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BUSINESS AWARDS

What’s in in for you? Answer: plenty!

NETWORKING

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1 NO PLACE LIKE HOME Our guide to buying commercial property.

Luton, Dunstable and Bedfordshire's FREE community magazine

Issue one • October 2013

It’s our business to inspire your business

MAIN FEATURE

“I followed my dream” Billy Schwer tells it like it is on page 5.

Mobile safety. How secure is your phone? Read our report on page 13.

Crowdfunding

Why this could be the ideal solution to grow your business. Turn to page 7.

Please mention Inspire Magazine when responding to advertisements.

Welcome to the region’s

newest and best

business magazine Issue One


Page kindly sponsored by

Publisher: Community Communications, 12 Alexandra Avenue, Luton Beds, LU3 1HG

Editor: inspire@communitycommunications.co.uk

Advertising:

Design: Heather Ellis heather@communitycommunications.co.uk

Printed by: Bartham Group www.barthamgroup.com

Disclaimer Any views expressed in Inspire Business Magazine are those of the individual authors and not necessarily those of the publisher. No part of the magazine should be copied or distributed without the prior consent of the publisher and remains the property of the publisher.

Follow us on Twitter @INSPIREBizMAG

Welcome to the first edition of Inspire BUSINESS MAGAZINE We aim to do what it says on the cover and inspire your business. This doesn’t just mean us telling inspiring stories of individual people who have overcome the odds to set up in business. It means giving you the help and advice you need to turn your idea into a success. You are not alone, there are places and organisations to turn to for advice and practical help. This is an exciting time to be going into business. Government figures show a record number of companies being formed. That’s great for the economy and it’s great for us. Whatever your reason for reading Inspire; whether you’re already in business, whether you’ve just taken the plunge or whether your plans are coming together, we hope you will find something of use to you. If not, we welcome your feedback. We’re not about standing still but want to make sure we’re producing a brilliant magazine that means something to our readers. As well as keeping in touch, we would also urge you to consider using the services of our advertisers. In that way, we can continue to inspire you and the generations that follow us to go for it in business. Here’s to an inspiring and successful future...

In this issue 4

Advice is available

5

Billy Schwer

we are listening

7 Crowdfunding 5

12

3

welcome

Mostaque Koyes mostaque@communitycommunications.co.uk

4

welcome

Telephone: 01582 608601

8

Entering awards

11

Focus on finance

12 Networking 13

Mobile security

14

Commercial property

We want to hear from you: perhaps your expertise would be of help to others, or our advertising opportunities are perfect for you or you simply want to give us some feedback.

inspire@communitycommunications.co.uk

Please mention Inspire Magazine when responding to advertisements.

We’re listening.

Issue One


4

advice

Advice available Don’t stick your head in the sand if your business is showing signs of struggling. Perhaps sales have been dropping, your cashflow is tight or competition is hotting up. Richard Cooper, a Dunstable-based board director at Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, recently advised a manufacturing firm that left asking for help too late. “There are lots of places for people to go to seek advice,” said Richard.

SUPPORT “Many companies have no idea but there are sources of support through local councils, Chambers of Commerce, the Growth Accelerator or manufacturing Advisory Service for starters.” Councils in Central Bedfordshire and Luton Borough, for example, run a Timebank

October 2013

Scheme where business professionals and experts like accountants, solicitors and business advisors give free time to give pointers.

STANDING STILL “Things can change for companies that have been doing well for years and they don’t know how to handle it, standing still in business is not an option” said Richard, who runs his own business consultancy service. Richard adds that business leaders should be able to rely on their accountant for advice. “If you are not getting the support and service from your accountant, then change them,” said Richard. “They won’t like me for saying it but it’s about your business.”

Editorial and advertising enquiries: inspire@communitycommunications.co.uk | 07931 973967


success

5

Box clever for a life

of your

dreams Luton boxing legend Billy Schwer knows where motivation to start a business comes from.

During a 20-year ring career in the lightweight division he overcame defeat at the highest level to, at last in 2001, achieve his dream of being world champion. Then his life fell apart. He’d faced the possibility of death in the ring, he’d been defeated and come back to do it again. And won. It was all he knew. It was a staggering achievement for the lad from Luton’s Irish community. But then another battle began for the ex Challney Boys School pupil. The battle to find a new purpose in life. He plunged into depression, split up with his wife and lost touch with friends. He even spent all his money and became bankrupt. It took Billy at least 18 months to find his purpose in life again. But Billy, aged 44, is now a motivatonal speaker, finding fulfilment in helping others to find that spark of inspiration to find direction and motivation. Anyone who hasn’t been to see Billy speak is in for a treat. He takes his audience on a no-holds-barred description of his world title fights, so much so that you’ve simply got to cheer when he wins and holds that championship belt aloft. Like a warrior in olden times Billy passes on the lessons he learned not only from his fights but his personal life, too. Like when his two older sisters pinned him to the floor when he was a kid. He couldn’t get them off and thought this meant he was weak. When he found boxing, that became a way to prove to the world he was not a weakling. Billy is now the author of Mental Boxing - The Science of Success. He takes his message to businesses and organisations, schools and young offender institutions. Basically it’s about creating a mental state of discipline, dedication and desire to expect success and create world class results. Billy’s message includes knocking out fears that stunt personal and business growth. He admits that he feels fear when just about to speak, in the same way he used to when about to step into the ring. But it’s about conquering those fears to create the future you want. For details visit www.billyschwer.co.uk Please mention Inspire Magazine when responding to advertisements.

Issue One


finance

7

Crowded house

Inspire business magazine takes a look at a growing form of funding A new kind of business funding is becoming popular as a way for firms to get the money they need to start or grow. Crowdfunding is where a large group of people contribute money to support a business idea. Crowdfunding is usually arranged online on websites where businesses explain their reasons for needing funding. If investors like it, they chip in with the necessary cash. For investors the benefits can include the reward of being involved in a project as it develops or to support a local initiative, friends or family. The returns could also be greater for investors than traditional savings.

Pros and cons For the businesses involved, they could find investors are more likely to take risks than more traditional lenders like the banks. Money regulators the Financial Conduct Authority (www.fca.org.uk) says there are risks to be aware of for investors including a risk of fraud. Almost all crowdfunds are not authorised by the FCA, the regulator says. There are also other pros and cons to consider with crowdfunding. While it is a way of increasing public profile for a business or a project, that can be a double-edged sword if the idea fails to reach its target. It can be a very public way of failing. But Crowdfunding is a growing way to access funding for companies.

Please mention Inspire Magazine when responding to advertisements.

Business is

booming! Make sure you’re part of it. Advertise with Inspire.

inspire@communitycommunications.co.uk

Issue One


8

business awards

The award goes to...

Pictures from the FSB Bedfordshire Awards 2013

*

SPECIAL OFFER

Sole traders only! £1 per slot. Advert production just £150 We can also tailor any advertising package to your individual needs. Please call Diverse FM on:

01582 725500 / 731400 or 07931 973967 or email: mostaque@barthamgroup.com TERMS APPLY. ONLY APPLIES TO SINGLE PERSON BUSINESSES AND SOLE TRADERS. LIMITED PERIOD ONLY. MINIMUM NUMBER OF SLOTS IS 100). PRICES SUBJECT TO VAT.

October 2013

If you’re running a business a vital part of bringing in new customers is to promote yourself and your services. Entering awards either in the local community or within a sector can be a costeffective way of standing out from the crowd. Here Inspire business magazine takes a look at some of the awards local companies should look at entering and the reasons for doing so.

Editorial and advertising enquiries: inspire@communitycommunications.co.uk | 07931 973967


Page kindly sponsored by Events and PR

Telephone: 01908 307456

There are a host of awards that forward thinking businesses can look to enter to raise their profile – and for other reasons, too. All the local awards are free to enter... but there’s normally a cost associated with attending the ceremony if you are shortlisted. Businesses have to make a judgement whether it is worth paying for and attending such events. But the kind of people who go along are sponsors and other forward thinking contacts with powerful networks of their own. The act of applying for an award is one way of forcing you to review a business plan and take a close look at where you are going. Often business people are incredibly focused on the day to day running of their company and paying the bills. But it’s worth taking time out and a deep breath sometimes to look at where you are and where you want to be.

business awards

profile. They are looking for income from sponsors and ticket sales so are keen to encourage entries. Local councils, too, often organise awards to celebrate achievements in communities. Membership organisations like the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Chambers of Commerce also organise awards - open to all to promote their services. Community groups like www.communitycommunications.co.uk and www.dunstableawards.co.uk are also worth looking at for opportunities to promote business successes.

Valuable exercise Even if you’re not shortlisted that is a valuable exercise in itself. Businesses with staff also use awards as a way of saying thank you to their teams. A good night out, letting your hair down and cheering your achievements can do wonders for morale and team bonding. People who work as sole traders from home might see such events as a way to see some human company! Businesses that are shortlisted t0o win can take advantage of the public relations opportunity. The organisers will have a logo that you can put on your website. It’s all about the power that testimonials have. A set of judges neutral to your business have taken a long, hard look and decided that you are worthy of an award. That’s a powerful marketing message. Then there is the kudos getting shortlisted or winning can give. Press releases sent to local newspapers and radio stations can get coverage seen and heard by a wider audience. Even if press releases aren’t used they can still raise your profile and get you known among local journalists. So, those are the reasons for entering awards, how about the opportunities? All kinds of organisations hold awards schemes. Newspapers and their websites have events departments that organise various awards and opportunities for firms to raise their Please mention Inspire Magazine when responding to advertisements.

9

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10

disaster recovery

Are you prepared? Nearly 60% of Bedfordshire and Luton businesses are not prepared for any kind of disaster a survey by the Bedfordshire and Luton Local Resilience Forum (BLLRF) has found. Conducted earlier this year as part of Business Continuity Awareness Week nearly 100 companies completed the survey about preparing for incidents affecting their business. One in five were so complacent about the chances of a serious incident occurring that they were doing nothing at all to protect themselves. Yet incidents as simple as a delivery vehicle being stolen, a key supplier going bankrupt or something devastating like a fire or flood could potentially put them out of business altogether, while preparing for crisis could save them.

October 2013

However the survey also found that 40% of Bedfordshire and Luton businesses have realised the business benefits of being prepared and have a recovery plan.

Business case “There’s an appetite for information and a real need for Bedfordshire and Luton businesses to recognise the commercial benefits of planning for disaster,” said Emergency Planner Amie McGrory, the Vice Chair of the BLLRF Business Continuity Group. “There is a clear business case for preparing for something like your computer hard drive failing, a leaking water tank putting your call centre or office out of action or a fire wrecking your business. “We found only half of businesses are registered to receive alerts and warnings of local disasters, a majority with their local council, the Met Office or the Environment Agency. So 50% will have no warning of severe weather or similar threats.

“Few currently follow BLLRF on social media despite our frequent updates on local issues like bad weather and transport problems.” BLLRF’s survey found that only a quarter of businesses had received any training in business continuity and that one third of companies would welcome help in starting to develop their own plan.

Planning “We are now looking at ways to both help those businesses who want to survive should disaster strike,” says McGrory, “and encourage those who think it won’t happen to them” Begin planning your recovery plan by listening to BLLRF’s PodCast about Business Continuity, just go to www.bllrf.org.uk/ content/?area_id=5 Visit the BLLRF website bllrf.org.uk, their Facebook page, facebook.com/ whatwouldyoudoif and follow on Twitter: @what_would

Editorial and advertising enquiries: inspire@communitycommunications.co.uk | 07931 973967


in business 11

Cashflow is king This can lead to problems for businesses which do not properly control cashflows. Cashflow is the balance of monies flowing into and out of your business.

Control Many profitable businesses run into problems because they are unable to properly control cashflow.

Business often quietens in holiday times of the year, having an impact upon routines, says John Wright, pictured, of Stoten Gillam in Dunstable.

Some bad habits can lead to problems: • Failing to put in place an effective credit control system. • Failing to undertake cashflow forecasting. • Undertaking significant speculative work without a firm order Credit control is critical in maintaining healthy cashflows. Positive practices include obtaining a credit rating for new customers and agreeing payment terms before accepting an order.

If there is a gap between customer and supplier payment terms, consider whether finance is available to bridge the gap. After you have provided goods or services ensure you raise invoices promptly and accurately. Have a process for chasing invoices and dealing with disputes. You need to consider your suppliers and treat them as you would like to be treated. Not paying suppliers on time is a bad business habit and it may result in a drop in your credit rating. • Ensure you advise suppliers of disputes as soon as they occur • Pay on time and keep your suppliers up to date with any issues you have with paying on time. Cashflow forecasting is important to anticipate and deal with peaks and troughs of cash. Accounting software can assist as should your accountant.

If you’re good enough, you’re old enough! Young people are encouraged to start their own businesses, Inspire takes a look.

Young people can do inspirational things in business when given the chance. We all know people who aren’t confident living an academic life or who would rather be out in the world making money. Business is a way of firing up the enthusiasm of people who don’t want to follow the traditional route of school-college and university. The Prince’s Trust charity focuses its efforts on those people who need the most help - the unemployed, those underachieving in education, those leaving care and young offenders and ex-offenders. The Trust’s website at www.princes-trust. org.uk includes stories of inspirational achievement from across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire that we aim to bring you in future editions of Inspire.

Young Enterprise, another charity, takes business into the classroom by helping 225,000 young people learn about enterprise and the world of work. A network of volunteers from companies give teams of young people guidance in setting up their own firms. Some of them make serious money. Young Enterprise offers something for every year of education from the age of four to 25. The movement argues that an excessively narrow focus on academic skills and exams risks sidelining other approaches to learning and can fail to give young people the employability skills they need. For more information on Young Enterprise, visit the website www. young-enterprise.org.uk Some education establishments, such as Milton Keynes College, have teamed

Please mention Inspire Magazine when responding to advertisements.

up with the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy to put learning about being an entrepreneur front and centre of the educational experience. If you have an inspiring story about a young person who has started their own business, email us: inspire@communitycommunications.co.uk

Issue One


12

networking

Meet and greet Inspire business magazine takes a look at the power of attending networking meetings Even in these days of social media like Twitter and Facebook and the power of websites like eBay to reach customers around the world, there’s still plenty to be said for making face-to-face contact. There are scores of networking breakfasts, lunches and evening events to attend, each group with its own particular focus. Some groups have a more hard-nosed, disciplined focus than others. Many hope to generate long term relationships based on regular attendance. There are also groups based on subjects like social media or membership of organisations like the Chambers of Commerce or even the love of curry and football. There are also groups specifically for women entrepreneurs. The crucial thing is to think of what businesses want to achieve and pick a group to suit that. If you Google “networking groups” plus the name of your town, plenty of options will pop up.

/kəˈmyo͞onitē/

Noun 1. A group of people living together in one place. ce. 2. All the people living in a particular area or place. ace.

Community: It’s what we’re all about and we’re there, right at the heart of it. Community: Giving local stories the coverage they deserve. Providing businesses big and smallll with the opportunity to reach their customers. Community: Are you part of it?

Luton, Dunstable and Bedfordshire's FREE community magazine

Contact mostaque@communitycommunications.co.uk uk for all advertising and editorial enquires.

October 2013

Editorial and advertising enquiries: inspire@communitycommunications.co.uk | 07931 973967


technology 13

Handset safe? Everyone knows the importance of security on computers, but what about mobiles? Inspire takes a look.

Mobile phones are increasingly important for business. They aren’t just text and voice communication machines, they are powerful handheld computers. Mobile phones now are a huge database of information about us, our businesses, our customers and our contacts. But how many of us pay as much attention to security on our phones as we do to our PCs, laptops and tablets?

Defence Free antivirus apps like Avast! can provide a first line of defence against mobile data breaches. Phones and tablets with internet connection are just as vulnerable to hacking attacks as desktops. Phones can also be made more secure by setting a password to unlock the screen. And there are also tracking apps for mobiles which can locate them if they are lost or stolen. Better safe than sorry!

Why advertise with Inspire? Targeted distribution • • •

We’ll be targeting (and attending!) a rich plethora of networking groups and expo events. We’ll be a visible presence in the region’s business centres, schools, universities and colleges. We’ll be ever present in receptions at key businesses including those of our advertisers and also accountants, solicitors, libraries, doctors’ surgeries and hotels.

Growing and vibrant marketplace Statistics show that business in this area is flourishing and schemes on both a local and national scale support this. Dacorum Borough Council has put the economy as its number one priority and councils in Luton and Central Beds organise Timebank schemes to help companies form, whilst the government is setting an enterprise agenda and seeks to encourage people to start their own businesses through a campaign called Business Is Great. As our marketplace continues to grow so will our distribution and we’ll be there at grassroot level inviting new business owners to join our growing readership. This is our ‘taster’ edition is just a 16 page edition however this will rise significantly for Issue Two with a target distribution of 5000 copies.

Informative and engaging editorial The quality of our editorial is paramount. As well as the commercial knowledge and experience within our own editorial team we’ll be inviting well-known and well-respected business managers, such as mentoring expert Richard Cooper and accountant John Wright to offer their advice.

• FREE A4 bi-monthly full colour magazine • High quality print and production • Supported by positive and relevant editorial • Discounts for repeat insertions • Full design service available Inspire Business Magazine affords its advertisers the opportunity to reach a new and valuable customer base. Whether via our comprehensive but affordable advertising packages or through featured editorial, Inspire wants to help businesses to work together to support the drive for success of all those involved. Whatever your size, trade and even budget, we’re confident that advertising in Inspire will bring positive and long-lasting results.

For All editorial and advertising enquiries please contact us on: Telephone: 07931 973967 Email: inspire@communitycommunications.co.uk Please mention Inspire Magazine when responding to advertisements.

Issue One


14

property

Location Location Location Making the right choice when going for business premises is absolutely vital.

Inspire business magazine looks at important factors when choosing premises.

October 2013

As with choosing a home, location is everything, says government advice service Gov.uk. If your customers or employees canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get to you, your business may struggle. If you depend on passing trade, then being in a busy area is a must. But there are other considerations, too. The availability of parking and public transport are key considerations for employees as well as customers. As for the building itself, key questions to ask could include disabled access and having power, water and enough room to be able to grow. Those are just some of the issues to consider before taking the plunge and making an appointment with a commercial property agent. Happy hunting!

Editorial and advertising enquiries: inspire@communitycommunications.co.uk | 07931 973967


15

Advertise your vacancies with Inspire inspire@communitycommunications.co.uk

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Issue One



Inspire issue1 int