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December 2012 - Issue 16

Adelaide to Aberavon Beach P LUS // Bryan Gunton on making magic Tony Worsley with his memories of 9/11 and all your regular features and latest news

The official magazine of


Published by:


Design & E-book creation:

Huw Johns

Gwilym Cox


Susi Cernoch

Advertising: Lynne Orton - A limited amount of advertising will be available in future issues All enquiries: Tel: 01639 793580 Issue number 16

The Handshake is the official magazine of The Business Network and is published electronically every 3 months. Copies are sent to all Business Network members and other selected individuals within the business community. To request a regular copy email:

L Y N N E ’ S F O R E W O R D



Wow!! December already! Where has the year gone? This last quarter has been particularly busy for The Business Network with our Business Exhibition & Meet the Buyer event in early October and then our 3rd Annual Awards Evening at the fantastic New House Hotel on 26th October. Congratulations to all the winners of our awards, you will find photos of both these events later in the magazine. During the last three months we have also launched our Cardiff Rise & Shine breakfast meetings adding to our ever expanding networking portfolio and we now offer 13 events a month.



So, it’s almost the end of another busy year – how have you found 2012? Have you made plans to grow your business next year? Is networking part of those plans?


No matter what business you have – it could be an exciting, innovative, cutting edge, never been done before business – if no-one knows about it then it can’t grow. Awareness is everything. So how do you create that awareness? By advertising, marketing and networking.


# 10 - 11 F E A T U R E

I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year. If you decide to take part in any networking groups in 2013 hopefully you’ll give The Business Network a try too.

/ /

Tragedy, Territorials and Technology

Of course, there is more to networking than just turning up to events. Being aware of who is in the room is important. Asking pertinent questions to find out whether their wider network of connections could be valuable to you is almost mandatory. Taking time to nurture relationships is vital – never, ever, write anyone off, as you don’t know who they may know.

So, lots of things to consider when we move towards a New Year, but one thing I think we will all agree on is that no business can afford to sit still and not look forward (or even worse - look backwards).

/ /

Adelaide to Aberavon

Of course I would say that networking is important wouldn’t I? But I genuinely believe that networking properly is a very important business skill. What do I mean by networking properly? Well, selecting the right network for you is a great start. What time of day is it? Are there regular meetings? Is there always the same core of people there with a constant flow of new guests? Does it suit your personality and business? Is it corporate membership? Does it have flexible payment plans to help you plan your budget? What is the structure? Is there any structure? Are there any other benefits other than the regular meetings?

Following up on those you’ve met is a powerful routine to adopt and delivering on your promises – whether they are contact details or advice or arranging a meeting – is absolutely paramount….your credibility is important to you and to others, after all if people can’t rely on you to send them some information, why would they believe that you could deliver on a service or sale?



#14 - 16 OT HE R


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TONY ON TECH By Anthony Worsley




JUST A THOUGHT: By Beverly Jones




BOOK REVIEW: By Susi Cernoch




DARWIN’S LAW: By Stephen Thompson


BIZ Bites


GIZMOS ETC: By James Daniel








HR BITES: By Clare Bowen


PHOTO GALLERY Exhibition & Awards



Tricky Business By Huw Johns

I realised that I’d built up enough confidence to go off-piste and involve my audience more. At the time I thought of it as a sort of ‘jazz style’ – improvising according to the mood and the people. I began to experiment...


Close-up magician Bryan Gunton has entertained a long list of celebrities including Heston Blumenthal and Professor Brian Cox. Up until a few years ago, the well-known magician was an Aircraft Engineer in the RAF, as Huw Johns finds out… “Yes, I was doing a charity gig about three and half years ago, and Heston Blumenthal and Raymond Blanc were on the table,” Bryan confirms. “It was going well until we got to Jimmy Tarbuck. He snatched the cards away from me and shuffled them at an inopportune moment. I was lost. My usual routine had gone out of the window. So I was forced to improvise. Luckily, things worked out well, and Jimmy and the others were very complimentary. From then on my magic began to take a new direction,” Bryan explains. “I realised that I’d built up enough confidence to go off-piste and involve my audience more. At the time I thought of it as a sort of ‘jazz style’ – improvising according to the mood and the people. I began to experiment,” he says enthusiastically. The experiment paid off and Bryan’s performances went up a notch. He involved the audience and gave them a genuine choice. They picked the cards. They held the cards. There was nothing rigged. The result was that the audience members were even more flabbergasted with the end result as they had been instrumental in the trick themselves. Bryan Gunton’s love of magic began when he was a child. Dyslexic, he struggled to understand the instructions to his Paul Daniels Magic set, so he just worked it out. He says that he believes his dyslexia gave him a greater ability to solve problems.

“I joined the RAF and became an aircraft engineer. I got quite good at aircraft drawings and I found the job pleasant as I was always solving problems,” he says.

The downside, though, was the amount of time he had to spend in hotels around the world. To pass the time he and his colleagues would play cards,

and Bryan began to show them some tricks. With lots of spare time to practise, he quickly became pretty good and joined a magic club in the UK to help him learn more. With service retirement looming, Bryan took advantage of an RAF resettlement course. While many of his peers were opting for courses in plumbing or I.T., Bryan managed to secure a 3 day magic course in Las Vegas - no doubt aided by his regular performances at various Officers’ Mess! While he was there, Bryan met David Copperfield and was tutored by world class magician Jeff McBride. It was a huge confidence-booster and it made Bryan realise that his second career was going to be in magic, when he left the RAF. He became a full time professional in 2008 and soon added mind-reading, memory classes, corporate exhibition work and pick-pocketing to his repertoire. His most memorable moments include accidentally leaving an event with someone’s watch with him after a pick-pocketing demonstration, only to realise and return it to the guest without them knowing. The biggest highlight was performing on a table of six Michelin star chefs. Bryan’s greatest critic is his 13 year old daughter. No trick makes it into a routine without her approval. If it gets past her – it’s in. You’d think she’d approve of a Dad who entertains celebrities, reads minds and amazes audiences, but bizarrely, she thinks it’s “uncool”. Email Bryan: #5

Hi everyone and welcome to the Tony on Tech column! Over the forthcoming issues I will be reviewing some of the latest and greatest gadgets as they are announced.

Is it all about Mobile Apps or is it the Internet? Mobile Apps! What do you use them for? How many do you have? Research firms are predicting that revenue from mobile search and discovery will skyrocket to £7.5 billion by 2017, nearly three times the expected revenues for 2012. Reports also found that mobile search and discovery, including web search, local search and discovery apps, enjoys some of the highest click-through-rates and cost-per-click rates in mobile advertising. The future is all about mobile, so what is fuelling this obsession? Perhaps it’s because a large proportion of people own at least one mobile device!! As of June 2012 it is expected that 50% of the UK population will own a smartphone. With tablets becoming more available and affordable, UK ownership has increased from just 2% in 2001 to 11% with 17% planning to purchase one this year.

IN-STORE MOBILE USE In-store mobile users are not just casually browsing the web with a smartphone; owners on their most recent shopping trip were increasingly using a 3rd-party mobile shopping application or retailer’s dedicated app. Significantly, in-store conversion rates among shoppers that used a retailer’s dedicated app was higher compared to those that did not.

LOCATION-BASED MOBILE APPS A recent survey of marketers found that mobile is the new marketing focus. Survey respondents reported that this was their first year using mobile, and others planned to start using it in the near future. Location based apps are especially hot, with marketers expecting to employ them in the next year.


MARKETING TAKEAWAY As mobile device usage becomes continues to increase, users will become increasingly reliant on mobile search and discovery. This of course means that mobile ad space on various search and discovery platforms becomes a more lucrative proposition. Aside from local search apps, retail or merchant apps will become more ubiquitous in the next few years as well. Anyone who has tried to perform a general web search on a mobile device knows that it is not a userfriendly process, often taking forever to type in a query, and then sift through an endless stream of results. Mobile apps, on the other hand, are better able to target specific actions, providing a simpler and more-relevant user experience. As business owners, this is well worth investigating and thinking about how mobile apps can fit into your current and future marketing plans, whether it is by advertising on them, building them for your brand, or both - after all, social media has dedicated apps, and look what happened there! Eventually, and sooner than we realize, mobile apps will be everywhere, driving the future of the Internet.

See you next time.

Article by:

Beverley Jones A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a cousin of mine about how life these days is so rushed and busy, where we always seem to be running around in a hurry, both physically and mentally. It is no surprise to me that, as a result, stress levels appear to be rising at an alarming rate. As we looked back at our parents’ generation we recollected how, as children, our parent’s lives seemed to run at a steadier pace. There were no social media posts to keep up with; in fact, there was no phone in the house until I was in my early teens. Washing was done by hand, or at least in a twin tub! No automatics, and there were only four channels on the TV. There was no credit card debt because there was no credit, and designer labels were only for the rich and famous. Surely it is during those times when the stress levels should have been higher. I guess we all think that our days are the good ole days but maybe on this occasion our parents may well in part be right – maybe less really is more.

As I watch my retired parents outshine me with their physical energy, I can see how their way of life meant that you had to be fit to get the work done; there was less sitting around and less to be stressed about. Have a think about your good ole days; remember how it felt when life was calmer and take some time to claim it back.

Quote of the Month

Happy is the person who knows what to remember of the past, what to enjoy in the present, and what to plan for in the future


The Gun Seller – Hugh Laurie Susi reviews her choice of literature in her regular column Yes, it’s THAT Hugh Laurie; the total plonker George in Blackadder, and the meanest of doctors in House. But can he really write? Well, yes, believe it or not, he actually can. Frankly, I wouldn’t have cared either way; I love the guy and bought the book on spec. To be fair, I didn’t expect it to be a great work of literature, and it’s not. But it is a fun, fast, twisty romp of a spy thriller, surprisingly well constructed, gratifyingly entertaining and distinctly unique in style. Thomas Lang, ex-Scots Guard and general layabout, was drifting along just fine until he was offered a large sum of money to kill a wealthy businessman. Lang, of course, doesn’t want the job, thanks awfully, but before he can even open a fresh bottle of Scotch he gets sucked into a tangled scheme involving dangerous and obscenely rich arms dealers, amateur terrorist plots, minor foreign dignitaries, the CIA and a groundbreaking new model of fighter helicopter that promises tankerloads of money to the government (US, British, both, who knows?). Oh, and a pretty girl. Blackmailed on several fronts, Lang is forced to be a bad guy, which he manages to do pretty well, but not without several layers of guilt weighing on his conscience and making him determined to find a way to flip the script (and the bird) on the guys holding the reins. The plot moves forward at a spanking pace, mainly because Lang doesn’t know who the good guys are, but then again, neither does the reader. There were times when I found myself saying, “Hang about, I thought he was on our side! And what the hell is she doing helping that guy over there when last night she was snuggling up to Lang? Ratbag!” Both plot and characters are soaked in ambiguity. Just when you think you know what’s going on, you find out you probably don’t. The reader experiences every shift, twist, and loop right along with Lang, and his quest for the truth becomes yours as you race towards the end looking for the way out. All along, you can’t even be sure if

Lang is a good guy who learned to be bad, or a bad guy trying to make good, or both. Neither does Lang, though; he’s just making it up as he goes along, pulling out his old spy/ special ops skills and flying by the seat of his pants while trying to stay alive and avert World War III. Some of his moves are downright stunning - at one point, I almost wanted to sit up and applaud. Honestly, this novel is a blast! The conversational narrative in the first person made me picture Laurie, sitting in a plump leather armchair with a drink at his elbow, just spinning out this yarn while we relaxed in front of a fire on a chilly day – not altogether an unpleasant daydream. Lang is a fantastic protagonist, just a sort of everyman with some specially-acquired military skills who would prefer to mind his own business, but he also has just a little more under the surface than you would expect. The plot double-crosses and then twists back on itself, but it’s never too complicated to follow, with just enough sex and violence thrown in to spice things up. The dialogue is sharp and snappy, and the characters are given the right bit of nuance to make them interesting without taking over. I knew Hugh Laurie is an accomplished comedian, actor and musician but I had no idea he could put together such a swiftly–paced, amusing and enjoyable novel. It isn’t your run-of-the-mill story-line, and that certainly adds to the enjoyment, but it’s the quirky irreverent style that does it for me. There’s nothing like a sardonic, non-conformist loose cannon for brightening one’s day!


D A RW I N ' S L AW In his regular look at the law, Steve Thompson, partner at law firm Darwin Gray, considers cookies…


Why should you have a shareholders’ agreements?

Most business people will be accustomed to using written agreements in their work, whether it is a contract for goods, services, employment or any number of other things. However, many overlook one of the most important agreements of them all – the shareholders’ agreement. If you conduct your business through a limited company, then the chances are that you will be a director and/or a shareholder of that company. Directors are responsible for the day-to-day management of the business and make most of the decisions, but it is the shareholders that own the company. Shareholders have the right to intervene in the directors’ management in key situations and to make decisions on major issues such as changing a company’s articles of association, issuing new shares and allotting shares to a third party. The rules of company law generally provide that the will of the holders of the majority of the voting rights will prevail, leaving a minority shareholder with limited power to block shareholder decisions or protect themselves. Company law also offers no assistance to owners involved in a dispute, which might leave a company crippled and unable to move forward commercially. A shareholders’ agreement can be vital in setting out how decisions will be made, what the parties can and cannot do in their capacity as shareholders and directors, and most importantly what should happen when things go wrong or someone wants to leave. What sort of things can go into a shareholders’ agreement? Company Management – What will the company’s primary business be, who will act as directors and who will be chairman of the board? If the shareholders aren’t acting as directors themselves, who will have the power to appoint a director? What will the minimum and maximum numbers of directors be? Many of these issues are already dealt with in a company’s articles of association, but a shareholders’ agreement allows you to go further. For example, if you have minority shareholders – or shareholders who won’t also be directors – you might want to protect their position. You could do this by requiring that certain big decisions, for example changing the nature of the company’s business, obtaining loan finance or selling/buying large assets, must be approved by a certain percentage of the shareholders.

place for ongoing members to have the option of buying the shares first and/or giving the company the option to perform a buy-back of the shares rather than them being sold to a third party. A shareholders’ agreement might also provide for various “obligatory” transfer events. For example, if one of the shareholders breaches the agreement, or abuses his power as a director, he would be required to sell his shares to the other shareholders. Deadlock – In 50/50 joint ventures there is a serious risk of two shareholders reaching a deadlock situation, where neither can agree on how the company should proceed. In these situations, if it is really impossible for both to continue together and a “getout” is needed, there are various mechanisms with catchy names – “Russian roulette”, “Texas shootout” and “Mexican shootout” clauses. These are just a few of the main areas which a shareholders’ agreement can cover. Without an agreement there is much more potential for disagreement and litigation if things start to go wrong. Going into business with other people is a big decision, the impact of which can last many years; however, opinions, objectives and business plans never stay the same. Disputes are expensive and time consuming to resolve and the business you have worked so hard to build up will inevitably suffer as a result. A shareholders’ agreement can help you govern your relationship with your co-shareholders and the company itself, and also help you maintain a strong relationship, or amicably sever your business ties if things do go wrong further down the line.

“Shareholders have the right to intervene in the directors”

Share Transfers – One of the biggest freedoms in company law is that a shareholder is entitled to transfer his shares to anyone. This might not matter in a large company but for smaller businesses the idea of a third party owning a share of the business and having voting rights is not always welcomed. A shareholders’ agreement allows you to retain control over shares by putting a mechanism in

Email Steve: Darwin Gray is a commercial law firm, providing the full range of legal services that businesses and business people require.


Copywriter James Daniel toys with the best and latest marketing widgets

Many would call HootSuite the rightful king of the gizmo world. The social media dashboard that keeps tabs on all your interactions has become a must-have for anyone who wants to turn a profit online.

Thread Tracking. Whatever your industry, it’s important to stay in the loop. So give HootSuite a choice of keywords and keep tabs on all the breaking news, opinions, conversations and other exchanges.

If you’ve never used HootSuite before (and I confess I hadn’t until last month) I dare say you’ll spend your first 10 minutes whispering “Wow!” at your screen. When you join, it latches straight onto your profiles, so it’s only a matter of minutes before you’ve got Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. all in one cosy place.

Whether you want to dive into the debate or just observe from the sidelines, it’s a great way to filter out all the noise and focus on relevant updates.

Then you’ll discover all kinds of ways to manage conversations and stay on top of threads. Here are my 5 favourite uses: Scheduling. You don’t want to break off from an important task just to tweet or update facebook. And yet, there are peak times of the day (like just after lunch) when your followers will be online. The obvious answer is scheduling. If you can spare 10-15 minutes at the start of every day, you can programme in all your posts so they hit at the right times. And if you keep an eye on Analytics, you’ll start to see trends emerging, like which kind of posts work at which time of day. It’s a quick way to build up engagement. Brand Policing. It’s vital to know who’s saying what about you and your brand - and HootSuite will show you each conversation in glorious real time.

Resources: HootSuite: HootSuite Workshops: HSWorkshops

True, Google Alerts have been doing the same thing for many years. But by comparison, Google is slow to index - so if you need to respond urgently to some corporate bad-mouthing (or praise!) HootSuite gives you the instant alternative.

Prospecting. You can track references to your profession – tempered with keywords like “find”, “know” or “recommend”. So if you’re a plumber and someone tweets “Anyone know a good plumber?”, they’ll show up in your newsfeed. Bingo. How you engage with them is another matter - a blunt sales message won’t go down too well in the social arena. But once the prospect is identified, you’re free to start the conversation in the most appropriate way (like offering a free guide or other such value-add). Competitor Tracking. Hate your competitors? Keep an eye on their feeds, find out who’s following them, and see what people are saying...then use the intel to grow your own following, or learn from the good and bad things you unearth.

So what’s the recommendation? We’re only scratching the surface here, so if you haven’t tried HootSuite yet, it’s best to give it a whirl and see what it can do for you. Basic access is free, and you can always upgrade to all the whistles and bells stuff if you like what you see. But whether you’re a casual user or hardcore social boffin, it’s definitely worth a shot. I tried it, and I’ll never look back.

James Daniel is a Cardiff-based Copywriter, trading as EarthMonkey Media Ltd. His free monthly newsletter Monkey Business is awash with copywriting tips. To register, go to


Adelaide to Aberavon: A journey by Gill Hedges


I moved from sunny Adelaide to sunny Swansea 6 years ago, as I met and fell in love with a Welshman. Wales is beautiful, with spectacular landscapes, quaint villages and with four distinctive seasons. Except that I hate the snow! In Adelaide I worked in the Tourism / Hospitality sector, having graduated with a diploma in Travel and Tourism. Before I left Adelaide to move to Wales, I worked as Associate Director of Sales for The Stamford Grand Hotel Adelaide and Stamford Plaza Hotel Adelaide. The Stamford Grand is similar to the Aberavon Beach Hotel, being located on one of Adelaide’s most popular beaches, located 20 minutes from the CBD of Adelaide, like the Aberavon Beach, a beautiful blue flag wide sandy beach 20 minutes from the centre of Swansea. Adelaide’s Glenelg, like Aberavon, is a vibrant seaside community that reflects the casual lifestyle and relaxing atmosphere of life by the sea. With long sandy beaches, you can enjoy any number of leisure activities by the sea including bike riding, sailing, fishing, shopping, cinemas or eating out – just like at Aberavon! Afternoon teas are served in the Aberavon Beach Hotel and at both Stamford Grand and Stamford Plaza Adelaide, with the Champagne afternoon teas being the popular choice in Adelaide or Aberavon Beach. See, when reading this you don’t know if you are in Adelaide’s Glenelg beach or Aberavon Beach, as they are very similar, don’t you think? See the photos below and see if you can see the similarities…. Stamford Grand Adelaide is located directly on the beachfront at Glenelg, with 220 guest rooms, including 29 suites with beautiful ocean or Adelaide Hills views. Twelve function rooms are available, from small meetings to large conventions, featuring balconies with ocean and city views. It’s an ideal location for weddings, with the Grand Ballroom offering a seating capacity of up to 500 people. There’s a fully equipped gymnasium and pool, spa and sauna. Enjoy à la carte dining and stunning panoramic views at The Promenade Restaurant. The Grand Bar, with its polished floors, spacious bar and ocean views, is the perfect place for lunch or after work drinks, and Horizons Cocktail Lounge is the ideal spot to chill out with friends and a cocktail. Stamford Plaza Adelaide is a 5 star hotel situated in the heart of the city on Adelaide’s key cultural boulevard, North Terrace, with views to Adelaide Oval. The excellent location means that you’re just a short stroll to the Adelaide Convention Centre,

Casino, Festival Centre and Rundle Mall shopping, with the beach (Glenelg) only 20 minutes away doorto-door, via the new tram. With 334 guest rooms, including 21 suites, many have beautiful views overlooking the parklands. There are ten elegant conference and event rooms, two of which offer natural light and views of Parliament House; Stamford Plaza Adelaide Hotel caters for any occasion and any sized group up to 280. Best Western Aberavon Beach Hotel is Port Talbot’s award winning hotel, located directly on the beachfront of the ‘Blue Flag’ Aberavon Beach. It has 52 fully refurbished guest rooms, with 4 function rooms available for small meetings or large conventions in the Ballroom, and the Greenhouse restaurant and the popular Talbot Bar. The Aberavon Beach hotel is perfect for weddings, being located directly on the beach. Weddings are popular at Stamford Grand Adelaide, offering beach-front photo opportunities. The Aberavon Beach hotel is also a popular venue choice for weddings, offering photo opportunities on the wide sandy blue flag beach.

Gill Hedges Sale and Marketing Manager, Aberavon Beach Hotel email: Tel: 01639 884949 #11

In her regular column, lawyer & HR expert Emma del Torto looks at work and life, in an attempt to find a balance.

Working Mums Working mums - a constant dilemma about whether we are doing the right thing, getting the balance right, spending enough time baking, being crafty….making costumes…working At work I often get involved in the performance management and appraisals of others. At home I have the opportunity to reflect on my own performance. My children provide me with fantastic mirrors and frequent 360 degree appraisals. The older they get, the better they are at voicing criticism, and praise. Generally, I regard myself as pretty good mum, but I am sure that in some respects I might be assessed and found wanting. My eldest is now twelve. She does lots of extra-curricular activity, gets decent school reports, is pretty sporty and is, I think, a delightful child (we are about 6 months away from the dreaded teens, so watch this space). I feel that I might have let her down by not being the best at recommending appropriate reading material. With the cinema we have some clear guidance as to whether a film is age appropriate with helpful classification: PG, 12, 12 A, 18. With books it is a little bit trickier. When my daughter was in year 6, I gave her Rupert Graves’ I, Claudius to read. She returned from school one day, having had to read out loud to the teacher. Her poor teacher had to explain some complicated words to her (including ‘eunuch’, ‘consummation’ and ‘circumcision’). She was mortified. I had forgotten that the book was full of orgies and incest. My recollection was that it was a jolly good book that had inspired my interest in the Romans. Hot on the heels of that parental faux pas, whilst the nation was in the grasp of Twilight fever, I thought I had better read the books before letting her forge ahead. As an ardent Buffy (the Vampire Slayer) fan, I ooed and gasped my way through the vampire/werewolf tales and gave it my nod of consent. After book 2 she told me that life was too short to read such utter tripe. So, not only could I not get ‘age appropriate’ right, she then scorned my literary taste. She has given The Hunger Games the thumbs up. I let her choose her own books now.


She has expressed interest in the other trilogy that has gripped the entire nation (you know the one I mean - that dull colour and its various shades). I think she has overheard me tell my friends that I am on 50 shades of literary boycott. A slightly petulant stance from me, but at least there is an unambiguous message to my daughter. Mummy won’t read it and that means small girl cannot read it either. Instead of being tickled by tales of Mr Grey, and inspired by a delightfully entertaining after lunch speaker at the Business Network’s Exhibition at the Vale in October, I am reading Howard Marks’ Mr Nice. For the uninitiated, Howard Marks , originally from Kenfig Hill, was a marijuana dealer of phenomenal acclaim (also see film of same title starring the lovely Rhys Ifans). Indeed Marks’ venture clearly marked him out as a captain of international industry. Anyone who attended the lunch and took part in the fascinating question and answer session following his talk, would have been intrigued by the level of financial planning, strategizing and logistics that went into his business venture. Although, this book would not make my recommended reading list for small children or entrepreneurs, it is certainly a nice escape from reading about performance management and appraisals. Just when you think that you have got this parenting thing sussed, something will happen to challenge your mastery. I assisted my son to miss his school bus. In hot pursuit, we both jumped in my car and chased that school bus along the A48. There may have been some mildly fruity language on my part (whilst tooting and flashing at the driver to stop him), and eventually we caught up with the bus. The mothers at that particular stop looked calm and collected (unlike me). I said goodbye to my son, slightly concerned about the long term damage I might have done to him. He looked at me and said, “This has been the best day of my life; catching the school bus is never normally so exciting”. It just goes to show that one woman’s domestic disaster is a small boy’s delight.


Wi th JCP Sol i ci tors Clare Bowen is the Head of HR Services at JCP Solicitors and provides HR support to many of the firm’s clients. In this series of articles, Clare breaks down standard HR procedures into small and manageable bite sized pieces of information.

Dealing with Under-performance Performance management has a significant role to play in enhancing organisational performance, and it is a staffing issue that nearly every business owner or manager will have to deal with at some point in their working life. Performance management is the system you use to align your business goals with the work of your employees. It should incorporate performance improvement, development and the management of behaviour in the workplace. Central to the successful introduction of performance management is clarity over what is meant by performance and an understanding of your organisation’s expectations.

Central to the successful introduction of performance management is clarity over what is meant by performance and an understanding of your organisation’s expectations. To ensure that your managers manage effectively, their teams need to: • know and understand what is expected of them • have the skills and ability to deliver on these expectations • be supported by the organisation • be given feedback on their performance • have the opportunity to discuss and contribute to individual and team aims and objectives. A Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is designed to facilitate constructive discussion between a staff member and his or her supervisor and can help to clarify any area of performance that needs to be improved.

work with the employee to find out why the problem is occurring. Although this can be a difficult situation to manage, it is important that you deal with these situations effectively and efficiently, so that any impact on your business is minimal and to ensure fairness with your other employees. By introducing PIPs into your workplace, you document that you have offered a sufficient level of support to your employee, and, in the event that you are left with no other option but to dismiss him or her, it will provide clear evidence to an employment tribunal in rebutting a potential unfair dismissal claim. For more information regarding any HR issues, please contact me, Clare Davies, on 01792 529603 or email me at

A PIP includes clarifying your expectations, stating the support you will give the employee and specifying the consequences of not meeting those expectations. You will also need to address the nature of the problem and how long it has been going on, and you will need to Clare Bowen works with clients of JCP Solicitors heading up the Employment Protection Scheme. This scheme provides employers with all the employment documents, policies and procedures required by the law. The scheme also includes unlimited HR and employment advice, backed up by two qualified Employment Solicitors. There is also an additional option of purchasing an insurance product to cover the business against any potential claims and compensation awards.


Tragedy, Territorials and Technology


WHEN THE TWIN TOWERS FELL ON 11TH SEPTEMBER 2001, TONY WORSLEY’S 28-MAN NEW YORK TECHNOLOGY CONSULTANCY ESCAPED WITHOUT HUMAN CASUALTY, BUT LOST BOTH OF ITS MAJOR CUSTOMERS IN THE AFTERMATH… “My first thought was one of terrible sadness for all the friends we lost. It was horrible. You could see the dust in the air. You could smell the burning plastic. Our offices were a mile or so from the Towers, overlooking Carnegie Hall, but it was just so intense, it felt so close,” Tony remembers bitterly.

“The days and weeks that followed were ones of mayhem, confusion, searching and a constant state of emergency. It was all about the people. Where were they? Who had perished? Who could still be found?” he adds hauntingly. But as the days passed it became clear that despite being fortunate by having evaded human tragedy, there would be a commercial toll on Tony’s business because of the consequences of the terrorist attack. The firm’s two principal clients were Morgan Stanley – based in Twin Tower One - and Amex, housed in a neighbouring building. Both had suffered terrible losses and so had lost touch with their suppliers and customers. “The Verizon data centre went down. There was no mobile signal south of 42nd Street. We lost contact with our clients. They were in turmoil, communications were down, the priority was people. Our business began to shrink, to disappear. Cash was running out. It was untenable. My Visa was up for renewal – the other partners were American – so I took the decision to leave and became a silent partner,” Tony recounts. Recovering from an ordeal like this could take its toll, but Tony had fought with the Marines in the Falklands in 1982 and this, along with a few other challenges along the way had given him an attitude of perseverance and durability.



“I come from a military family. My father was a pilot, so I spent my youth being ‘the new kid in school’ as we moved from place to place with Dad’s job. I wanted to join the RAF, but failed the eyesight test, so I joined the Territorial Army alongside my day job,” he explains.

Tony got a short service commission with the Marines between 1979 and 1983 and ended up as a Platoon Commander. When Argentina invaded The Falklands on April 14th 1982 he was dispatched from Norway to the Falklands, where he was part of the military force that caused the Argentines to surrender on June 10th that year. He remembers looking after Prisoners of War. “A lot of them were just kids – 16 or 17 - maybe. They were conscripts – they’d been drafted, signed up, they had no choice,” he explains. After leaving New York City in the wake of 9/11, Tony continued his mobile and technology career with a senior position with Reach – an outsourced arm of Sony Ericcson. With his partner Catherine, he worked briefly in Turkey, then moved to Australia, where he recruited and managed a team of 14 across the vast country. After three years, the busy and stressful life left him hankering after a chance to return to the UK. When that opportunity came, the couple happily relocated to Britain and moved back to their home in Swansea. After a spell working with a Vodafone partner, Tony set up his own consultancy, ANYCommunications, which specialises in using technology to solve problems for business. The man who began his working life as a Saturday store assistant in Currys has never shaken off his obsession with technology. A lifelong, worldwide string of adventures and senior positions that sound more James Bond than Steve Jobs surely leaves him well placed to advise any business about technology and mobile communications? Email Tony: to find out more. #16


Recipe By: Linda Harry

The Business Network

Jamie Oliver’s Vodka Melon


I1xnMgredediumietonLatsrge sized

Water Melon - 1x bottle of Vodka - 1x funnel!

Method Here’s a little something for Christmas! Buy a medium to large sized watermelon. It should be firm but ripe. Ideally it will be slightly flat on one side so that it stays upright in your fridge. Clean the outside with a damp cloth and then wipe it dry. Drill or cut a small hole in the top side of the melon. Push the end of a funnel down in the hole and pour vodka in. Stop pouring when the vodka starts to back up in the funnel. Place the melon in the fridge with the funnel still inside. Repeat step two until you get all of your vodka in it. Depending on the size of the melon it should hold a small bottle of vodka. It may take several ‘pouring in’ sessions, but it will happen.

Slice and enjoy ice cold!



It all started with a lawnmower!! Lynne happened to mention to Paul Bennett of Sytner BMW at one of The Business Network lunches, how fed up I was that I had to take Lynne’s son Ryan’s petrol lawnmower to be repaired, as it wouldn’t fit in the back of his 3 series BMW Touring (2006 model) - a note must be made here that it fits quite easily into the back of my Ford Focus Estate (2003 model) Paul could not see how that was correct and offered Lynne a test drive in a new BMW Touring. As we were going to Betws-y-Coed in North Wales for a weekend the following month, Lynne gratefully accepted the offer and, as arranged, Paul dropped off to our door a brand new BMW 3 series 320d Touring Sport (just 2000 miles on the clock). We set off on a Friday morning, me, Lynne, my grown up son Sean and my mother (aged 82 and still not grown up!) and set off not looking forward to the 4 ½ hour drive. The first thing everyone noticed was how much space there was inside, in the back as well as in the front and how comfy the seats were, which really helped as it meant my mum slept part of the way and didn’t always criticise my driving!


BMW BMW 3 SERIES TOURING Reviewed by: Kevin Barry

Car supplied by: Sytner, Cardiff The 2 litre diesel engine and 6 speed gearbox were more than adequate for our journey, especially when you consider the car was 4-up with a boot full of luggage (I know we only went for 2 nights but apparently we didn’t know what the weather was going to be like so had to take clothes for every eventuality – says Lynne). We travelled along in 5th gear on the bendy A roads dropping to 4th for the overtake. It was great to get back to a proper rear wheel drive car. I enjoy driving Lynne’s MX5 on a Sunday afternoon (but that’s enough!). I loved driving my Subaru too, but Lynne wrote it off – that’s another story. I really could have pushed on much faster and enjoyed myself even more in this car, particularly with the excellent handling on the country roads, but with Lynne and my mother in the car I decided it was best not to! I’m not really a gadget freak (I only use my iPhone to make phone calls!). The BMW came with stop/start function (at traffic lights etc); automatic lights and wipers; rear parking camera and sensors; lights under the door handles and under the doors; electric rear hatchback; electric windows all round; leather sports seats with electric adjustable side bolsters and the list goes on… I’ve read in motoring magazines that people complain about the pedals being offset to the steering column, but I found no problem. The same for the central iDrive unit (information centre) being hard to use; again, I found it fine. Before trying it I thought the keyless fob with a start/stop button on the dashboard was just a gimmick but, to be honest, in the end I quite liked it. The rear luggage area had loads (no pun intended) of securing hooks/ eyes etc, an ‘Out of sight’ compartment beneath the floor and, if needed, the seat backs folded forward with just a flick of a catch (including head rests) to an almost flat floor area which was really impressive. My not likes? Why have a lip of approx. 50mm at the loading edge of the boot floor which you would then have to lift heavy items over? I really can’t see the point of the individually opening tailgate window, when this was manual and the tailgate itself was electric (although it did look good). So, on Sunday we set off for home, me, Lynne and my mother – Sean having gone to stay with a new girlfriend in Wolverhampton! Apart from a very short coffee break we drove home non-stop in just under 4 hours. The journey computer read a total of 320 miles for the weekend, average speed 41mph and 52.3 mpg. Not bad eh? I WANT ONE! My thanks to Paul and Sytner BMW for the chance to try this lovely car for a weekend, I personally think that the touring is the best looking model in the 3 Series range.


I Didn’t Know You Could Do That.

by Huw Johns


Alan James, former I.T. Contractor and now manager of Swansea based John Edwards Funeral Directors tells The Handshake how more people are opting for bespoke funerals, to reflect their loved-one’s personality... Twelve years ago Alan took over John Edwards Funeral Directors from John Edwards, his father in law. He’d spent years listening, learning and helping John whenever he visited Swansea from his home in Essex. Alan says, “I noticed that, as John was ageing, he was becoming more tired of running the firm so I decided to offer to take over. This suggestion was met with a warm hug of gratitude from John, and within a matter of weeks I was a full time Funeral Director.” “Was that it – didn’t you have to go on a course, or something?” I ask, surprised. “Not exactly,” Alan replied. “ I’d known the practical side of the business for over twenty years from my courting days, and, among other things, had driven hearses, watched embalming and done my fair share of removals…” I cut him off there. “Removals? Please explain.” “Moving the dead person from where they died to our Chapel of Rest,” he informs me with a grin.

At some funerals, amusing choices of music are made, like Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” and Arthur Brown’s “Fire” which was the apt choice at a recent cremation. The coffin of a marijuana-smoker was adorned with a wreath made of floral “grass” and a pretend joint. At the cremation, the deceased was accompanied by £50 of marijuana in his coffin, at the family’s request. “It’s what he would have wanted,” they explained to Alan! Indeed, it is all about what the deceased would have wanted: A particular shade of pink for the coffin was the important criteria for a family burying their grandmother whose favourite colour it was. The solution came in the form of a Dulux website colour card which Alan had provided, so that the family could be absolutely precise about the colour. Embarrassingly, the family made a particular point of thanking Alan for his help publicly at the funeral and revealing the story of the Dulux colour chart!

We then talk about Alan’s career in I.T. and his work as a project manager with BT and other large firms. The subject turns to outsourcing and I ask if there’s a parallel here with his Project Manager days and the Funeral Director business, though perhaps on a different scale.

Alan has also organised a funeral in Paris for a person who, sadly, died there, as a down-and-out. It was a cheaper option than a repatriation of the body; so, the family combined the funeral with a 5 day coach tour of Paris and cremated their relative while they were there. They went on a tour of the Père Lachaise Cemetery, where the graves of Oscar Wilde, Maria Callas, and Jim Morrison can also be seen. On boarding the coach for their return journey – ashes in tow – they commented jokingly to the driver that there was “one more” coming back.

“Yes. We have a core staff of three (including a lady funeral director). We have a hearse and a limousine but everything else is outsourced, from flowers to catering. All outsourcing is project-managed,” he says. “My address book is full of various suppliers, including lay-preachers, horse drawn hearses, opera singers, organists and even buglers and pipers!”

In terms of trends, Alan tells me that nowadays woodland burials are increasingly popular. These are burials in fields and meadows where there is no headstone and the precise location of the grave is not always shown. One enterprising tree growing company has recently exploited the 10 foot gaps between their plants by offering them as woodland burial plots.

Alan goes to on to explain that John Edwards Funeral Directors is popular because it offers families the option of having a bespoke funeral that reflects what the deceased enjoyed about life.

The conversation turns to memorable but more unusual funerals and as Alan tells me you can now have a motorcycle funeral, with the coffin in the sidecar. Another option is a double-decker bus. With the coffin downstairs and the family on the top deck, the bus tours memorable locations as the family hold their wake on the upper floor.

“Anyway, I also went on a course and became accredited by the National Association of Funeral Directors.”

“Although a bespoke funeral seems to be more favoured now we still do the standard funeral – after all, everyone’s needs are different. In response to demand, we introduced a ‘No Frills Funeral’ a few years ago, too. The main message that I try to get across to my customers is that the choice is theirs. I always try to encourage the family to tell me about the deceased and explore what sort of funeral they would prefer.” A recent survey that Alan had read suggested that around 60% of people don’t want a religious ceremony, but it can be hard to find a middle ground, as the other end of the spectrum – a humanist funeral – is not quite “spiritual” enough.

“I didn’t know you could do that,” I say, and Alan smiles and says, “Anything is possible - well, almost!”

You can contact Alan on 01792 771232 and find out more about John Edwards Funeral Directors at


The Advantages Of Speaking Another Language

If you are lucky enough to have been brought up bilingual, as many Welsh nationals are, this will stand you in good stead throughout your working career, in more ways than you might imagine! Being bilingual has been proven to have certain cognitive benefits and boosts the performance of the brain. In fact, bilingualism is a form of brain training – a mental workout that fine-tunes your mind. Studies have also shown that bilingual people are better able to pay attention than those who only speak one language. It is estimated that one in eight British companies has lost business due to a lack of language competence. It is, therefore, understandable that the majority of companies take languages into account when recruiting; bilinguals are seen as more employable and earn more, on average, than monolinguals. Indeed, linguists can expect to earn at least 10% more than their monolingual peers. But what about those of us who haven’t been brought up bilingual? Well, don’t despair, as it’s never too late to learn a second language and boost your brain power (and earning potential)! Why not make it your New Year’s Resolution for 2013? Just bear in mind that in order to make real progress with a foreign language it is vital to put the hours in, particularly when learning outside of the country where it’s spoken, so make sure you choose a language/ culture that genuinely appeals to you – perhaps you’d like to travel around South America and be able to converse with locals in Spanish, or do you have a penchant for French cinema but would rather do away with the English subtitles? Whatever language or study style you choose, bonne chance! Business Language Services Ltd provides bespoke language training courses. Contact us on 02920 667666 or by emailing


Doing Your Own Payroll? You Must Be Ready For RTI! By Louise Williams - BPU Accountants What is RTI? Employers need to be prepared for one of the biggest changes to PAYE since it was introduced in 1944, which will ensure PAYE keeps pace with modern working patterns. From April 2013 HMRC will be changing the way employers submit payroll information. All businesses in the UK will have to start making Real Time Information (RTI) submissions to HMRC. RTI records when payments are made to all employees, including employees paid below lower earnings limit, and irregularly paid employees at the time of payment instead of at the end of each tax year. How will I manage this? RTI information will now need to be submitted to HMRC electronically for all payroll data including PAYE, NIC and student loan contributions – every time that you pay an employee. We are advising all of our clients and associates to prepare for this change now by verifying employee data held and confirming the following: • • • •

Full name (including middle name and double-barreled name) Date of Birth National Insurance Number Title

This is important as under the new RTI rules HMRC will be checking employee information against their records every time an employee is paid - if inaccurate information is provided it could result in HMRC compliance checks, incorrect tax calculations or financial penalties for late submissions. Is your payroll software RTI ready? Also, you need to ensure that your current payroll software is RTI ready. If you are a SAGE payroll customer with a valid support contract you will be able to access the new updated RTI ready SAGE payroll software. As SAGE Accountant Partners, we at BPU can help you upgrade your SAGE software as well as provide training and support. Where can I get help? BPU Chartered Accountants has a dedicated in-house payroll team that will manage all of your payroll needs and is already set up to ensure that RTI information can be provided accurately to HMRC. We offer a free initial payroll review to assess your requirements and will provide a no obligation quote for us to run your payroll and manage this new process going forward. If you need further information on any of the above including SAGE Payroll software or would like to book a free payroll review please contact Louise Williams at BPU: Tel: 029 20734100 or email:


DJM Appoint New Associate To Corporate Team Douglas-Jones Mercer Solicitors are pleased to announce the arrival of Sheraz Akram who joins the corporate team as an Associate Solicitor. Sheraz was previously with a large commercial firm based in Cardiff and joins DJM having previously dealt with an extensive corporate client base and has experience in a wide array of corporate transactions. During his career to date he has dealt with numerous acquisitions, MBO’s, investments, share schemes, restructures, shareholder agreements, partnership agreements, LLP agreements and commercial agreements, and also has vast experience in dealing with medical and health-care organisations. During his time as an Associate in Cardiff he has been involved in acquisitions and transactions of up to £80m in value. “I am delighted to be joining a firm like DJM that has an excellent standing in the marketplace”, discussed Sheraz. “I look forward to working with the Corporate team and the Directors, to help develop the department by concentrating on clients, their needs, and to give them the level of service they expect.” Mike Snowdon, Head of DJM’s Corporate & Property department, commented, “Sheraz is very businessminded which is essential when dealing with our clients, as they expect a first class service. I am sure that our clients will benefit from his joining us, due to his level of expertise and knowledge. Since 1946 Douglas-Jones Mercer has always been a well-regarded law firm, in particular since the rapid growth of its commercial arm back in the mid 1990’s, as stated by the Legal 500 as a ‘totally trustworthy and efficient team’. The firm prides itself on reputation for delivering a quality service at a sensible cost and as such DJM represents and advises some of the largest and most successful businesses in South West Wales and beyond with many regional and national clients. DJM make it their business to know their clients’ business. Over recent years the practice as a whole has undergone a period of significant change, and the commercial departments in particular have seen considerable growth and have become extremely successful and profitable. With over 60 years’ experience the firm has a solid base and continues to build on its own success. The individuals within DJM are both professional and friendly in their approach, and consequently are confident that DJM can make a significant positive impact for their commercial clients.


bers! our new mem of e m so e t events! Here ar em at our nex th r fo t ou Look

AMI T Y MEDI AT ION Amity Mediation, led by Joanne Deveney, an accredited mediator and solicitor, provides mediation services across a diverse spectrum of commercial, civil, employment and family disputes. WHY MEDIATE? Disputes, be they legal, workplace or within one’s family, are damaging, destructive and stressful. The cost, both financial and emotional, is excessive and can be ruinous. Business and personal relationships can be rendered irreparable and reputations tarnished. Far preferable is mediation, which: • offers the parties an effective, alternative way in which to resolve their disputes in private • affords the opportunity to explore a range of solutions, which will not necessarily be available to a court or tribunal • allows constructive dialogue rather than destructive argument • is cost effective, being far cheaper than more traditional routes • ensures that the power remains with the parties rather than with a judge • is successful in well over 80% of cases • can be arranged at short notice and matters can be resolved in a matter of hours HOW DOES MEDIATION WORK? Mediation can best be defined as a non-adversarial process of dispute resolution, during which a neutral 3rd party helps the participants to have an open, honest conversation and identify an outcome which is mutually acceptable. The mediator does not propose solutions, make judgments or assess culpability or blame. The mediator’s role is to facilitate the participants’ discussion and to assist them in finding creative answers to the matters in dispute. Mediation provides a fair and balanced atmosphere, creating a base for mutual trust to be restored and moving at a pace with which the parties are comfortable. WHY CHOOSE AMITY? • Joanne Deveney is able to see all sides of any dispute with clarity, however entrenched the parties’ positions may have become. A confident, calm presence, always fully briefed, not easily intimidated and able to work optimally in stressful surroundings. • Extensive legal experience – Having represented large companies, SMEs and individuals alike as a lawyer, Joanne has breadth and depth of experience, and is able to grasp complex details quickly and remain neutral while always staying engaged with the matters in hand • Intuitive listener – Joanne has a knack for picking up on the sub-text of what people say, honing in on the crucial underlying issues of disputes and bringing them to the surface so they can be addressed and resolved • Flexible location and fees – Based in mid-Wales, Joanne can travel to work across the UK, with fees that may be tailored to each dispute tel: 01874 624927 mob: 07539 369000 email:


C A PI TA L EQUIPMEN T Capital Equipment Leasing is an independent equipment finance brokerage based in Mumbles, Swansea. The company was formed approximately 1 year ago by directors Stuart Griffiths and John Hollis. Typical items that they have financed include office equipment, furniture, catering equipment, large printers, vehicles, fork lifts, garage equipment, computers and other IT items. Says Stuart, ‘In our combined 50 years of experience in this business there are very few types of equipment we have not funded. Never be afraid to ask, just pick up the phone to one of us direct, we would be delighted to speak to you. We will quickly establish your needs, talk you through the process and explain what information we require from you.’ Whether you are a new start or an existing business, finance can be arranged for most items of equipment starting from £1000, with typical terms from 1– 5 years. Tel : 01792 365011 Email:

CRE AT I V E AR TS WA L ES Creative Arts Wales is an Art and Digital Media company based in Nelson. Digital storytelling forms a large part of the work, being used extensively in community and company projects. Digital stories are basically short films roughly 1-3 minutes long. They are not advertisements but real stories told by real people and because of this, they have the power to pull the viewer in. They get your message across in a way that finds empathy with the viewer and people remember the stories and relate them to the company. Stories can also be used as part of a fundraising bid, for project assessment, to relay interesting facts about the company, or to enhance and promote customer services. The process part of making stories is also a terrific vehicle for great team building events. As well as output to DVD, stories can be uploaded to You Tube and websites enabling them to be shared with a much wider audience, and when embedded in a PowerPoint presentation can deliver a far more visual impact. No two stories are the same, just as no two companies are the same, so projects are designed and delivered to suit each client, making them truly unique.

DOUGL A S JONES MERCER Since 1946 Douglas-Jones Mercer has always been a well-regarded law firm, in particular since the rapid growth of its Commercial arm back in the mid 1990’s, being stated by the Legal 500 as a ‘totally trustworthy and efficient team’. The firm prides itself on a reputation for delivering a quality service at a sensible cost and, as such, DJM represents and advises some of the largest and most successful businesses in South West Wales and beyond, with many regional and national clients. DJM make it their business to know their clients’ business. With over 60 years’ experience the firm has a solid base, and continues to build on its own success. The individuals within DJM are both professional and friendly in their approach, and consequently are confident that DJM can make a significant positive impact for their commercial clients.


Fairhill Online are a South Wales based web agency that will help raise your profile online. Every company is different, and we like to make sure that is reflected in your web presence. We offer a full range of services including web design and development, search engine optimisation (SEO) and full e-commerce sites for selling online. With our new Base product, a template site with Content Management, we give you full flexibility to update your site. It’s perfect for small businesses or for companies who want a dedicated site to promote a specific product or service. We also have great experience in online selling. From selling on eBay to full eCommerce systems, we not only provide you with the tools to sell, we also give you the practical advice you need to get started. Call us today on 01443 887832 or email for a free noobligation meeting and see what we can do to help raise your profile online.

TURN OVER FOR The Business Network



The Business Network



5th HOV 7th Bridgend 13th Swansea 14th Cardiff 19th HOV 21st Bridgend

7th Christmas Party 13th Christmas Lunch

JANUARY Rise & Shine


4th Cardiff 9th HOV 11th Bridgend 16th Swansea 18th Cardiff 23rd HOV 25th Bridgend 30th Swansea

8th Bridgend 15th Cardiff 17th West Wales 22nd Newport 24th Swansea

FEBRUARY Rise & Shine


1st Cardiff 6th HOV 8th Bridgend 13th Swansea 15th Cardiff 20th HOV 22nd Bridgend 27th Swansea

5th Bridgend 12th Cardiff 14th West Wales 19th Newport 21st Swansea


THE EXHIBITION TO BE SEEN AT TAKES PLACE IN MAY 2013. Will your business be there?

Register your interest for information on exhibiting or visiting. Click: Early discounts for stand bookings Various sponsorships available to suit different budgets





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The Handshake is the official magazine of The Business Network and is published electronically quarterly. Copies are sent to all Business Network members and other selected individuals within the business community.

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Issue 16

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GREAT DESIGN WILL SAVE THE WORLD! Like what you see? Want to talk about a future design project? Contact Gwilym on: #32

The Handshake - Issue 16: December 2012