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ISSUE 361: FREE

SUSSEX BUSINESS TIMES

Back To BaSIcS WE FIND oUT THE SEcRETS BEHIND THE aPPLE BRaND HoW aUcTIoN HoUSES aRE SUccEEDING HoW To MakE MoNEY FRoM cRaFT WHaT MakES a GooD EMPLoYER HoW GoLF cLUBS aRE SURVIVING THE REcESSIoN WHETHER THE oLYMPIcS HaS BEEN GooD FoR SUSSEX aND WE RoUND UP THE ESSENTIaL GaDGETS FoR SPRING

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SBT Welcome Photograph © Grant Scott

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“We are continuing our intention to speak to and hear from those who are making their businesses work for them” - SBT

In these times of multiple news channels and platforms bombarding us with facts, figures, news, analysis and predictions concerning the state of the national and global economy it is easy to get confused, diverted and disillusioned. In fact as we all know business practice can and should be a simple process. That’s why in this issue we are continuing our intention to speak to and hear from those who are making their busineses work for them by clearly understanding the basic principles. We find out about the core values, which have made Apple such a global powerhouse (on page 32). How the basic craft of knitting allowed Kaffe Fassett to become an iconic figure internationally, whilst working with the industries most influential brands (page 26) and why the auction business is not only flourishing but also branching into new terrortories and markets (page 19). Locally we speak to the Hove based company who have gained international recognition for their excellent employer relationships with their staff (page 37), we find out what impact the 2012 Olympics is having on the Sussex economy (page 47), and which are the best restaurants for a business lunch in Lewes if you have specific dietary requirements (page 15). As the days warm up many of us enjoy a round of golf but have you ever wondered how golf clubs are responding to the current economic climate? We speak to two Sussex based clubs to find out what measures they are putting in place to ensure their financial stability and growth (page 38). It can’t all be hard work though so we speak to the people at RidgeView Wine Estate about the popularity of the Sussex fizz they produce (page 50) and compile an essential spring round up of the best new gadgets currently on the market (page 7). All this plus our tips on how to choose the right private school, we think, makes this an issue packed with information, inspiration, education and entertainment. That’s all the basics covered.

Editor Samantha Scott-Jeffries

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Contents SBT Issue 361

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SBT

ISSUE 361: FREE

SUSSEX BUSINESS TIMES

Back To BaSIcS WE FIND oUT THE SEcRETS BEHIND THE aPPLE BRaND HoW aUcTIoN HoUSES aRE SUccEEDING HoW To MakE MoNEY FRoM cRaFT WHaT MakES a GooD EMPLoYER HoW GoLF cLUBS aRE SURVIVING THE REcESSIoN WHETHER THE oLYMPIcS HaS BEEN GooD FoR SUSSEX aND WE RoUND UP THE ESSENTIaL GaDGETS FoR SPRING

SBT THE MaGazINE THaT MaTTERS WWW.SUSSEXBUSINESSTIMES.co.Uk

Cover Image: © Dreamstime.com

Sussex Business Times Editor: Samantha Scott-Jeffries samantha@lifemediagroup.co.uk Editorial Director: Grant Scott grant@lifemediagroup.co.uk Design: Harriet Weston harriet@lifemediagroup.co.uk Commercial Business Manager: Luke Mould luke@lifemediagroup.co.uk Managing Director/Publisher: Lee Mansfield lee@lifemediagroup.co.uk Commercial Director: Simon Skinner simon@lifemediagroup.co.uk Media Director Linda Grace linda@lifemediagroup.co.uk Accounts: Clare Fermor/ Amelia Wellings clare@lifemediagroup.co.uk amelia@lifemediagroup.co.uk Published by LMG SE LTD Park View House 19 The Avenue, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 3YD 01323 411 601 Printed by Gemini Press, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, BN43 6NZ All material in this publication is strictly copyright and all rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. The views expressed in Sussex Business Times Magazine do not necessarily represent the view of Life Media Group LTD. Every care is taken in compiling the contents but the publishers of Sussex Business Times Magazine assume no responsibility for any damage, loss or injury arising from the participation in any offers, competitions or advertisement contained within Sussex Business Times Magazine. All prices featured in Sussex Business Times Magazine are correct at the time of going to press. Copyright Life Media Group LTD 2012 ©

3 7 15 19 26 31 32 37 38 47 50

Welcome

Discover how this issue of SBT will inspire and entertain you, whilst bringing you back to the basics of business.

Spending It! Our ultimate spring compilation of the essential gadgets will make all of your hard work worthwhile. You may not need them all but you will definitely want them all.

Working Lunch Need to know where you can enjoy the best business lunches in Sussex? SBT visits Lewes to review The Apostrophe Restaurant and brings you three further recommendations.

Flogging It It is difficult to turn on the television and not find a programme filmed in an auction house. We speak to three Sussex based houses to get the inside story.

The Godfather of Craft Kaffe Fassett is responsible for taking the humble art of knitting to an international marketplace. We speak to him about how craft can be big business.

The Right Class SBT gives you the tips you need if you are thinking of sending your children to private school this year.

The Big Apple Apple are now a major global manufacturing and retailing powerhouse. SBT finds out about the basic foundations the company was established on.

What Makes A Good Employer? SBT speaks with Hove based MRL Consulting about their recent award for excellent management/staff relations.

Putting a Profit SBT finds out how two of the counties golf clubs are responding to the current economic climate. Has Sussex Lost Out In The Olympics? SBT takes an overview on how London 2012 has affected the Sussex economy past, present and future.

Made in Sussex We discover how Ridgeview Wine Estate has established itself as an award winning sparkling wine producer.

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52 Sussex Business Times

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28/04/2011 12:02


SBT SUSSEX BUSINESS TIMES

SBT

ISSUE 361: FREE

SUSSEX BUSINESS TIMES

Back To BaSIcS WE FIND oUT THE SEcRETS BEHIND THE aPPLE BRaND HoW aUcTIoN HoUSES aRE SUccEEDING HoW To MakE MoNEY FRoM cRaFT WHaT MakES a GooD EMPLoYER HoW GoLF cLUBS aRE SURVIVING THE REcESSIoN WHETHER THE oLYMPIcS HaS BEEN GooD FoR SUSSEX aND WE RoUND UP THE ESSENTIaL GaDGETS FoR SPRING

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GET INDIVIDUAL ISSUES OF SUSSEX BUSINESS TIMES MAGAZINE DELIVERED DIRECT TO YOU, STRAIGHT FROM US, WITH FREE POST AND PACKING. 4 ISSUES (A YEAR’S SUBSCRIPTION) FOR JUST £10.00 HOW? BY VISITING WWW.SUSSEXBUSINESSTIMES.CO.UK

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Spending It!

Inspect A Gadget At SBT we’re always searching for the best of new design and innovative technology to make travel, leisure and life in the office run smoothly. Here we share our essential guide to the kit that has our hearts racing this season.

XPERIA ACTIVE This smartphone is built for bootcamp. Tough enough to work in the roughest conditions, it will put you through your paces with its in-built personal trainer and pre-loaded sports apps. From £249. www.sonymobile.com

PERFORMANCE MOUSE MX Need a mouse that works wherever you go? Using darkfield laser tracking that works on virtually any surface over 4mm thick, this is one clever mouse, £69.99. www.logitech.com

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Spending It!

PHONAK AUDÉO PFE 012 SONY SMART WATCH There are times when you need to keep up to speed, but be discreet or on the move. Customise this smartwatch with the apps you need and wear it as a watch or on a messenger bag strap, leaving your hands free, £73. www.sonymobile.com

These in-ear earphones utilise Swiss sound precision, a unique bass filter and also block out ambient noise, making them the perfect travelling companion. The three sizes of sillicone ear tips ensure a perfect fit, £89.99. www.audeoworld.com

HTC ONE X PENTAX K-01 This tough, good looking camera was created by the design guru Marc Newson and is the perfect choice for the design conscious photographer, £629.99. www.pentax.com

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HTC have produced a lightening fast Android phone for those seeking a premium camera and sound experience to boot. Wrapped up in a high gloss case that’s lightweight but as rugged as metal, it also delivers on design. From £89.99 plus line rental. www.htc.com/uk


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Spending It!

BOSE QUIET COMFORT 15 Shhhh...these are Bose’s quietest headphones ever, cancelling acoustic noise, whilst their inline remote and microphone cable makes them compatible with many Apple products, £279. www.bose.co.uk

WACOM INKLING Ever wanted to work on sketches on your computer? This is the nifty product that captures a digital likeness of your drawing whilst you sketch, so that they can be later refined on screen. Genius we say, £149.99. www.wacom.eu

FUJIFILM X100 For anybody trying to reconnect with the golden age of photography the X100’s retro design and high spec functionality make it the perfect choice, £699. www.fujifilm.eu/uk

LITTLE PRINTER Whilst paper is being replaced by screens by many gadgets, Little Printer bucks the trend, scouring the web and delivering your customised content to you each day. So new, a 2012 release date and price will be announced at www.bergcloud.com

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STB


Celebrate Euro 2012 with St Barnabas House! From Friday 8 June to Sunday 1 July, one of the greatest sporting events will take place as Euro 2012 kicks off in Poland and the Ukraine and we want you to help us celebrate!

Get your kit on for St Barnabas House England’s first game in the tournament is against France on Monday 11 June – which is also St Barnabas Day! Why not show your support by wearing a football strip for the day? Whether at work, in the pub or out shopping, whatever you do, get your kit on for St Barnabas House! You could ask your friends and family to sponsor you or collect money on the day. Please feel free to choose another date during the tournament if you prefer. Do you work for a large business or are you part of a team? Could you get everyone to pay a £1 each to get their kit on for St Barnabas House?

For more information and to receive your Euro 2012 fundraising pack, contact the Fundraising Team: Website: www.stbh.org.uk Telephone: 01903 254777 Email: fundraising@stbh.org.uk Twitter: @StBarnabasHouse Facebook: www.facebook.com/stbarnabashouse

STB Euro 2012 ad 210x297mm.indd 1

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17/04/2012 12:55


I AM CHANGING EVERYTHING

I AM THE NEW NIKON 1 V1.

I am an intelligent camera built from scratch. With my pre and post capture technology, I take pictures before and after you’ve fully pressed the button, meaning you will never miss a moment again. I am a small system with interchangeable lenses and innovative features, an electronic view-finder, and a super high-speed autofocus system. I am a new era of imaging. www.nikon.co.uk

I am your colour of choice: For 2 year warranty on any camera and lens kit simply register your new Nikon

12 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk within 30 days of purchase. Call 0800 408 5060 or visit www.nikon.co.uk/register.


Spending It!

EBCO EAGLE LSR-50 Delivering on style and technology, this electric bike has a low step frame (making it easier to get on and off in office wear) and allowing you to commute without breaking a sweat, £1,599. www.ebco-ebikes.co.uk

G

SAMSUNG SLATE PC

iPAD

Thin and light like a tablet, but with the functionality of a PC, the Samsung Series 7 Slate measures less than 2lbs and half an inch thick. From £999. www.samsung.com

The new, third generation iPad delivers fundamental improvements in display, camera and wireless connection from iPad 2, along with features such as dictation and Airplay. From £399. www.apple.com/uk

BEOLIT 12 PORTABLE MUSIC SYSTEM Winner of the Red Dot design award in 2012, this portable wireless B&O speaker features Apple Airplay technology, Wi-Fi and delivers 120 watts of sound. Essentially for a portable system, it has an 8 hour battery life per charge, £599. www.beoplay.com

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LONG ROOM THE

The perfect place to meet people, drink and dine in the centre of Eastbourne with a secluded garden.

Private room available for hire. 8 Bolton Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 3JX Tel: 01323 723023

14 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk


Tried & Tested

Working Lunch

Photography by Harriet Weston ©

Need to impress a client, discuss important plans with a colleague or just enjoy a great lunch away from the office? SBT brings you our guide to the best business lunches across the county. This issue, we visit The Apostrophe Restaurant at The Shelleys Hotel in Lewes and wonder why more people aren’t shouting about it...

Visiting East Sussex county town of Lewes on business, the SBT Review team were bound to be sidetracked by the town’s eclectic and intriguing array of independent shops, markets and, of course, restaurants. However, choosing somewhere to stop for lunch was more of a conundrum than simply selecting an establishment which caught our eye. We approached the Apostrophe at Shelleys with a secret challenge: one which, were they aware of what we had set out to do, would have struck fear into the heart of the chef and his team, for however accommodating and versatile a menu may be, there cannot be a member of kitchen staff in the world who doesn’t flinch at the words “complex dietary requirements.” Whilst providing for vegetarians, wheat and dairy free diets and those with specific food allergies such as nuts is an integral part of catering in the 21st Century, responses still vary between establishments. Some will bend over backwards to help; others do not go out of their way to hide their distaste for ‘fussy eaters’. Being one of those immunologically delicate souls whose allergies are life threatening, I make no apology for being very specific about what my food contains, and as such have become a litmus test for the attitudes and talents of restaurant staff. In the process of restaurant reviews I have been met with blank stares, with terse acquiescence and with generous understanding. I’m

Crumb coated cod atop a mushroom ragout & potatoes

pleased to report that The Apostrophe settled happily within the last bracket: when I explained my requirements to our waitress, she listened carefully, spoke with the chef and brought back a comprehensive list of what I could eat before my colleague had time to settle on her menu choices. I was shown which dishes were ideal for me, and assured that if what I fancied was not amongst them, the chef would be happy to adapt anything else I saw so that there was a safe, suitable version for me. I was able to choose the scallop starter and Dover sole I had been considering, whilst my colleague plumped for a Welsh rarebit starter and cod. For someone who cannot usually eat the same dishes as their peers, it must not be underestimated just how pleasing this sense of inclusion and normality felt. For entertaining a client who has a specialist diet, this sort of treatment can go a long way to making

Dover sole in a beurre blanc

Why it works Fine dining in an elegant setting. Attentive, polite staff who will ensure you are never left wanting or waiting. A perfect view which showcases all the Sussex countryside has to offer. An extensive and varied menu with something for all tastes and diets.

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Tried & Tested

them feel comfortable and well catered for. It’s worth noting, if you’re on the look-out for somewhere to entertain special diets, that gluten free and vegetarian options are clearly denoted on the menu, so you needn’t even ask the kitchen about these. They are obviously well prepared. The brief wait for our food was an excellent chance to look out of The Apostrophe’s long windows at a view that can only be described as quintessentially Sussex. From its position atop the hill of Lewes’ high street, the back of The Shelleys enjoys an uninterrupted vista from the roll of the downs, across the flattest part of the county, towards the bustling hub of Gatwick. I can’t imagine a better place to give a visitor a taste of Sussex from a single window. Unfortunately, on the day we visited it was a little too cold to sit out on the restaurant’s terrace, but it was easy to imagine how pleasant that experience would be on a less windy day! There was a flourish of starter-envy when our food was brought to us with

“The Apostrophe is a sedate but luxurious slice of Sussex, which would be ideal for giving clients from afield a taste of the beautiful county we work in” a smile, so my colleague and I shared our dishes. The scallops with black pudding were rich yet refined whilst the blue cheese rarebit, grilled on a stuffed mushroom, was hearty and satisfying but light enough to leave us both looking forward to our main courses. The restaurant staff were friendly and attentive without at any point seeming overbearing. On a quiet weekday lunchtime, a moderately sized gathering would be almost guaranteed the staff’s undivided attention, and our glasses were certainly never allowed to be empty.

Our fish main courses were vastly different – one in a beurre blanc, the other in a crumb coating atop a mushroom ragout – but they both shared a refined richness and depth of delicate flavours that allowed the quality of the ingredients to be savoured. Feeling rather full, we quickly skimmed the extensive dessert menu and opted for coffee and petit fours, which were in themselves the perfect sweet treat to finish our meal. We opted to have them brought to us in the hotel’s gorgeous regency-style lounge, where comfortable, deeply upholstered chairs once again threatened to lure us from the office for the entire afternoon. With a front door on Lewes high street and a back door leading to acres of Sussex countryside, The Apostrophe at The Shelleys is a sedate but luxurious slice of Sussex, which would be ideal for giving clients from afield a taste of the beautiful county we work in, or reminding those of us who take working somewhere so beautiful just how lucky we are! www.the-shelleys.co.uk/dining

SBT

Recommendations Three more top restaurants to visit in Lewes.

The Real Eating Company

The Pelham Arms

Pelham House Restaurant

For high quality, seasonal food with a local flavour, look no further than The Real Eating Company. With cafes in Horsham, Bournemouth and Chichester as well as Lewes, they focus on top quality handmade foods which are sure to delight every taste. www.real-eating.co.uk

If you’re looking for tasty food with a conscience, check out this Sussex Kitchen! Great food, from down the road… All their meat, dairy and cheese is free range and from local suppliers, plus they only use organic grains, locally caught fish and fair trade coffee and tea. www.thepelhamarms.co.uk

The Pelham House Restaurant offers top class classic modern food in Lewes, focusing on simple and delicious fare, using locally sourced produce. The restaurant itself is a feast for the eyes, set in the Garden Room, and Panelled Room, decorated in remarkable wood carvings.. www.pelhamhouse.com

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Visit www.identity-online.co.uk or call today on +44 (0) 1323 469111 18 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk


Inside The Industry

Flogging It!

Auction houses today are enjoying an annual increase in profits and a business that is far wider than it traditionally once was. SBT speaks to three Sussex based experts dealing in very different markets, to bring you up to speed with what’s happening under the hammer...

The story of discovering a rare, valuable object at Insight a car boot sale for 50p and selling it on for a kingly sum is one that many of us have dreamt of, what television shows are made of, and is familiar to us all. Auction houses have captured the public’s imaginations for years, and for those with a business nose, the notion of selling an object to the highest bidder to make a quick profit is not just irresistable, but is the very essence of trading. Yet whilst this simple transaction remains a constant, the auction business today has become far more complex. The television programmes purport to give us a glimpse inside the world of auction houses, yet SBT found that they are far from delivering the whole picture. One of the biggest changes to the industry in recent times, is that auction houses are diversifying into an increasing number of specialist

“There was the expertise and depth of expertise in this area to make it possible” - Rupert Toovey

Rupert Toovey in action

areas than ever before. Rupert Toovey identified this when he founded Tooveys in 1995 in Washington, West Sussex. Having worked in the specialist auction business in Sussex for some 27 years - during which time he was asked to start John Bellman auction house by the Chairman and MD of Sothebys - he ran John Bellaman until 17 years ago, when he thought it was time to start his own venture. Toovey saw an opportunity to open a fine art and antique auction house that would be a centre of excellence in Sussex, pooling together the skill set of his uncle, father and younger brother to do so, along with experts with very specific specialisms. “There had been an established centre of expertise in this area in the form of Sothebys locally, but for many years the writing had been on the wall

where they would not maintain their provincial centres as they went into an international phase, so I had a sense that there would be this opportunity and there was the expertise and depth of expertise in this area to make it possible.” Tooveys work with a number of international experts with specialist knowledge, one of whom is oriental expert Lars Tharp, who appears regularly on The Antiques Roadshow. Toovey’s specialists are on hand at viewing days, offering their knowledge to give potential buyers confidence, whilst their reputation draws “collectors to choose us from the opposition in the marketplace to bring us their collections,” he adds. The upshot is that items such as “the wonderful jade panel that sold recently for £120,000” go under Toovey’s hammer.

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Tooveys’ strong presence online has enabled the business to compete with other international specialists and have “an international shop window.” Nick Toovey, Rupert’s younger brother, was behind commissioning the website which attracts 40,000 visits a month from specialists, dealers and prospective private buyers all over the world. The site allows people to see what lots are coming up, and also features a database for potential buyers and sellers to “search our auction results going back over a huge number of years, so if you’re researching an artist, or a particular chinese vase you should be able to find a comparable on Tooveys that has sold in recent times to help establish a sense of value,” Toovey claims of the tool. “Through the internet we have had

to embrace direct marketing,” he adds. “So whether people are looking for a dining table to furnish their home, or there is an international collector in a particular field, we have the database that allows a comprehensive search.” In this sense, the website has also encouraged the company to be even more specialist in organising its sales search engines and how things work on the internet drive you to become more specialist to engage with that medium,” claims Toovey. Whilst their website is hugely important for Tooveys, this is not to underplay the importance of their auction room. In the current climate Toovey anticipated a contraction of antique dealers and trade competition and as such, that “we would need to increasingly reach the end user and

“Whilst the internet allows people to do their homework and establish what they are prepared to pay for an object, only being present at a live event allows you to look, see, touch and immediately leave with it” - Simon Morgan

The exterior of Tooveys in Washington, West Sussex

20 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk

be involved in furnishing thier homes in antique taste. So the first thing we did was move into a purpose built salesroom - one of the biggest auction spaces in the UK, it is as long as a footballl pitch - and in response to the way that people shop now we changed the way we present things with a retail focus.” They carpeted different areas and now display all of the writing bureas together, for example, so that browsers can compare one against another and make choices. “We studied and learnt about merchandising,” Toovey continues “and became aware of cross selling and marketing.” Dining tables are therefore placed in the porcelain salesroom laid up with silver candelabra because not only might you fall for the table that the porcelain you seek is displayed on but “if you want a dining table you might well want a candelabra too some day,” claims Toovey. “We also added a restaurant and cafe so that the private browser feels comfortable and we’ve learnt how to draw people through the building.” The online part of the business opens up the auction room internationally, yet Tooveys still conducts business locally. “The vast majority of lots come from the south east of England - Sussex and the south eastern block from Portsmouth to Kingston, then West London in Chelsea and Fulham and across to Greenwich, Blackheath and down to Bexhill.” Similarly, whilst they use direct marketing to draw an audience to sales via their website, they also market in traditional ways such as trade gazettes. Yet “our huge directories of specific buyers is very important and sets us apart from a lot the profession and allows us to give people leading a busy life a reminder about sales.” Access to a wealth of online information has of course had a huge impact on the auction business in general. With buyers and sellers able to gem up at the click of a mouse, they are able to make far more informed decisions about the items they are bidding on; checking provenance, their success in previous sales and their scarcity. But the downside, as Simon Morgan, Managing Director of SIA Group is keen to point out, is that “whilst the internet allows people to do their homework and establish what they are prepared to pay” for an object, only being present at a live event allows you to “look, see, touch and immediately


Inside The Industry

Julian Dawson at the helm

leave with it,” he maintains. The trained eye is also more likely to spot a fake on close inspection, and photographs do not always accurately depict an objects’ true condition. Furthermore, there is always risk of additional damage or items arriving not working, in the post and where then, lies the blame? This is one reason why Simon Morgan is pushing for the industry to be regulated through his work on the committee of NAVA (The National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers). Morgan, Managing Director of SIA Group, an insolvency agents, started the auction side of his business 15 years ago. SIA values and sells approximately 300 companies and their assets every year, deals with high profile bankruptcies (which have included the Hamiltons and Michael Barrymore) and works on behalf of Brighton Council, selling assets procured by illegal means under The Proceeds of Crime bill. At their showrooms in Brighton, East Sussex, SIA organises auction sales, sometimes pooling together lots to form themed sales that will attract a certain market - in which case they use their

“The largest growing market Simon Morgan has witnessed is the rise of people buying to re-sell on eBay” databases and targeted marketing to “alert people in that industry as well as letting the general public know it’s happening” - and converseley holding general sales when time restrictions such as on companies being sold by tender to a deadline mean that their assets “need to be sold at public auction quickly.” The contents of sales can range from fine art to the contents of a shop to disability scooters. It is often other businesses who buy bankrupt stock as well as private dealers and the general public, Morgan notes. Yet the largest growing market he has witnessed is the rise of people buying to re-sell on the online auction site eBay. “When we first started up, people were coming to buy for car

booting, but legislation and trading standards has clamped down for car booters (they now have to prove where things were bought and generally makes it harder for them to buy at auction to sell).” He now estimates that 50% of people bidding at his auctions are buying to sell on eBay. Morgan insists that the industry desperately needs to be regulated for transparency. Whilst it is self regulated, as with “any industry there is good and bad practice,” he claims. In his role on the committee he sees ‘pop up’ auctions as one problem area. “People take over a hotel, pile in televisions or golf kit for example, for a one off hit and those people are not traceable, they are not local and there’s no

www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk 21


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Inside The Industry

comeback if what they are selling is no good [or from a questionable source].” “House clearances, that are probate, go through solicitors and are therefore more regulated,” he continues, yet not all misconduct, it seems, occurs outside of established auction houses. Morgan outlines a scenario where some “auctioneers have gone back to their clients and said ‘your lot has only made x, do you want to take the offer’ [which might be very low] and faced with fees for storage, collection or moving a heavy item, they may well accept the price. Then you see it auctioned for a much higher price online.” Yet Morgan is candid in noting that regulation could well have a negative impact on smaller local auction

discovered, vary hugely between auction houses. “We charge 12.5% to the buyer,” says Morgan, “whereas I think Christies charge 20%. For the seller we have various rates, depending on each case. We’re fairly lax on lotting fees for items not sold, we’ve not incorporated that even though it’s standard practice for auction houses.” Rupert Toovey says: “We charge a standard commission of 15% to sellers and an additional £6 on each lot. It’s not standard across the industry,” he agrees. “We don’t charge if items don’t sell, it doesn’t feel right to charge a client for a service we haven’t fulfilled,” he claims. At Gorringes, the long established auctioneer and partner Julian Dawson conducts a weekly arts

firm with a cattle market. “I started selling in 1961 and have been going ever since!” he claims. He would sell “15-20 lots that weren’t good enough to go into the general sale in a weekly sale.” Then, “in the 1970s a lot of the stuff started to attract people from Europe and America and I made a conscious effort to improve the standard of the weekly sale and lift the other sale to an antiques sale.” For the last 20 years, he has been running the weekly auction. Dawson is well placed to have seen many changes throughout the years. “The 1980s were phenomenal for business,” he says. “I used to sell a Georgian bureau for £1500 in the 80s, now it will go for £300, although a

“I used to sell a Georgian bureau for £1,500 in the ‘80s, now it will go for £300” - Julian Dawson businesses. “The flip side to regulation is that due to the high cost of personal indemnity insurance, small, lovely, general auction houses in Sussex, which are reputable because they can’t afford to upset the local people, are dying out because they can’t afford to pay it and they also can’t make money from some areas they would have traditionally done so, due to food legislation, the testing of electrical equipment and so on.” One of the ways that the industry could also benefit from regulation, is in how it structures its’ commission charges and fees, which can, SBT

and antiques sale at their Lewes auction rooms. “We charge a basic 15% fee for vendors and for purchasers there is a buyers premium of 17.5%. When bidders come and buy they are aware they need to add approximately one fifth to their bill [for fees].” And whilst there are no lotting fees, there is a minimum of £5 for a lot whether its sold or not, and approximately 1.5% for insurance,” he explains. Dawson has been an auctioneer at Gorrringes since 1959 and has been involved in running the furniture sale room (one of two rooms) which ran alongside what was then an agricultural

really good one might make more. In the 1990s things did go off a bit but from the 1990s to 2000 things started drifting downwards and since then it’s gone down helter skelter as fashions have changed so much.” Yet despite the recession Dawson reels off figures showing that profits in his auction room have been climbing over the last three years. “We were up 8% between 2009 and 2010 and up 14.5% between 2010 and 2011.” Toovey also paints a positive picture, noting “the resurgence in the demand for traditional antiques, which is driven by people looking for better value for money,” he says. The price

Citroën tinplate clockwork model of a B14 coupé, circa 1927. £3,200, Tooveys.

Chinese Cloisonné vase, mid-Ming dynasty. £19,000, Tooveys.

Mid-19th Century carriage clock by Daniel Desbois, London. £5,800, Tooveys.

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Advertorial

The Best Chefs in the South East are Preparing to Set Taste Buds Tingling at Foodies Festivals on Brighton Hove Lawns this May. Experts such as Andy MacKenzie, of Drakes, Michael Bremner, of Due South, David Roy of Riddle and Fins and Michelin-starred Matt Gillan, of The Pass at South Lodge, will cook signature dishes live in the Chef’s Theatre and explain to visitors how they can prepare the same dishes at home. Matt Gillan said: “I’m really looking forward to Foodies as I’m going to be doing something a bit different with a local theme, using the best produce from the area.” The festivals were the brainchild of director, Sue Hitchen, who has built the business up from one show to seven in just six years. She said: “I identified that there was a real need for family food and drink festivals as part of the mix of festivals in Edinburgh and then brought the event to Jubilee Square, Brighton, in 2009, alongside the Brighton Fringe - and then last year expanded on to Hove Lawns. “Word spread about the success of the festivals and we were approached to run them around the country so it was an expansion brought about by demand. “We want to take the events overseas and are looking at wonderful locations in key cities around the world. The Foodies brand is so strong now that we are being approached by chefs and restaurants wanting us to take the festivals to their home towns. “This year we’ve expanded our creative edge, with lots of new event features like the city beach and the cinema.” There will also be hilarious food fights: one for kids and one for adults, both of which are for charity. At the children’s one, the over-sevens can get kitted out in special cover-alls before throwing custard pies and gooey cakes at each other in a soft play area. Parents can also take their little ones to the city beach to let them make sandcastles while they kick back in the sun. Staff serving from traditional brightly painted beach huts will bring ice cream, tea - or something a bit stronger - straight to mums and dads’ deckchairs. There’s a chance to brush up on your al fresco cookery skills as well, as classes will be run on how to produce perfect bangers, moist kebabs and beautiful burgers at beach barbecue masterclasses. Children can get stuck in with cooking too, at the Kids’ Cookery Theatre. The over-fives – helped by their parents – will be able to put together one small dish, such as pizza or cupcakes, under the expert direction of staff from Splat Cooking or Kiddy Cooks, who will then place their meals in the oven and make them available to collect once cooled. On the other side of the site, film fans can enjoy a unique culinary experience all of their own at the Food of Love Cinema, which will show the best food films of all time and serve the meals shown in those movies during the screenings. Blockbusters such as Moonstruck (pizza) and Blade Runner (noodles) will be shown alongside independent movies such as Tampopo (sushi) at the pop-up movie house so audience members can taste what the stars taste. Director Hannah Robinson - who curated the programme for Food of Love - was determined that the films shown 24 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk

should have real artistic merit and spent many weeks rewatching classics in order to narrow down her selection. She said: “I’m really thrilled to be programming the cinema for the Foodies Festivals because it combines my two obsessions – cooking and cinema. I thought it would be a great idea to match the style of food with the movie, as good on-screen cooking always gets your tastebuds excited. “Sometimes films can re-excite you about food you’d got bored of – if you’re feeling tired of Italian, just watch the way they make pasta in Big Night, or Nicolas Cage slaving over the pizza dough in Moonstruck. “For me, movies and cooking are both hugely creative and a way of exploring other cultures. I have always wanted to go to Vietnam, but until I do, I can get a flavour of the culture by eating Vietnamese food & watching The Scent of Green Papaya. “You can also see in movies the universal way in which food is an unspoken conveyor of love or gratitude – like in Ang Lee’s amazing Taiwanese cooking film, Eat Drink Man Woman, and its Mexican sister, the wonderful Tortilla Soup. Some of the films I’ve chosen are because they show how sensuous and sexy food can be, like the egg-yolk scene in Tampopo.” And those wanting to rub shoulders with the stars can hang out at Foodies’ luxurious VIP Lounge, where all the celebrity chefs will be hanging out after their on-stage appearances. The tickets include free champagne, a free meal in the restaurant tent of your choice and top-notch cabaret in the beautiful Bedouin-style tent. You never know, you might even pick up some secret tips from a Michelin-starred chef on how to improve your soufflés.

Buy tickets for Brighton Foodies on May 25, 26, 27 online at www.foodiesfestival.com or by calling 0844 995 1111. Tickets include entry into the Chef’s Theatre, Food Masterclass, Drinks Masterclass and Kids’ Cookery Theatres Three-day ticket, £18 (concession £15). One-day ticket, £10 (concession £8). VIP ticket price, £48. Children 16 and under, accompanied by adults, free entry. Times: Sat – 11am-7pm Sun – 11am-7pm Mon – 11am–6pm


Inside The Industry

of English furniture of 1910 in date, between 1950 and 2001 grew twice as much for every pound as you had in property,” he claims. “There was a moment where you had, for example, all of these George III cheese boats commanding £950 and they weren’t ever worth that - and that was an overall trend in the market. In 2001 the collectors market went through the most extraordinary correction and fell as much as two thirds in value when everyone else was booming,” he reveals. “The start of it was 9/11, the second thread was the euro which profoundly affected our export markets, and there was a profound shift in taste (which IKEA and other designers were part of) which he hadn’t seen since the Festival Of Britain in 1951. The heart of how we grew our business was taking advantage of this correction. And in the last four years we’ve seen tremendous growth in our area of over 50% on mainstream items.” Toovey also claims “not to have seen people having sell off their things because of the recession. “My experience after the the difficulties of the late 80s and 90s was that people didn’t sell until the troubles had passed, and we haven’t seen that so far.” As could be expected, due to the nature of his business Morgan notes that he “is probably busier because of the reccession. Money is tight so people buy at auction” yet he claims not to be seeing an increase in bankruptcies. So are auction houses recession proof we ask? “That’s a bit blazé,” says Dawson “but we haven’t suffered, we’ve gone upwards.” Has so much exposure of auctions on television contributed to their popularity? “I think that it’s served a great purpose in that people now think that objects might be valuable. It’s made auctions more accessible and it’s broken down the myths so that people feel they have a clearer understanding of auctions work,” says Toovey. Dawson is rather more scathing of the programmes. “They really just deal with trivia. They have come to ask me to sell things to film that I wouldn’t have through the door. It hasn’t helped business, only a few extra people come along to be seen, and on programmes such as Bargain Hunt they are buying from a semi retail source and selling to a wholesale source, so the process is the wrong way round. You would be right to go to the auction first, then sell at retail for a profit.”

Items ready for auction at SIA in Brighton

With everyone considering themselves an expert now that they have more access to information online and on television than ever before, what really are the items to invest in for the future? Most experts spoke of the importance of the Chinese market. “They have an enormous desire to re-acquire things of imperial importance that they’ve exported to us,” says Toovey “it’s become an important specialist scene in the business.” In addition he notes, “I personally think that Japanese porcelain and works of art are of tremendous value. The Japanese economy has been weak for many years but it will recover, and there are things on the market that are less expensive now than they were 10 years ago.” So what is the future for auction houses? Dawson says: “At the moment business is tickety-boo and I think it will go on. A lot of people seem to be spending and will always have money. Some people are doing it as a trade,

there are probably a lot selling online.” Toovey claims that he will do “more of the same, broaden our base of specialisms and continue to develop the areas in which we have a high reputation.” He also predicts that the major firms will buy smaller auction businesses to maintain specialisms in the future. Finally, Morgan does not see the traditional auction house ever being replaced online. “A lot of people in my industry are switching to online and it has its place, but there is no substitute for being part of the atmosphere of an auction” a comment with which Toovey and Dawson would agree. Perhaps the unique and irreplacable experience of the auction room will mean that despite other changes, selling under the hammer is set to endure. www.tooveys.com www.gorringes.co.uk www.sia-group.co.uk

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The Godfather of Craft

He may have a holiday home in East Sussex, but Kaffe Fassett is internationally regarded as the textile artist who turned craft into big business. Yet despite having enjoyed enduring relationships with international brands such as Rowan and Coats since the 1970s, he is adamant that his career has always been about the art of knitting, needlepoint and quilting, and never about compromise.

26 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk


An Entrepreneur’s Story

“I’m afraid I don’t think from a business perspective. Money is not what motivates me” - Kaffe Fassett

Fassett in front of a hand stitched needlepoint tapestry he made for a client in Australia

Kaffe Fassett is something of a reluctant Profile entrepreneur. In fact, it is probably the very last term he would use to describe himself. “I’m afraid I don’t think from a business perspective,” he laughs “I just do stuff. Money is not what motivates me.” Yet Fassett has not only made big business from his art, he became a publishing phenomenon and was the first living textile artist to stage a one-man retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum in the ‘80s and has been a force behind the huge resurgence of knitting, sewing and quilting as the fashionable ‘make do and mend’ of our current, straightened times. SBT was

therefore keen to find out exactly how Fassett became the Godfather of Craft. Does he underplay his awareness of being tuned in to the next big thing or has he been fortuitous in having his great passions picked up by the right people at the right time? Does he merely see his work with big brands as second nature, or second fiddle to his creative work and drives? We had to find out... By his own admission, Fassett came to prominence in very different times. “You could call people up and say ‘I have something exciting’ and they’d listen. It was an amazing time,” he says of the ‘70s and ‘80s, and it seems as though Fassett always had the right contacts book. Originally a painter when he came to London in the 1960s from America, he

initially worked in a studio in London’s Notting Hill, which he shared with the prolific fashion designer Bill Gibb. It was at this time that Fassett, almost by chance, first became interested in knitting. He already had a keen interest in fashion and “when Bill told me that he was taking a trip up north, to buy some Scottish weaving for his next collection, I really wanted to go with him and see it,” he recalls. “When he was buying the tartans in the front of the shop, I was in the back, where they had all of the knitting yarns. They were so beautiful, I’d never seen knitting with the subtlety of these gorgeous landscape colours and I had to buy some,” he remembers. “Then, when I jumped on the train home I thought ‘I just have to knit a jumper with these’ and I asked a woman on the train how

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“It was difficult to think of how you could turn something as time consuming and laborious as knitting into a business” - Kaffe Fassett

to knit. She showed me and I made a swatch on the train, jumped off, bought a 9p pattern and made a cardigan. That’s how it started.” Fassett took that very cardigan straight to Vogue magazine and said “what do you think of this?” Fassett had already had one of his designs published in Vogue. Having worked on the design of a coat for Women’s Home Industries that they had made as ‘ready to wear’ the coat, “with a long diagonal stripe and border of flowers was photographed by David Bailey and ran as a whole page in Vogue,” he says candidly, “and that got the Missioni’s to me,” Fassett goes on to say of the Italian fashion brand “they came running over and hired me to work for them, which was an extraordinary thing.” Fassett was certainly attracting the right brands, but whilst he proclaims not to be motivated by money, he was determined to find a way for his new found passion to provide him with an income, and for something considered so out of fashion at the time, it required ingenuity. “It was difficult to think how you could turn something as time consuming and laborious as knitting into a business. I went on making

Fassett’s Wentworth cardigan is part of a Rowan design collection

28 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk

designs and I eventually worked out that if I did a book on it, I could sell the book and sell yarn... and then I could sell kits.” Fassett’s thinking was also a response to how “restrictive” he found designing for fashion houses. “They would say ‘do you have to use five colours, can’t you do something in four?’ I would be putting 200 colours into a fabulous coat! I hated being cut down by commercial things.” Unwilling to compromise, he pursued the idea of a book, spurred on by photographer Steve Lovi, who had a strong creative vision - to shoot seasonal colour stories, with Fassett’s knitting modelled against a backdrop of vibrant English Gardens. ‘Glorious Knitting’ sold 40,000 copies in two weeks when it was published in 1985 and became a best seller. “No one could believe it,” laughs Fassett “it was a worldwide sensation. It never occurred to us that it could be so successful.” The book was reprinted in 1999, is still available on Amazon today and was the first of many successes Fassett went on to enjoy worldwide with his numerous books. Furthermore, for ‘Glorious Knitting’, Fassett had the foresight to get knitting giant

Fabric collage for a bag design using the Kaffe Fassett Collective fabric range


An Entrepreneur’s Story

Rowan to back the book. He knitted all of his pieces in Rowan yarns. “We developed some ranges of colours and all of the instructions were geared towards Rowan.” It was the beginning of a relationship with the brand that endures to this day. With Rowan, and particularly its founder Stephen Sheard, Fassett had found a meeting of minds. “They’d do two [knitting pattern] books a year and I’d have 8-10 pieces [of knitwear designs] in the book every season for ten years and I’ll still design for them,” explains Fassett. Yet whilst he describes Sheard as “a far sighted person who understood what I was doing,” he did at times fight to reconcile his creativity as an artist with being commercial. “As with fashion, Rowan were saying ‘poor people, they can’t cope with more than 6 colours in a design, can’t you keep it down for them?’ In response, Fassett talked them into allowing him to choose 20 colours to create the ‘super triangle jacket’ saying “if you let me do that I’ll do my best to market it.” He was true to his word. He approached Woman & Home magazine with the jacket, they liked it and put it on a cover. “It sold 7,000 kits in 2 weeks and in those days if you sold 2,000 kits it was a great success. It gave me the courage to use more colour and Rowan got more adventurous and stepped up a notch,” Fassett recalls. The company eventually, however, hit tough times. “Rowan had terrible troubles, they grew so fast that they went broke. Suddenly they were borrowing a lot of money to make fantastic high quality publications but the business couldn’t grow fast enough to support it and the money got clogged up,” he elaborates. Rowan was eventually bought by Coats Crafts in 1996. “They injected cash and developed yarns,” says Fassett. “They are a traditional company who have done things in the same way for hundreds of years,” he continues, noting that on recognising the ongoing value of his work, have kept their collaborations with him in a “bohemian corner of the business.” Fassett’s career has had many highlights, including a solo exhibition at the V&A museum and his own television programme. He has also enjoyed many fruitful collaborations

Fassett hand stiches a quilt at his studio

such as designing kits for Ehrman Tapestry for some 30 years. Today, he says: “The recession has been good for us. People want the comfort of doing things slowly, by hand. We’ve all done well in the crafts industry. I have just been to Korea, Australia and Denmark and asked how they are doing, shop wise and almost no crafts shops I’ve come across are doing badly.” Indeed, craft certainly seems to be enjoying a boom in tough times. It was reported in The Independent last year that British sales of sewing machines were up 500% more than ever before, whilst Etsy, the largest online marketplace for crafters selling fashion and homeware items, now has 7.2 million members and has seen sales rise from £100,000

in 2005 to around £195 million in 2010. Fassett, however, was ahead of the game. Whilst he says he “dared to dream” of success, he has only ever viewed commercial success “like applause, an element that tells you that you are on the right track.” So Fassett does respond to his market’s desires. “When I was doing fabric designs, I noticed that if I was doing very soft watered down things they didn’t sell, whereas if I use flaming reds and rich colours they did, so I would do more of that.” After all, it was sales that enabled him to create a business from craft. www.kaffefassett.com

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Let’s Do Business Exhibitions are Firm Favourites

FREE Admission

businesses place on quality faceto-face networking opportunities. Our exhibitions present a great chance to make contact with hundreds of people in a short space of time and those that plan and invest in them properly, either as an exhibitor or visitor, can reap great rewards.” Identity Director, Michael Gietzen, says “We’re delighted to be sponsoring the Let’s Do Business exhibitions again in 2012. The events give us an excellent opportunity to showcase our broad range of print and signage services to a significant audience. Sponsorship of the shows is a key part of our local marketing strategy.” With hundreds of thousands of pounds retained within the local economy and over 12,000 business owners, directors and key decisionmakers having passed through the doors of the Let’s Do Business exhibitions since 2003, the shows have become a must visit event in the region’s business calendar. The shows are open from 10am to 4pm and visitor admission and access

BRIGHTON & HOVE Thursday17th May, 10am-4pm Brighton Racecourse BN2 9XZ

to the seminars is free. The exhibitions are also supported by Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce, The Argus, The Eastbourne Herald, InFX Solutions and South East Business Magazine. Full information about all shows can be found at www.letsdobusiness.org

2012

2012

With all stands booked for the Brighton show on May 17th and the Eastbourne exhibition on June 28th, the appetite for Let’s Do Business, the region’s leading business shows, remains unsuppressed. Sponsored by Identity Signage & Printing together with Barclays Business Banking and organised by the Let’s Do Business Group, 2012 sees the shows return to Brighton Racecourse on Thursday 17th May and Eastbourne’s Winter Garden on 28th June, before celebrating its 10th anniversary in Hastings on Thursday 1st November at the new venue of Sussex Coast College’s town centre campus. Each of the one-day free admission events hosts over a hundred exhibitors and offers everyone in business, whether start up or long established, the opportunity to source dozens of products and services from a diverse range of quality suppliers. “The response again this year has been excellent.” says organiser, Jonathan Dolding. “The continued appeal underpins the value that

EASTBOURNE Thursday28th June, 10am-4pm The Winter Garden BN214BP

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FREE Seminars Your once-a-year opportunity to meet over 1,000 business owners, directors and key decision-makers. Pre-register now. 01424 205507 · www.letsdobusiness.org Supported by

30 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk

01424 205507 · www.letsdobusiness.org

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An Entrepreneur’s Story Private Schools

The Right Class

Getting your children into your chosen state school is difficult enough but it can be just as difficult to place them into the right private school for both them and you. SBT gives you some simple advice to ensure that you do not make costly mistakes.

It is very easy to be seduced when choosing a private Advice school for your children, by the headmaster, the tutors, the facilities, the academic achievements, the location, the buildings, the uniforms, in fact just about anything other than the fees. So before you start looking at glossy brochures and attending open days the most important piece of homework both you and your children should do is to write a list of the key factors you and they are looking for from the school, whilst being realistic about your child’s interests, academic aptitude and personality. Firstly, ask yourself if the school fits the basic requirements of you and your child. Will your child be happy there? If so does the school have a good record and where do those who leave after their exams go on to? Do you like the ethos of school? This is often set by the headmaster so it is important that you get to speak with him and like or at least respect his attitude to education and the schools pupils. You should also ask about the turnover of staff, if it is rapid, then you need to find out why and ensure that the reasons given are convincing. Pastoral care for your children should also not be overlooked particularly if you are considering boarding. Find out about how much responsibility for this is placed on the teaching staff and if they are also setting the schools discipline standards. At this point it is important to understand and consider the personality of your child with relation to these issues. The school you may want your child to go to may not be the one that is right for them and there is no point in forcing your child into attending a school at which

they are going to be miserable. When it comes to looking at the facilities at the school make sure that they are going to be used by your child, however impressive they may be there is no point in them if your child is not going to use them. Today most schools in the private sector spend a great deal of their budgets on the fabric of their buildings and in providing outstanding facilities for their pupils. However, it should be borne in mind that great facilities do not necessarily make a great school! Or an appropriate school for your child. You should also take into account the other costs, or ‘extras’, that can add

stationery. It has been estimated that extras can add between 5% and 15% to the school fees you are paying, so it is always wise to ask for a complete breakdown of fees and extras when considering a particular school. The reality is that there is absolutely no substitute for a personal visit to the schools that you are considering. Make sure that you attend one of the Open Days which all private schools stage, and if possible also visit on a normal school day, so that you can experience the schools daily routine. Lastly, after doing all of your research, go back to the basics. The real starting point for choosing a school

“There is absolutely no substitute for a personal visit to the schools that you are considering” a substantial amount to your bill when you are looking at the schools fees and if they fit within your intended budget. School uniform and kit for school games is probably the first of these extras that you will encounter, and this is usually an unavoidable cost, which may well grow if your child excels in one particular sport. You should also be aware that private schools may well give your child the opportunity to get involved in sports and activities which state schools cannot offer such as polo, fencing, tennis and horse riding, which come with their own large financial commitments. You may also be surprised to know that music lessons and school trips are not usually included in the fees and neither are school textbooks and essential

has to begin with you and your hopes and aspirations for your children. You know them better than anyone else and you are the best judges for their strengths and weaknesses. You are also in the best position to know what type of school will work best for them. Although your schooldays were some time ago, the essentials in the 21st Century remain the same as when you were at school, but it is also important to listen to your child to make sure that your final choice of school is right for you as much as it is for them. For more information visit: www.ukboardingschools.com www.isc.co.uk/ www.ukprivateschools.com

www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk 31


The Big Apple Apple managers and their employees Brand almost behave like talented rich kids. Focus They have access to unlimited resources to do interesting things. They do not have to think about what ideas, components, and experiences might cost. They are only limited by what their “parents” will give them. Aside from this removal of profitand-loss concerns, another way that Apple is at odds with many corporations is in organising along functional lines rather than by product groups or other structural conceits. Few big companies are able to organise along functional lines. That’s why above a certain size, big corporations carve themselves up into divisions. Yet the functional nature of Apple’s management is key to its success. In this alternative management structure, executives have limited power

32 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk

but aren’t also expected to have skills that check some all-star management box. You’re hired and appreciated for your ability on the field, not your ability as a coach or manager. The very concept of general management - the notion of promoting well-rounded, left-brain/right-brain types who can toggle from real estate to supply chain to marketing to finance constitutes an organisational third rail at Apple. This approach contradicts about a century of business school teaching in the industrialised world, particularly the general-management concepts taught in the post-World War II era at the Harvard Business School. The Apple approach to management and talent development is top-down. It begins with an all-knowing CEO aided by a powerful executive

team - the “ET” as it is known throughout the company. “The purpose of the executive team is to coordinate things and set the tone for the company,” Jobs once said. The speediness of Apple’s decision making also is aided by how judiciously information is communicated outside the executive team. Typically, more information goes in than goes out. Apple teams are given swift feedback but only the feedback they are deemed to need. By selectively keeping some employees from concerning themselves with colleagues elsewhere in a giant company, Apple creates the illusion that these employees in fact don’t work for a giant company. They work for a start-up. Put these corporate attributes together - clear direction, individual accountability, a sense of urgency, constant feedback, clarity of mission


Your Business: Learning from the Experts

Apple’s success as a global brand is based and continues to be informed by an understanding of basic company structure which has its roots in the Californian counter culture of the late 1960s. Despite this there are lessons we can all learn from the Apple way of being.

- and you begin to have a sense of Apple’s values. Not every company and not every executive will be able to copy Apple. But its hard to imagine that the basic tenets of the Apple way can’t be imitated. Who would argue for not focusing, or for not holding employees accountable? What maker of products or deliverer of services wouldn’t benefit from asking the question: Are we basing that decision on what’s best for the product, and therefore for the customer? Is there a company that couldn’t benefit from a critical examination of its messaging, to at least ask the questions: Are we simplifying the message enough? Is our point clear? How many companies allow their PR departments to serve multiple masters and purposes, including CEO ego gratification, as opposed to pushing product? Is there something to consider in discouraging employees from being distracted by pursuits that may help them but not the company?

“Not every company and not every executive will be able to copy Apple. But its hard to imagine that the basic tenets of the Apple way can’t be imitated.” Is career development always best for the shareholders? The biggest pitfall in trying to be like Apple, however, is that Apple’s culture is thirty-five years in the making and bears the stamp of one extraordinary entrepreneur who turned into a shrewd executive of a sixty-thousand person corporation. It won’t be a snap for any conmpany to create its own version of the Apple culture. www.apple.com/uk

Inside Apple by Adam Lashinsky is published in hardback by John Murray, priced £20. An ebook is also available.

www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk 33


We are We are

Everything you need in print The Zest team draws on a collective 100 years’ experience in print, using it to provide business and private customers with fast-turnaround print solutions - all delivered on time and for competitive prices.

• Print Fast, beautifully executed

colour and black & white digital, personalised and litho print for everything from brochures, training manuals and stationery to invitations, reports and more.

• Design Creative design to make your

logo, ads, POS and communications stand out.

• Finishing All forms of binding and

finishing to add finesse to your print, from collating to stapling, embossing to varnishing. Fulfilment Picking, packing and despatch to ensure your materials travel well and arrive on time.

• Print Facilities Management Expert,

end-to-end solutions in print production, finishing and fulfilment to meet your specific business needs.

GET IN TOUCH Whatever your print or design project, Zest can help. For more details or a quick quote, 34 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk call 01323 638 838, email sales@zestprinting.co.uk or click zestprinting.co.uk


Zest delivers what it promised. The very latest technology is now being used for digital print. Sarah Iredale checks up on Zest, the new on-demand print company (that was Prontaprint for 30 years).

Zest opening with Stephen Lloyd MP, Julie Banks (owner) & her staff.

Zest, in Grove Road in Eastbourne, is an amazing transformation from Prontaprint that had been operating successfully at the site since 1981. Entrepreneur and MD, Julie Banks, bought the Prontaprint franchise in 1996. In December 2011, she took the bold and exciting move to create Zest and leave the franchise. As Zest, Julie is offering you even better services, all delivered by the same expert team, from the same premises with the same phone number. When the business launched, Julie promised immediate hefty investments in new technology. Has she delivered? The answer is yes. TOP NOTCH TECHNOLOGY Zest is providing real noticeable differences in print quality and fantastic value for money. This has been achieved by installing the very latest high tech colour digital press and two mono digital presses in December and January. This significant investment is part of Julie’s continual upgrade programme that has run for many years. As well as the exceptional print quality, the presses are faster, more reliable, quieter and use less energy. Great for their customers, the environment and their neighbours!

Canon engineers installing brand new Imagepress 1110 presses.

Julie said “With our investment in new technology, the fantastic skills of my staff and our wealth of experience, I am confident that we can give local businesses a level of service and quality that is beyond their expectations.” This seems to be true. Zest already has some great testimonials from clients that mention their meticulous and polite service, expert advice, on time delivery and their calmness under pressure in the face of late changes! MORE THAN A PRINT SERVICE You can now have pretty much anything printed in small or very large quantities, with personalisation, if required, on the high street in Eastbourne! Zest is much more than a printer. It also offers design, finishing and fulfilment. It even offers a Print Facilities Management service where you can outsource all your printing and distribution requirements. Julie added “We’re on a mission to impress our existing and new customers. We welcome anyone to give us their printing challenge. We would love to have the opportunity to let you know what we could do for you.”

www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk 35


What is the biggest threat to SMEs today? Competition, pricing, online stores? In recession or growth, what every business needs to survive is CASH. Access to suitable finance fluctuates depending on the country’s current trading cycle. Currently it is believed that access to cash and finance is difficult because ‘the Banks are not lending to businesses’. However, one source of finance is seeing record levels of growth in terms of the amount it is lending and its overall share of the business finance market. And that is… Invoice Finance and Asset Based Lending. A report from the Asset Based Finance Association states: “With the wider economy continuing to struggle and access to finance generally tight, it is heartening that the invoice finance sector has continued to be able to provide for British and Irish companies. In general companies using invoice finance are enjoying both a strong uplift in sales and have sufficient funds to enable them to continue growing and trading successfully, which is exactly what our economy needs in these economically challenging times.” “Figures in our new economic report indicate growing business confidence amongst invoice finance clients, both SMEs and larger firms. This contrasts markedly with the general negative sentiment concerning the state of the wider UK economy and a general contraction in the stock of lending. Firms using invoice finance are seeing rising sales and are continuing to have access to an ample supply of finance.” Business Finance Broker Simon Button of the Business Bureau says: ‘In line with the use of Invoice Finance, companies are becoming more prudent when it comes to managing threats to their business. The purchase of Credit Insurance and Bad Debt Protection products are increasing as businesses realise how valuable their book debts are and how difficult it is to replace profit lost when a customer goes bust. Having to hold and pay for expensive stock is proving to be a real problem for businesses. Here, Asset Based lending can help, as finance against stock can form part of an overall facility.’ With the apparent downturn in UK business, the invoice finance sector has also seen a significant rise in UK clients looking overseas for business. With this come its own problems. • How can a business finance overseas orders? • How can it collect its money? • And how can a business make sure its get paid? Simon says: ‘Invoice Finance can overcome many of these potential problems. Finance is readily available for companies that need to buy from overseas but do not have the bank facilities to pay for them. Financing invoices and the collection of debts comes as standard with most invoice finance facilities.

36 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk

Single Invoice Finance is also becoming a popular choice for companies wishing pick and choose invoices or customers that it wants to finance.’ So while the banks may not be lending money to businesses, plenty of invoice finance and asset based lending companies do. It is simply a question of finding the right finance for your business. Simon Button, The Business Bureau, Tel: 01273 467345, www.thebusiness-bureau.com


Workplace Focus

What Makes a Good Employer?

Don’t just take it from us... the results of the UK’s largest survey into workplace engagement by The Sunday Times has named MRL Consulting in Hove, East Sussex in their top 100 best small companies to work for in 2012. SBT speaks to Chief Executive David Stone, to find out what other businessses can learn from its culture.

It’s an old adage that a “happy workforce is a productive workforce” but time and again it’s proven to be true. Whilst it’s Profile obvious that employees want to feel valued and fulfilled in their roles, and in times of austerity seek what can be most elusive - job security - personal growth is of course key to their motivation. Yet more surprisingly, The Sunday Times survey reveals that employees also want to feel emotionally connected to their organisation, they care about how it is run from the top and if the company gives something back to society at large. So who are MRL Consulting - ranked 22 of the top 100 best small companies to work for - and what makes them such a noteworthy employer? When Chief Executive David Stone and his partner Paul Sansbury set up MRL Consulting - a recruitment and executive search consultancy in 1997 - they “took the best bits” from the company they used to work for in Sussex “left the bad bits behind and then started to improve and look for new ideas.” Fundamental to how they operate is the ethos that “colleagues are indviduals, treat them as such” claims Stone. This, he explains, works on many levels, from small, feel good gestures, such as “giving everyone an Easter egg before Good Friday” to “constantly looking for constructive criticism from employees and geniunely listening to it.” Thus Stone often asks “what would you do if you were the boss for a day?” and gives credence to popular ideas, such as his decision to “set up a recreation room complete with a table football.” There is of course good business sense behind such action. If you treat employees as independent colleagues, you can also tap into what motivates them as individuals to increase their productivity. This Stone says, is a balance of “having a genuine interest and caring for the people you work with, and tailor making incentives to get more out of them”. He cites a case where an employee “is awesome at her job and earns a lot of money, but she is time poor” he elaborates “so offering her an extra days holiday is going to grab her attention more than an extra £1-2k.” The same principle, he extends to his employees’ “pressure points.” Stone is happy “within reason, to be flexible so that if a colleagues’ wife is sick, allow them to handle the school run. It will make you a better employer and in return, will grant

Glenn Dimelow, Director at Best Companies and Dave Stone, Chief Executive at MRL Consulting

“When people have booked a certain amount of revenue they win a Rolex”

- David Stone, MRL Consulting

you loyalty - it’s a two way transaction” he explains. This, and in other ways, shows the importance he places on “showing humility” and “keeping promises.” Of course, there are universal benefits that MRL champions. They have an inhouse training and development manager who provides a “tailored plan and career objectives” for staff and a graduate training programme - both of which tap into The Sunday Times findings. Most dramatic and effective, however, is their long term sales incentive “when people have booked a certain amount of revenue, they win a Rolex” he explains “it might take 4-5 years, but crickey when they’ve done it they’re proud and their colleagues see it and want one too. It’s an effective long term motivator.” Indeed, we imagine that it is. www.mrl-group.com

www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk 37


Mannings Heath Golf Course

38 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk


Your Business: How to Increase Revenue Streams

It’s a classic scenario in the leisure industry... as the public count their pennies in tough times, club memberships are one of the first luxuries to be culled. So what are two Sussex based golf clubs doing to keep members on course?

Putting a Profit Profile

Mannings Heath Golf Club

“People aren’t stopping playing golf but they want value every time they play,” says Steve Slinger, General Manager of Mannings Heath Golf Club, when asked how golf membership is faring during the recession and how his club are responding. “Nationally golf is becoming more transient, people are seriously questioning the value of golf membership, so I wanted to give them a definite reason to be a member and [also] cater for the transient golfer,” he claims. As such, when Slinger joined Mannings Heath in 2006, his first move was to create a model which catered for both golfers wanting exclusive membership and for those wanting occasional play for a green fee, via the club’s two courses - The Waterfall Course (built in 1905 and listed in the Top 100 Golf Courses In The World) and the Kingfisher Course (built in 1996). There had formerly been 3 types of membership at the club which was “political, over arching and the bottom line was that it wasn’t working as a business model... so I wanted to create a situation of transparency, where members could sit next to each other and know they were paying the same fee.” Now the Waterfall Course is exclusive to members, those renting the newly refurbished cottages (one of which sits directly on it) or taking part

Fullers Cottage

“People are seriously questioning the value of membership” - Steve Slinger

in corporate golf days. Conversely, the Kingfisher course is used by golfers wanting to “pay and play” (as well as being available to members for 24 rounds a year). As competition to win business is steep, this opens up two different markets to the club which

Slinger “keeps a close eye on and creates strategies around them.” “Over the last four years we have had to be proactive in our search for membership, so each year we have a campaign specifically to fill 50 spaces.” This is to offset any natural loss (for example through members moving away from the area) and to attract new subscriptions. This currently takes the form of the ‘Red Carpet Campaign’ which was available for members to join for a fee of £750 this January (with subscriptions not due until April, essentially giving them 3 months free), but as part of their membership the club provides them with a card containing half of that fee for them to spend in the club’s retail outlet, clubhouse or restaurant with a 10% discount on standard prices when they do so. The result is that members feel that they are getting value from the ‘levy’, whilst the club still manages to achieve its fee and hopefully instil some spending habits in its members which they will continue to enjoy once the card expires. This model has been so successful that it has in essence existed (and has been re-packaged) for the last two years. Yet it is perhaps not the sole contributor to the increase in membership at the club which “in revenue terms has grown by 30%” since Slinger joined, he claims. This harps back to his belief that “membership can grow under the current climate if you offer value to being a member.” In 2010 Exclusive Hotels (the owners, and for whom Slinger has worked for 10 years)

www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk 39


invested in a £250,000 programme “to lift the product and the profile during difficult times,” Slinger claims. “So when you’re hearing stories of cutting back, product and service suffering, we’re doing the opposite.” The money has provided the club with 46 electric buggies, the refurbishment of the Spike Bar Lounge and terrace with gazebo, and the renovation of two cottages situated on site. These reforms not only give the positive and clear message to members that their fee is being reinvested into the club, but has enabled Mannings Heath to add to their revenue streams. The Spike Bar Lounge and terrace was overhauled “in response to a growing side of the business weddings,” says Slinger, by way of example. Whilst it has always catering for weddings, Mannings Heath can now offer more desirable locations on site for couples tying the knot and physically cater for a higher volume of wedding receptions throughout the year. The club is now booked at maximum capacity for weddings, hosting 50 per year, as opposed to approximately 35 per annum five years ago. A proportion of the investment for reforms was spent converting the Fullers and Bothy cottages which had formerly been used for staff accommodation. As it was no longer necessary for staff to live on site “it presented an opportunity to renovate

“Membership can grow under the current climate, if you can offer some value to being a member” - Steve Slinger

the cottages for two key markets residential golf days for the Waterfall Course (a way of accessing the course for external players) and for the bride and her entourage the night before her wedding at the club, which has worked fantastically well,” claims Slinger. Fullers cottage is situated directly on the course “literally three seconds away from the first tee,” Slinger confirms, and is thus attractive to golf enthusiasts. Recognising this, the club offers a package with very a competitive per person rate - “from £100 upwards for B&B, including a three course dinner in the Goldings Restaurant, use of the driving range and 18 holes on the members only Waterfall course and another 18 on the green fee only Kingfisher,” Slinger elaborates - based on four people sharing (as golf is played in fours). Of course, this also increases the incremental spend on site, entices new members and encourages repeat business. Whilst the initial outlay was considerable for the renovation, the

Mannings Heath Clubhouse lounge & bar

cottages are now paying dividends “it took a year and a half to pay back in terms of investment and return,” Slinger confirms “we’re in a good place now.” Investing to add to revenue streams and incremental spend is a strategy that Mannings Heath seems set to repeat in the near future. The next area earmarked for improvement is the clubhouse. “Meetings and conferences aren’t a new revenue stream for us, but they had been static for many, many years and now we’re turning our attention to that market,” Slinger notes. There are plans to dedicate a floor in the clubhouse to meetings for 2-100 people, which will be renovated. It is another move to “maximise people’s time and experience here,” says Slinger. Whilst the club has made moves to increase its profile and build relationships through its partnership deal with Sussex Cricket Club (which brings some of England’s players to the course) and in hosting the 2013 English Women’s Open Amateur Strokeplay Golf Championships, “product enhancement and service enhancement, has really been the focus,” Slinger concludes. He stresses that this is not just realised through investment in facilities, but also by increasing the volume of staff and keeping wages competitive at Mannings Heath to retain good employees. “Really lifting the condition of the courses and really looking after people” is key. “We need repeat visitors, we’re not in the market to have people to come as a one off and not see them again. That’s very short sighted.”

Dale Hill Hotel & Golf Club David Colyer, General Manager of Dale Hill and Chart Hills Golf Clubs (and Director of Leaderboard which owns these clubs amongst others) also tells a story of investment to increase revenue

40 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk


Your Business: How to Increase Revenue Streams

Dale Hill Clubhouse, Wadhurst, East Sussex

streams. When he took on his role in 2003, Leaderboard’s owners Paul and Jennifer Gibbons had just completed the refurbishment of the hotel and public areas at Dale Hill, which they had recently acquired. The Gibbons’ continued to show their commitment to improving their product by investing “to bring the standard of the golfing facilities up to the standard of the hotel, which is 4 star with an AA rosette for food.” Their aim, Colyer notes “was to exceed people’s expectations in all areas and appeal to a wider market.” Colyer’s first job at the club was to oversee the work which comprised of new changing facilities, and the refurbishment and extension of the kitchen, pro shop, banqueting and conference rooms, along with work carried out on the two golf courses themselves. This included new drainage and irrigation to the Ian Woosnam Course, designed by the former Masters and Ryder Cup Champion “which is prestigious, but technology had moved on since it was built.” The total budget for all of the improvements to the hotel and course totalled £4.8 million, yet the returns have been considerable. “We wanted to appeal to a wider market and the changing facilities weren’t attractive to large groups and didn’t fit the appropriate image,” Colyer elaborates. “There is a demand for large corporate golf days and it’s tough out

“We identify our peak times and our down times and incentivise them when those tee times would be sitting idle” - David Colyer

there,” he says of the competition. The improvements not only allowed the club to add a new revenue stream with corporate golf, but also to expand their other offerings. They created a flexible function room which can either hold 200 people theatre style, cater for 140 for lunch or dinner, or be cleverly divided to create smaller spaces to hold multiple events simultaneously. Sound proofing and a satellite kitchen to service these areas ensure that events can run concurrently “without them having a big impact on each other,” Colyer maintains. “We did offer conferences and weddings before but we were limited

by what we had available.” Now Colyer estimates that the volume of weddings has increased by 15% since the new facility has been built. Unfortunately, however, he also notes that the recession has seen the number of weddings plateau at the club and the size of wedding parties decrease. In addition “the bride and groom are inviting less people to the sit down meal and more to the evening reception and offering just a light buffet and drinks. That’s where the downturn in the market has really hit.” To compensate for this and to generate business during quiet times on the course, the club is proactive in marketing their business. “We’ve embraced social media and internet based marketing. We tweet and encourage people to visit our website where offers are based. We use a database of customers and people who are interested in receiving offers from us. We identify our peak golf times and our down times and we incentivise them when those tee times would otherwise be sitting idle.” Doing so, “doesn’t affect yield” Colyer is quick to explain. “Friday afternoons, Saturday and Sunday mornings are always going to be popular days to play golf and I think golfers accept the fact that there are times that will always be sold at a premium.” In addition, the club has protected tee times for its members

www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk 41


1976

Trek makes its first bike, the 520. A high-tensile, double-butted steel frame built in a barn in Waterloo, Wisconsin. It’s still under warranty.

520

Madone 6.9 SSL

2012

Now a top performer in the Tour de France, the Madone combines aerospace technology with ultimate comfort. Now designed by bona-fide rocket scientists at Trek HQ in Waterloo, Wisconsin, just minutes from the same barn where it all began. Technology has changed a lot in 35 years. Our goal has remained the same: Build The World’s Best Bikes.

42 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk

Full Page.indd 1

24/11/2011 15:46


1 15:46

Your Business: How to Increase Revenue Streams

and also a range of tee times “from a full green fee of £55 at peak times on a Saturday, whereas at 3pm we might charge £40 and at twilight we might charge just £30. This isn’t something that clubs have done traditionally.” Colyer’s team also use the website teeofftimes.co.uk to advertise their offers, reaching their database of 2-300,000 golfers who have signed up to get deals, in return for a commission on bookings. This, Colyer says “is a great tool for us to reach a wider audience.” Groupon is a deal of the day website they use less. “They’re good at what they do, and we would use them when it’s particularly quiet or when there’s a time we want to sell but there

“Our golf professionals and managers write blogs and our pro shop is also online to generate sales” - David Colyer

is a real cost implication for us. They’re a good last resort, like a panic board. In hotel hospitality we’re more likely to ring round with a special last minute rate.” Coyler elaborates on how this online marketing strategy for golf, works for the wider business. “On our bedroom sales we look at what’s coming in [in terms of bookings] and we put offers on quiet days and on busier nights we hold our rates. Our golf professionals and managers all write blogs and our pro shop is also online on our website, to generate sales. So when golfers do come, they have a bite to eat, a drink in the bar and visit the pro shop. That’s how we generate additional income, the ‘beyond spend.’ In addition, the club now put together packages with added value, often with a food element or the offer of a complimentary buggy to attract players. Leaderboard also owns a

View of Dale Hill Golf Course

company called the Premier Golf Alliance, a group of premium golf clubs and resorts around the world “where we have negotiated special rates for our members in return for reduced rates on stays here.” There is also a longer term scheme in operation at Dale Hill to win new members, in the form of the ‘Tees For Teens’ initiative, which launched in February 2012 and has attracted 100 new junior members. We identified that a lot of our members have children and grandchildren that they want to get into golf. We offer free junior membership to our members and a further 70 places to juniors who aren’t the offspring of members, to entice their parents to take a subscription. They bring the children up to the club, see the facilities, have dinner in the restaurant and may like the idea of playing with their son or daughter.” This has not just led to new membership, which of course, can be long term for those starting young, but has been a marketing “story.” “We have had some strong golfers come through, two of which have turned professional which has created a PR story and gives us something different to talk about than other clubs.” Finally, the club has benefited from running the on-site pro shop themselves. “When I started, it was franchised out as a business. Now any income that is generated through the shop goes directly to us. We’re in control of how and what we sell, rather than receiving a flat rental fee. The shop

does a number of jobs for us, the pro shop staff sell a number of green fees for example. If you look at the shop merely as a retail operation it is not a particularly strong part of the overall business, turning over in excess of £220,000 a year, but if you look at it as being intrinsic to running corporate golf days, tee time bookings for members and selling green fees, it adds a whole new dimension as a profit maker for us, whilst the staff are the face of Dale Hill, interacting with members who come through the door.” Membership fees have increased at Dale Hill this year, yet Colyer stresses that the clubs’ “overheads have risen disproportionately.” Nevertheless the club has 792 members to date (compared to 739 in 2009), whilst hotel income is up 16%, golf income has risen by 11% and income from the shop has increased by 62% in comparison to before the £4.8 million investment. Coyler claims that “the industry standard is a 10-12% drop out every year” for membership “for the last five years ours has been at 3-5% but we’ve always managed to finish the year with more members than we’d started with.”

www.manningsheath.com www.dalehill.co.uk

www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk 43


Ecofurb (UK) Ltd, 2 Cooden Sea Road, Bexhill-On-Sea, E. Sussex TN39 4SJ www.ecofurbuk.com info@ ecofurbuk.com

Solar & Renewable Energy Specialists A 1066 Award Winning Company

01424 842888 s Receive 8% - 10% return s Guaranteed for 25 years s Tax free s Linked to RPI With all the recent controversial decisions by the Government the industry now has some clarity. All properties installing PV now need to show an EPC ‘Energy Performance Certificate’ of D or above to qualify for the new tariff rate and Ecofurb UK Ltd are now qualified to provide these. Any installation being completed by 30th June this year will receive a new rate of 21p for 25 years.

ECOFURB ARE NOW OFFERING FREE EPC THROUGHOUT MAY FOR DOMESTIC CUSTOMERS! As of 1st July, the rate will reduce again for all new customers.

Our showroom has many examples of our solar products which we regularly install including Mounting Systems, Power Inverters, Modules and Monitoring Systems. Ecofurb specialise in Domestic and Commercial Systems

44 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk


We are offering the first 30 customers that place an order for a PV system in May, the chance to win their system outright with no strings attached! HOW it works. As soon as the 30th customer has placed their order, the offer will close,.We will have an open morning in the shop where all 30 customers will be invited. Customers will be asked to fill out their details and place it into a draw box. We will draw the lucky recipient out of the box and that person’s system will be completely free. This include all materials any scaffolding, all labour and materials.

The lucky winner will receive the government’s generous Feed In Tariff for the next 25 years and will have a 100% return on their money with no capital outlay and ownership of the system.

Ecofurb

are offe

ring:

An amaz ing chan ce to win a co mpletel y free Solar PV system in May up to 4K WP Inst a Capacit llers y.

(If in the very unlikely event that 30 systems are not sold in May, we will keep the offer open into June until the 30 systems are sold.)

Ecofurb is currently undergoing a re-design of our prestigious showroom to accommodate all of our energy efficient products that we will be offering. As well as bringing you new products we will still be offering our normal Solar PV and Solar Thermal range as well as our Heat Pump range. We plan to re launch our shop in late June or early July, so please keep an eye out or contact us to keep updated with our progress.

www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk 45


Advertorial

Keeping in Control of Your Cash Flow - How Invoice Finance Can Provide a Solution The economic climate of recent years has resulted in businesses struggling to secure funding, with many financial institutions lacking the appetite to back small and medium-sized enterprises despite initiatives from the UK Government aimed at boosting funding to businesses, such as the Project Merlin agreement. Sluggish growth in the economy and factors such as the rise in VAT at the start of 2011 meant banks were less inclined to lend money, and it also contributed to the caution felt by small and medium-sized businesses when approaching banks for funding and taking on further debt. However, with supplier invoices and employee salaries still requiring payment and raw materials and new equipment to be purchased, a healthy and on-going supply of funds is integral to businesses survival and to realise ambitions for sustained growth. And the latest survey of businesses in the region by Bibby Financial Services shows that during the first quarter of 2012 a third, 33 per cent, said they rely on their overdrafts for funding, 16 per cent use a bank loan, but an overwhelming 53 per cent have not applied for any form of funding to support their business. But according to the latest quarterly statistics from the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA) one form of finance which is increasingly being used by small and medium-sized businesses is Invoice Finance. What is invoice finance? When you are running a business, cash is king. Of all the challenges facing small and medium-sized businesses generating cash and keeping it flowing can be two of the toughest. If your cash flow is suffering while you wait for your customers to pay their invoices, it may be appropriate to approach an invoice finance company. Generally speaking, invoice finance takes two main forms. The first option for many businesses is factoring; a flexible funding and collections facility. Factoring helps to bridge the cash flow gap between raising an invoice and getting paid, giving businesses an immediate cash-injection and then an on-going supply of working capital against the value of outstanding customer invoices as they are raised. Using a factoring facility, businesses also benefit from the provider’s credit management and collections service, saving them valuable time, as the provider will chase and collect outstanding invoice payments on the firm’s behalf from customers in both the UK and overseas. The other main option is invoice discounting; a flexible fundingonly solution. Unlike factoring, the business maintains control of the sales ledger and continues to collect payments from its customers against outstanding invoices. What does it cost? There are two fees involved: The first is for the cost of the funding. This compares favourably with the cost of a typical bank overdraft. The second is for the service you receive which on average is between 0.5% and 3% of annual turnover but it depends on the number of customers you deal with and the number of invoices you raise. Compare it against the cost of your existing credit control team and the savings you will make. 46 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk

Never decide on cost alone, consider the quality of the service you receive and ensure you are comparing like for like. Choosing a suitable provider There are now in the region of 50 different companies offering invoice finance facilities in the UK, including bank-owned providers, independent companies like Bibby Financial Services and boutique firms which provide services for just one or two niche industries. Typically, firms are introduced to a supplier through their bank, a broker, financial adviser or accountant. However, we are also seeing increasing numbers of businesses getting in touch directly with us to discuss whether invoice finance would suit their financial needs. To help you choose a suitable factoring company to work with your business you should ask the following questions: • Are they a member of The Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA)? • What percentage of your invoices will be approved by the invoice financier and therefore funded? • Who will look after your account and do you have access to the decision-makers? • How will the invoice financier work with your customers? • Will they communicate by phone, mail or both? • Are there any hidden charges? Through the depths of the last recession we have seen from our almost 4000-strong client base just how important securing funding has been, not only in terms of businesses surviving but also in building for growth. Many firms like the flexibility offered by invoice finance as it can help them to manage the peaks and troughs most businesses experience, without having to renegotiate a long-term financial arrangement. As a company that has the interests of small and medium sized businesses at heart, Bibby Financial Services will continue to support businesses in Sussex with our flexible invoice finance solutions, helping the region’s firms play their part in driving economic recovery towards growth.

By Jon Charsley, Bibby Financial Services spokesperson for Sussex and the South East

To find out more about Bibby Financial Services visit www.bibbyfinancialservices.com


Olympic Special

Has Sussex Lost Out In The Olympics?

You’d be forgiven for assuming that we’re in the running for making good money from the Olympics with travel times from Brighton to the stadium on a par with much of London, contracts up for grabs and the torch passing through the county. But we say hold your bets! SBT speaks to Mark Froud, Chief Executive of Sussex Enterprise to gauge the bigger picture.

Opinion

There has been a lot of talk ever since the UK was handed the Olympic torch about the national benefit that will be felt from an event, which is so London and South East centric. But with London a relatively short commute to a number of the Olympic venues, we wondered if Sussex businesses had or are expecting any commercial benefit from the largest sporting event to be held in this country ever. It has been reported that more than 50% of UK businesses are confident that they are on track to share in the estimated £2bn from The London Games 2012 windfall. Figures reported from Visit Britain in October 2011 are suggesting that visitors in the UK, this summer, will be contributing an additional £2bn to the UK’s travel, hospitality and leisure industries. On a local level, various reports have stated that the London Olympics is pumping millions of pounds into the

Sussex economy and that business leaders have said that up to 40 companies in the county have won contracts for the Olympic Games ranging from construction deals to high-profile merchandising contracts. The South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) have announced that 3,634 businesses in Sussex registered to bid for contracts to supply the 2012 Games, however despite this initial activity it seems that few were actually successful in winning

“Visitors in the UK, this summer, will be contributing an additional £2bn to the UK’s travel, hospitality and leisure industries”

those contracts. One company, which was successful is Icon Live based in Burgess Hill who have secured the official souvenirs license for the Games and Cordek, based in Slinfold, near Arundel, who have won a contract for the construction of the diving boards for the Aquatics Centre. Other contracts won in the county include deals for the construction of the Olympic Stadium, communications and electronic and maintenance. Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for environment and economy, said that “Many West Sussex companies have already won top-tier contracts, and even more are benefiting from the supply chains. In these challenging economic times, we are committed to doing what we can to help firms remain competitive.” Encouraging words but what is the reality? Mark Froud, the Chief Executive of Sussex Enterprise, the countys’ chamber of commerce, says that although the cash injection is temporary, there would be a long-term benefit for those businesses by being associated with the London Games but that Olympic rules have made

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Service Directory

Fresh Cleaning Park View House 19 The Avenue Eastbourne East Sussex BN21 3YD Tel: 01323 411 601 Fax: 01323 411 654

Gemini Press Unit A1/Dolphin Way Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 6NZ tel: 01273 464 884 www.gemini-press.co.uk

Hopkins & Partners 1 Ivy Terrace Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 4QU Tel: 01323 416123 www.hopkinspartners.com

H. T. White & Co. Ltd 15 Alder Close Eastbourne BN23 6QF Tel: 01323 720161 Fax: 01323 649362 www.htwhite.com

Identity Signage and Printing Westham Business Park Eastbourne Road Eastbourne, East Sussex BN24 5NP www.signage-printing.com

Jag press & publicity 30, Worthing Road Horsham West Sussex RH12 1SL Tel: 7861 37 6844 (24hr) Tel: 1403 793836 (9 to 5) Tel: 0844 815 4991 (new enquiries) www.jagpresspublicity.co.uk

MDJ Services Limited Third Floor Map House 34-36 St Leonards Road Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 3UT Tel:01323 646477 Fax: 01323 646412 Email: post@ mdjservices.co.uk www.mdjservices.co.uk

Ross & Co. 13b High Street, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 1AL Tel: 01323 841814 Fax: 01323 849281 Eastbourne Office: BN21 4RB Tel: 01323 642426 Fax: 01323 417171 www.rossandco.co.uk

Santander UK plc South East Corporate Business Centre 3 City Place, Beehive Ring Road, Gatwick, West Sussex, RH6 0PA Tel: 01293 554880 www.santander.co.uk

Smith Osborne Downsview House, 31A Cornfield Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 34QG (01323) 649418 info@smithosborne.co.uk

Sussex County Cricket Club The PROBIZ County Ground, Eaton Road, Hove. BN3 3AN 0844 264 0202 www.sussexcricket.co.uk

Swains Plc Wilson House, Saxon Way Dersingham, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE31 6LY Tel: 0844 257 2800 Fax: 0844 257 2822 www.swainsplc.co.uk

Worldwide Mailing Solutions Peter Road Lancing, West Sussex BN15 8TH Tel: 01903 761 888 Fax: 01903 761 999 www.worldwidemailing.co.uk

Brighton & Hove Albion Stadium American Express Community Stadium Village Way Brighton BN1 9BL. Tel: 01273 878288. Fax: 01273 878238 www.seagulls.co.uk

Eurovans

Graves Jenkins 1 N Rd Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1YA Tel: 01273 601 060 www.gravesjenkins.com

Eastbourne, BN24 5NH Tel: 01323 325859 Brighton, BN41 1DW Tel: 0844 818 8712 Crawley, RH11 8DU Tel: 01293 279082 www.eurovans.co.uk

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Olympic Special

“It’s a town by town issue for councils who are encouraging tourism into Sussex from oversees as well as from London. Staying for a week in Sussex is where the biggest tourism benefits will come from” - Mark Froud, Chief Executive of Sussex Enterprise

it difficult for businesses to overly promote themselves ahead of the Games but that there will be a positive ‘legacy’ for those companies after 2012. More encouraging words, but as Mark explained to SBT the headline facts hide a complicated answer to whether or not Sussex will benefit from the games. For example, if the equestrian teams are staying at Hickstead why is the show jumping not being held there? It is easier to travel to the main Olympic site from East Sussex than from West London and yet this is not being promoted. Icon Live are however one Sussex success story. As Mark says: “They are the third largest employer in Sussex, with a staff of over 2,000 with a turnover of approximately 100 million. They make costume jewellery for companies such as Asda and have won the Olympic contract to make key ring fobs and pin badges, which is a huge boon to the area of Burgess Hill. They are just opening in Australia and they are a company that has gone from strength to strength over the last ten years.” However, Mark does not believe that the bidding process has been totally positive for Sussex business: “One of the things that we found slightly strange about the bidding process is that businesses were meant to enroll on a website to be considered and we have since discovered that 1,000 people who have won contracts weren’t on the website so it was there as a gateway to win contracts - but that doesn’t appear to have been the only route, which we thought was odd although it probably

didn’t make a difference to Sussex businesses hoping to win a contract”. Mark goes on to say: “The government hasn’t published a list of the companies that have won contracts because they have strict sponsorship deals with certain companies. I understand that even Icon Live are probably not supposed to publicise their involvement ahead of the Games. After the event they will probably be able to mention their involvement in their marketing as it won’t contravene their contract. It was decided that there would be two gates of entry to the UK and that the government would beef up transport and security at these points to ensure that visitors will get through these channels quickly, but they subsequently chose Heathrow as the two points, we were dismayed, as Gatwick has done a lot recently to attract visitors and has changed out of all recognition and the level of customer satisfaction has gone through the roof. The new terminal is eye openingly lovely, and makes you want to go through it. Gatwick will still be a great gateway alternative to the Olympics and we’re developing the accommodation offerings also, whilst getting travel agents to send out the message about staying outside of London. We are getting some indication that hotel occupancy rates as far down, as Brighton will be raised over the three-week period of the Olympics. Hopefully tourism in Sussex will do well.” Although Mark is hopeful concerning the prospects of increased tourism within Sussex again he is

realistic: “It’s a town by town issue for councils who are encouraging tourism into Sussex from oversees as well as from London. Staying for a week in Sussex is where the biggest tourism benefits will come from. An average UK tourist will spend £500 a week, the average Chinese tourist £1500”. In general Mark is optimistic about the overall impact the Olympics could have on the Sussex economy outside of specific contracts and government decisions “When we do well at sport it gives the nation a confidence boost and by heck we need one. Businesses are holding their own and some are doing well but boy is it tough out there and any boost is welcome for the economy. It gives people a sense that they can spend a little bit more and although it will not recreate the heady days of the mid 2000s, there is, I believe, room for optimism”.

Mark Froud’s Advice For Sussex Businesses Understand your business. This might sound like common sense - but sometimes when you run a business getting through the day can be tough - profit is sanity, turnover is vanity... it is about remembering that every single day. Always try and make yourself look slightly different to your competitors because then people will remember you. Remember your customers are the people that pay you, so therefore within certain bounds, whatever they want, is right. It’s all about customer service.

www.sussexenterprise.co.uk www.london2012.com

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Home Grown Hero

Made In Sussex:

Ridgeview Wine Estate

If you ask most of us where the best sparkling wine in the world comes from, we are likely to reply ‘Champagne’, but could the answer be much closer to home? SBT speaks to the East Sussex vineyard that’s won an award for the best sparkling wine in the world and has been served at Buckingham Palace. Just 88 miles north of Champagne, with Brand an almost identical geology and climate, Focus lies Ridgeview Wine Estate in Ditchling Common, East Sussex. Mike and his wife Chris Roberts set up the 30 acre estate on selling their computer business in 1994, and have since won 140 medals and 20 trophies in international and national competitions for their produce. These include the prestigious trophy for the best sparkling wine in the world in the Decanter World Wine Awards 2010 the first time it has ever been awarded outside of the Champagne region. Mike and Chris decided to put Mike’s 20 year dream of having their own wine estate in motion “on finding a piece of land that would make a wonderful vineyard.” Whilst most Sussex vineyards were growing German varieties of grape, however, the Roberts’ business model was instead based on the fact that “Champagne is the closest appelation to us, the conditions are ideal for making quintessential sparkling wine” he says. Both Champagne and Sussex are also in close proximity to major capital cities and “in consquence you have a very high cost profile and not neccessarily a particularly agricultural scene. What you have to do to compete if you’re not making a high volume product - because you don’t grow so many grapes and you have other costs - it is an added value process. There are four years between harvest and sale and all sorts of activities go on with the wine and that means you can actually add real value to the product.” Roberts also discovered that the Englishman Christopher Merret first

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“When we started everyone thought we were mad, now lots of people want to open vineyards in Sussex” described not only how to make sparkling wine but how it was being enjoyed in London some 30 years before it was first made in France. He thus registered the name Cuvee Merrett and all of his wines bare the label once they have met certain technical and organoleptic standards. Ridgeview “started on the basis that it would be a pleasant, unpressurised task to make 20-30,000 bottles of high quality sparkling wine in the hope of selling them all. In fact, in 2010 we bottled 10 times the amount we set ourselves as a target in the beginning” claims Roberts. Whilst still a family run

business, Ridgeview doubled the size of their winery in 2010 and found a grower in Chichester to increase their planting capacity, to meet demand. Today 17% of their product is exported around the world to embassies and retailers, whilst in the UK they have been stocked by Waitrose since 2002 and make exclusive labels for both The Sunday Times Wine Club and Marks and Spencer. Whilst it is difficult to pinpoint an individual element that has contributed to this success, recent exposure may have helped. The estate’s sparkling wine was served at a recent state banquet at Buckingham Palace hosted for President Barak Obama and at the Queens’ 80th birthday as an aperitif. “The government hospitality team buys in stocks of wine once or twice a year. That’s what happened with Obama. Whilst we were in the middle of ‘frost watch’ (when annually Roberts is alerted by alarms throughout the night) I got a text message to say ‘watch this!’ as it was covered on CNN.” A true sign of global success for a Sussex based business.


ALBION IN THE COMMUNITY RACEDAY BRiGhTon RACeCouRse T h u R s d A y 1 9 T h J u ly

Join the Albion at the winning post Join Gus Poyet and the first team squad for this great event on Thursday 19th July at Brighton Racecourse. Tables and sponsorship packages are exclusively available for all supporters to raise funds for Albion in the Community.

Package includes: Three-course silver served meal Premier Badge admission Racecard for each guest Private terrace area Price: £58 + VAT per person (or £580 + VAT for a table of 10)

Sponsorship packages For full details of sponsorship packages or to book a standard package contact Albion Commercial on

01273 878278

or email commercial@bhafc.co.uk www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk 51


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Sussex Business Times Issue 361 2012