ALLISON LEE Making work child’s play
Full inter view - Page 3
CLARE QUARTERMAINE Marketing force Column - Page 4
An EXAMINER publication
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS The business NEWSpaper for Kirklees
Job-creating park hailed a success
A BUSINESS park at Birstall is proving a popular destination for companies in the region. More than 170 jobs have been created over the past two years at Springwell 27, which stands at Junction 27 of the M62. Occupiers now include online shopping retailer Ocado, Floorbrite, shopfitters K R Hannaford and UPVC Maintenance. Springwell 27, which comprises 11 industrial terraced units and Ocado’s 10,500 sq ft distribution warehouse, is a joint venture between Leeds-based developers Gregory Property Group and the Eshton Group. Nine of the high-quality 11 units have been sold. The two remaining units, one of 6,830sq ft and one of 3,600sq ft, are available to rent or buy. Richard Tovey, director of Eshton Gregory, said: “We are delighted by the success of Springwell 27, especially in these challenging economic times. “The decision of Ocado to base a distribution centre here was a massive endorsement of both the park itself and its location. “The park is within half a mile of
Junction 27 of the M62 motorway, three miles from the M1 and just six miles from Leeds. It is perfect for servicing both Yorkshire and Lancashire.” Mr Tovey said: “The two remaining units are built to the highest specification and are suitable for small businesses in the manufacturing and distribution sectors, which require modern accommodation in a strategic location. “We also have planning for another 30,000sq ft of industrial development, available on a design and build basis.” Ian Pattle, northern general manager for Ocado, said: “Exactly two years ago, Ocado opened its first purpose-built regional distribution centre at Springwell 27. “The business park’s fantastic facilities and transport links have more than helped us cement our delivery service with customers in the north, and we continue to enjoy fast growth here. It’s a superb site.” Alex Wyers, business development manager of Floorbrite, added: “We looked at a number of sites before choosing Springwell 27 and it was the
Circuit training SPEEDWAY star Josh Auty is on the right track thanks to advice from his business coach. The Mirfield rider has taken the unusual step of regular sessions of business coaching from Graham Summerscales, of Coach for Solutions, in order to gain a different perspective on himself and his sport. And it seems to be working. Josh travelled to Australia to take part in state and national competitions – and won the Queensland Under-21 title and the solo competition.
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■ PARK LIFE: Kevin Rhodes (left), of Hannaford, with (from left) Jonathan Chapman, of Eshton Gregory; David Earnshaw, of UPVC Maintenance; Richard Tovey, of Eshton Gregory; Alex Wyers, of Floorbrite
right decision. We are exceptionally happy here. It is the perfect platform for Floorbrite in West Yorkshire.”
Marketing agents for Springwell 27 are the Leeds offices of Carter Jonas and Dove Haigh Phillips.
Companies braced to weather fiscal storm YORKSHIRE companies have emerged from the recession in fairly good shape, according to an assessment by a leading economist. But businesses are unlikely to come through the current austerity measures entirely unscathed, said Roger Bootle, economic adviser to accountancy firm Deloitte. Commenting in the latest issue of the Deloitte Economic Review, Mr Bootle said: “The corporate sector looks set to escape the direct effects of the tax and spending measures set to be implemented. Indeed, the main rate of corporation tax is set to fall from 28% to 24% over the next five years. “But there are all sorts of other ways in
which companies will be affected by the fiscal squeeze. “Most obviously, those private sector companies which supply goods and services directly to the public sector are set to suffer from the retrenchment in the Government’s procurement spending. “Meanwhile, any other effects which hit the general level of demand in the economy will also hit companies. “In particular, the major squeeze on households’ disposable income from tax rises, the public sector pay freeze and job cuts will clearly hit the revenues of those firms connected to the consumer and retail sectors.” Mr Bootle said firms could benefit from increased business and consumer confid-
ence, relaxation of monetary policy and a lower exchange rate. He added: “What’s more, there are a number of reasons to think that companies are in fairly good shape to deal with the adverse effects of the fiscal squeeze. “Profitability has held up well during the recession and business insolvencies have been low. “Meanwhile, the corporate sector’s balance sheet is less stretched than those of the household and public sectors.” Mr Bootle said the economic recovery would remain sluggish at best – meaning it was impossible to rule out a “double-dip” recession – with a forecast for growth of around 1.5% this year and just 1% in 2011.
■ FORECAST: Roger Bootle, of accountancy firm Deloitte
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Ringing success A TELECOMS firm in Brighouse has rung up awards success. Abzorb, which offers mobile phones, fixed lines, phone systems and network services, was among the winners at the CNA Comms National Awards, which were presented at London’s Park Lane Hilton.
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KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
Morrisons aims to create 1,000 jobs great careers for people through training and opportunities helping people to progress from the shop floor to the top floor of our business. “This initiative will help disadvantaged people to get their lives back on track. We look forward to taking this approach nationally and we would encourage other British businesses to join us on this initiative.” Government minister Baroness Warsi said: “This is a great example of businesses working with the community to create jobs and drive growth at a time of economic uncertainty. “Initiatives like this will make a real difference to people’s lives, providing them and the country with the skills they need to promote growth.” The announcement comes as the first five people trained by the Morrisons’
SUPERMARKET group Morrisons announced plans to create 1,000 jobs during the coming three years for homeless and vulnerable people. The UK’s fourth largest food retailer aims to offer 10% of the jobs it creates at its new stores to vulnerable people. The Bradford-based group, which is running the initiative in partnership with the Salvation Army and social enterprise Create, said it was in a period of growth and wanted to recruit new staff from all sections of the community. It added that it believed that by investing in people who needed a “hand-up”, it would gain loyal and hard-working employees. Norman Pickavance, group human resources director for Morrisons, said: “We have a strong record of providing
■ MORE JOBS: Morrisons aims to create opportunities for the needy
pre-employment academy start their first day at work in the new Morrison’s store in Harehills in Leeds. The scheme offers new staff three months’ of training, in the classroom and on the job, leading to a Qualifications and Credit Framework Level 1
Ryanair flying high
qualification at the end. People can then go on to gain a QCF Level 2 qualification, or take up an apprenticeship with the group, including as a butcher, baker or fishmonger. Last month, Morrisons announced a new partnership with Bradford University’s management school under which it will fund 20 under-graduates through a three-year degree course in food manufacturing, paying them a salary. The group plans to trial new convenience stores next year in a bid to boost its market share. It is also investigating the possibility of running an internet grocery operation. The plans were announced as Morrisons posted a 14% rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £410m in the six months to August 1.
Weir reports improved demand
Bonus row banker at RBS
WEIR Group upgraded its profits forecast as it maintained the strong performance that has helped it break into the FTSE 100 Index. The Glasgow-based engineering group, which has valve operations at Elland, said orders increased by 32% year-on-year in the 39 weeks ending 1 October – up from the rate of 24% reported in July. The company, which employs 9,000 staff and has customers including BP, BAE Systems and the Ministry of Defence, now expects profits to be ahead of previous expectations. Its profits forecast this summer
TAXPAYER-OWNED Royal Bank of Scotland has risked fuelling anger over bankers’ pay by hiring a top dealmaker who sued his last employer for £2m for not giving him his full bonus. John McIntyre, new head of corporate finance at RBS, was formerly UK head of mergers and acquisitions at Dresdner Kleinwort, which was taken over by Commerzbank. Mr McIntyre disputed a decision by German giant Commerzbank – which itself needed a government bail-out – to cut the bonus pool to Dresdner Kleinwort’s bankers by
predicted its second half performance to be better than the previous year’s £95.6m – but this has now been upgraded by about £50m. The group has benefited from growing demand for crude oil fuelled by the global economic recovery, which helped to boost orders for its pumps used to extract, transport and produce oil. Weir also reported a 24% rise in demand for pumps used in mining and mineral production – helped by strong demand in South America and Australia. Demand fell for pumps used in power production and the industrial sector.
90%. He won £2m remuneration. RBS, which is 83% owned by the taxpayer, was criticised for paying out £1.3bn in bonuses last year as it posted a £3.6bn loss in the year. RBS refused to comment, but is expected to officially announce Mr McIntyre’s appointment this week. He is a widely respected dealmaker, having worked previously with property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz and was previously head of UK mergers and acquisitions at Lehman Brothers and on Railtrack’s defence against its controversial takeover by Network Rail in 2002.
RYANAIR revealed a 12% hike in average fares and soaring ancillary revenues as it posted a double-digit rise in half-year profits. The low-cost carrier reported a 17% increase in underlying net profits to £393.4m for the six months to September 30 and upped its guidance for its full-year performance. Ryanair’s half-year figures were boosted by a 10% lift in passenger numbers and higher fares, but it said it also saw a 22% leap in ancillary revenues, such as baggage fees, priority boarding and onboard drinks. Ryanair said forward booking revenues for the winter were better than expected, which it forecast would see net profits for the full year of between £331m and £348m. It had originally indicated a figure of £305m to £326m. The half-year surge in fares and passenger numbers helped Ryanair offset a 44% increase in its fuel bill – although this was also partly due to Ryanair operating more and longer flights. The carrier said its bill to cover the cost of the volcanic ash cloud disruption earlier this year was now likely to be less than first feared – at £28m against an earlier forecast of £44m. Half-year adjusted profits exclude the hit for the ash crisis, which when taken into account put net profits at £370m.
SHARE PRICES NORTH AMERICAN American Express £26.11 +0.26 Gannett 740.74 +1.87 Hess Corp £40.07 +0.77 Microsoft 1685.68 +23.07 Motors Liquidation 46.76 Wal-Mart Stores £33.85 +0.07 AEROSPACE & DEFENCE Avon Rbbr 1611/2 BAE Systems 3531/8 +83/8 Rolls-Royce Gp 654 +61/2 AIM Brady Plc 641/2 Dawson Intl 17/8 Man Brnze 673/4 -61/4 AUTOMOBILES & PARTS GKN 1773/4 +1/2 BANKS Barclays 2731/2 -1 HSBC 6551/4 +61/8 Lloyds Banking Gp 695/8 +5/8 Ryl Scotland 455/8 +1 Stan Chart 17921/2 -13 BEVERAGES Diageo 1158 +6 SABMiller £203/8 +1/8 CHEMICALS Croda 1439 +1 Elementis 98 1151/4 +3/4 Johnsn Mat 1917 +3 CONSTRUCTION & MATERIALS 3 Balfour Beatty 274 /4 -17/8 Costain 208 -13/4 ELECTRICITY Drax Gp 3795/8 -11/8 1
Scottish & Sthrn 1160 +7 Energy ELECTRONIC & ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT Laird 147 -2 EQUITY INVESTMENT INSTRUMENTS Alliance Trust 3505/8 +21/4 FIXED LINE TELECOM SERVICES BT Grp 1553/4 +2 Cable & Wireless 53 -3/8 Comm Cable & Wireless 701/4 Wwide Colt Group 1211/4 +1/4 KCOM 493/4 +3/4 3 Talktalk Telecom 134 /4 +27/8 FOOD & DRUG RETAILERS Morrison W 2905/8 -31/4 Sainsbury 3891/4 -1/8 1 Tesco 428 /2 +15/8 FOOD PRODUCERS AB Food 1048 +1 Nth Foods 47 -1/4 Tate Lyle 500 -2 Unilever 1804 +5 Uniq 8 +1/8 GAS, WATER & MULTIUTILITIES Centrica 328 -41/4 National Grid 590 Pennon Grp 6271/2 +41/2 Severn 1421 +26 United Utils 612 +1 GENERAL FINANCIAL 3i Group 3041/4 +45/8 ICAP 4621/8 +57/8 1 London StockExch 742 /2 +81/2 Man Group 2583/4 -2 1
Schroders 1577 -2 Schroders NV 1256 -8 GENERAL INDUSTRIALS Cooksn Grp 526 +11 REXAM 3235/8 +57/8 Smiths Grp 1232 +40 GENERAL RETAILERS Ashley L 17 -1/2 Carphone Whse 306 +11/2 Dixons Retail 261/2 -3/8 Home Retail 217 -2 Inchcape 347 -13/4 3 Kingfisher 235 /4 -21/8 M&S 420 -73/8 1 Mothercare 533 /2 +8 3 -1/2 Next £22 /8 1 WH Smith 481 /4 -31/8 HEALTH CARE EQUIPMENT & SERVICES Smith Nph 550 +1 HOUSEHOLD GOODS Aga Rangemaster 841/2 -21/2 Barrat Dev 761/4 -17/8 5 Persimmon 339 /8 -13/8 1 Reckitt Benckiser £35 /4 +3/8 Taylor Wimpey 227/8 +5/8 INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING Charter 741 +3 IMI 794 +41/2 INDUSTRIAL METALS Ferrexpo 335 +105/8 INDUSTRIAL TRANSPORTATION BBA Aviation 1993/4 -13/4 Forth Ports 1320 LIFE INSURANCE Aviva 3975/8 -1/2 1
1293/8 -1/2 627 -31/2 260 -17/8 2261/4 -3/4 MEDIA BSkyB 709 +21/2 Chrysalis 1323/4 +223/4 1 D Mail Tst 544 /2 +71/2 ITV 681/2 +1/4 Johnston Press 121/4 -1/2 Pearson 958 +31/2 Reed Elsevier 538 +3 STV Group 1051/2 +1/2 Trinity Mirror 105 -11/4 Utd Business 6631/2 +51/2 UTV 1393/4 +3/4 WPP 735 +9 Yell Group 14 -1/8 MINING Anglo American £283/4 -3/8 Antofagasta 1341 +19 +1/4 BHP Billiton £223/8 Eurasian Natural 8791/2 +9 Res Fresnillo 1257 +7 Kazakhmys 1339 +23 Lonmin 1757 +8 Rio Tinto £403/4 +1/2 5 VEDANTA £20 /8 -1/8 RESOURCES 1 Xstrata 1254 /2 +45 MOBILE TELECOM SERVICES Inmarsat 650 -2 +3/4 Vodafone Group 1705/8 NONLIFE INSURANCE Admiral Grp 1611 -19 RSA Insurance Gp 1297/8 -11/8 Old Mutual Prudential Resolution Standard Life
Local shares Carclo Chapelthorpe Marshalls National Grid Weir Gp
209 231/2 1041/2 590 1537
FTSE closed at
5751.98 Up 10.61 1
BG 1210 /2 -5 BP 424 -13/4 Cairn Energy 3851/4 -3/4 Royal Dutch Shell A £203/8 +1/8 Royal Dutch Shell B £201/8 +1/8 Total £34 +1/8 Tullow Oil 1171 -14 OIL EQUIPMENT & SERVICES AMEC 1077 -9 Petrofac 1476 +13 Wood Group 4361/4 +3/4 PERSONAL GOODS Burberry Gp 1013 -6 PHARMACEUTICALS & BIOTECHNOLOGY Astrazeneca £311/8 -1/8 Axis-Shield 262 +21/2 GlaxoSmithK XD 3
REAL ESTATE Brit Land 507 -21/2 Captl Shop Cent 3797/8 -41/2 DTZ Hldgs 431/2 -2 Hamrsn 4167/8 -21/4 Land Secs 674 -3 SEGRO 2941/8 -21/4 SOFTWARE ETC SERVICES Autonomy Corp 1453 -9 Dimension Data 1201/2 +3/4 Invensys 2925/8 +43/8 Logica 131 +11/2 Misys 286 +45/8 1 Sage Group 270 /8 +3/4 SUPPORT SERVICES Bunzl 743 +4 Capita 769 +21/2 1 Davis Service 417 /2 +13/4 Group De La Rue 644 +6 Electrocomp 247 +31/8 Experian 739 +131/2 G4S 261 -3/4 Hays 1133/4 +31/4 Homeserve 4453/8 -77/8 Menzies J 475 -81/2 1 Rentokil 98 /4 -3/4 3 Smiths News 116 /4 +11/4 Wolseley 1667 +4 IT HARDWARE ARM Hldgs 3597/8 -33/8 Psion 981/2 +6 Spirent Comms 1417/8 -13/4 TOBACCO Br Am Tob £237/8 +1/8 Imperial Tobacco 1997 -2 LEISURE & HOTELS 1
Carnival Compass Grp easyJet Enterprise Inns FirstGroup Go-Ahead Gp Greene King Intercontl Htls Ladbrokes Mitchells & Butlers Natl Express PartyGaming Rank Org Stagecoach Group TUI Travel Whitbread
£27 520 4537/8 1147/8 4071/4 1393 4211/8 1206 1331/2 3267/8 2531/2 2521/2 1267/8 2141/4 2111/8 1708
+1/8 +81/2 -21/8 +3/4 -3/4 +29 +27/8 -1 +13/4 +43/8 +41/2 +5/8 -3/4 +51/4 +14
TOURIST RATES Tourists going abroad can expect the following rates for sterling: Australia...................... 1.53 dollars Bangladesh................. 106.73 taka Brazil.............................. 2.44 reals Canada....................... 1.55 dollars China ............................. 9.57 yuan Czech Republic ...... 25.96 korunas Denmark....................... 8.14 krone Euro............................... 1.10 euro Hong Kong................ 11.79 dollars Hungary................... 279.43 forints India.......................... 62.73 rupees Japan........................... 122.81 yen Mexico ....................... 17.63 pesos New Zealand .............. 1.95 dollars Norway ......................... 8.92 krone Pakistan.................. 129.62 rupees Philippines ................. 59.02 pesos South Africa................. 10.41 rand South Korea.............. 1559.00 won Sri Lanka ................ 168.92 rupees Sweden....................... 10.17 krona Switzerland.................. 1.50 francs Taiwan ...................... 42.63 dollars Turkey....................... 2.14 new lira USA ............................ 1.53 dollars
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS JUGGLING childcare and a career is a problem faced by every working mum. For Allison Lee, childcare IS the career – and she couldn’t be happier juggling a busy diary. Allison, who lives at Lepton, took over Woodlands Play Gym in Meltham, last year after raising two children of her own and working as a childminder for 18 years. Now she has added to her empire by acquiring the Little Acorns day nursery, alongside Woodlands. She says: “Little Acorns was set up 15 years ago and the owner was looking to sell. It has a very good reputation, I have a wonderful staff and we are working to make it an outstanding nursery for the benefit of the children and their parents.” Working in childcare was not Allison’s career choice at school. She attended Moldgreen Junior School and Rawthorpe High School, where her ambition was to become a secretary. At 16, she studied shorthand and typing at Huddersfield Technical College before getting a job as office junior in a Huddersfield law firm. She became a legal secretary and later worked for a stockbroking firm before marriage and motherhood led to a change of direction. She says: “I would have continued as a secretary or PA, but when I had my sons Sam and David I wanted to stay at home to look after them. I realised how difficult it was to find quality childcare and what a commitment it was to raise children.” Allison joined her mother Cynthia running a childminding business in a specially converted outbuilding at her home. When her mother retired, Allison decided it was time to think bigger. “Being a mother helped me realise what parents were looking for,” she says. “I have taken all the qualifications necessary – which can put a lot of people off. It is a necessary part of the job. It is very important because you have to have recognisable standards and you are going to have other people’s children in your charge. The interests of the children and parents are paramount.” Allison has written books and courses on childcare and childminding. Her works include The Parent’s Guide to Childcare, The Childminder’s Companion and Your Childminding Business. But writing took a back seat following the acquisition of Woodlands last year and Little Acorns just weeks ago. “We are registered for 44 children at Little Acorns and the holiday club is registered for 18,” she says. “We have 22 staff and we work to higher staff-children ratios than the regulations require. “There is a lot of paperwork involved, which some people consider a
Hard work and play! downside of working in childcare. But the staff who work in the nursery have to have time to do their development courses. All the staff have NVQ Level 3 or are working towards Level 3. “They are all dedicated staff who enjoy their jobs.” Allison is also part way through an Open University degree in early years education. She also teaches childcare for a distance learning college. But a heavy workload holds no fears for Allison. “I am an organised person and I tend to just get on with it,” she says. “I am up by 5.30 in the morning and I don’t finish until 11 o’clock at night. “I am a workaholic. But I
am doing it my family and myself. I am not working long hours for someone else to benefit!” Allison makes sure she doesn’t get too bogged down in paperwork. “I go into the nursery and spend time with the staff and children,” she says. “If I don’t, they can come into the office with me! I often have half a dozen youngsters playing in the office at any time. “That’s part of the business I like. There’s no job in the nursery I cannot do – and there’s nothing I ask the staff to do that I haven’t done. “The only way to know the children is to play with them – and you cannot do that sitting behind a desk 10 hours a day.”
■ CHILD’S PLAY: Allison Lee doesn’t hold with spending all day behind the desk, despite the paperwork involved in running her childcare businesses
Page 3 Allison Lee Role: Owner-manager Age: 44 Family: Married to Mark with sons Sam and David Holidays: Cyprus and the Lake District First job: Office junior for a firm of solicitors Best thing about job: Having the satisfaction of providing a service for families Worst thing about job: Nothing! Business tip: Go with your dream. Too many people think they cannot do something. If you set your mind to it, you can
Allison is fiercely proud of her two sons. Sam, who will be 21 in January, is studying aerospace technology at Sheffield University while David, who will be 18 in the new year, is taking A-levels at Shelley College. Allison says the support of husband Mark and the boys – as well as her parents, Roger and Cynthia – helped enormously following her decision to acquire Little Acorns. “Mark used to work at David Brown at Meltham Mills and remembers this site as a car park,” says Allison. “He’s now an engineer with Reliance Precision, but he’s also been my maintenance man while we have been working to redecorate the nursery! “He has been very supportive about the hours I have worked because he realises this has been my dream.”
Allison is in no doubt about the need for better and wider childcare provision in an age when many parents cannot afford to quit work. “Not all parents have family to turn to for childcare help. “I understand what parents are looking for in childcare – to find somewhere they are happy to leave their children – but it is a huge decision.” Allison has little time for relaxing, but stressed: “We still go out for meals and we enjoy holidays in Cyprus. “I am very lucky to have found a job I enjoy as much as I do. “There are downsides to everything, but I do like what I do. I get up in the morning looking forward to the day.”
Little Acorns Nursery/ Woodlands Playgym/ Woodlands Holiday Club Work: Childcare Site: Meltham Employees: 22 Phone: 01484 850983 Email: little123acorn@ hot mail.co.uk Website: www.little acorns-nursery.com
Gateway upgrade A FUNERAL business has completed expansion plans at its Birkenshaw premises. Gateway Funeral Services, which is independently owned by Janice Hutton, of Shepley, and Richard Arnold, of Birkenshaw, has enlarged its head offices at Southfield Terrace. It has also invested to extend the preparation area and install a new innovative cold storage facility. Ms Hutton said both projects had been very complex, requiring technical skills and specific expertise to suit the business. As part of the refurbishment, Gateway Funeral Services engaged neighbouring firm Ferno UK to install the cold storage facility, using a new innovation designed by SMI – the first to be installed in the UK. Said Ms Hutton: “Since the beginning of this year, we have worked hard to upgrade the facilities for looking after our clients. Initially, we had no cold storage. With our new modern facility, it is flexible and can be adjusted to meet demand, which can change week by week.”
Legal eagles get IT support
■ OPENING EVENT: Ken Satterly (centre), president of the British Institute of Funeral Directors, joins Gateway Funeral Services directors Janice Hutton and Richard Arnold (right) along with Chris King (left), of Ferno UK; and Peter Seymour, of SMI, at the opening of the new facilities at Birkenshaw
Now everything clicks MARKETING MATTERS Clare Quartermaine
O we’ve heard in the S news lately that Britain leads the way in online trad-
ing – worth £100bn a year and larger than the construction and transport sectors. Well, its nice to know we’re good at something! But is online trading really better than bricks and mortar? I think many business people would view the jungle of online marketing with some trepidation. Like the depths of the ocean, you never know what’s going to turn up next! This is the place where the consumer has more control over your brand than you do and has the power to force even the big names like GAP to abandon their new logo and revert back to their original one after widespread derision on social networks. The internet is a newer frontier, slightly anarchic in nature, that gives the new kids on the
block a chance to jump the success queue. It gives potential entrepreneurs, whatever their background, gender, culture, the opportunities to invent, explore and create without necessarily having to invest large sums of money or join the old boys club. It marks a new levelling of the playing field. I like that. All the old theories are being blown out and replaced with frantic, frightened companies scrambling to get a piece of the action. But what is the clue to success in online? Money? Skill? I honestly think it’s ‘time’. Making your site/online shop successful is more than just setting up a sponsored link with a “popular search engine”, it’s finding the people to recommend you, to discuss your great,
innovative products, it’s producing something new and it’s spending time making those connections. This all takes your time, hours of it, to ensure your company or product is being mentioned as often as possible on as many sites/social networks as possible. The internet is viral in style – many Facebook groups bumble along with about 20 members and then before you know it, 20 are joining per day! This is a time when clicks are becoming more important than steps! How many times have we been in a shop, seen something and thought “I’ll check if I can get it cheaper online’? Is this the decline of the high street? Probably not, but I think the internet is a very good thing for the consumer.
Clare Quartermaine is director of QT Creative
A COMPANY providing IT support has successfully courted three northern law firms. Lockwood-based P2 Technologies Ltd has sealed the deals to provide its P2 OneSupport package to Backhouse Jones, Glaisyers Solicitors and North Yorkshire Law. Martin Page (pictured), director of P2, said more law firms were taking up the firm’s managed IT service to help reduce costs and improve efficiency. P2 OneSupport gives clients regular reviews and strategy guidance to get the most value from their It systems. Said Mr Page: “We are delighted to work with these three prestigious legal firms and provide them with ongoing IT support. “The OneSupport package provides complete, specialist IT support, freeing the client from IT problems, which are dealt with by our expert team of technicians. “OneSupport provides the client with necessary IT support while giving them complete control over their IT systems and strategy.”
Unusual way to do business SENIOR business leaders across Yorkshire will attend a cutting edge conference to focus on creating a low carbon future. Business in the Community is staging Business Unusual on Friday at Leeds University – to highlight how “business as usual” will no longer apply in a world of rising population levels, dwindling resources and climate-related challenges. A spokesman for BITC said: “The challenge is huge. Careful planning and the transformation of business methods, supply chains and working practices will be essential if we are to meet our legislated 80% carbon reduction cuts by 2050.” But he added: “The transition to a low carbon economy offers the greatest opportunities ever known to construct healthy, sustainable, affordable lives and communities, led and supported by business and organisations.” Speakers at the conference, sponsored by ASDA, will include Tony Greenham, head of finance and business at the New Economics Foundation and John Drummond, of Corporate Culture. Go to www.bitc.org.uk
Speedway star stays on track! A YOUNG speedway rider is on he right track thanks to advice from his business coach. Josh Auty, 20, of Mirfield, who rides for Premier League Sheffield Tigers, took the unusual step of regular sessions of business coaching from Huddersfield-based Coach for Solutions in order to gain a different perspective on himself and his sport. And it seems to have already paid off. Josh travelled to Australia recently to participate in state and national competitions – resulting in him winning the Queensland Under-21 title and the solo competition. Josh employed business coach Graham Summerscales to help him build up self-belief and confidence. Once these issues were addressed, Graham then challenged Josh to set small realistic targets to achieve – kick starting his season to build on the achievement Down Under and setting the platform for success back home. Josh’s biggest success to date has been winning the Premier League pairs title with his fellow Tigers teammate Ricky Ashworth. Following this fantastic achievement, Josh continued his form and became the holder of the number one race jacket at the Tigers. Said Graham: “Success in business and sport are pretty much one and the same. Both have peaks and troughs and boil down to a positive mind set and the willingness to make small incremental improvements on a day-to-day basis. “Josh – to his credit – is open minded and tenacious, which are other attributes of a successful business person.” Josh said: “Employing Graham as my coach has given me added self-belief, confidence and a path to follow.
YORKSHIRE has seen a fall in business failures, according to latest figures. Business information group Experian said there were 120 insolvencies among the region’s firms during September. That compares with 152 the previous month and 139 a year ago. The region was the top performer in the UK with only the East Midlands reporting a similar decline – to 96 during September against 99 in August and 122 a year ago. The north-east was worst-hit with insolvencies more than doubling to 60 from 26 in August. There were also big monthly increases for Greater London (371 from 287) and the south-east (234 from 197). Businesses with six to 19 employees saw the biggest annual drop in the rate of insolvencies while firms employing 500 or more saw the greatest year-on-year increase. Building and construction remained the worst hit sector with 260 failures last month against 247 in August. The number of insolvencies fell for engineering, chemicals and textiles but rose slightly for printing, paper and packaging, brewing, electricals and mining.
■ WINNING TEAM: Rising speedway star Josh Auty (left) and his business coach Graham Summerscales
“Graham helped me focus on my goals and gave me the added desire to succeed. Through his business and sporting back-
ground he could understand my personal blockages which is a great strength of his practice.”
Small firms come to the fore A SURVEY of the UK regions has highlighted Yorkshire as a hotbed for small and medium-sized companies. B u t t h e B a rc l ay s B u s i n e s s Regional Impact Index rates Yorkshire seventh out of 10 UK regions over a range of indicators designed to find out which parts of the country are making the biggest contribution to the national economy. SMEs in Yorkshire and Humber made the most profit out of all the regions last year, the survey revealed. It also showed that small businesses in the region have increased employee numbers by 10% since the beginning of the current economic c r i s i s – s e c o n d o n ly t o t h e south-west for recruitment.
Hopes rise as failure figures fall in Yorkshire
Yorkshire is also expected to create the largest number of full-time graduates of any region outside London. Amanda Shepherd, Barclays Business regional director for Yorkshire, said the research provided further evidence that the contribution of small businesses to the economy has never been greater. She said: “We hear a lot of rhetoric around the importance of small businesses, but this analysis illustrates just what that means on the ground. “Yorkshire small businesses have contributed, and continue to contribute to the resilience of local regions amid unstable economic conditions, the credit crunch and public sector cutbacks.
“They are without question the ones driving growth and creating jobs in every city, town and village in the UK.” The index is based on an in-depth study of 1,000 owner-managers and analysis by Kingston University's Small Business Research Centre. It looks at 13 indicators, including profits, outlook on growth, employment generation, investment in training, purchases from local suppliers and innovation. The regional league table is h e a d e d by L o n d o n a n d t h e south-west followed by Wales, north-east England, the south-east. Scotland, Yorkshire and Humber, Eastern England, the Midlands and the north-west.
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KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
Landlords should heed fire warning BUSINESS owners have been urged to take greater responsibility for fire safety measures at their premises following a recent clampdown. The call comes after the landlord of a multi-occupancy student building in Manchester got caught out by town hall inspectors who suspected that the accommodation failed to meet acceptable fire safety standards. The allegations were later investigated by the fire service. The property had to be vacated by 80 students as the multi-millionaire landlord failed to meet requirements on fire alarms, escape routes and carrying out fire risk assessments. On average, there are 130 workplace fires every day – with many of those fires destroying buildings. The total cost of fire in the UK – including property damage, loss of business, compensation claims, fines and insurance premiums – is put at £11bn a year. Annmarie Blomfield, man-
■ HOME WIN: Garvis Snook, chief executive of Rok
Rok rises to fresh challenge BUILDING and maintenance services group Rok plc has won a contract to provide building repair, claims management and validation services to Tesco home insurance customers. Rok, which has completed work on projects for Kirklees Council, was selected by Ageas Insurance Ltd and Tesco Underwriting to provide the service. Garvis Snook, chief executive at Rok, aid: “Rok and Ageas have worked together since 2007 and we are delighted to be expanding the relationship by handling 50% of all Tesco Underwriting’s building repair claims. “Rok’s appointment to this contract reflects the quality of work from our directly employed technicians and our investment in an ever improving service for policyholders.”
■ HOT TOPIC: On average, there are 130 workplace fires every day – with many of those fires destroying buildings. The total cost of fire in the UK – including property damage, loss of business, compensation claims, fines and insurance premiums – is put at £11bn a year.
Agreement reached over building site safety A NEW agreement has been signed to help improve health and safety for the construction industry. The Health and Safety Executive has signed the agreement with the Building Control Alliance – setting out how HSE and building control professionals will co-operate in providing health and safety advice to
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT AGENTS CONSULTANT ADVISOR •
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aging director of outsourced property management business One Property Place, said landlords and business owners should be warned. “Working in the industry, I’m fully aware of the apathy some commercial property owners have towards words like certification, inspections and assessments. “However, turning a blind eye is not the answer and fire risk assessments, perhaps more so than any other form of assessment, should not be ignored. “Landlords and business owners need to recognise the seriousness of failing to carry out full fire safety tests – lives are in danger otherwise. “No-one wants to find themselves in a situation where an alarm in their commercial rental property doesn’t sound or a fire door doesn’t open.” She said: “Politicians are waving their flags for the environment, education and pensions, but fire prevention doesn’t seem to be up there on the priority list. This needs to change.”
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the construction industry while clearly distinguishing their separate regulatory roles. The BCA represents those building control professionals responsible for ensuring compliance with Building Regulations – whether in local authorities or the private sector – and the professional bodies
that accredit them. Building Control professionals regularly visit sites and are in an excellent position to promote good health and safety practice to duty holders. Philip White, HSE chief inspector of construction, said: “This agreement clearly sets out how HSE
and BCA members can work more closely together. “It is a further example of how everyone involved in the construction industry can spread the health and safety message, especially to the hard to reach small sites where the majority of fatal accidents take place.”
Landowners told to get energetic LANDOWNERS have been urged to move quickly if they are considering renewable energy schemes for their properties. Land agent Carter Jonas, which has offices at Slaithwaite, said time was running out for landowners to take advantage of the current government’s Feed-in-Tariff scheme. Introduced in April, FiT provides incentives for landowners and farmers using green technology to produce electricity. Following the Comprehensive Spending Review, the FiT looks likely to be significantly reduced by April, 2013 – meaning time is running out for interested parties to make the most of their investment. Clive Fagg (pictured), an environmental planning specialist at Carter
Jonas, said: “2013 may feel like far into the future, but in reality the time it takes to plan and install a scheme, such as a wind turbine, can be two years or more. “Under the rules, a project has to be up and running before it can benefit from any cash incentives. Therefore – as we come to the end of 2010 – the timeframe for benefiting from the FiT incentives gets tighter.” Said Mr Fagg: “Over the past six months, since the introduction of the FiT, we have seen a significant increase in the willingness of people to explore generating their own renewable energy. “It is likely that the next review of the scheme in 2012 will lead to the rates being rebalanced in April,
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS Firm wins school work worth £42m SERVICES, maintenance and building group Interserve has been awarded three schools contracts worth £42m. The contracts comprise a £23m deal for improvements at a high school in Leeds, a further £11m contract for extensions at schools in Nottinghamshire and an £8m agreement to increase the capacity of four
schools for Coventry City Council. Work at Farnley Park High School in Leeds is now under way with completion programmed for July, 2012. It will involve the construction of state-of-the-art facilities for staff, pupils and members of the wider community, allowing the school to achieve its target growth and meet the increased
demand for pupil places. Other purpose-built facilities will enable pupils from the neighbouring West Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre to take part in learning in a mainstream setting. Adrian Ringrose, Interserve chief executive, said: “In these challenging times, it is significant that we continue to win contracts.”
armytage road, Brighouse
1 Modern workshop unit 1 Ease of access to Junction 25 of M62 motorway 1 511m2 (5,500 sq ft) rent: on application
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■ HIGH AMBITION: Huddersfield company EverGen already has 11 employess and is looking to treble staff numbers in the next three years thanks to rising demand for renewable energy solutions
Warming to the need for green energy THE sun is shining on a Huddersfield start-up firm. Scissett-based EverGen TM Ltd is looking to treble its 11-strong workforce over the next three years in response to soaring demand for “green” energy systems. EverGen designs and installs solar photovoltaic panels, air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps to provide homeowners, businesses and housing associations with the means to cut their utility bills, reduce carbon emissions and generate free “green” electricity. The company has also been boosted by the Government-backed Feed-in Tariffs, which enables customers to benefit from a 25-year tax-free income for generating clean electricity and additional payments for any surplus energy which feeds back into the National Grid. This turns their property into an income generator of about £1,200 per year for a standard domestic installation. Feed-in tariffs pay up to 41.3p per unit on all electricity generated, whether it is used or not.
An additional payment is made for any surplus energy sold back to the National Grid. EverGen director David Taylor said moving into the green technology sector was an obvious choice. “After seeing the growing demand for solar power and other green technologies over the last few years, we realised this would be the ideal sister company to our specialist construction company of 30 years, Taylor Construction Yorkshire Ltd. “Not only do we understand how to carry out installations without risk to the fabric and functionality of the property, we can also offer impartial advice on the best performing technology for each individual client and ensure clients benefits from all grants and tariffs due to our accreditation under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme.” EverGen exhibited at the Grand Designs Show last month in Birmingham and will appear at the three-day Harrogate Homebuilding and Renovating Show, which starts on Friday.
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KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS Terry Ventress
Yorkshire Bank A NEW international trade specialist has been appointed by Yorkshire Bank’s Bradford-based West Yorkshire Financial Solutions Centre to support Kirklees businesses involved in overseas trade. Terry Ventress, 54, will advise West Yorkshire companies trading in overseas markets on mitigating risk and funding their trade cycle. Mr Ventress (pictured) went into banking in 1976. He spent 34 years in international banking in Yorkshire and the north-east with Standard Chartered Bank in Leeds. Later, he was international trade area manager at Barclays in the city before joining HBOS in 2003 to lead the Yorkshire and North East trade team. Yorkshire Bank’s West Yorkshire FSC, which also covers Kirklees and Calderdale, has 45 staff covering corporate banking, private wealth management, treasury services and credit and operates a traditional method of banking with funding from deposits used to support investments in the local community.
LNT Group A GROUP owned by Batley-based tycoon Lawrence Tomlinson has appointed a former director of marketing at The Co-op to a new role. Patrick Allen (pictured) will head a new team promoting the Leeds-based LNT Group’s five main companies, which include car manufacturer Ginetta, Ideal Care Homes and LNT Construction. Mr Allen’s remit will see him unveil a streamlined new look for all of the five brands, in some cases with new names – uniting them all under the LNT Group. Mr Allen, 47, joined The Co-op in 2004 and was behind a £10m award winning advertising campaign which marked the completion of its corporate re-branding project. He headed a 450-strong team which also helped the retailer achieve the ranking of sixth most valuable retail brand in 2009. Mr Allen was also voted Marketer of the Year in 2010 by Drum Magazine.
Movers and shakers
Winning line for telecoms firm! A TELECOMS company in Brighouse has triumphed on the national stage. Abzorb, which offers mobile phones, fixed lines, phone systems and network services for individuals and businesses, was among the winners at the CNA Comms National Awards, which were held before an audience of 600 Business people at London’s Park Lane Hilton. The company won the Mobile Distributor of the Year Award in competition with all UK-based telecoms companies. Abzorb was nominated as a finalist before being announced as winners at the prestigious awards ceremony. Abzorb sales director Faruk Amin said: “The CNA Comms National Awards recognise and reward excellence in the supply and implementation of innovative unified communications solutions to end users. “Now in their ninth year, the awards are regarded as the ‘Oscars' of the ICT channel. The awards have developed
an undisputed reputation and being nominated is a huge accolade in itself. “Winning, of course, is every channel company’s goal and the national recognition and integrity of the awards means the kudos gained is truly significant.” Mr Amin said Abzorb, which has been in business for 15 years, had set a target for achieving turnover of between £25m and £30m by 2012 across its UK operations. He said: “Abzorb’s success has been identified by the leading mobile and fixed line telecommunication industry, allowing us to transfer the benefits of our specially acquired status directly on to our clients we are service. “We are providers for both BT and Vodafone, who are number one in their respective sectors. “We have also built a devoted team of trained specialists to provide expert assistance in every section of telecoms and the highest level of attention to our customers’ needs.”
He’s leader of the fan club
Liquid Accounts ONLINE accounting software specialist Liquid Accounts has appointed Chris Eccles as commercial director. Mr Eccles (pictured) joins the award-winning Longwood-based company to strengthen the sales team following an injection of new investment in the business earlier this year. He will work closely with managing director Matt Holmes. Mr Eccles, who is based in Bolton, spent 10 years as an accountant in industry before a love of technology led him to move into IT sales. He built up his own software business, which he sold in 2006 and remained its managing director for another two years. Since then, he has held a number of board level roles, including selling a specialist software company to account giant Sage. In his spare time, he helps his wife run a narrow boat hire business.
COMPANY director Mark Jones (above) is leader of the fan club. The managing director of Huddersfield-based industrial fan manufacturer Woodcock & Wilson Ltd has been elected chairman of the UK’s Fan Manufacturers Association – and brings more than 30 years industrial fan experience to the role. The appointment marks a change for the FMA, whose chairmen in recent times have all been from the commercial sector. While the industrial and commercial sectors have their own different interests, there are many issues and topics that have a bearing on both. Energy efficiency has become a major focus for FMA members. Topics prompting heated debate include new European Union regulations on fan efficiency and the ISO standard on efficiency classification of fans.
Said Mr Jones: “I am honoured to have been elected as chairman of the FMA. “These are interesting times for everyone in the industry, but also challenging whatever the size and type of fan manufacturer. “Given the fact that fans are essential to almost all industries, raising the profile of the FMA and the members will be a priority. I am also very much looking forward to progressing matters on the energy efficiency agenda, which will have an impact on all our members.” Woodcock & Wilson, based at Crosland Hill, specialise in high quality bespoke-designed fans for an extensive range of applications, including heating and ventilation, air pollution control, petrochemical, offshore and process engineering. Its products are sold all
■ TELECOM TEAM: Abzorb managing director Mike Walsh (right) with (from left) sales director Faruk Amin and director Steve Beeby with the award made to the Brighouse company
View at the Frontline A FIRM providing software for motor dealers has enlisted a Kirklees-based marketing agency to help it win more business. Frontline Solutions has embarked on an initial 12-month strategy with award-winning Birstall-based Fantastic Media. The strategy will focus on re-branding Frontline Solutions and its main product, DealTrak123. Fantastic has already updated the Frontline website and created the stand-alone DealTrak123 website. Following that, Fantastic has been working closely with Frontline to carry out targeted public relations and digital marketing campaigns to raise awareness of the DealTrak123 system. Andy Shuter, managing director of Frontline Solutions, said: “We are delighted with the work that Fantastic has carried out so far. “The targeted DealTrak123 website has dramatically increased interest in the system and generated new leads for us. With the help of Fantastic I am looking forward to continuing to expand the business and attract new customers.” DealTrak123 uses the latest technology to link with a vast array of industry suppliers – allowing motor dealers to send proposals to chosen lenders quickly and efficiently. The system automatically checks that the user has gathered the minimum details required for each lender and displays an easy to understand list of those available based on that information. The DealTrak123 system is being used daily in dealerships UK-wide.
The business newspaper for Kirklees.