August 2010 Your Free and Online Independent Business Magazine
Peugeot Review Plus Ask The Experts and our Liverpool Networking Review
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CONTENTS Contributions Credits and Contacts Team Talk Written By Mark Brake Beatmatch Productions George Tudor-Willams Ask The Expert Richard Dixon, Lisa Mardariaga, Pat Cobham Stephanie Davies, Alan Taylor and Paul Leatherbarrow Peugeot Review Peugeot Expert and Peugeot 308 SW Sun Flowers Charity Feature Hallangen Art David and Eirin Hallangen-Lake Tech Haz for Business Liverpool Networking Scene Your Business Ezine Live Tuesday Talk Networking The Trading Room
Members Directory and Offers for Readers
contributions credits & contacts David Swinburn Writer Lisa Hughes
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Occasionally in peoples lives they have the chance to reflect. I don’t mean, “Hmmm, I shouldn’t have had that last drink last night”, or “What was I thinking wearing those trousers to that meeting last week”? As important as these quandaries appear at the time, I am talking about the bigger stuff, you know, the “What’s it all about” type of question. Often this sort of reflection comes as a result of some defining moment in your life and it really goes beyond simply thinking “What’s it all about”, you actually evaluate your life and how you impact the lives of those around you. This is something I have had the opportunity to do recently and one word kept cropping up in my thought process over and over again. Achievement. What have I achieved in my life and which of those achievements are actually important to me. In fact how do we measure achievement? Think about it, if you look at someone how do you evaluate their achievements? • Big house. • Nice car. • Healthy bank balance. • Good job, or successful business. • Amazing holidays. All of the above are certainly achievements and they are things to be proud of, but they are often the only things we measure a person’s level of achievement by. So what else can be classed as an achievement and more importantly, why? I recently read a book written by a marketing guru called Mark Earls. The book was called Herd and the author made the analogy that people, whilst believing they are all very individual, act very much like herds. Now I have to say that the book was very good and the analogy worked very well when considering the subject matter, but when considering people in a wider context, aspects of the herd analogy fall down. In actual fact, we are very much a tribal species and we all belong to many different sizes of tribes at the same time. Now if you’re reading this and thinking, “No we’re not, not anymore anyway”, then next time you watch a football match, try watching the crowd for a few minutes. We display tribal behaviour all of the time. We all have a basic need to belong. How do you think groups like The Masons or even BNI become so popular? When we
recognise something in someone else that we can identify with, we feel as though we are somehow connected with them, like we belong to the same “Tribe”. This is not some random feeling, it is something that is very much hard wired into the structure of our brains. As such it is crucial to our feelings of security, wellbeing and even happiness. What on earth has that got to do with achievement you might say. Well if you look at achievement as how you fit into your particular tribe and how satisfied you are with that position, then it’s actually very relevant. Allow me to explain a little further. I’ve been and still am called many things in my 43 years on this earth and I’m going to tell you some of the printable one’s now. In my family I am known as Grandson, Son, Brother, Father, Grandfather, Uncle, Nephew and Cousin. Certain parts of the family cluster and act as a tribe. In work I have been known as an employee, colleague, boss and friend. And companies, or should I say people within companies, very much operate as tribes, often warring tribes but tribes none the less. As I said earlier, supporting your favourite football team, or even joining a chess club all comes from our need to belong and its this feeling of belonging that gives us our self worth. We need to be around people who share the same beliefs, values, aspirations and even interests to ourselves in order to feel totally comfortable. The more individual we become, the more isolated we feel and the more unhappy we are. Surely then the true definition of achievement should be happiness and contentment! So to achieve this all we need do is to truly belong to our tribe or tribes. To truly belong we can not look to see what we can get out of our tribe, but what we can put in. This causes other members of our tribe to view us in a more favourable light, which in turn leads to acceptance and respect from your peers, which in turn leads to feelings of happiness and contentment in ourselves. Simple! Going back a little then, to all of those titles I am known by, what they actually are, are all relationships with other tribal members and if I’ve made the effort and maintained these relationships, then this is what I have achieved. Have I been a good father, son, boss, or friend? If so, then the chances are I feel like I belong and will be satisfied with what I have achieved. If not I may wonder for some time to come, “What’s it all about”!
For a city with such a well-publicised wealth of musical talent both past and present, there’s a distinct lack of attention given to one of the key ingredients in the harvesting of such talent; the humble recording studio. Without the recording studio there would - quite obviously - be no music to be heard. Can you imagine that? No Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, no Grace, no Sign O’ The Times. It doesn’t bare thinking about. Fortunately, studios do exist and as well as providing the essential facilities for bands and artists to actually record their music, they are increasingly branching out to become hives of creative and cultural activity. One such studio is Liverpool’s very own Parr Street. Boasting the largest live rooms outside of London up until recently, Parr Street studios is a world renowned recording studio that has played host to everyone from Oasis to Diana Ross. It also doubles up as an uber-cool café and bar and a boutique hotel. Not bad for a pretty unassuming building smack bang in the city centre. Ensuring everything runs smoothly is George TudorWilliams, the hard-working but humble 24-year-old whose company, Beatmatch Productions, operates the studios. Clearly excited and energised by his position at the helm, he speaks with enormous vigour and verve about the place that he clearly has a great fondness for. George spent three years studying sound technology at Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. Industrious George, who is severely dyslexic, took over the running of Parr Street’s Studio 3 while still doing his dissertation, “dived in with both feet”, and hasn’t looked back since. That’s not to say it’s been easy for the young business man – in fact, he’s overcome a long list of obstacles to get to where he is today – and we don’t mean on the notoriously tricky trek to the Parr Street bar.
With a passion for success clearly pumping through his veins, George has spent the last 10 years working in various bars and kitchens (which he loves) while continuing to pursue his business ambitions. In fact, when he first took the wheel at Parr Street he was working there 7 days a week and holding down bar jobs of an evening. “I was getting about 3 hours sleep a night,” he admits, “It was making me really ill”. But the sleep deprivation didn’t end there. Even now that he’s operating a world famous recording studio frequented by major names, George is still holding down a bar job, and what little sleep he does get is often interrupted by potential clients wanting to book studio time at some ungodly hour. “I get random phone calls all the time from people wanting to book studio time,” he explains, “It’s often at 2 or 3 in the morning”. It isn’t just unknown wannabes depriving George of his beauty sleep – chart topper Wiley is a regular offender too. “He’s currently recording 2 albums with us, though” adds George, eager to vindicate the star. And he’s in good company. Roll Deep “pops in every now and then”, Valerie warblers The Zutons were laying down tracks the very day we spoke to George, and he has recently signed a major deal with Take That songsmith Gary Barlow, whose new protégé is the latest in a long line of undiscovered talent to master their craft at the studios. But despite the undeniable success that George is enjoying with the studios, there’s no denying that it’s still early days for him. Having only taken over the operation of the studios last year (while still working on his dissertation, let’s not forget), he is still bursting with energy, enthusiasm and excitement for the role, while still very much aware of the challenges that lie ahead. “Studio 3 was working unbelievably well,” he explains, “We had lots of regular clients but we just ran out of space”. Business savvy George soon addressed that unfortunate issue though, and set his eye on the neighbouring Studio 4 - which he got (of course) and now uses as an office. He then got together the money to rent Studio 1 – the largest studio in the building, and his diligent determination leaves us in no doubt that it’ll be every bit as successful as the other studios.
Part of George’s success is the sheer effort he puts in. After acquiring Studio 1 in February, he set about creating an adjoining flat, complete with living room, kitchen and toilet, where artists could relax in between sessions - yet another reason why big name artists like Coldplay feel so at home at Parr Street. So what studios does George most admire? “I like the Motor Museum,” he explains, “An agency called Moloko deal with their bookings and they’re really good at it. They’re fully booked up for the next few years!”. He also admires Abbey Road - “obviously”, and Air Lyndhurst in London – a converted church which George describes as “absolutely amazing”. With such a long-list of accomplishments already ticked off, George is optimistic and energised about the future. Passionate about supporting Liverpool talent, one of his current ventures is the rather self-explanatory Parr St Studios @ Mojo Presents. The monthly event offers local bands the opportunity to receive free studio time on the condition that they sell 50 tickets for their very own gig at Mojo. “It’s very easy for them to do”, explains George, who is determined to work his magic on local talent as well as the A-List talent that the studio attracts. The ambitious chap is also looking at expanding his repertoire into teaching, after bagging an affiliation with
Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts - a massive coup for both parties. “We’re looking at doing training courses for students, which should be really good,” he enthuses. He’s also in the process of finalising another rather exciting - top secret - deal, which would see George and his company demo-ing studio equipment and branching out into sales and marketing. What’s more, the self-confessed workaholic is in the process of setting up another 2 businesses which he’s currently remaining very tight-lipped about. One thing he isn’t remaining tight-lipped about is his desire to help people “live the dream”. George is eager to offer lessons for “older folk”, teaching them how to record in the studio, and how to use software such as Pro-tools and Logic. “I want to give people the chance to see what it’s like to be us”, he says. “I want it to be less exclusive, and less like the olden days” he adds - displaying once again the fresh, forward thinking approach that has made George and Beatmatch Productions’ first year at the helm of Parr Street such an undeniable triumph. And if the first year’s anything to go by, Parr Street and Beatmatch will continue to be an unstoppable tour-deforce, not only in the music industry, but in the extended platter of proverbial pies that George is eager to explore in the future.
Written by David Swinburn www.beatmatchproductions.co.uk
Ask The Expert
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Business Coach International Markets Tax Accountant Humour Expert International Markets Guest Expert
Richard Dickinson Richard started out in his working life in the Navy, were he served for a number of years, travelling around the world learning some fantastic skills and meeting people from many different cultures. After leaving the navy, Richard entered the world of banking and finance, ending up in a role as East Midlands Region Development Manager for a high street bank. Richard then decided he was ready for another challenge, so he left the bank and set up his own national insurance brokerage, which he ran for 5 years, until selling the business in 2005. Given Richards extensive experience over the years in dealing with businesses and more importantly business people, Richard felt he would make a very good business coach. He then trained and was accredited by the Adler School of International Coaching and took on a franchise from Ology Coaching, which gives him the support of a multi national company, whilst at the same time still being able to give a local personal service to his clients. We are very pleased to have Richard on board and are sure you will benefit from his wisdom and experience.
visit the website at: www.ologybusiness.com/ email your question to: email@example.com
What does it rea
hat does it really take to be a leader? Each of us has a different idea of who is a good leader; is it for example Richard Branson, Barack Obama or Nelson Mandela? What makes them different? In a research project carried out by Franklin Covey, 54,000 people were interviewed and asked to identify the essential qualities of a leader. Perhaps not surprisingly, ‘integrity’ was by far the most popular response. Getting people to trust you is a mixture of your character - who you are - and your competence - how you do. Thirteen behaviours were identified as building up strength in your integrity as a leader. They can be summarised as: First of all, talk straight. Too many people use the following tactic with truth… ‘bend it, shake it, do anything with it’. To really get people’s trust, always tell the truth and let people know where they stand.
• Demonstrate respect and show that you genuinely care - if you have made an appointment to see a member of staff, don’t keep them waiting… return phone calls when you say you will. • Right wrongs and apologise for mistakes quickly. Nobody expects you to be infallible, be humble and don’t try to cover things up.
ening your ip Skills
ally take to be a leader? • Create transparency and do not have hidden agendas, be genuine in your dealings with people • Demonstrate loyalty. Give credit to other peoples’ efforts, be loyal to those who are not present and don’t run people down behind their backs. • Do what you say you will. Don’t blame other people, profess ignorance or go into denial to explain inaction. • Confront reality. Don’t let things fester in the office; face problems head-on rather than hoping that problems will just go away. • Practice accountability and hold yourself accountable as well as others for good or bad results. • Learn to communicate clearly with everyone and check that requests and instructions have been understood. In this way you can manage expectations. • Develop your listening skills. Being able to listen is essential in good leadership. People quickly react negatively if they feel that they are not being listened to and lose faith in their leader. • Do your utmost to keep all commitments - this provides a true reflection of who and what you are so make sure you get organised! • Extend trust to others, delegate and give others clear responsibilities and lead by example.
So here’s the challenge to you… as a leader do you display these 13 key behaviours? How do you measure up? If you are serious about success, you will want to adopt these behaviours. If you think you need some support in doing it… why not give us a call - Behavioural Coaching can lead top transformational leadership performance!
You Can V
Lisa Madariaga Lisa 4 Coaching Lisa is a life coach of some distinction. She is what you might call one of life’s achievers. Allow me to explain. Lisa is a qualified Barrister and a Chartered Accountant. She has worked around the world for both NYSE and FTSE 100 companies. Then one day, in November 2005, she collapsed in her London office. Not only was she unable to work, but could barely get out of bed for 5 months. As her health slowly improved, she was able to re evaluate her life. Lisa found that with her unique experiences of life, she was able to help others. She re trained and is now also qualified with the Institute of Leadership and Management, (ILM), as a life coach and executive business coach. Lisa is the founder and trainer of the Finance Coaching Academy of RSA, (formerly Royal and Sun Alliance). Soon to publish a self help book for people living with or recovering from ME, we are truly privileged to have Lisa contribute for us. So, don’t be shy, use this fantastic opportunity and ask Lisa some questions and don’t miss her articles, they may just change your life.
visit the website at www.lisa4coaching.com email your question to: firstname.lastname@example.org
bout five years ago my new boss walked into the management meeting where my colleagues and I were all sat around a boardroom-style table. We were ready for an in depth discussion about work and the team, the way forward, strategy, big ideas, approach and leadership, and boy did he deliver! Besides the new direction he took the department in and the relationship building across the whole organisation we undertook as a direct result of his vision, he taught us all an immeasurable lesson about change and how it impacts is all. He outlined to us how we would all go through the various stages of change curve (denial, anger, blame and bargaining, depression and acceptance) but that we would all at some point feel very sorry for ourselves and miserable as all that we had known and thought of as a constant would change. We would as he put it, “visit Pity City”. This, he explained, was fine, no problem at all, completely natural in the circumstances, however, he said, looking us all in the eye, one by one, “you cannot move in”. The immensity of this comment didn’t hit me for quite a while, some months later. I was in a one-to-one meeting with a team member and the change my boss implemented was well underway. This particular member of staff was finding the change particularly difficult. The conversation was circular along the lines of “I feel unhappy, what are you going to do to fix it for me? I can’t do anything for myself, cause I’m feeling unhappy.” It then hit me that this member of my team had well and not only visited Pity City, but bought a semi-detached with a garden, front lawn and garage big enough for two cars!
Visit Pity City
u can’t move in... The Pity City mentality is in most of us at some point in our lives in times of stress, change, challenge or emotional upheaval. There is a difference between normal Pity City visits and those people who take on the victim persona completely. We all have the ability to change our mind set and therefore how we react to the more challenging circumstances we face in life. We all know at least one of those people, we may be one, who is always complaining and blaming others for their state, whether in work, private life, social standing, or any other area of their life that they are unhappy with. “It’s all his / her / their fault” is the mantra of these poor, sad people. They have completely handed power of their lives over to others. When we give another person or people the control over us, our mindset and emotions, we are refusing to take responsibility for ourselves, our lives and our happiness. Two weeks ago I gave a presentation to my team and this concept was new to a number of them. A few of them disagreed with me and argued that in some circumstances we just don’t have power or control, like when you are overlooked for promotion. The answer I gave was this – taking control of your own mindset and accepting that only you can decide what thoughts and emotions you experience leads on to the inevitable responsibility for you own state, whether happy, sad, angry or calm. This is what people are not keen to accept, responsibility, because once they accept it, they can no longer blame others for their lives and misery. The answer got a mixed reception!
With responsibility comes a need to take action. If we are in a sad mood, when we have taken responsibility, we have to make the effort to make ourselves happier. No one else can change our mood, only we can do that. Yes, we may do this by phoning a friend, going out to mix with other people or using other methods that work for us, but we have to make the effort to change our mind set. We can phone a friend and remain in Pity City throughout the conversation, or we can phone a friend and decide to have a laugh – maybe even focus on making that friend laugh, putting their happiness ahead of our own. This is an amazingly effective way of changing our mindset from downbeat to upbeat, putting ourselves to the background and focussing on another person. We all have the ability to leave Pity City, we can choose how we leave, by chauffeur – driven limousine or by bicycle! We all have the ability to change our minds, do something different, talk to someone who is upbeat and will support us (but not do it for us!), focus attention on someone or something else or whatever works for you, we are all different. One thing I can promise you is that once we take responsibility for ourselves and our own moods, we can then enjoy fewer and shorter visits to Pity City – and much longer stays in a happier life where instead of being victims, we are all heroes of our own lives!
Budge Pat Cobham Pat Cobham used to be a tax inspector. She has more than 30 years experience in accountancy. Mostly from the side of the inland revenue. Pat set up Cobhams tax consultants and accounts in 2004 and has not looked back since. With a no nonsense and plain English approach to accountancy, Cobhams is going from strength to strength. You not only get knowledgeable one-toone advice, but you also get it at a fraction of the cost you would pay a large company. They even go that bit further and offer a one-to-one service out of hours should you require it. With background in the corporate world, they are better placed than most to help you with your corporation tax and whether you’re a sole trader, small business or established company, they will make sure everything is done quickly and efficiently to meet all HMRC deadlines.
visit the website at www.cobhams.co.uk email your question to: email@example.com
hought I would devote this article to the Budget. I am not churning out the changes to the various rates etc as you will all know this via the media. I just want to look at a couple of areas to give some further explanation and one or two items that only came out of the press releases and not the speech itself. The Personal Allowance threshold will rise by £1,000 from 2011. However, note that the basic rate limit will be reduced so that higher rate tax payers do not benefit from the increase in the Personal Allowance. We don’t yet know what the basic rate band will be for next year as this has not been announced. Employers N.I. is set to rise by 1% again from 2011 but as a sop towards this, the threshold at which employers start to pay National Insurance Contributions is to be increase by an extra £21 per week above indexation. For those of us in business there is one major change which was not mentioned at all. If the business owner buys plant & machinery, office equipment etc then tax allowances can be claimed on the expenditure. Currently expenditure up to £100k can be written off completely in the year of purchase and if there is any expenditure remaining this can gradually be written off at a rate of 20% or 10% per annum depending on the type of expenditure. From April 2012 the annual allowance is to be slashed from £100,000 to £25,000 and the 20%
et June 2010 and 10% rates to 18% and 8% respectively. So if you are planning any investment in plant and machinery etc which is going to be over £25,000 then you need to do it before 2012 to get the best tax advantage. One measure which came as a complete surprise and hopefully will help to kick start the economy is the National Insurance contribution holiday for new businesses. It will not help very small businesses where there are no employees but it would assist businesses who will be taking on staff. The full details are yet to be announced but effectively there will be a N.I. holiday of £5,000 per employee for the first 10 employees. Sadly there is nothing for existing businesses. Although the full details have not yet been announced businesses starting up as from now will benefit. The widely tipped changes to Capital Gains tax were not quite as bad as expected. However, what came as a total shock is that the Capital Gains rate changed from Midnight on the 22 June. It is absolutely unprecedented to have a tax change in the middle of the tax year and the blood must have drained from the faces of the software guys who are going to have to cope with the two different regimes for the current year. I, for one, have egg on my face regarding this as I gave the odds as 80/20 against for a change in the middle of a year.
The statement in the speech said that the rate of Capital Gains tax would increase to 28% for high rate tax payers. This statement is a little misleading. The gain in the year is actually added to income and then the basic rate band applied to the total. Thus a person may consider themselves in the basic rate band but the addition of the gain can tip them into the higher rate. For gains within the basic rate band the rate will remain at 18%. In his speech Osbourne said he would protect entrepreneurs and savers. I can’t see that he has protected savers as the rise may catch anybody who sells investor shares or a rental property. As for entrepreneurs that very much depends on the size of the gain. People who sell business assets may quality for entrepreneurs relief and this been increased from the current £2m to £5m. What this means in reality that anyone selling business assets for £7.5m or less will pay less tax but if it is more than that then tax will be higher. Regarding VAT anybody who uses the flat rate scheme will have their percentages increased so this will need to be checked out next January when the 20% rise takes place.
Stephanie Davies Director and Founder of Laughology, Stephanie Davies has over 10 years experience working in the public and private sector which has gained her an unsurpassed reputation for designing and delivering laughter and humour interventions for businesses, practitioners, clients, young people and adults. Stephanie is recognised as one of the UK’s leading voices in laughter and humour. She was recently invited by the University of Chester to develop and deliver the UK’s first MA course in Humour in the Workplace and will soon complete an MA on The Psychological Benefits of Laughter, Humour and Personal Growth. On leaving Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts in 2002 she began performing stand-up comedy, firing her fascination with the power of laughter and humour. After attending Dr Kataria’s Laughter Leader course Stephanie was accepted as a participant in worldrenowned, Dr Patch Adams’s Health Care Intensive Training in the USA. She worked with Patch exploring the relationship between health, humour, community and the arts. On top of her busy training schedule, Stephanie is often asked to contribute to popular television programmes, such as Trisha, The Bank of Mum and Dad, BBC’s visit the website at www.laughology.co.uk email your question to: firstname.lastname@example.org
fter moving into a larger house I decided to look for a lodger. I put an advert on gumtree: Room available in beautiful house with room.... along with some other top selling points some of which stretched the imagination. I was nervous about how I would interview them and how I would know if they were the right one? The replies came in fast, mainly female: a young fashion designer, a missionary and a student to name a few. All of whom were friendly, though none I felt I clicked with whatever that means. Just as I was about to give up I had an email from a male PHD student. As soon as he showed up I knew he would be okay, you just know these things. My friends weren’t so convinced. Nothing to do with the lodger more I’d lived on my own for over four years and had become quite used to things done my way and my own space. Or as my friends called it OCD! They weren’t too sure how I would cope with a housemate and a male. I believed it would be good for me; helping me to adjust to living with someone and not be so habitual (I know what you’re thinking that’s just another word for OCD) , it would also help pay the larger mortgage I now had and being away a lot with work there would always be someone in the house. Perfect! The first weekend he moved in I was away with work.
for Rent On my return, I was quietly concerned what I would walk into? I was used to having the cushions arranged a certain way, towels folded nicely and a general order to the house. Convincing myself over the years there’s nothing wrong with being tidy and having order, only to realise my cushion arranging was getting out of control, drastic action needed to be taken...Yes I was on the verge of becoming obsessive. (If you speak to my friends they would probably add there’s no verge about it, I’d tipped) so If there’s one good way to stop obsessive behaviour I thought, it’s to face it head on. So as I slowly put the key in the door, making as much noise as I could just in case he needed time to stop doing whatever he may be doing whilst home alone..? I stepped into my own house and for the first time in 4 years shouted “I’m home” in a similar sing like tone my mum used to use to announce her entrance, though with my anxiousness it came out more of a shriek. After another hello, I realised there was no one in. So I did what I felt I should; checked the cushions first, which did need rearranging and ran upstairs to have a sneaky look at what was now labelled “the lodgers room”. It was male-fied, I know that’s not a word but it’s the best I could use to describe it. That evening my new lodger arrived home and we spent our first night in the house together. Now there are certain things you have to think about: wearing appropriate nightwear, not leaving the door
open when I shower or on the toilet, making conversation. After a couple of weeks all these things fell into place nicely and we lay down a couple of ground rules like toilet seat etiquette (always down) and sharing things like toilet roll, washing up liquid but not sharing things like food, flannels and underwear! Over a month has passed now and I’ve settled into having a lodger and actually quite enjoy it. My friends are even surprised I’ve managed to cope having someone in the house and more to the point they’ve managed to cope with me and my habits. My biggest motivation at first was that I wanted to live comfortably in my larger house and to do this I would need extra income. This outweighed my hang ups about and so I took the plunge. The truth is I now enjoy having another person round the house, most of the time and the most important thing we share is a sense of humour. I’ve adjusted ever so slightly and maybe relaxed a little, but more importantly I’m training my lodger to keep to my standards!! There are a few good lessons to take from the situation: it’s good to get out your comfort zone and try something new, if it goes wrong at least you’ve tried it. Break habits, it’s refreshing and be open minded about situations and people and most of all make sure the toilet seat is always placed down. If you keep to these simple rules I think generally you’ll get on well in life.
Alan Taylor Alan’s early career was in IT (when this included punch cards and paper tape). He quickly moved from programming into analysis which gave him the opportunity in the mid-1980’s to work for an insurance company in the Bahamas. This gave Alan the bug for travelling and he has managed to cover five continents to date on his travels, South America still eludes him. His career in IT eventually developed into project & business change management and Alan has been involved in a number of large projects of this type. This lead him and his business partner to set up their first business together, a business change consultancy (PSI), in 1993. PSI initially grew in the UK & South East Asia and, once acquired by a FTSEquoted parent, it subsequently expanded to forty-five people across five continents. He has now been developing businesses both in the UK and Internationally for over sixteen years. During this time he has built a global network of contacts including senior level decision makers. As a seasoned professional Alan is able to help a business to focus on the definition and delivery of its development strategy, ensuring drive & momentum are maintained to achieve the company’s strategic goals. This is non more evident than in his passion for international business development where Alan is able to leverage his global network of contacts to generate significant business development opportunities. An adaptable character, with a pragmatic approach, Alan has an open (if determined) mind and the ability to make a significant contribution to a team delivering a product or service to a clearly defined market. Alan lives on Merseyside with his wife and two children and has recently returned to university part-time where he is studying for a Qualifying LLB Law. Of all of the places he has visited San Francisco (and nearby Sausalito) and Singapore remain his favourites. visit the website at www.ttnp.co.uk email your questions to: email@example.com
Love a A
ny relationship requires work and commitment. It is important to find a partner who is compatible with you, your needs, and who is able to obtain what they need from the relationship, otherwise it is bound to break down. Recently I have seen an increasing number of advertisements for websites that claim to be able to find your perfect match in your personal relationships. One (that shall remain nameless) claims to to be able to match partners up on a total of 29 dimensions of compatibility. Purely for research purposes I decided to take a look at what these are and found that there are some that parallel what an organisation needs when looking for an International Trade Partner. Now I’m not going to try and claim that you need to understand your partner’s ‘Romantic Passion’ in the context of International Trade, but if you are already trading in an overseas market through a partner did you consider elements such as their dominance, adaptability or communication style when making your choice? A lawyer once told me that when drawing up any commercial agreement or contract between partners their job was to consider the divorce not the wedding. Negative thoughts maybe but it is almost inevitable in any long-term (and longrange) business relationship that there will be minor, if not major disputes. It may only be then
at First Sight? that you find out the personality of your partner in terms of their kindness, humour and altruism. Time pressures or limited resources can often lead to hasty decisions but it is worth drawing up and adhering to some basic due diligence before deciding on which International Trade Partner to engage. Despite potential cultural and/or language barriers there should be no objections to you asking for basic references, from their bankers, their accountants and, if possible, their existing commercial partners. Ideally you would like to see at least one reference from an existing UK partner to ensure that they are experienced at dealing with UK companies. If the partner is to become a supplier then clarify what if any of the material or component that they are going to supply to you is to be outsourced by them to a third party. In some countries it is common for a supplier to win a contract only to outsource the whole manufacture/production to another company. This may not in itself be a problem but you need to make sure that there are not going to be any issues with regards to supply or quality in the future. If you are unable to undertake the due diligence yourself, or at least visit the partnerâ€™s premises, then seek to engage a local agent to undertake this on your behalf. This may add some up-front cost and may delay progress for a few days but may ultimately pay for itself many times over if it can raise potential issues that can be addressed now
while you have some negotiation leverage rather than when you may be dependent on your partner and in a much weaker position. If youâ€™re not comfortable with the relationship analogy then consider the parallel between signing up a new International Trade Partner and the recruitment of a new key member of staff. Would you really take on such a key resource without advertising, asking for applications, undertaking interviews and considering references? Agents, distributors, resellers and suppliers are valuable relationships for your business. Add the remoteness of an overseas market and this adds a further dimension to such relationships. In recognition of such value and this added element invest your time, energy and maybe some money in making sure you are linking up with the right person. Take them out (karaoke may be appropriate in South Korea!), perhaps exchange small gifts, be sure to call each other regularly or at least write, and meet face to face if you can. If you choose carefully then I hope you will both be very happy together.
Paul Leatherbarrow Stirling House Independent Financial Advisers, Liverpool are a firm of experienced professionals committed to providing no obligation high quality and unbiased independent financial and mortgage advice sourcing the whole market. We recognise our clients have individual needs so that’s why we bespoke all our advice to fit individual’s circumstances. We are independent and have access to the widest range of financial products in the market place Working with us involves developing a personal relationship with a trained and qualified professional. Why need an IFA ? Some people might ask why they need an Independent Financial Advisor, after all it’s perfectly possible to manage your own investments and manage your own financial affairs personally. We will be able to give you expert & insightful advice on how best to achieve your investment goals, retirement planning or achieving the right amount of life assurance for you and your family. Together we will develop a sound financial plan by drawing on our knowledge of a vast range of products and services to closely match your needs. With a wealth of investment market information at our fingertips and access to investment research your Financial Advisor will be able to identify and recommend the best strategy to realise your financial plans. They can also guide you through the complex legislation that governs tax investment and retirement planning. Why professional advice? An authorised Financial Advisor can give you advice & help on how best to manage your financial affairs based on your circumstances & investment aspirations. They can also keep track of all your different investment interests saving you a lot of time. What we can offer that a Bank can not • Impartial advice. • Access to the whole market. • Access to the most suitable & competitive available deals on the market. • Assistance through the application process and beyond, rather than wait in a queue, to speak to someone different each day who does not know your case, you have just one point of contact . • Negotiate special deals not available direct from product providers.
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he Queen’s speech back in May provided some clarity on the way forward for pensions both in the private & public sector. There were Promises to make basic state pensions more generous & also a recommendation to increase the state pension age, both were welcome to a state pension that was busting at the seams. But what impact exactly did the budget have on the UK pension system.
New Government New optimism
Let’s see if they really do care about retirement provision. We need to revive a savings ethic & encourage financial advice. We need to sort out both state & private pensions as well as public sector pensions. As the baby boomers come up to retirement, state pensions are too low, private pensions are not delivering, annuity rates have plummeted & companies have huge pension deficits. At present in the UK 2 million pensioners are in poverty. There is mass means testing in the state pension system, pension credits penalises private pensions. Which is not helped by the fact we have the most complex pension system in the world.
Increasing state pension age
There is a common belief that the state pension age will increase dramatically over the next 15 years, some believe up to age of 70 by 2025. It must be a strategy, where we can work longer and when we retire we will get more money. We live in an ageing society & will have to work longer, raising the state pension age will give added encouragement to plan for longer working life. No longer will people, who are fully capable, be told they must retire wasting a valuable and experienced resource. (But keep in mind this is optional, it will be your option to stay on) Raising the basic state pension age will reward individuals who have little chance of early retirement, as there are plenty of people who have not made sufficient provision. Hopefully new legislation will encourage people into long term savings as it is believed at present individuals need to save as much as 12% of their monthly earnings to retire comfortably.
Pensions and Savings
One of the main concerns of individuals saving into pensions is the fact their money is locked away when they could just as easily save into an ISA & access their money at any time. The coalition has pledged to explore the potential of allowing people greater flexibility in accessing part of their personal pension fund early. The stumbling block being the 20% tax relief gained and the purpose of the savings being for retirement.
mergency Budget Compulsory Annuities
The Coalition is also committed to abolishing compulsory annuitisation. Which is great news as the majority resent the forced purchase of annuities, especially as rates are seen as unfavourable at present. The alternative at present is income drawdown which allows individuals more control over their capital & income, allows you to pass undrawn funds to your children and are more favourable as annuities are poor value if you die early.
This is still on the agenda all parties recognise that the private sector is vital in supporting retirement benefits – the future would be were every employer in the UK will have to establish a private sector funded workplace pension scheme for all employees, which both employers and employees will be expected to contribute (current estimates are 3% each of your wage). Less clear is the future of NEST which many believe will hit the skids under the coalition objectives of slashing public spending. Why do we need reform? Consider the below mentioned facts unearthed in two recent surveys conducted by (Office national statistics) 2/3 in managerial positions were members of Occupational Pension Scheme (70%) 1/5 in non-technical/non managerial were enrolled (20%)
Only 19% of people planning to retire this year asked for guidance from an Independent Financial Adviser 34% got advice from friends & family newspapers magazines & internet Only 9% who carried out research then went on to seek Independent Financial Advice. The Internet, magazines and newspapers etc, are a valuable source of information – but could lead to serious misdiagnosis by taking irreversible decisions which leave individuals financially disadvantaged – The Government must find out why people are reluctant to seek professional advice?
What would make fundamental difference to individual pensions
We need a citizens pension – women are penalised by current NI system, basic pensions should pay the same as the minimum wage. Which would form a stable state pension base for
all, without the fear of means testing (the pledge to raise state retirement age would far outweigh the negatives) Get rid of means testing – sometimes those who have saved are penalised, those who don’t save end up with extra money from the state The Coalition are committed to review the National Employment savings trust (NEST) & auto enrolment – problem still exists with means testing. The Coalition should consider getting rid of contracting out, as the government will collect higher National Insurance Contributions, saving many Billions Pensions should be made more flexible, allowing savers early access to funds for specific purposes ( deposit homes, education) The tax relief situation needs looking at, some are in favour of ending Higher Rate Tax relief Compulsory annuitisation at 75 years of age must cease, the coalition is in favour of this although the Conservatives are in favour of - first 100k of ones fund must go into annuisation in order to prevent pensioners blowing their funds and falling back on state benefit The Government has agreed to phase out the age 65 default retirement age (anti age discrimination legislation so older workers can remain in workforce as long as possible) It is easier to take out a loan or credit card than set up a pension, new legislation must make it easier to save than borrow Companies with pension deficits need more help in order to slow the number of firms being forced into insolvency which will also take pressure off the pension protection fund which is funded by other pension schemes.
What can we do?
There is no substitute for Financial advice (what you are getting off the internet is generic advice, when you speak to an adviser your advice is specifically tailored to meet your individual needs) If approaching retirement every one should absolutely take in depth financial advice because of different options available, which will help maximise their income. The Financial Services industry needs to get people to build a pot when they are 22 because the majority at present don’t take pensions seriously until they are 40.
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N OHE T
Peugeot Review This is a first for us here at Your Business Ezine. We constantly look at what may be of interest to the local business community and try to include it in the ezine. On more than one occasion we have talked to various members about doing a motoring review. Recently we had the good fortune to Meet Rob Gallagher, Fleet Manager of Robins and Day Peugeot on Edge Lane in Liverpool who has been a fantastic help in making this feature happen.
More than the review on the vehicles we have here, our intention is also to highlight the local dealership that has helped us in doing the review. As a local publication, we feel it is important for you to be able to take advantage of any information in your local area and not just have a faceless multi national company to try and approach for more information. So have a read of the 2 reviews here, one for what is an excellent choice for an extremely cost effective company car, the 308 SR, and Peugeotâ€™s mid size van, the Expert. We have been so impressed with the knowledge and flexibility of Rob that we have asked him to do a guest expert slot in our October edition to explain more about fleet vehicle sales and fleet vehicle finance, which can be for as few as one vehicle. Rob is more than happy to speak to anyone who is interested in a new car or van, even if your not looking to buy now, as a matter of fact it is better speaking to him sooner rather than later as he will be able to advise you of the best and cheapest option for you. Itâ€™s also best to go through a main dealer like Robins and Day as they are able to offer better discounts than you would find going through a leasing company. Go on, give him a call, and tell him Mark sent you, from Your Business Ezine.
PeugeotExp In a previous life I used to drive a van as part of my job in the building industry. Now this was some time ago to be fair and the vans I drove weren’t new then. But how far can things have moved on, at the end of the day it’s basically a steel box on 4 wheels with an engine isn’t it? When the opportunity arose to do a review on a van I thought it would be a fantastic idea. After all this ezine is all about business and we may have neglected the blue collar side of business in the past, so here was my chance to redress the balance a little. What I decided to do, as apposed to just picking up the vehicle, driving it around for a while and writing about it’s drivability, instead I thought it best that I got someone who used a van for work on a daily basis to drive it and give me their opinion from a real usability point of view. Who better to do this than one of our longest standing members, Robert Edwards of Abberley Plumbing and Heating. The van in question is a Peugeot Expert, a mid sized van, in between a Peugeot Partner and a Boxer. Myself and Robert collected the van from Rob Gallagher of Robins and Day Peugeot on Edge Lane at around 10 am.
pert With a quick tour around the vehicle from Rob it quickly became apparent to me that things certainly have moved on considerably over the intervening time period since I last used a van. In actual fact, many of the features on this van had more in common with a decent modern car. The model we were testing had the mid powered engine, which was the 120bhp 2.0 HDI. It was also the standard sized L1H1, which has a 5 cubic metre capacity. Variations on this would be either a 1.6 HDI 90bhp or a 2.0 HDI 136bhp in the engines and in body configuration you can have a longer, or higher, or both longer and higher version, which increases the capacity up to 7 cubic metres. The van we tested also had what’s called a professional pack fitted. Bought separately the items on this pack would cost in the region of £1500, but bought as the pack cost just £500. This included a steel bulkhead, Bluetooth connectivity for the stereo and air conditioning. Also, every van that Robins and Day sell, they will ply line as a matter of course free of charge. Some interesting standard features on the van include the ability to lock the rear load space separately from the drivers cab as well as the ability to “dead lock” the van completely. There are also 2 side loading doors and no glass in the rear doors. Another feature of the van which was specifically developed by Peugeot for the Expert is the pneumatic suspension.
This keeps the van at the same ride height regardless of the payload. Another benefit of this is the ability to lower the load height of the van to allow easier loading and unloading. So, on with the test. One of the first comments Robert made when pulling out of the garage was how car like the feel of the van was. Besides having a much higher driving position of course. There are pockets and cubby holes all over the place, so storage for paperwork, cups, pens, mobile phones and much more is not a problem. One very handy option that was of specific interest to Robert was the storage tunnel. This is exactly what it says it is, a tunnel that runs from the rear doors of the van along the roof on the inside, right through the load space, through the bulkhead and the roof space of the drivers cab to the very front of the van. This allows piping, tubing, etc to be slid straight in to the tunnel, saving the need to tie them to a roof rack which improves fuel economy and security. In the standard length of van this tunnel has a maximum length of 2.5 metres, but in the longer L2 version it will take full 3 metres lengths. Whilst the van itself feels very responsive, it is also surprisingly economical, returning fuel consumption figures of just under 45mpg on a run, 31mpg round town and a combined figure of an impressive just shy of 40mpg. All in all the Peugeot Expert really impressed. It was an excellent drive with low road noise and a car like feel. Size wise both myself and Robert felt that there was very little difference in capacity to a van the next size up. With some great deals on offer, if you’re looking for a new van, we would really feel comfortable recommending the Expert.
Peugeot 308 SW
The business motoring world is swamped with executive saloons and commercial vehicles. So if you’re not in the trade industry or a top exec, what do you get?
Not a bad package at all, in fact I’d be interested to know what else you would put on your car if it wasn’t being used for business, at best I’m guessing a sunroof.
Nowadays a good financially healthy business has to be a bit money conscious, not only that but businesses are now rated by the green credentials. This is not a bad way to be, in fact, it’s probably the best way to be. Unfortunately it’s only now that consumer products are going in this direction and giving us the opportunity to be green.
Obvious Good looks
So, what’s out there for the cost conscious businessman of today?
Enter Peugeot and its new SR range. Peugeot is known for its sleek and sporty styling and now you can get all that in a car that wears business suits by day and Hugo Boss suits by night. As we dive a little deeper into the Peugeot SR range and forget the obvious good looks, we begin to paint a clearer picture of why this range is so important to both Peugeot and consumer. The SR is specific to business as it is an off-the-shelf package fitted across the range. This package includes:
16’’ Alloy wheels Front Fog lights Peugeot Connect Navigation (RNEG) Peugeot Connect Bluetooth handsfree Radio / CD player with MP3 playback E.S.P. 6 SMART airbags Air conditioning
Like I said before, Peugeot has really good looks. As you approach the 308 it gets chunkier and chunkier as you get closer. The sweeping bonnet merges with the roofline with one smooth swoop. From the front of the car you will be drawn in by its F1 style nose which at the tip, encapsulates the Peugeot beast. Similar features have been used on Mercedes SLR which is far less desirable than that of the Peugeot. The model I had a chance to drive was the Peugeot 308 SW (SR HDI 90). I can promise you now that the estate has not lost any of the sporty characteristics the hatchback delivers so well. Inside the car is the same story. Comfortable seats with right amount of lumbar support for access and to keep you put when throwing it around a bend. Once you’re in the drivers seat, you are welcomed with a beautiful array of white and chrome dials that will have you driving around with your lights on through the day just to see them illuminated. In the top of the soft touch textured dash is concealed a great feature of the SR model; Peugeots Connect Navigation (RNEG) screen. When you turn the key out folds the screen displaying to you Navigational information such as route, times, location, and altitude. The Sat Nav is also hooked up with the trip computer screen in the dash and displays the next turn information right beneath your nose so that you can keep your eyes on the road rather than admiring the colourful display. If you don’t use your Sat Nav often then you can retract the screen back into the dash or display snippets of information from you favourite radio shows. All this technology might seem a little much but I can guarantee
you now that it is much simpler than your iPhone. It just feels natural. Working down the dash we pass what looks to be Italian design inspired heater vents down to the cars entertainment brain, the head unit. This again feels right at home, flush within the dash and finely styled with chrome, it really is a pretty place to be. Down a little further and we have the aircon controls, again uniform to the rest of the interior they look and feel good and everything is just a hands reach away and can be operated without having to look, Peugeot have got the ergonomics of this car absolutely spot on. It doesn’t stop there for Peugeot either. Height adjustable front seats make for a very comfortable driving and passenger position. Moving into the back seats you can’t help but be impressed with the leg room when you remind yourself that this is in the small car class. Behind the back seats is the boot space. This is probably what impressed me most in terms of space. From the inside the height of the space is astonishing and it stretches all the way back to the rear of the car offering maximum cubic capacity. A couple of hidden storage compartments throughout the car adds the finishing touches to practicality.
When I collected the car for the test drive I knew I was getting the 90BHP 5speed manual but what I was not told was the engine capacity. When driving the car I was impressed with the torque of the engine as well as the power although I did feel like they could of got more out of the 1.9l engine until I found that it was a 1.6l. This changes everything in terms of this cars performance. But, high speed performance isn’t everything in this car nor was it intended to be. This punchy 1.6l diesel is all about the economy.
The engine delivers consistent power and torque and gear changes are very smooth although I would be keen for the throw of the gear stick to be shorter. As for the drive, it has what I can only describe as a very German feel. Nothing feels woolly in the mechanics of the car. The steering is direct and the suspension is firm but absorbs speed bumps very comfortably. This car is great around town, B roads, and on the motorway and with an average fuel consumption of 63mpg on a combined cycle you’ll have a lot of cash left over. If you are going to be spending time on the motorway then you will want to consider the 110BHP version which comes with a 6 speed manual gearbox.
On The Road
The car is in the C bracket for road tax costing in the region of £90 per annum. For company car users the company car tax works out at around £55 per month for basic rate employees. With the combination of style, performance, economy, and practicality, this car is a real contender for the race in the next good business decision.
OTR £18,545 Including VAT
Road Tax Costs Link www.parkers.co.uk/cars/road-tax/?deriv=41115 Company Car Tax Costs www.parkers.co.uk/company-cars/tax-calculator/?deriv=41115
PRACTICALITY Wheelbased Luggage Capacity Fuel Capacity Turning Circle Unbraked Towing Weight Braked Towing Weight
2708 mm 584 L 60 L 10 m 725 kg 1500 kg
COSTS MPG Insurance Group Euro Emissions Standard CO2 Emissions Road Tax Brand
60 5 IV 125 g/km D
PERFORMANCE Engine Size Cylinders 0-60mph Power Output Valves Torque Top Speed
1560 cc 4 12.9 s 90 bhp 16 215 Nm 161 lb-ft 113 mph
GENERAL Production Length Width Height Fuel Delivery Transmission Gears
1st July 2008 til Now 4500 mm 1815 mm Common Rail Manual 5 Speed
Supporting peopl Strange as it may seem, there are very few things in life that have affected almost all of us at some point. We’re all so busy living our individual lives that we often forget about the shared experiences that bring us together. But there are many. Coronation Street, the nationwide appreciation of a nice cuppa – Cancer. That’s right; there can’t be many of us who don’t know someone affected by Cancer – that terrible disease that has become as big a part of people’s daily lives as their favourite soap opera or a nice cup of tea. Luckily, Liverpool’s Sunflowers offers a much-needed service to those who have been affected by the big C – and their work is both much needed and much appreciated. The charity first began life in as Liverpool Cancer Support Centre 17 years ago and has provided welcome relief for those affected by cancer ever since – but it was only in recent years that it really began to grow into the bold and bright ray of hope that it is today. “We’d always provided a wonderful service,” explains Development Director Glo Simmons, “But 2 years ago we decided we needed to change”. And change they did. They painted the whole building, bought new carpets, blinds and various other furniture, and created a centre that reflects the bright, cheerful and welcoming nature of the staff themselves. But despite many of the attendees having never picked up a paintbrush in their lives, the class’ work has attracted attention from the highest of places. “The Hampton by Hilton hotel approached us last year as they wanted us to be their charity for the year,” explains Glo. “When they visited, they spotted a wonderful painting of John Lennon by one of our members,” she reveals. In fact, they were so impressed with the painting that they ordered an enlarged version to be displayed on the walls of the hotel immediately, adding that it would remain there “until the last brick came down”.
le living with cancer
Sunflowers also has its very own choir, who have performed at the likes of Madeline’s Gallery, the Royal Hospital and in Clayton Square, where they sang Christmas carols. “It was a lovely, lovely time” enthuses Glo, who is quick to add that there are no trained voices – just a lovely bunch of people getting together to make a lovely sound. Other activities at the centre include Tai Chi, which is hugely popular with everyone who attends. “It’s a big part of well being,” explains Glo, “Everybody loves it because it’s not about losing weight or anything like that, it’s all about pushing negative energy away. It’s just a nice, positive exercise”. Aside from the warm welcome and the long list of activities on offer, there’s another major talking point at Sunflowers – their rather impressive garden. Barclaycard recently became a supporter of the charity, and bought £500 worth of plants and trees for the garden. They’ll also be lending a hand with the planting of their purchases. The garden, described by Glo as “a place of peace where people can sit in the sun or shade and just chill out” is extremely well used, and is a central focal point at the centre. The fact that a recent visitor told Glo, “This is the first time in months that I’ve actually been able to breathe,” is testament to the massive effect that the garden and Sunflowers in general has upon its users. Realising that they needed to engage more with those attending, Glo and her team decided to host a number of activities throughout the week, in addition to the traditional tea and chinwag option which had proved so popular over the years. Tuesdays is craft making and Wednesdays are art class – the wares of which are then sold to raise some much-needed cash for the charity. “Jo, who looks after the garden, is a cancer sufferer herself, and she loves seeing the joy on other people’s faces,” explains Glo, “She also gets a huge amount of joy from it herself, and was like a kid in a candy shop when she went to get the £500 worth of plants”.
The centre also offers a range of therapies, such as Raiki, reflexology and aromatherapy – all delivered by a highly trained therapist known only as the “angel of the centre”. There’s also a counselling service, which is very well used, and can be provided within 2 or 3 weeks of being requested (as opposed to the 6 month wait you’ll get if you ask your doctor for it). And once again, the support is not just for cancer sufferers – anyone 18+ who has been affected by the disease is more than welcome. Okay, so now we all know what an incredible, inspirational and awe-inspiring bunch Glo and her team at Sunflowers are, here’s the big question – what can we do to help? “It’s vital to get the name out there”, declares Glo – who is oozing with energy and enthusiasm for what we can only describe as a hidden gem of a charity – and that doesn’t even begin to do it justice. “I have never left a room without someone saying “what can I do for you” she explains, “I’ve got lots of contacts, and do lots of networking. I’m working hard at it and I am at my best when speaking to people anyway”. One potential way for businesses to get involved with Sunflowers is to get involved in challenges, such as skydiving. “It could double as a team building exercise,” suggests Glo, who is anxious to fulfil her role of Development Director to its full potential by making sure that Sunflowers is a name on everybody’s list before too long. “We’re the Chamber Of Commerce’s Charity of the year for 2010 which is absolutely amazing for our profile in the city,” she concludes, “We’ve even got a Cheese and Wine Art Evening there on September 7th, which is going to be fabulous, and will hopefully get our name out there even more”. Given the fantastic work that Glo and her team do, we’re sure it won’t be long before Sunflowers ditches its hidden gem status and becomes the much loved household name that it so clearly deserves to be.
Written by David Swinburn www.liverpoolsunflowers.com
They live and work in their home in the beachside Liverpool suburb of Blundellsands, but their work can be seen all over the world. Husband and wife team David and Eirin HallangenLake have created a different approach to making and selling art for the corporate market – and have been doing their bit for charity along the way. The two artists have become part of the business networking scene in Liverpool and have converted many to their cause with their most recent project Mankey Monkey (more about that later). David’s work has been exhibited in New York and adorned record sleeves loved by the late, great DJ John Peel – so much that he joked he slept with them! More than most places, the North West has especially embraced their work. One location, the designer hotel Place in Ducie Street, Picadilly, boasts 216 of their paintings. Their hands on, holistic approach to their projects means they work with clients to produce pieces that are especially created for the environment in which they are to be housed, rather than just picked and put in place – and that’s everything from public spaces to individual private homes.
“It’s not just painting and selling it – it’s doing paintings that fit in their environment, with the ethos or scheme of the restaurant or whatever the business is.” Mankey Monkey, co-created by Your Business Ezine and It’s About Websites is the Hallangen-Lake’s most high profile project to date. Inspired by projects such as the Manchester Cow Parade and Liverpool’s Go Superlambananas trail, the couple led the artistic team to create more than 100 individual cute monkey sculptures that were then fostered and displayed in business premises throughout Liverpool for the public to find, including LFC’s TV studio and the student union bar on teen soap Hollyoaks. It culminated with a grand auction and all proceeds, (more than £10,000) went directly to Liverpool’s Alder Hey hospital’s Imagine Appeal, and no-one involved took a wage.
Large scale work has become their forte, and Mankey Monkey, which has just wrapped up in Liverpool, highlights the direction Hallangen Art would like to go in future. David, originally from St Helens, and Norwegian Eirin, met in London and soon set up home in the Merseyside. He says: “I became a professional artist in 1998 and had been doing record sleeves, illustrations, and the work just got bigger and bigger until I started doing large scale work for business.” “I was an actress,” says Eirin (she came to the UK to study at the famous Rose Bruford College). “I’d done national theatre and TV in Norway since I was 10 - I was in the Norwegian Grange Hill. “I met David and started painting as well. I would watch him paint and see what he did, learning techniques. I wanted to see how my own work would turn out, and then it started selling well – at first I was a bit shocked, but it’s fantastic when someone wants something you make.” David adds: “As a freelance artist I began to concentrate on the restaurant and hotel industry, and events like the Manchester Restaurant and Bar Show at the GMEX, which has been a great success for us. So that became our niche for a while.
But it became a real labour of love for all involved, and showed just what could be done when a city’s business network works together. And Mankey Monkey has given them a taste of what they’d really like to concentrate on with future projects.
“Over the last few years we have done a lot of original paintings, but most recently we have been moving into the realm of public art. We’re finding that especially in the North West people have not only become accustomed to public art but they have embraced it as an important part of their city,” says David. “The general public are seeing its worth as something rather more than a thing just to be looked at.” “The North West is a great base for us because of the business network and the nature of people in the north. Rather than every man for themselves, it’s more about strength in numbers, a sense of community - as Mankey Monkey shows. “What we’re doing is providing public art funded by private businesses. It’s a lasting legacy, a show of corporate responsibility, and it’s a publicity and marketing tool without being so obvious.” Versatility is key to the success of Hallangen Art. They endeavour to provide whatever it takes to create a completely unique piece of work, whatever the clients’ needs.
“We’ll do anything, including theatrical performances, 3-D work, basically any kind of creative public art solution, including full media and marketing support and backup, all in one package. Art is not just a decorative thing – it can be a marketing tool.” Examples of their work – and details on how to contact them - can be found at their website or Facebook page.
Written by Vicky Anderson
On June first 2010, having an Internet broadband connection became a legal right in Finland. The main reason the government may have to give such an importance to total Internet access to its citizens is to make the move of all of their services online, both to cut costs and to make them more efficient. According to the Finland’s communication minister Suvi Linden (as reported by the BBC),the Internet penetration is around 96%, much higher than the UK’s and the US’s which are below the 80% mark. “We considered the role of the internet in Finns everyday life. Internet services are no longer just for entertainment. “Finland has worked hard to develop an information society and a couple of years ago we realised not everyone had access”
The move to more internet-based services from the public sectors is already underway in most OECD countries, and several have had a similar approach to internet access. In the UK, for example, the government has agreed to give a minimum of 2MB/s broadband access to the whole population, but it is a commitment rather than a legally binding law. In Finland, the welfare check will now include Internet fees, so that the lower-income portion of the population will be able to afford it. Apart from a probable slight increase in taxation, this will not affect most Finns as they already have Internet access. Finland is one of the countries with the best broadband availability already. It is third worldwide in average broadband speed (behind Japan and South Korea, Asia’s two internet speed junkies) and the fifth country regarding to broadband penetration. Broadband is cheaper than most places too (again, only behind Japan and South Korea) which makes the new law affordable.
The reaction from the “international community” is mixed nonetheless. Some call upon their libertarian side, surprised that anyone could even think of Internet access as a right rather than a commodity. Others call Finland forward thinking, the first country to take act upon the technological advancements of our time. The problem is that Internet access here becomes more of an obligation than a right, and though you don’t pay for it if you’re of the needy, you may not be able to refuse to be contacted through electonical means in the near future. On the other hand, why should the government still have to rely on costly solutions like paperwork and snailmail in this day and age?
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It seems like every Rod, Jane and Freddy are setting up their own networking events these days. Business men and women from around the North West are busy mixing and mingling at various events across the region, all in the name of networking. But what happens when you run out of new faces to talk business cards and canapés with? Well, we’ve sifted through the numerous networking events to find one with a refreshing approach that’s got everybody talking. Founded by good friends Helen, Dawn and John in July 2009, Tuesday Talk has just celebrated its first birthday. In fact, when we met bubbly businesswomen Helen and Dawn, they were bursting with excitement over the prospect of the Tuesday Talk birthday party, which was taking place later that evening and would involve a cake big enough for any and every business person to fill their busy networking boots. The first Tuesday Talk event took place in Formby in July 2009, but its unprecedented success lead to further expansion when the trio sought a larger venue in Crosby earlier this year. “To be honest,” explains Dawn, “I wanted to do this because I separated from my partner and it meant that I couldn’t attend other networking events, which were often in the evening”. Fortunately, business-savvy Dawn saw a clear solution to the problem, and she teamed up with Helen and John to create a networking event of their own.
“I was new to the area myself, and so I was eager to get networking” says Dawn. “It’s worked too, I know everyone now!” she adds. And there’s more to the trio than their super successful Tuesday Talk - in fact, they’ve got another two businesses between them! Dawn and Helen run Diversity Matters, an exciting and inspirational service offering stress management, Raiki and weekend retreats that have already earned them an excellent reputation. They’re also two fifths of the intriguingly named Fifth Wise Monkey (alongside Neil Sheppard, Richard MorganGreen and Ronnie Soo) - which Dawn (only half-joking) suggests means they can solve anything. “We provide an online business platform, coaching - both personal and corporate, business consultancy, stress management, web design, SEO and social media workshops,” enthuses Dawn. Basically, they really can solve pretty much anything. So what is Tuesday Talk exactly? “They’re informal and relaxed open networking events,” explains Helen. The pay as you go nature of the service means that attendees can dip in and out as they choose, and ensures that there’s always a fresh batch of business people looking to further their connections and lend a hand to those in the same boat. And at just £10 a head when booking online or £12 on the door, attending an event won’t mean parting with too much of your hard earned cash.
orking The ladies are keen to stress that the events themselves are refreshingly informal - “but they do have some structure!” they add. Each month two members, picked through a draw, become guest speakers for the night. The events also have monthly discussion points and speed networking opportunities which ensures something fresh and new is offered every time. One thing that does stay the same, however, is the superb venues that the events are held at. Café Des Crepes in Chappell Alley, Formby and The Pioneer in Liverpool Road, Crosby provide the perfect surrounding for the most exciting networking to hit the North West in years. “It’s all about bringing people together and providing them with contacts, information and support,” says Dawn. And the eager to please team ensure that each event is moulded to meet attendees’ wants and needs by acting on comments made in the monthly feedback forms. “After all,” adds Helen, “It’s all about them”. And what about “them” – the business men and women that attend Tuesday Talk and make it the success that it is? “I like to think of us as having a mix of both the right and left side of the brain,” says Dawn – meaning that unlike many networking events, Tuesday Talk plays host to various creative types (“handbag makers and chocolate makers”) as well as the stereotypical blend of accountants and estate agents. Despite the success of the events, Helen and Dawn are still incredibly ambitious about their future. “We want to build a bridge across Liverpool” they say, and why not?
The two sets of events that they currently run in Formby and Crosby have proved hugely popular, and the ladies are keen to tap in to the plentiful supplies of Liverpool business people looking for an exciting and engaging networking event. “We want to work in collaboration with other networking events”, they explain, “We’re not a threat”. “We have a core group of people who attend each event, but there are new people at each event,” explains Helen. In fact, Tuesday Talk has been that successful at bringing people together, that many of the attendees have developed relationships beyond the four walls of the event itself. The events have also improved attendees’ interpersonal skills, and have turned some from shy and retiring wallflowers to uber-confident balls of energy, eager to speak to the rest of the group. “It’s fabulous to see people’s confidence improving, and to see them really benefiting from our help,” beams Dawn, who jokes that it should be called “holistic networking”, as a lot of their work is about “overcoming adversity”, and equipping attendees with the skills and contacts to be the best that they can be. And with such a competent and confident duo at the helm, they’re in extremely safe hands.
Written By David Swinburn www.facebook.com/tuesdaytalk?ref=ts
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