: 08:00-10:30 Venue: Holiday Inn, Gatwick Join us at the first Sussex Chamber Construction Forum for 2016, one of our most popular networking events. This event will be held at The Holiday Inn LondonGatwick Airport. Come along and enjoy some networking as well as a full English Buffet Breakfast. Our guest speaker will be a representative from Gatwick Airport further details to follow. Numbers for this event are limited, please call the office on 01444 259 259 to book.

Grow Your Connections Date: Tuesday 1st March: 08:00-10:30 Venue: Shoreham Airport, Shoreham-by-Sea These events are designed to give you a regular opportunity to meet businesses, grow your connections and widen your own network of customers and suppliers. Come along - it’s a great way to start the day, enjoy a comprehensive continental breakfast, meet new people and network.

Your Future Careers Fair with Big Bang @ Burgess Hill Date: Tuesday 8th March: 09:30-14:30 Venue: The Kings Church, Burgess Hill The Your Future Careers Fair with Big Bang @ Burgess Hill will give young people the chance to interact with businesses and try out first-hand the activities associated with working in that industry. They will get to talk to employed young people and attend interactive Workshops to get a better idea of and prepare for the world of work. The young people will be able to gather a variety of information on further study in the form of Apprenticeships, College, University courses and more.

If you would like to book a place onto any of the above events or would like information on membership, please visit our website or call 01444 259 259

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diary 45

Lunch Networking Event Date: Wednesday 16th March : 12:00 - 14:30 Venue: Arora International Hotel, Crawley Join us for our monthly Business Networking Lunch, which is being held at the Arora Hotel in Crawley. Guest Speaker for this event is Tim Hawkes, Managing Director of Unlimited Potential. Tim is an experienced international speaker on leadership and a chartered mechanical engineer. Tim uses his experience to bring a high impact, practical and results driven approach to organisational cultural change programmes. There will be an enjoyable 2 course lunch, book today to secure your place.

Your Future Careers Fair with Big Bang @ Brighton Date: Monday 21st March : 09:30 - 14:30 Venue: University of Brighton, Brighton

The Your Future Careers Fair with Big Bang @ Brighton will give young people the chance to interact with businesses and try out first-hand the activities associated with working in that industry. They will get to talk to employed young people and attend interactive Workshops to get a better idea of and prepare for the world of work. The young people will be able to gather a variety of information on further study in the form of Apprenticeships, College, University courses and more.

Breakfast Networking Event Date: Wednesday 23rd March: 08:00-10:30 Venue: Cooden Beach Hotel, Bexhill-on-Sea This Networking Breakfast event will offer you an opportunity to meet businesses, grow your connections and widen your own network of customers and suppliers, whilst

enjoying a full English buffet breakfast. Our guest Speaker for this event is still TBC. The event will be held at The Cooden Beach Hotel, Cooden Village, Bexhill.

Please look at our website to review the full list of exciting events For all bookings and enquiries, please contact us in the following ways: Tel: 0844 37 595 50 | events@ www.sussexchamberofcommerce.

Opportunity to sponsor a series of Events We are proud to offer you a wonderful opportunity to sponsor a series of events. These packages can be discussed separately with the Chamber. Please give us a call on 01444 259 259 for more information january/february 2016 business edge

46 five minutes with...

business news

Matthew Willets Director of Comicus Ltd

Matthew Willetts is the Director of Comicus Ltd, a corporate comedy and entertainment agency supplying artistes and speakers to the event industry. He has more than 30 years’ experience in television, film, theatre, media sales and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. As well as running Comicus Ltd, he lectures (part-time) at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television & Theatre modules. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio. He is often quoted in the national press and media publications as well as speaking regularly at festivals, industry conferences and a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival. 1. What was the first job and what was the pay packet? Paper boy £2.50 a week 2. What do you always carry with you to work? Shoulder bag, Filofax, mobile phone & credit cards 3. What is the biggest challenge facing your business? The Digital landscape. 4. If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you change to help business? Encourage even more trade abroad and make tea breaks (not coffee) compulsory. 5. What can you see from your office window? Green fields and a church spire. The very reason I left London (after 25 years) there it was the noisy, busy Holloway Rd and Odeon cinema 6. If you could do another job what would it be? Lawyer 7. As a business person, what are your three main qualities? Communication (this being sales, clients and suppliers), trust and a thick skin which started out thin.

january/february 2016 business edge

8. What was your biggest mistake in business? Getting into a short lived business partnership with someone without fully checking their background. 9. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? Work and gain experience in business before setting out on your own. And find an outside business mentor older than yourself to trust. 10. Who do you admire most in business? A few. Alan Sugar grudgingly is one, I have read two of his books and from my own business experience agree with much he says. I enjoy Bill Kenwright (Major West End Theatre producer), Greg Dyke and Richard Branson’s sense of humour matched with their overwhelming success, but recently found myself respecting the style and executive analysis of Claude Littner on ‘The Apprentice’

Creative Pod crowned Responsible Business of the Year Creative Pod, a multi-award winning design, marketing and print agency are celebrating after taking home the Responsible Business Award at the Sussex Business Awards 2015. The Sussex Business Awards were held on Thursday 3rd December at The Grand Hotel in Brighton and celebrate business excellence across Sussex through sixteen different categories. The awards are the longest established scheme of its kind in the county, this being their twenty seventh year. Judges were looking for the winner to demonstrate their ability to juggle everything within a business but still think of social responsibility in its community. They found this in Creative Pod and were impressed by their own social initiative Young Start-up Talent and on-going support from government. As well as this, they encourage clients to take on and adopt their own CSR policies and have developed close ties with local schools and colleges. Creative Pod’s social initiative, Young Start-up Talent helps to inspire 16-25 year olds to start their own business through a series of workshops, roundtable sessions and a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style finale. Young Start-up Talent is currently operating across seven regions in the South East and aims to inspire over 100,000 young people to start their own business. Winners from each region take home a £50,000 prize fund. As well as working with Young Start-up Talent, the team at Creative Pod are also proud to help and support the following charities: St Peter and St James, Chestnut Tree House, St Catherine’s Hospice, Golden Lions Children’s Charity and Autism Sussex. Matt Turner, MD of Creative Pod said, “I am delighted that Creative Pod have been recognised for this award. We are absolutely committed to being socially responsible and making sure that we have a positive impact in our local community within every aspect of our work. This is a fantastic achievement for all of the teams at Creative Pod and Young Start-up Talent.”

Integration is everything. Nothing exists alone. Ballard Chalmers is one of the UK’s leading enterprise software engineering companies, specialising in custom development for the Microsoft Enterprise Application Platform. We are principally dedicated to software development and integration for the Microsoft Cloud, as well as on-premises and hybrid systems. Our expertise is in Microsoft .NET, SQL Server, BizTalk Server and SharePoint Server. To arrange a free informal technical review and discussion with one of our experts, or for more information call 01342 410223 or visit

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