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issue 364: FRee

sussex business TiMes

MaxiMise TRansacTion value - nik askaRoFF explains, hilaRy Devey’s long RoaD To success, Taking The woRk ouT oF neTwoRking, MeRgeRs anD acquisiTions: aRe you in The MaRkeT? iT’s youR call: whaT’s in a nuMbeR FoR a sussex business? plus youR business quesTions answeReD in The sbT expeRT q&a

The TRuTh abouT banks

sbT uncoveRs The nuMbeRs anD invesTigaTes why They’Re jusT noT aDDing up

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SBT Welcome “In the spirit of determinedly marching on, we’ve brought you a particularly downto-earth SBT” - SBT

News that the UK has emerged from recession was met with caution by SBT and the wider business community: it’s great news, of course, but having dipped back into recession from recovery so recently, it’s not surprising that UK businesses are being cautious with their optimism. In the spirit of determinedly marching on, we’ve brought you a particularly downto-earth SBT, complete with advice from the straightest-taking of all ‘Dragons’: Hilary Devey. I’m also pleased to introduce, with this issue, the indispensable advice of SBT’s new resident finance expert, Graeme Carn. His first articles explore the effects of the banks on the UK economy, and explains how mergers and acquisitions affect the SMEs of Sussex not just the multinaional companies that make the headlines. We’ve all heard what all work and no play supposedly does to us, so if you’re in the mood for treating yourself with a little of that hard earned cash, check out our Spending It feature on page 7 for gadgets you won’t know how you lived without. We’ve also uncovered a couple of local gems in SBT’s Working Lunch, none of which are likely to break the bank, so allow us to suggest a Friday night celebration of a week well done.

Editor Paul Beasley

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Contents SBT Issue 364

sbT

issue 364: FRee

sussex business TiMes

MaxiMise TRansacTion value - nik askaRoFF explains, hilaRy Devey’s long RoaD To success, Taking The woRk ouT oF neTwoRking, MeRgeRs anD acquisiTions: aRe you in The MaRkeT? iT’s youR call: whaT’s in a nuMbeR FoR a sussex business? plus youR business quesTions answeReD in The sbT expeRT q&a

The TRuTh abouT banks

sbT uncoveRs The nuMbeRs anD invesTigaTes why They’Re jusT noT aDDing up

sbT The Magazine ThaT MaTTeRs

Cover Image: Nik Askaroff, CEO, EMC Corperate Finance P 01 Cover SBT.indd 1

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Sussex Business Times Managing Director/Publisher: Lee Mansfield lee@lifemediagroup.co.uk Commercial Director: Simon Skinner simon@lifemediagroup.co.uk Commercial Business Manager: Luke Mould luke@lifemediagroup.co.uk Editor: Paul Beasley paul@lifemediagroup.co.uk Editorial Assistant: Laura Knight laura@lifemediagroup.co.uk Sales Executive Leanne McConnell leanne@lifemediagroup.co.uk Design: Harriet Weston harriet@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 ©

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Welcome In the spirit of determinedly marching on, we’ve brought you a particularly down-to-earth SBT

Spending It! Our picks of this winter’s gadgets to make the day go that little bit smoother

Gardners of Sussex SBT investigates how the UK’s favourite bookworms have stayed on top of the pile for all this time.

Working Lunch This issue SBT visits Pasha and Flamenco in Eastbourne and samples a quality of service, food, wine and environment.

Hilary Devey SBT learns the no-nonsense route to success, the Devey way.

The Truth About Banks SBT’s financial writer Graham Carn, uncovers the numbers and investigates why they’re just not adding up.

Mergers & Aquistions SBT’s financial writer Graham Carn, explores how mergers and acquisitions are improving businesses under our noses every day.

EMC Explains Maximise transaction value - Nik Askaroff CEO, EMC Corporate Finance, explains.

Taking the Work Out Of Networking In business, we network with a goal and the key is to maximise your time, money and enjoyment.

SBT Q&A SBT consults a range of industry experts to answer the business questions on our mind this season.

Made In Sussex We learn how Gary Peters has established a globally recognised executive search organisation and is now reaching over 750,000 local job seekers.

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LET THE PLATINUM CLUB TAKE THE ‘WORK’ OUT OF NETWORKING The Platinum Club, in partnership with The Grand Hotel Brighton, has developed a highly effective networking forum believing that less is more. We have removed much of the periphery that surrounds many business clubs such as seated meals, speeches and sponsors presentations. The Platinum Club offers a relaxed and informal Champagne cocktail party each month where local businesses come together from across Sussex to develop and build relationships, catch up on industry news and events and meet an eclectic group of business people in the splendour of The Grand Hotel. We strive to host an informal and enjoyable event that is highly effective for large and small companies alike and the finest testament we have received is a 100% membership renewal rate

For more information about joining The Platinum Club please contact:

THE PLATINUM CLUB Tel: 07966 244046 www.theplatinumclubbrighton.co.uk maarten@theplatinumclubbrighton.co.uk 6 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk

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Spending It!

Smart Solutions

Whether working or playing, here are our picks of this winter’s gadgets to make the day go that little bit smoother - in style.

TRIPLETON ENIGMA E2 PHONE An encrypted mobile for people who don’t want their phone calls listened to RRP: £1320 www.tripleton.com

IFUSION SMART STATION The first integrated communications docking station for the iPhone. Perfect for small business and home workers, the multifunctional iFusion has been designed to seamlessly integrate mobile, VoIP and desk phone communications into one easy-to-use device. iFusion, £129.99 www.thefusionphone.com

INFRARED GOLF SIMULATOR Perfect for the business professional looking to keep their golf game in tip-top shape year-round, the award-winning program allows golfers to play world class courses anytime, anywhere using their own clubs. OptiShot +3, £449 www.OptiShotGolf.com

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Spending It!

INNERGIE POCKETCELL™ PocketCell is a compact rechargeable battery bank that will add multiple hours of life or charge virtually any mobile device. Finally there is a lightweight solution which will ensure you are never caught out again. Innergie, £79.99. www.myinnergie.com

COBRA TAG G5 A Cobra Tag™ sensor is attached to your keys, purse, computer bag, or any other item you want to protect from loss. The sensor communicates with the phone’s free app and will remind you if you leave your phone or valuables behind. Never lose your valuables again! Cobra, from £54 www.cobra.com

ETON SOULRA XL The sun-loving Eton Soulra XL will play music from your iPod or iPhone even when you’re miles from the nearest plug socket.Armed with a fold-out solar panel, this self-sustaining stereo will completely charge in daylight in five hours. Eton Soulra XL, £149.99, www.etonsolra.com

AEROBIE AEROPRESS COFFEE MAKER Skip the coffee queues and go straight to the kettle, dispose of the drip-drop percolators and clumsy cafetieres to reclaim the work surface, and enjoy one of the smoothest, richest, purest, fastest and most affordable cups of coffee around which promises coffee heaven in a cup in just 30 seconds. Aerobie, from £29.99, www.aerobie.com

SHARP 70 INCH INTERACTIVE DISPLAY Sharp has unveiled a protoype of a new 70-inch LCD interactive display for professional markets. The ultra-high resolution of 3840x2160 provides really sharp images and, with a high-end touch screen functionality, the display is suited to retail, broadcast, showrooms, CAD, corporate, military, museum and exhibition markets. Sharp, RRP TBC. www.sharp.co.uk

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SBT SUSSEX BUSINESS TIMES

SBT SBT SBT ISSUE 360: FREE

ISSUE 4: FREE

YOU CAN MAKE IT WORK...

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Back To BaSIcS

AND WE CAN TELL YOU HOW! ALAN SUGAR REVEALS HIS SECRETS FOR SUCCESS THE IMPORTANCE OF E-LEARNING EXPLAINED THE GREEN & BLACKS CHOCOLATE ENTREPRENEUR SPEAKS OUT HOME OR AWAY? MANUFACTURING DEBATED THE NEW WORLD OF B&B PUBS EXPLORED PLUS: HOW TO SHOW YOUR CAR BRAND WITH STYLE

DUNCAN BANNATYNE: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW, HOW TO TAKE RISKS AND WIN, MAKING YOUR BUSINESS WORK FOR YOU, THE OUTSOURCING DEBATE CONFRONTED THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING FIT & EATING WELL.

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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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Spending It!

IPAD MINI The iPad® mini, a completely new iPad design that is 23 percent thinner and 53 percent lighter than the third generation iPad. It features a stunning 7.9-inch Multi-Touch™ display, FaceTime® HD and iSight® cameras, ultrafast wireless performance¹ and an incredible 10 hours of battery life - every inch an iPad, yet in a revolutionary design you can hold in one hand. Apple, iPad Mini, from £269. www.apple.com

ECHO SMARTPEN

PORTABLE SCANNER

The Echo smartpen from Livescribe records everything you hear, say and write, and links your audio recordings to your notes, so you can find what you need with a simple tap. Livescribe, Echo Smartpen, from £149.99. www.livescribe.com

The VuPoint Solutions Magic Wand Portable Scanner easily scans almost anything onto a microSD card. It’s lightweight and portable so you can carry it anywhere. Conserve paper and become ec-friendly. VuPoint, Magic Wand, from £59.99 www.vupointsolutions.com

THE MAGIC CUBE The Magic Cube is a compact and versatile product; it is a projection keyboard and multitouch mouse, all in one easy-to-use product. With just a single flick of a switch, the Magic Cube is ready to pair wirelessly with your mobile device. It fits easily in your pocket and it is perfect for on the go. Celluon, The Magic Cube, from £149.99 www.celluon.com

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Gardners of Sussex

A major local employer and a leading light in worldwide book distribution, Gardners Books operates out of Eastbourne. Despite very traditional beginnings, Gardners Books now supplies CDs, DVDs, eBooks and Blu-ray discs as well as its traditional book lines to a huge variety of retailers. SBT investigates how the UK’s favourite bookworms have stayed on top of the pile for all this time.

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Gardners Books, an iconic part of Eastbourne’s Profile business landscape, has been involved as an integral link in the book supply chain for over 25 years and can now proudly call themselves Britain’s leading independent wholesaler of books. Gardners boast a stock catalogue of more than 9 million books, which is now supplemented by a growing range of DVD, Blu-ray and CD titles. In addition to their core audience of traditional bookshops, Gardners supply an increasing representation of non-traditional retailers, which in turn has encouraged Gardners’ expansion into other lines. The latest addition to their stock is a range of nearly 400,000 eBooks from hundreds of publishers – truly bringing their stock up to date with the way readers consume books in 2012.

Since Alan Little and family started the company in 1986, Gardners Books have gone from strength to strength and the business, which is still family owned and operated, services in excess of 15,000 accounts worldwide. “A major part of our success has been our constant investment in innovative technology and our staff,” explains Gary Sheppard, Marketing Manager, “Many of the major developments in book wholesale, supply, and e-commerce have been developed and introduced by Gardners Books, something we are all incredibly proud of and strive to continue.” “In recent years we have increased our product range to include many other non-book media product ranges. Our book catalogue now includes eBooks, audiobook downloads, and our home entertainment catalogues including DVDs and CDs. From local bookshops to non-traditional outlets, multi-national companies and

“A major part of our success has been our constant investment in innovative technology and our staff”

ABOVE: Gardners Book Warehouse

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“Gardners is a family owned business with owners that are pro-actively involved in the day-to-day running of the company”

BELOW: Gardners Books

e-commerce concerns, including over 1,000 internet retailers, we specialise in meeting the needs of booksellers and retailers on a global basis.” Gardners Books have grown to become a major force in their industry and a significant employer in the Sussex region. What would you consider to be the main elements that have contributed to this success? Gardners is a family owned business with owners that are proactively involved in the day-to-day running of the company and have always re-invested in new technology, infrastructure and staff to keep us at the head of our field. They are supported by an experienced management team with a wide ranging knowledge of all aspects of the book trade, from publishing through to retailing. Our success is the result of the factors above, coupled with a passion to develop innovative new services for our customers, for example we were

the first book wholesaler to realise the benefits that electronic ordering could offer to booksellers. As such, we developed and released Gardlink in 1990 as a tool for high street retailers. This product has continued to evolve over the years and 2011 saw the release of Gardlink 4, utilising touch screen technology and real-time information to provide a full EPOS system with EDI capability. The book and media market has evolved hugely over the last decade, with the advent of Amazon’s Kindle and the iPad, amongst others. How have Gardners Books adapted to remain competitive as a supplier in this evolving technological age? Technology is moving at such a speed, that as a company we are constantly evolving. The internet has probably presented the biggest change in retailing in the past twenty years or so, seeing our core business evolve from just selling physical books to

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Focus

high street retailers, to encompassing nearly 400,000 digital products, in excess of 200,000 entertainment products and fulfilling online sales. While we still put books in boxes and ship them to our retail customers, our customer base and product range has diversified significantly to meet this change head on. We have focused on providing customers with all of the information and support they need to adapt, from pricing and availability feeds to product images, digital marketing materials and new supporting services and devices - all promoted via our websites to our trade customers. A great example is our established Home Delivery service, more commonly referred to as Consumer Direct Fulfilment (CDF), which has been running for nearly 15 years sending out millions of parcels annually on retailers’ behalf to consumers around the world. What percentage of your current business is made up from digital downloads and how do you predict this will evolve in the next couple of years? It is hard to put an exact figure on the digital downloads as we provide feeds to our customers around the world for them to sell eBooks to their customers, but there is no doubt that it is dramatically increasing year on year. At the same time publishers are releasing more digital editions than ever and there are some fantastic devices out there to read eBooks on, so the ability and desire is there for the reader. We think that there will always be a requirement for both physical and digital product as people read and consume content in different ways; our goal continues to be supporting and enabling our customers to get involved in this format and providing them content to sell, be it physical or digital. Do you have any projects in place to support your traditional high street book retailer? Plenty! Perhaps our biggest project to date has been the provision of a new retail website www.hive.co.uk, selling books, eBooks, DVDs, music, stationery and more besides. The site, featuring a network of around 360 retailers around the UK is managed, marketed

“Gardners as a customer-focused company is continuing to move forwards and help retailers embrace a changing retail landscape” and merchandised by the team at Gardners, and is unique in that every sale made sees the consumers chosen or closest shop receive a share. Additionally, each retailer has their own customisable home page which they can populate with relevant news; events and product details; when they are open; how to contact them and more. To encourage consumers to visit their local retailers, we offer free delivery back to the any of the Hive network stores around the UK. Other key initiatives include our sponsorship of the Independent Bookseller of The Year Trade Award, our annual tradeshow bringing independent booksellers and publishers together and our Independent Booksellers Affiliate Programme featuring our panels selection of new titles from a range submitted by publishers. In short, we are constantly working hard to support them with new content, new promotions and new services.

How has the current recession affected your market? The recession has obviously had an impact across all businesses and the book trade is no exception. However, we have continued doing what we do best, innovating and coming up with new opportunities and services for our customer base. As we officially exit this double dip recession, Gardners as a customer-focused company is continuing to move forwards and help retailers embrace a changing retail landscape involving physical and digital products, both on the high street and internet. We have plenty of plans building on these strengths to encourage growth throughout 2013 and are positive about the future.

www.gardners.com

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First AMBA Accredited MBA with a Paid Business Placement to be Offered by a UK Business School Portsmouth Business School has launched the first UK AMBA accredited MBA with a paid business placement, which will provide students joining the programme this September the opportunity to earn whilst they learn. The Association of MBAs (AMBA), the leading accreditation body in Europe and, increasingly, across the world provides an independent and internationally recognised certification of quality. The MBA with Business Placement has been specifically designed for students from overseas who wish to extend their studies through paid work experience. It provides them with the opportunity to work for up to 12 months in a UK or international organisation after their initial year of study. It is highly likely that the annual salary earned during the placement will equate to the cost of MBA tuition fees so students can reclaim their investment almost straightaway. There are also generous scholarships for self-funding

students who apply before the end of May 2012. Dean of Portsmouth Business School, Professor Gioia Pescetto, said: “We are very excited to launch this new MBA programme, which will allow students to apply their newly developed knowledge and skills working for an organisation in their second year and undertaking a supervised work-based project. “An AMBA accredited MBA is a prestigious qualification and the Business Placement strengthens it further. This additional professional experience will leave our MBA graduates in a strong position.” Successful entrepreneur and Portsmouth Business School MBA alumnus, Prems Srampical, is clear about the value of a year’s paid placement for students. “This is a great opportunity for Portsmouth’s international MBA students. It’s a competitive world now where ever you live, and gaining a year of paid business experience in Britain

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will strengthen their CVs considerably.” Now the director of two companies, Colvill Banks and Whitecrow Research, which made a net profit before tax of $2 million on a turnover of $6million, Prems Srampical attributes much of his later success to the skills acquired while studying for his MBA. “The course helped me to work and collaborate with people from other cultures which is essential in a global business environment. The joint projects undertaken with classmates from Asia, Europe and America have certainly helped me to better understand my varied clients.” For more information about our parttime and full-time MBA programmes visit www.port.ac.uk/mba. If you are interested in employing a placement student (undergraduate or MBA), please contact our Placements Office Manager, Alison Shaw, on 023 9284 4055 or pbs.placements@port.ac.uk

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The Portsmouth MBA has been a lifechanging experience and one that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.’ Heather Short, Entrepreneur

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For more information or to apply: T: +44 (0)23 9284 8200 E: pbs.postgradadmissions@ port.ac.uk W: www.port.ac.uk/mba

01/11/2012 10:27


Tried & Tested

WorkingLunch

Need to impress a client, discuss important plans with a colleague or just enjoy a great lunch away from the office? This issue SBT visits Pasha and Flamenco in Eastbourne and samples a quality of service, food, wine and environment that is sure to impress any client or business colleague...

When SBT informed us that this issue was to focus on Pasha Eastbourne, it didn’t take long to choose a destination for our working lunch. What better excuse to spend a long lunch at the newest and most talked about restaurant in town, Pasha? Formerly just another empty shell on the outskirts of Eastbourne’s town centre, the establishment underwent eight months of extensive renovation to transform it into the impressive space that now invites you to sample modern Turkish food and quality service at reasonable prices and within a stone’s throw of Eastbourne’s train station and main shopping drag, which is soon to undergo a similarly promising regeneration. Seyfi Alemdar opened the doors just a few weeks ago on what has quickly become one of the most fashionable establishments in town. Greeted by the brightly coloured & leopard skin walls, this could easily be a Friday night bar for the suits of Belgravia. It turns out that this is, in part, the idea. You see, Pasha is not just a Turkish restaurant – it boasts a fully stocked and hugely impressive cocktail bar. Bar and floor Manager Jason Lucas talks us through the many and varied drinks that are on display and assures us that there’s no cocktail that can’t be made using their spirit menu and his extensive experience. The signature recipes certainly look good – the Pasha Tropicano comprises of 7 year old Havana rum, mixed with Chambord

Filo wrapped Kofta lamb, with sweet tomato sauce and yoghurt, also butterfly king prawns with tomato sauce and rice.

Pasha, Eastbourne, East Sussex

and fresh raspberry puree, shaken with orange and pineapple juice. There’s even a refreshing selection of nonalcoholic cocktails on offer, so there’s no need for the designated driver to feel left out when their party is served their impressive concoctions. Impressively, Pasha mix all of their purees and sours themselves. Not a syrup or pre -ix anywhere in sight and the bar area is cleverly semi-separated from the main dining area by a chest height booth seat. It’s here that we take a seat to ponder the menu, where a truly extensive range of dishes make for a difficult decision for my guest and I. Initially we both choose lamb dishes but decide that, for the purposes of a fair evaluation, it we would be better to select options that are as far removed from each other as possible. Eventually we settle on filo wrapped kofta lamb served with sweet tomato sauce and yogurt, and butterfly king prawns which are served in an incredibly deep and rich tomato sauce with rice.

Why it works Quality dining in a modern setting. Attentive, polite staff who will ensure you are never left wanting or waiting. Large cocktail bar - great for networking events. Opportunity for business meetings with a sepertated main dining area.

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Tried & Tested

Whilst these are being prepared, we are served some delicious breads with herb butter and a mixture of olives along with a Turkish sausage dish called Sucuk and a prawn and avocado starter which is delicious, if a little retro. With the food duly devoured, we manage to get some time with Seyfi, the man behind the new establishment. Clearly a very busy and popular chap, he takes at least four meetings during the couple of hours we spend at Pasha on a gloomy Tuesday afternoon. He gives us a snapshot of his life as a restauranteur and describes his 12-year success at the hugely popular French/ Italian establishment in Kent, called ‘The Vineyard’. Seyfi is clearly passionate about not only food but the importance of creating the right ambiance to ensure that every visitor has the best experience possible: traits, it seems, that he has brought with him to this new business. It speaks of remarkable confidence that anyone would establish a new business such as this in such austere Having visited Flamenco once, four years ago, it was Flamenco with trepidation that I agreed to return for one of SBT’s working lunches. You see, my previous visit didn’t leave me wanting to rush back but in fairness, this wasn’t due to the food, which was good; my internalised criticism was that the restaurant failed to deliver the quick turnaround and snappy service I associate with tapas. I find that tapas lends itself brilliantly to the working lunch, business meeting or post-work get together due to the speed, atmosphere and sheer volume of dishes on offer. Tapas offers a fantastic way of eating, very sociable, relaxed and healthy, as well as offering exciting flavours and new combinations. If Flamenco could deliver what I expected, then it would be sure to gain a regular customer. On this occasion, I arrived after parking easily in one of the ample bays immediately outside the restaurant, and my colleague and I were immediately seated by Fabian who now heads up the front of house operation. Fabian was extremely attentive

“Beautifully delicious and extremely well presented food, attentively served by knowledgeable, passionate and friendly people” Prawn and avocado starter with Sucuk (Turkish Sausage) main.

times. It seems to me that the team behind Pasha have invested heavily and considered their pricing very carefully, to offer quality you would perhaps expect to pay much more for in larger towns and city centres. This demonstrates that the team at Pasha are here for the long haul, which is great news for a town centre that has been visibly hit by the recession. Seyfi was looking at spaces on Baker Street to open this restaurant before his sister-in-law, Maria, convinced him that the Sussex coast was the place to be and I’m happy to say that London’s loss was definitely Eastbourne’s gain. Delicious and extremely well presented food, attentively served by knowledgeable, passionate and friendly people at a very reasonable prices…I’ll drink to that. Mojito, anyone? 85-87 South Street,Eastbourne Tel: 01323 728 414 www.pashaeastbourne.co.uk

“His depth of knowledge on the dishes we subsequently grilled him on was impressive to say the least”

from the off and ran us through the specials at the table, assured us that he was there all night and to grab him at anytime with any request. His depth of knowledge on the dishes we subsequently grilled him on was impressive to say the least and we relaxed after ordering a handful of dishes including the roasted vegetables with feta, pan a flamenca (flat bread with goats cheese garlic and tomatoes) and char grilled garlic chicken from the list of daily specials. The restaurant was busy when we visited… really busy. Fabian played this down and suggested that there might be a conference happening in one of the nearby council facilities, as Flamenco is just down the road from the Winter Garden, Devonshire Park and Congress Theatres, but from what I could see, there sat a healthy mixture of suits, families and couples enjoying an evening in a very well respected and trusted eatery. None of these seemed to be first timers to me, or maybe they were made to feel as at home, as my companion and I were. I took the short window of opportunity between ordering and eating to try to catch up with Mark Prysor-Jones, head chef and driving force behind Flamenco.

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Tried & Tested

D S

“Real Spanish food, great atmosphere and a relaxed and affordable place to eat”

Mark was deep in the thick of it and working furiously in the kitchen but explained that he had opened Flamenco in 2004, after thinking Eastbourne could do with a restaurant that he would enjoy going to as a customer and that offered a style of cooking that is very dear to his heart from his many years of travelling to Spain. Mark started cooking at the age of 10 in his Fathers hotel, went to catering college and then on to the 2 Michelin star ‘Restaurant Gill’ in Rouen, France. He then settled in Eastbourne and hasn’t stopped cooking and learning for the past 27 years. He also explained that, at Flamenco, they try to stay true to what he originally set out to offer: real Spanish food, great atmosphere and a relaxed and affordable place to eat. Upon returning to my seat, we enjoyed the six or so dishes, impressively displayed on a candelabra style tapas-dish-holder and served, not only quickly but piping hot and deliciously tasty throughout. For me, the pan a flamenca was a must… soft flat bread with fresh flavours and sweet tomatoes and garlic, cutting beautifully through the richness of the goats cheese… but my colleagues and friends, it turned out as I was writing this review, all have favourite dishes at Flamenco that they rave about. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the flavours rivalled any of those in the Michelin starred establishments Mark has worked in. I’m not sure what gave me the negative impression on my previous visit… I vaguely remember that the food was good but the service slow. Perhaps one of the hardworking and affable staff I met tonight was away, depriving Flamenco of one of its essential cogs? In any case, I’ve not found one other

patron, past or present, with any similar criticism and I must affirm that my mind has been changed. Tonight Mark, Fabian & Co have really impressed us and when I’m next looking to dine in Eastbourne, I will be sure to drop in again, hopefully with a client that I’d like to impress with my knowledge of this local gem. 8 Cornfield Terrace, Eastbourne Tel: 01323 641 444 www.flamenco-tapas.co.uk

-C -C -P -P -N

Why it works Quality dining in a relaxed setting. Affordable Spanish food with a great atmosphere. Lovely Spanish setting, perfect for when you need to impress a client. Opportunity for business meetings with a broad range of dishes.

SBT

Recommendations Two more top restaurants in Eastbourne.

Michelangelo Michelangelo Restaurant offers you the best in Mediterranean cuisine in Eastbourne. It specialises in Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese cuisine, using fresh, organic, local ingredients. The beautifully designed restaurant provides the perfect setting for an business lunch or dinner and experience exceptional silver service from well trained and attentive staff. www.michelangelo-restaurant.co.uk

Harleywood Diner A trip to Harleywood offers all the guilty pleasures of American “fast” food prepared with rich, quality ingredients and attention to detail. There are no casual nods to American culture here... Diners can sit next to Presidents, pose with move stars and even earn a spot on the wall of fame for taking on an eating challenge. Ideal for a not-soserious lunch or a celebration. www.facebook.com/harleywood.diner

22 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk

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01/11/2012 10:28

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Official government fuel consumption figures in mpg (litres per 100km) for the Mercedes-Benz range: urban 13.0(21.7)-52.3(5.4), extra urban 22.4 (12.6)-74.3 (3.8), combined 17.8(15.9)-64.2(4.4). CO2 emissions: 378-115 g/km.

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17/10/2012 15:55 01/11/2012 10:28


The Secrets of My Success

Hilary Devey

Straight-talking star of Dragon’s Den, Business Inspector and Secret Millionairess Hilary Devey has weathered the recession with focus, realism and the confidence in her business to invest. SBT learns the no-nonsense route to success, the Devey way.

Having the confidence to Essential reinvest like this for the future – as well Advice as making necessary cutbacks – was what helped me to steer my business forward during tough economic times. I can safely say that the negotiations to expand into Europe were the most testing I’ve ever known. As well as the sheer mechanics involved in setting up a new pallet network and finding the right partner to work with, there are cultural, social, economic and demographic factors to take into account – as well as different legal systems. But today, despite all the problems in the eurozone in late 2011, the European arm of PallEx is performing outstandingly well. Our Romanian network launched in November 2011 and France followed in January 2012. While 2009 was a challenging year, it was also the one in which I was recognised with my industry’s biggest honour – the Sir Robert Lawrence Award from the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. By then I’d been invited to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen after being recognised for special achievements in industry, and received many awards for what I’d done in business. I’d also started

to speak about my life and work to everyone from charities to business leaders in the UK and abroad. The Sir Robert Lawrence Award meant so much because I was the only woman to have ever won it. It was a true honour to be recognised by my peers. I never thought for a second that I’d end up having a second career in television when I was approached by Channel 5 to do a series called The Business Inspector. I just thought it would be another one-off project – this time a four-part series – and it interested me because the producers wanted me to go into small businesses and turn them around. I knew filming would be tiring, but I was keen to give it a go because more than 99 per cent of the British economy is made up of SMEs – small- and mediumsize enterprises – which turn over £3,100 billion a year. They’re vital to our economy and I’d always felt passionately that any business of any size should be professionally run. That’s why I wanted to do The Business Inspector, and I’d enjoyed Secret Millionaire, so why not? Just how haphazardly some companies are administrated was a shock even for me, though, when we started filming in January 2010. Donna Coventry and Ann Scott, who ran Leaf It Out florists in Milton Keynes, had such

“While 2009 was a challenging year, it was also the one in which I was recognized with my industry’s biggest honour – the Sir Robert Lawrence Award from the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport”

Opposite: Hilary Devey

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Money Matters

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Training Works is a new project designed to support businesses in up-skilling and developing their workforce through the European Social Fund. TELEPHONE: 0845 155 0043 (press 4)

Accessible through Central Sussex College, this funding enables small to medium sized businesses and larger organisations to train staff at no cost. It is designed to ensure that employees acquire the skills they need to perform more effectively and prepare them for career progression, whilst encouraging sustainable employment and business success. Contact us now to find out how Training Works can help your business succeed.

The cost of staff training is met by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Skills Funding Agency (SFA).

EMAIL: employers@centralsussex.ac.uk WEBSITE: www.centralsussex.ac.uk/trainingworks 26 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk

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The Secrets of My Success

a loose grip on their costings that they were in line to lose £14,500 that year. ‘Who’s funding these losses?’ I asked. Donna and Ann were. And so were other relatives, including one of their mums. The pair of them got short shrift from me. What right did they have to play with their loved ones’ money like that? The bank of Mum and Dad should be insolvent by the time a child reaches eighteen as far as I’m concerned, unless there’s a very good reason for it not to be. Losing money doing flowers isn’t one of them. After going to see the mum in question, I gave Donna and Ann some straight talking: it was time for them to factor in fixed costs like rent, heat and light into their prices and get a lot more proactive about finding new business. I’ve said before that if you can market and sell then you can run a business, and the girls at Leaf It Out weren’t being nearly creative enough in their approach to finding new customers. By the time I left, they were well on their way to getting them. It was the same story with many of the businesses I inspected: at Premier Karting in Reading, I advised owner Derek Halpin to get out and start sourcing new clients by leafleting the town centre to advertise an open evening for local people, because bookings for corporate events had dived off a cliff. When I met with Jass Patel, who ran a cocktail bar called Mokoko in St Albans, I told him to get off his high horse and stop buying such expensive spirits because he was throwing away his profits. I even made him do a taste test in the street to prove to him that no one would know the difference, and they didn’t. ‘Are you selling sex or keep-fit?’ I asked Lou Gardiner, who ran Affinity Pole Fitness from an exercise studio just outside Canterbury. What fifty-something woman was going to swing off a pole to try and get fit? I believed that Lou was making her product too niche – and the same went for Noeline Stevens’ dog grooming business, because hardly anyone knew about it given that it was hidden in the garage at the side of her house in Bournemouth. None of these people were maximising their chances for new customers and being proactive about finding them.

Then there were all the other basics to running a small business: proper accounting and financial procedures; marketing and selling your product; thinking creatively about how to maximize your customer base – and never, ever forgetting your bottom line. Noeline soon stopped putting her cash takings into a tin that she and her husband dipped in and out of after meeting me. Donna and Ann were under no illusions that they had to get their gross profit margin of 11 per cent far closer to the 32 per cent that most florists work on by the time I left. Jass Patel, who was paying himself £15,000 when I went to see him so might as well have been working far less hours on a Tesco check-out, had forgotten that the core of any business is its costings versus profit – not its brand of vodka. Passion alone doesn’t create profit. It’s all about your bottom line. And business isn’t rocket science, whatever some people might say. Of course, the bigger your business gets, the more scientific you have to be about financial projections and logistics. But if you’re starting out then it’s about knowing your product and keeping your costings tight. Remember that ink I used to syringe into the photocopier back at Pall-Ex? I’ve often been asked what makes the ideal entrepreneur, and I’d say it’s a mix of creativity and commercialism. You have to have a sound grasp of business essentials, but if you have creativity then you have intellect, which means you can nurture it to learn new things like basic business sense. Innate good business sense is not enough on its own. Trust me: accountants make lousy entrepreneurs.

Bold as Brass: My Story by Hilary Devey is published by Macmillan at £16.99

Hilary Devey: A Brief Biography Hilary Devey was born on 10 March 1957 Having witnessed the dramatic bankruptcy of her father, who owned a central heating business, Hilary left school aged 16 to serve in the Women’s Royal Air Force and working for companies such as Littlewoods. 1996 saw the launch of Pall-Ex, the freight-based distribution network from which Hilary would make her fortune. Pall-Ex now processes approximately 10,000 palletised consignments through its hub each day and makes approximately £75 million per annum. Devey’s personal wealth is now estimated at £50 million. Devey campaigns for various charities including The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, for whom she became a patron in 2007. She suffered a stroke in 2009 and is now a patron for the Stroke Association. Not the typical business speaker, Hilary Devey began her television career on the Secret Millionaire in 2008. In March 2010, this was followed by The Business Inspector – a four part series in which Hilary helped small business owners to improve their business models and profitability. In February 2011, Devey joined the panel for iconic BBC 2 series Dragon’s Den when James Caan left. Her tenure on the Dragon panel continues to this day, although it was announced earlier this year that the Autumn 2012 series of Dragon’s Den was to be Hilary’s last, and that she has signed an exclusive deal with Channel Four to star in a new series called The Intern. In September this year, Devey presented an Open University and BBC Two series called Hilary Devey’s Women at the Top. In July, Devey would become the Vice President of The Carer’s Trust. She donates to charity one penny for each pallet distributed by the Pall-Ex network, and donates a signficant portion of what she receives from her television experiences to charity. In 2009, Hilary Devey was awarded the Sir Robert Lawrence Award from the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, and remains the only woman to have won this honour. www.hilarydevey.com

www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk 27

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WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE? We’ve created lots of them over the last 23 years by helping company owner/directors to plan and make a successful exit. But that’s not all. We’ve also... Advised on and negotiated more than 300 company mergers, acquisitions, buy-outs and buy-ins Helped to prepare scores more businesses for sale Raised more than £400m of debt and equity finance Organised dozens of financial packaging and restructuring arrangements Carried out pre-acquisition due diligence on countless occasions We’re the largest independent corporate finance specialist in Sussex. So if you’re looking to sell, buy, merge or grow a business, you know where to come.

Vivid_Sussex_Business_Times_v2.pdf

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02/11/2012 09:09


Money Matters

The Truth About Banks The UK’s banks stand accused of exacerbating - or even causing - a double dip recession and hindering the country’s recovery. SBT’s financial writer Graham Carn, uncovers the numbers and investigates why they’re just not adding up. A leading UK independent research and consultancy group, PIRC (Pensions Investment Research Consultants) providing services to institutional investors on corporate governance and corporate social responsibility, reported in June that Britain’s top five banks are still sitting on more than £40bn of undeclared debt. It was always a concern form the outset of the financial and economic crisis in 2007 that Banks across the globe were not disclosing the full scale of their problems and the IMF formally voiced their specific concerns about this as long ago as September 2009. Having analysed all of HSBC’s and Standard and Chartered’s 2011 accounts and Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) accounts of the same year, PIRC reported that each had billions in losses they had yet to declare on their balance sheets. RBS is alleged to be in worse shape with over £18bn losses stacked up which could obliterate more than 37%

of the bank’s assets. HSBC losses amount to £10bn, 10% of the bank’s capital buffer. Whilst Barclays (£6bn), Standard and Chartered (£2bn) and Lloyds (£4bn) are all in a perilous position as well. The losses could be severe for RBS, with the Daily Telegraph going so far as reporting it could force the bank back to the government for another bail-out. Part of the problem comes from what are by some regarded as controversial accounting and reporting measures the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) – which have potentially flattened profits in an upturn and losses in a downturn. Writing in a magazine Economia Andy Haldane, Executive Director of financial stability at the Bank of England, said IFRS gave a ‘hit and miss’ view of a banks accounting potentially adding ‘fuel to boom and bust.’ PIRC has been campaigning for a change to the accounting rules for banks and other senior regulators have also expressed concerns with the standards and the House of Lords describing them as deeply flawed. PIRC has taken issue with

“Britain’s top five banks are still sitting on more than £40bn of undeclared debt”

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international accounting standards on the basis that it prevents banks from reflecting “expected losses” in their profits. The UK’s top five banks had an estimated £27bn of “expected losses” last year, PIRC said, and overstated profits by a further £13bn due to the accounting treatment of deferred bonuses and the value of their own debt. The rules, it said, were “masking the true position by including fictional assets and fictional profits” – allowing banks to award larger bonuses and dividends. What the bank’s say The bank’s stance is to deny PIRC’s £40bn undeclared losses claim and have hit back at the research from the corporate governance group. They dispute the claims of PIRC, saying that they had over-extended their analysis and stressed they already declare some “expected losses” under regulatory rules and that those are typically a multiple of eventual write-offs. Standard Chartered said PIRC’s estimate that it had $3.6bn (£2.3bn) of undeclared losses was “fundamentally

incorrect”. In its 2010 accounts, it pointed out, the “expected loss” for the following year was $3.19bn, but its write-off in 2011 was just $584m. It added that it was “obliged to report in this way” under the accounting standards and that it “vigorously disputed PIRC’s rationale”. Barclays added that PIRC had been “purposely misleading”. “Suggesting that those accounting standards have in some way reduced our appetite to lend to creditworthy businesses or individuals is unjustifiable,” it said. PIRC described its £40bn estimate as “conservative” and said its calculations were supported by the losses the Treasury expects at Royal Bank of Scotland, as disclosed in the state-backed Asset Protection Scheme. Including deferred bonuses, fair value of its own debt, de-risking costs and expected losses, PIRC said RBS’s total undeclared losses came to £18bn. The banks said their accounts are transparent and that they “look through” volatile items such as gains made on their own debt.

Banking Black Hole? Undeclared Losses £bn Lloyds

3.6

Standard Chartered

3.6 6.7

Barclays

16.1

HSBC

18.2

RBS

Impact of identified issues currency bn

Lloyds £

Standard Chartered $

Barclays £

HSBC $

RBS £

Under-provising for bad debts

2.880

2.808

2.024

11.384

13.0

Deferred Bonuses

0.72

0.828

2.0

1.1

0.55

Closure, derisking and degearing

-

-

-

-

2.0

Fair Value own debt

-

-

2.7

3.608

2.6

Total

3.6

3.633

6.724

16.092

18.15

Shareholders Funds (net assets)

45.912

40.714

55.589

152.874

48.8

7.8%

8.9%

12.1%

10.5%

37.2%

What’s the key evidence? Clue 1 - If the banks genuinely know they are in a worse position with toxic debts than they are declaring it would explain the generally perceived belief that they are not making vital, growth-boosting loans to creditworthy businesses and households, as cash is being applied internally to their historic debt problems. However the lack of finance provision could also be explained by nervousness in the current market to identify ‘safe’ (risk free) lending. Clue 2 - A lack of knowledge, or confidence, about each others solvency makes banks reluctant to lend to each other and five years on from the outset of the financial crisis interbank lending — the wholesale market for loans — remains extremely sluggish, adding to the finance drought among solvent households and firms. Perhaps uncertainties about their own positions leads to anxiety about others? Clue 3 - If investors don’t know what they are buying - recapitalising banks or holding bank shares - they will worry about investing and this is certainly the case. Bank share values remain consistently depressed for the time being and one problem is that the financial crisis has come as such a shock that questions are being asked where previously they weren’t - and the complexity of the huge financial institutions creates shadows within where demons may lurk. The actual truth? It is fair to say that at the present time it does appear that our banking systems are somewhat gridlocked. Whether this is because they are concealing tens of billions of sterling and euro losses, as some would claim, or because they are just licking obvious wounds and putting their houses in order – prioritising perhaps ahead of their customer’s needs – is hard to say. It may well be a mixture of both with banks themselves not truly knowing the extent of their bad debt position. They will all be making subjective internal assessments and those assessments are just that – assessments and judgements on what the likelihood of failure may be. An overly optimistic view is not in a banker’s nature and

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Money Matters

“There is no doubt that there are plenty of non-performing loans, and toxic debts, many of them propertyrelated, on bank books that haven’t been dealt with or gone away” an overly pessimistic one could be self-harming and damaging to investor confidence creating a potential business threatening situation. Everyone is entitled to have a view, as will markets, but the actual truth is probably somewhere between the half full and half empty assessments. There is no doubt that there are plenty of non-performing loans, and toxic debts, many of them property-related, on bank books that haven’t been dealt with or gone away. Quantifying and publishing them is difficult and would more in depth accounting procedures really find the true position? It would still come back to a subjective view and calculation being taken on many, many different scenarios. We are in a period of general distrust of banks and it is convenient for politicians and us to lay all our financial problems at their door. Certainly the banks have significant responsibility in the provision of more credit than was appropriate but they were also responding to demand, our demand, and clearly they too did not see what was coming. With credit channels at least partially “blocked”, the wheels of UK and western finance are turning only very slowly, resulting in near economic stagnation. Some countries have reentered recession and a kick start for

growth is clearly required. The stimulus needs to involve more bank lending to the SME market but banks fearing ‘insolvency’ clearly need to be viable. Because they probably don’t know their true position themselves they are tending to hoard cash to ensure their own survival and eventual emergence from this crisis. The outcome of more detailed visibility could still be challenged and if the intention is to show the banks books in their very worst light then we could see further lack of confidence, bank failures and even greater limitations on available credit. Whether we really do want the banking world to collapse further is a cutting nose off to spite face situation, and it could be argued that claims (again subjective) by outside bodies are not helpful. What more needs to be done regardless of the truth? Legitimate demands for credit, not least from firms wanting to maintain or expand their operations, which are denied or granted only at very expensive rates will not help recovery and the UK, Europe and the western world isn’t recovering yet. The banks clearly have their own problems as business in their own right (and accountable to their shareholders) to remedy. The government and the Bank of England is trying to inject cash to feed through to business and that route needs to be relentlessly reinforced and encouraged. It doesn’t appear to be happening yet, at least not down to the SME market in any noticeable way. Everyone wants to see the end of the financial crisis but to be a true crisis it has to be serious and this financial crisis is! As taxpayers we have all invested heavily in the banks – bailed them out to keep them alive. Some would argue this is extending the existence of commercially “dead” institutions, which have seriously damaged the state’s balance sheets and some of the world’s “leading economies” are now keeping their debt markets afloat only by ordering central banks to issue electronic credits, then using them to buy sovereign paper. For several decades, Western governments have borrowed and spent irresponsibly. Trying to clean up after the banks, though, has pushed otherwise still solvent nations to the

ABOVE: Britain’s top five banks

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Money Matters

“Western banks don’t like the idea of “full disclosure” and to pursue that route has serious potential disadvantages”

ABOVE: Bank of England

brink of bankruptcy and beyond. In western Europe, of course, this evil mix has been made even more ghastly by the policy incoherence, and conflicting incentives, imposed by the economic madness that some would argue is the euro. Voices that say that the only way to smash the banking sector deadlock is by imposing the kind of “full disclosure” bank transparency that FDR’s administration employed to break America’s Great Depression in the mid-1930s, or that Sweden used to escape its early-1990s banking mess. This involves forcing banks to recognise all their excess liabilities, pushing those banks beyond repair into administration, and then supporting those worth saving so they can rebuild their capital levels — in large part from retained earnings and other forms of private finance. Western banks don’t like the idea of “full disclosure” and to pursue that route has serious potential disadvantages. Apart from a lot less money available for bonus and executive pay (media bête noirs!) “full disclosure” also makes banks face up to the full implications of their misguided previous investments, with some of them going bust. The question

is whether bank failures are really in our overall interest? The banks whisper Armageddon will occur if they’re required to publish worst scenario losses. So far, the banking lobby has kept demands for “full disclosure” at bay. Those who’ve made such calls have been consigned to the outer fringes of polite society — interestingly the same place where those who also argued that the euro could eventually break up! The truth about the banks position remains open for debate but one thing is for certain, banks have been significantly supported by the taxpayer and business is a huge contributor to that revenue. It would be ‘appropriate’ if banks could be a little more pragmatic and supportive now to reasonable requests for funding. No one is asking them to support new basket case propositions, or underwrite businesses struggling to survive in these recessionary times (where there has always been a natural culling of less healthy enterprises), but nonetheless there is at least a ‘moral’ responsibility owed to support well run businesses with reasonable requirements – and not at penal terms.

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ADVERTORIAL SBT wanted to know what the region’s most active financial adviser[¹] thought about attitudes to financing – and refinancing – businesses. Matthew Tait, Partner at BDO LLP, explains...

‘Lender Fatigue’ - The Main Driver Behind Refinancing? Companies change lenders for a number of reasons. It can be to raise additional working capital to support growth and investment, or to borrow at lower rates of interest. Some are simply pushed into it because their contract terms are due to expire and, given their bank’s capital requirements, are forced to source elsewhere. BDO is seeing a different view of the motivations behind refinancing emerge. Lender fatigue is fast becoming a main driver for business to look for refinancing. Why? When companies find themselves under financial stress, many find it hard to engage with their lender and be open about issues for misplaced fear of them taking presumptive action. When the going gets tough, management can panic and failure to communicate proactively with their lender can cause a severe and often irreparable breakdown in the relationship between a lender and the borrower. Like personal relationships, business relationships are built on strong foundations of compromise, openness, honesty, commitment and good communication. Without them, they will break down. But panic not. Whilst an existing lender may voice concerns, it doesn’t mean to say that other financiers would not be excited about the prospect of financing the company. Some businesses ease into new funding relationships but others, when the

Matthew Tait, Partner

James Barraclough, Director

existing lenders’ concerns are real and considered, may struggle. Because of this, it is crucial that businesses identify any barriers to refinancing early, with a view to breaking them down before going to market and avoiding any damage to their credibility with potential financiers. Businesses need to engage in the services of specialists to help them through what can be a tough period. They should also consider alternative sources of finance, including invoice financing and asset based lending. One thing to remember is that lenders value security. So before any refinancing exercise begins, businesses must consider whether the company assets, plus future viability, are likely to provide prospective financiers with sufficient comfort to advance the funds the company needs. Often there is a gap between what a new lender can provide and what a company needs, and in these instances an injection of cash or guarantees from directors, shareholders or other third parties will be required to ensure successful refinancing.

Jon Allan, Director

Mark Andrews, Director

Once the funding is in place, lenders and management should maintain momentum by keeping in regular contact and showing keen interest in sustainable performance. Both the lender and the business should challenge concerns at the earliest opportunity in order to avoid a repeat recital of fatigue. Finding the answers is not always easy, particularly when you’re involved in the business day in, day out. Working closely with advisers that perform independent business reviews will help identify key areas of improvement, provide positive solutions that will be acceptable to stakeholders and help secure the finance needed for your business to prosper.

www.bdo.co.uk [1] According to Experian Corpfin 2012

OUR CLIENTS SAY WE REALLY UNDERSTAND THEIR BUSINESS – SO WE GET TO THE RIGHT ANSWERS, FIRST TIME EVERY TIME*

www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk 33 Source: * independent research carried out by Lighthouse Global (Mid Market Monitor 2012)

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02/11/2012 16:31


Mergers & Acquistions Big partnerships and takeovers attract massive publicity for those involved but it’s not just those that make the headlines that make a difference. SBT’s financial writer Graham Carn, explores how mergers and acquisitions are improving businesses under our noses every day.

“At whatever level your business operates perhaps linking up or amalgamating with another business is not as daft or as rare as you may think”

Mergers and Acquistions – nothing to do with me? We often hear in the media that one large well known company is in talks with another even better known company, or has completed talks and are announcing a merger. Sometimes we also hear that, without talking, one large company has launched a takeover or acquisition of another. Normally this news is of interest and the press will also report on how they see the new combined entity going forward, the effects on market share, consumers, and the impact on jobs and so on. For the most part however these mergers or acquisitions are some distance from us in our regular business lives and therefore apart from any direct impact upon us personally the news moves on and we do too, thinking that such things are for the ‘big boys’ and not something we will ever get involved in. Recently, for example, the announcement of the merger of EADS and BAE systems would seem to be something that is well away from our daily lives unless we are in the business of making euro fighters or having regular discussions at governmental level – the implications of the merger on 35,000 staff in the UK being clearly an issue

needing focus at the highest levels. Perhaps more of interest, although the businesses are still quite distant from us, is the fact that Apple is acquiring a company (AuthenTec) specialising in fingerprint scanning, days after the latest iPhone went on sale, suggesting the technology will be used to improve security in the world’s bestselling phone, and a model which I suspect many readers of this publication may possess. So then most mergers or acquisitions will appear distant from us or they may more directly touch us as consumers but are they just something that only involves the big corporate entities? Should we be thinking also more about whether we, operating in the smaller SME world should be involved in such behaviour? The principles involved after all are relevant to us as well and perhaps, in a recessionary and pretty economically stagnant economic climate as we have now, should the SME market not be looking at mergers and acquisition as a way to achieve growth? At whatever level your business operates perhaps linking up or amalgamating with another business is not as daft or as rare as you may think, it actually happens in front of our noses all the time. Let me give you an example that I came across only in the last week. I arrived home one afternoon to find a

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Money Matters

van and someone I did not recognise cleaning my windows. He quickly explained that my previous window cleaner had decided to do something else and he had acquired the local client base, including me. I did not interrogate the fellow but pretty obviously there would have been some consideration for his acquiring a new client base and that would have been worked out based on the number of houses involved, frequency of visits, window cleaning fees, etc. Whatever the details

when, and how you are going to get there. Is it more of the same activities that got you to where you are today or perhaps there may be an alternative route to that destination? I am not going to suggest for one minute that every business will benefit from merging with or taking over another (or indeed be taken over) business but if you have never considered it before then perhaps it is an option that you should. At present time, for example,

desired working life as to who / what businesses may find yours of interest and what you could possibly be doing about that! The possibilities for joining with or wanting to take over (or be taken over) are far too numerous to try to set out but you will know your business and you should always have in your mind what the opportunities may be, and whether actually you too are in the business of mergers and acquisitions. Let us assume that as you consider

“You will know your business and you should always have in your mind what the opportunities may be, and whether actually you too are in the business of mergers and acquisitions” my new window cleaner had achieved a takeover, basing that decision on the advantages / disadvantages to his existing business. Perhaps the transaction was not worthy of national news headlines but nonetheless on a local micro economic scale of almost equal importance. As SME business owners busy themselves day in, week out, trying to keep costs down whilst still increasing revenues perhaps a step back and reflection on whether, like my new window cleaner, merger or acquisition activity may actually be very relevant to them, and just as important – relatively? Merger or acquisition – really relevant to me? So then, as a SME business owner you have some time – well, you make some time anyway – to consider where you want your business to be,

you are growing your business slowly, or perhaps fighting to maintain market share, and to get where you want is going to take real effort over a considerable period – if you can get there at all. Is there a thought process of: • Who else does what I do, or does something that compliments what I do? • What are the strengths and weaknesses of their business? • Am I better placed than them and are key individuals perhaps nearing retirement or maybe, unfortunately, not in good health? Asking yourself these types of questions may move on the thinking to...well, actually, if I was involved in that business, or if I had that client base, those premises etc. ..? You could also, of course, be thinking in reverse if you are nearing the end of your

your individual circumstances and the market an opportunity comes to mind. How do you progress that thought and begin to work out whether it is something that actually you should be considering seriously. Let’s break down the various areas that you will need to be clear about and comfortable with. Deciding if merging with or buying another business is a viable route for growth for you. As we know a merger is when a business integrates with another and the combined businesses’ owners share control. In an acquisition, one business more simply buys another and ends up controlling it. If you’re considering either option, it’s important to understand the potential advantages and disadvantages, as well as what’s involved at a practical, legal and cultural level. Get expert

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How to Value an Acquistion Candidate Valuing an acquisition candidate is similar to valuing any investment. The analyst estimates the incremental cash flows, determines an appropriate risk-adjusted discount rate, and then computes the net present value (NPV). If firm A is acquiring firm B, for example, then the acquisition makes economic sense if the value of the combined firm is greater than the value of firm A plus the value of firm B. Synergy is said to exist when the cash flow of the combined firm is greater than the sum of the cash flows for the two firms as separate companies. The gain from the merger is the present value of this difference in cash flows.

ABOVE: Combining of different companies and similar entities can help an enterprise grow rapidly in its sector or location of origin

advice as necessary and research the deal thoroughly. Both mergers and acquisitions can involve many operational, organisational and legal challenges, and often they will involve a level of risk. They can also cause a lot of disruption and uncertainty in your everyday operations, especially during the merger or takeover phase. People and personalities need very much to be considered and how two possibly very different businesses and management structures would integrate. The advantages of a merger or acquisition There are many potential advantages to merging with or acquiring a business. You might be able to: • Get access to specific skills, knowledge, systems or processes • Make use of unused capacity in one or both businesses • Access a wider customer base and increase market share • Secure your supply chain and control costs • Diversify by selling the other business’ products or services through your own channels • Benefit from economies of scale • Reduce competition if taking over a direct competitor. Consider carefully the potential disadvantages Possible disadvantages of a merger or acquisition are:

• That the arrangement may not perform well or create the savings expected • The expense involved (e.g. acquisition costs and specialist advice) • Asset duplication (e.g. production facilities or offices) • Disruptive and unsettling changes for staff (key people could leave) • Culture clashes if the businesses operate differently • Disputes between management teams over control and decision-making • Diverting resources from your business’ main aims. Thoroughly research and prepare for the deal For your own business, you should carry out: • A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis • A gap analysis of your current position and future goals to work out if a merger or acquisition will help fill that gap. For the business you’re targeting, you should also: • Carry out SWOT and gap analysis • Assess its performance with the support of financial and legal advisers as necessary • Gather the views of people who regularly interact with it, such as customers and suppliers. The importance of expert advice in your due diligence Although you will know your business

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Money Matters

better than anyone else it is important to also get professional guidance. You could consider using an adviser for anything from drawing up a list of potential targets, using an accountant to assess the target business’ value, or simply having an independent detached second pair of eyes look at the proposal. Valuing a proposition is a particularly hard assessment to make and basing valuations on historic financial accounts, which are primarily prepared to ensure tax efficiency, can be particularly difficult. Your accountant or general business advisor’s opinion can be an extremely valuable ‘sense check’ on what you are proposing. The ‘second pair of eyes’ enables challenge and reflection to the eventual decision maker that can prove invaluable. You may need to involve a solicitor in your due diligence. They will look at things such as whether the business owns its assets, whether it has any legal actions outstanding against it and how any current customer contracts might be affected. Professional advice might sound like an expensive involvement but a merger or acquisition is likely to be a major decision and may involve significant funds. It is a decision that you want to

1 Million

get right and so experienced opinion means more heads working together, which should be better than one! What if I decide to go ahead? If at the end of the investigation process and consultation with advisers you decide to proceed then comes the really interesting bit – the approach and the negotiation. Advice on how this should be tackled will very much depend on what you propose and what the benefits are to you and, in the case of a merger, obviously what are the benefits to the ‘target’ business. You would have to set out clearly how you would propose the two businesses can create business advantages leading to increased revenues and most importantly profit. With takeovers the price offered will be critical to success. Despite your hard work in analysing a proposal and any spend you have had with initial professional advice the acquisition price must be right, otherwise walk away. Do not get emotionally swayed and at the end of the day this is a business decision, pure and simple. If the price to you is too high then it is not right for you, or it is not the right time to do it. Overpaying may mean the whole

Graph - Value of Acquisitions of UK Companies by other UK Companies

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benefit that you are seeking for the future may be jeopardised, and perhaps even your core business may be put at risk. If the takeover is of a company it is simply a question of acquiring shares and with smaller companies those shares will likely be in the hands of the key individuals within the business so their attitude to ‘losing’ their business is obviously going to be central to your success. If the entity is a sole trader or a partnership the approach tactics may be simpler but choosing your moment and the environment for the approach will be pretty important too. The point of this article is to perhaps challenge or stimulate business thinking in what are extremely difficult economic and trading times. It is natural when business conditions are tough to think defensively and be very cautious about opportunities that may present themselves. I am not suggesting for one minute that caution should be thrown to the wind but as we are likely to be facing an on-going difficult trading environment for some time the well thought through amalgamation of businesses, and the benefits that can be derived may increasingly be the best route for growth. It is essential for the recovery of the economy generally that companies not just survive but grow, and one of the best ways of perhaps doing this currently is by merging or acquiring. The above graph shows the fluctuations in acquisitions activity between UK companies over the past five years. We appear to be trending into a bit of a trough in the figures for the first half of 2012 but as poor trading conditions continue I have no doubt that activity will ‘bounce’. Could it be that your business may become part of that? As I said at the outset mergers or takeovers will not be possible or ideal for all but do not summarily dismiss the possibility that it could suit you just because you are not a BAE Systems or an Apple. You will no doubt be reflecting all the time on what growth opportunities there may be out there for you and the combining of businesses is a very legitimate possibility for the successful and ambitious businessman to keep somewhere in their mind.

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EMC EXPLAINS By Nik Askaroff, CEO, EMC Corporate Finance

If You Want to Maximise the Value of Any Transaction then be Sure to Take Advice

It was Mark Twain who wrote about there being lies, damned lies and statistics. So Vital people shouldn’t be too alarmed by recent Advice figures from Experian Corpfin, the global corporate finance information service, which showed year-to-date deal volumes in the UK falling by 10% compared to 2011. Because our on-the-ground experience tells a somewhat different story. We’ve had a blinding year thus far, with M&A activity up across the board. Indeed, it’s been three years since we last saw a similar level of activity. Already this year, we have helped several people to become millionaires by selling their businesses and more are in the pipeline. We currently have 14 sales briefs amounting to more than £150m in potential value, and six active acquisition mandates. So whatever the national figures say, there are still plenty of opportunities out there whether you are thinking of selling or buying. But how do you make sure you achieve maximum value from the deal? The first thing is to choose your advisers carefully. Any deal is often only ever as good as the team that helps to put it together. Your appointed lawyers, accountants and corporate finance advisers should all be specialists with high levels of skills and experience that come from a regular involvement in transactions. The legal and tax considerations of any deal are often complex and significant so it’s important to surround yourself with people whose advice you can trust. A good corporate finance adviser will support you throughout the process from start to finish. They will have been down the route many times before so should be able to keep you focused and ensure you don’t slip up along what is likely to be a very tricky path. A business sale or acquisition is the biggest transaction most people will do in their lives. It’s often a one-off opportunity to secure their financial future. Yet we’re constantly amazed by the relative lack of planning and forethought that goes into it, often with damaging financial consequences.

When buying a business, pre-acquisition planning and postacquisition management are both vital to the success of the deal. Seventy five per cent of acquisitions fail to achieve purchasers’ value expectations because one or other element has been neglected. Also, it’s important not to be tempted to jump at the first target that comes along. Careful research of the market is required along with an idea of the price you are prepared to pay and the effect this will have on your own company. When selling, plan ahead to ensure the business is in the best possible shape to attract interest from more than one potential purchaser. A bit of competitive bidding never did anyone any harm. By planning ahead and raising your corporate profile, you’re also more likely to encourage someone to break cover and come to you with an offer. This could significantly increase your price as opposed to being a seller, albeit it a willing one. Always try to leave something in the cupboard for a potential buyer to get benefit from. The price will be adversely affected if you have already peaked. Your last year needs to look good but, more importantly, your next year needs to look better. As well as putting the financial health of your business under the microscope, a potential buyer will also assess factors such as the quality of your customer base, whether you have any intellectual property, and what real opportunities exist to increase the business. Finally, be realistic. Painful experience has taught us that many shareholders and directors have unrealistic expectations about the value of their business. Listen to your advisers. They will know far better than you what is attainable based on commercial, financial and business-specific factors. If these don’t reach your aspirations, then you will do well to get the business into a better shape before going to market to be sure that you do maximise its value. EMC Corporate Finance is the largest independent corporate finance firm in the South East. For more information call 01323 410144, visit www.emcltd.co.uk or email nik.askaroff@emcltd.co.uk

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Money Matters

“Careful research of the market is required along with an idea of the price you are prepared to pay and the effect this will have on your own company� - Nik Askaroff, CEO, EMC Corporate Finance

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Business Decisions

Taking the ‘Work’ out of Networking

As humans, we all network, be it with gossip, shared information or book recommendations. In business, we network with a goal and the key is to maximise your time, money and enjoyment. There is a plethora of networking organisations in Sussex and if you joined them all, you wouldn’t have time for work let alone getting home to see your family or feed the dog. It’s all about targeting specific events that will bring you the Insight best return and then making the best use of your time there. The trouble is that over the years events have changed in a way that can distract from your purpose. I find that seated meals are frustrating in that you can only really have a conversation with the two people beside you and, as nice as they might be, if they are not good contacts for my business, then l will have wasted time. Sponsors are another thing that might be of value to the organiser receiving the fee, but listening to a speech is not why l network. I want to speak with lots of people not be pitched to by one. The same goes for charity whip rounds, presentations and brochures. One of the specific benefits to any event is good hosting. A host with good knowledge of the attendees, who works tirelessly and seamlessly all evening to make relevant introductions, is of great value and removes a lot of pressure. One error attendees often make is using such events to sell their service or product. That is never the way. Networking is a great time to build relationships, get to know people and relax. From this can come a good foundation to work together in the future. With all this in mind, l co-founded The Platinum Club in association with The Grand Hotel, to attract those disillusioned with the current networking scene or those who had been put off networking altogether. Having met with the MD’s of some of the county’s largest companies, l kept hearing that they rarely networked locally as they were tired of being the largest

The Grand Hotel, Brighton

“Networking is not about selling your services it is about building relationships” fish in the room and therefore being exposed to countless new suppliers, but no new clients. The Platinum Club begun life as a peer to peer networking organisation that attracted some of the larger companies, such as: Mercedes, HSBC, Bentley, Mishon Mackay, Coutts Bank, Hastings Direct Insurance, Grosvenor Casino and Santander meeting once a month in the splendour of The Grand

Hotel to enjoy fine Champagne and Canapés in a relaxed and informal cocktail party. Add to the mix efficient knowledgeable hosts and a little live jazz, and we have a recipe that is the perfect setting for forming strong business relationships and enjoying the evening. We have since opened up the membership to include companies that we feel the members would benefit from meeting. Smaller influential companies that bring something unique to the events. We only accept 4 members per business category and now have members such as Architects, Wealth Management, Designers, Marketing, Security, Healthcare, Accountants, Solicitors, Recruitment, Estate Agents and a Racecourse. Members are entitled to bring along a guest, ensuring that we always have a diverse range of eclectic people at every event. The best compliment we received is a member stating that the evening was so enjoyable that they would have attended socially regardless of the networking opportunities. The finest testament we could possibly have is that of a 100% membership renewal rate. We feel that we have the formula just right and if you feel that you would like to join The Platinum Club, you can apply through the website at www.theplatinumclubbrighton. co.uk or e-mail maarten@ theplatinumclubbrighton.co.uk or call 07966 244046. The Platinum Club is delighted to announce that Sussex Business Times has been appointed as the Club’s Official Media Partner and we look forward to working with them over the coming year.

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ADVERTORIAL

The Region’s Top B2B Show Celebrates Ten Years in Hastings with the best possible route to market and we generated some strong leads across the different divisions of our business. We’re really looking forward to the Hastings event.” For exhibitors, Let’s Do Business is a proven, cost-effective route to growing your business and the fact that, again, this year’s show is sold out, underpins the value that businesses place on quality face-to-face networking opportunities. “Exhibitions are an amazing opportunity to have meaningful face-to-face discussions with your target audience”, continues Jonathan, “and for exhibitors who plan their day well, a Let’s Do Business show is the perfect platform for anyone who still appreciates that face-to-face dialogue is an important strand of their marketing strategy. With over a thousand business

people under one roof, there’s no better way to reach such a targeted audience in such a cost-effective way.” Supported by The Hastings Observer and Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce, this year’s Hastings exhibition offers plenty of help and advice to the visitor too – covering business consultancy, training and finance – as well as exhibitors from all sectors of commerce & industry - all aimed at helping you move your business forward, making Let’s Do Business Hastings a must visit event! Register for fast track entry to Let’s Do Business Hastings today at www. letsdobusiness.org/hastings or keep upto-date with all the show news on Twitter @letsdobusiness1 or #ldbh

2012

The Let’s Do Business exhibition celebrates its tenth year when it makes a welcome return to its home patch of Hastings on Thursday 1st November. The one-day free admission event – sponsored by Identity Signage & Printing and Barclays Business Banking and organised by the Let’s Do Business Group – will feature over 120 exhibition stands and offer everyone in business the opportunity to source top quality suppliers and services from all sectors of industry, in a friendly, vibrant environment. This anniversary year sees the show at a brand new town centre location at Sussex Coast College, next to Hastings Station. Since the launch event in 2003, Let’s Do Business has established itself as the must visit event for everyone in business in and around East Sussex. With over 100 exhibitors from all sectors of business, including accountancy, business management and support, catering, cars, conferences, education, entertainment, environment, financial services, health and fitness, hotels, IT, insurance, marketing, media, office supplies and fittings, photography, print and publishing, promotional gifts, property, recruitment, sport, telecoms, transport and websites, the show offers exhibitors and visitors the most diverse mix of business opportunities in one place, at one time. Show organiser, Jonathan Dolding says, “We’re delighted to see the show remain as popular as ever this year and are truly grateful for the support that businesses from across the area have given us, many of which have been exhibiting since day one.” Let’s Do Business was first launched in Hastings back in 2003, and the exhibitions have shown no sign of slowing with over 1000 people attending each of the Brighton and Eastbourne shows in May and June respectively. Following on from the success of the Brighton and Eastbourne shows, the final Let’s Do Business exhibition of the year boasts well over 100 exhibitors spread throughout the ground and first floors of Sussex Coast College; there’s no better opportunity to network with such a significant number of businesses from in and around the region. It’s a perfect place for businesses of all shapes and sizes to showcase their products and services. Show sponsor, Michael Gietzen, Director of Identity Signage & Printing was delighted with the outcome of the Brighton and Eastbourne events, commenting on his company’s continued sponsorship of Let’s Do Business. “Our sponsorship of Let’s Do Business in 2012 is a key part of our marketing strategy. The shows earlier in the year provided us

THE REGION’S BEST B2B SHOW

NOW IN ITS 10TH YEAR IN HASTINGS Thursday1st November, 10am-4pm Sussex Coast College TN34 1BA

120+ exhibition stands Hastings town centre venue FREE visitor entry

Let’s Do Business is the once-a-year opportunity to meet over 1,000 key decision makers – and this year we’ve moved to Sussex Coast College in Hastings town centre to make it even easier to visit. Make a note in your diary now, or for more information go to www.letsdobusiness.org. Follow us @letsdobusiness1 #ldbh.

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Service Directory

Avenue Snacks The Avenue Eastbourne East Sussex BN22 3YA Tel: 07868369940

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

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

City Gym Express No.2 Furness Road Eastbourne East Sussex BN21 4EY Tel: 01323 648863 www.citygymexpress.co.uk

Eastbourne Property Shop 7 Mimram Road Stone Cross Pevensey, East Sussex BN24 5DZ Tel: 01323 764122 www.eastbourneproperty shop.co.uk

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

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

LONG ROOM THE

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

Identity Signage and Printing Westham Business Park Eastbourne Road Eastbourne, East Sussex BN24 5NP Tel: 01323 469111 www.signage-printing.com

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 42 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk www.rossandco.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 www.mdjservices.co.uk

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The Innovation Centre Highfield Drive Churchfields St Leonards-on-Sea East Sussex TN38 9UH Tel: 01424 858285 www.ifltd.org

Smith Osborne Downsview House, 31A Cornfield Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 34QG Tel: 01323 649418 www.smithosborne.co.uk

The Long Room 8 Bolton Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 3JX Tel: 01323 723023

The Best Of Eastbourne 8-9 The Business Suite The Old Print Works 20 Wharf Road Eastbourne East Sussex BN21 3AW Tel: 01323 400599 www.thebestof eastbourne.co.uk

01/11/2012 14:27


SBT Recommends

SBTBook Club Welcome to the brand new SBT Bookclub. In each issue, we will be searching out and offering you the cream from the latest, business relevant titles at the very best prices. Choose from a host of titles, including our featured books from any issue and join us online at www.hive.co.uk/sbt to view more SBT recommends at your leisure.You can order these to be delivered to your door or, alternatively, select your favourite bookshop and pick up from there. Enjoy...

Financial Times Guide To Business Development: How To Win Profitable Customers And Clients “The Financial Times Guide to Business Development is inspirational. It is easy to read, hard to put down and there are absolute gems on every page. Read it and get fired up.” - Jonathan Straight, Chief Executive of Straight plc, Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2006. Publisher: Pearson Education Limited Publication Date: 26 April 2012 ISBN: 9780273759539

Money Mavericks: Confessions Of A Hedge Fund Manager A new edition of this revealing and incisive account of the incredible inside workings of hedge funds. Shedding light on the incredible inside workings of hedge funds, this book charts the interminable rise of Holte Capital from 2002 to 2008, explaining what it was like to run a hedge fund in a period where the industry went from relative obscurity to something everyone wanted to discuss. Publisher: Pearson Education Ltd Publication Date:17 May 2012 ISBN: 9780273772507

Build A Business From Your Kitchen Table Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker are the founders of notonthehighstreet.com, an award-winning, multimillion-pound online marketplace selling 50,000 innovative, stylish products. With startling honesty, they lay bare the truth about getting started while raising a young family at the same time. They believe that anyone should be able to achieve a great working life on their own terms. Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd Publication Date: 05 July 2012 ISBN: 9781471102110

What’s Stopping You?: Why Smart People Don’t Always Reach Their Potential And How You Can “The great point about this book is that it is both philosophical with regards the nature of fear and its impact on achievement, and practical. For those that may be paralysed by a fear of failure, it offers a way through.” —Luke Johnson Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd Publication Date: 20 July 2012 ISBN: 9780857083074

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SBT

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY

Further Court Ruling on Empty Property Rates

Following the recent High Court decision in the Makro case where occupation of just 0.2% of the property was deemed to be enough to trigger a further period of empty property relief upon vacation, there has been another decision in a Cheshire Magistrates Court to add further pressure on the Government to change the way that Business Rates are charged on empty properties. Following the recent High Court decision in the Makro case where occupation of just 0.2% of the property was deemed to be enough to trigger a further period of empty property relief upon vacation, there has been another decision in a Cheshire Magistrates’ Court to add further pressure on the Government to change the way that Business Rates are charged on empty properties. This recent case concerns a charity who took a lease on an office block and placed several Bluetooth and Wi-Fi transmitters to broadcast messages in an attempt to gain 80% charitable relief on the whole building. The Valuation Office Agency response was to create separate assessments for the Wi-fi networks, thus leaving a substantial office assessment that was not in use and liable for business rates. The Magistrates’ Court found that the charity was in occupation of the

whole resulting in 80% relief on both the office building and the Wi-Fi network. The District Judge said in his ruling that it was difficult to separate the occupied and unoccupied areas of the property for the purpose of establishing two separate hereditaments as there was “clearly no physical defining line” between the two. As a result of the decision, Paul Bayliss, the Head of the Council concerned called upon the Government to remove the “loophole” which he said allowed “legal tax avoidance”. Julian Sturdy MP has already been tasked to review empty property rates and his report is eagerly awaited. Paul Wade, Head of Business Rates at Stiles Harold Williams commented: “There is an increasing number of cases involving empty rates issues which are being found in favour of the ratepayer as the Valuation Office and local billing authorities desperately seek to do

battle against the numerous, and often innovative, rates avoidance schemes. The continuing success of ratepayers in these cases will no doubt accelerate the Government in addressing the current anomalies of the payment of rates on empty commercial property, to provide a more realistic and workable solution for landlords struggling to find legitimate tenants in the current economic climate.’’

Big Price Reduction to Encourage Early Letting Lawson Commercial have been instructed to re-market a modern warehouse/industrial unit on the Bellbrook Business Park in Uckfield. The freehold price of Unit 2 Pacemanor has been reduced by £70,000 to a new asking price of £395,000 and the rent has dropped

to £29,000 pa equating to £5 per sq ft overall. Lawson Commercial partner Chris Lawson said: “The owners of empty properties are suffering the penalty of empty business rates. It is having a detrimental effect on values and driving them down. The good news is that, for any business looking for new

accommodation, prices have never been better value and this rent is now the same rent as we were looking for in 1990. This is a really good unit of 5,800 sq ft of which 900 sq ft is some air conditioned 1st floor offices.’ For more information contact Lawson Commercial on 01825 764488.

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01903 228602 | commercial@michaeljones.co.uk | www.michaeljones.co.uk

College development plans pass with flying colours

College Development Plans With Flying Colours Commercial andPass residential Imagery ©DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Getmapping plc, Infoterra Ltd & Bluesky, Map data ©2012 Google

These are exciting times for Northbrook College in Worthing. Phase Two of the redevelopment of its Broadwater campus has received planning permission and building works are due to commence early 2013. Finance for the £10 million project to upgrade its facilities has been secured, with the majority funded through the sale of land to the East of its West Durrington campus situated along the A259 Littlehampton Road. At Michael Jones Commercial, we advised the college throughout the entire process, from carrying out an assessment and valuation of the site, to assisting in the selection of the lead developer and managing the sale. At the outset we were instructed by the college to identify land suitable for development. Working alongside ECE Architects we agreed a master plan, which would enable us to sell it within tight timescales to facilitate the funding of the college’s ambitious plans. From an early stage we realised that the scheme would need to attract commercial end users in order to meet the expectations of the town planners and achieve the maximum capital return for the college. We then went to market and through a competitive bidding process selected the successful lead developer,

scheme given full approval

Wilmington Homes. The challenge was toWelcome identify effective and to an the latest updateresidential from Michael Jones Commercial. Indeveloper this issue we with focus on the significant commercial a proven developments taking place at Northbrook College, list track record mixed our top ten tips of for managing tenants with leases and,use as usual, provide a round-up deals time in the area. schemes within ofshort frames. These are exciting times for Northbrook College in Worthing. We have now sold the land to Phase Two of the redevelopment of its Broadwater campus has Wilmington with completion received planningHomes, permission and building works are due to commence for early next 2013. Spring. Charles planned Finance for the £10 million project to upgrade its facilities Wiggins, Managing Director of has been secured, with the majority funded through the sale of Wilmington Homes, said: campus “We were land to the east of its West Durrington situated along the A259 Littlehampton Road.college chose delighted when the At Michael Jones Commercial, we advised the college Wilmington - a local company - as throughout the entire process, from carrying out an assessment the developer. This project has andlead valuation of the site, to assisting in the selection of the lead developer and the sale. required a managing huge amount of effort by the At the outset we were instructed by the college to identify project team and the outcome is a real land suitable for development. Working alongside ECE Architects success for which Worthing.” we agreed astory master plan, would enable us to sell it within tight timescales to facilitate the funding of the college’s has Conditional planning permission ambitious plans. been granted on the eleven acre site From an early stage we realised that the scheme would need for an 84-bed and end life to attract commercialdementia end users in order to meet the of expectations of thehome town planners achieve the maximum capital return care for and Guild Care, including a for the college. dedicated community space; a stateWe then went to market and through a competitive bidding ofprocess the- selected art Volkswagen dealership for the successful lead developer, Wilmington Homes. Theand challenge was to development identify an effective residential Caffyns, a new of 117 and commercial developer with a proven track record of houses by Bloor Homes. managing mixed use schemes within short timeframes. The scheme will provide much needed respite and affordable residential sales facilities residential lettings housing for the local community, as well as employment opportunities with over 100 jobs in the area. Mike Jones commented: “I have thoroughly enjoyed dealing with this unusual challenge. It is one of the biggest projects I have been involved with in Worthing, but what really made

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A259

Aerial view of land for development at the Northbrook site

We have now sold the land to Wilmington Homes, with completion planned for next Spring. Charles Wiggins, Managing Director of Wilmington Homes, said: “We were delighted when the college chose Wilmington - a

it stand out for me was that everyone - the college, its trustees, the planning local company - as the leadarchitects developer. This and project the has required department, the a huge amount of effort by the project team and the outcome is developers – worked together to (...continued on page 2) a real success story for Worthing.” make it happen. “We wereproperty all committed to realising commercial new homes the college’s goal to create an outstanding centre for vocational education, which will not only benefit its students but Worthing as a whole. “It’s also great to see a development that brings new investment into the area with the prospect of lots of jobs for the local community.”

High Street Landlords Fill Empty Premises According to a report by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) retail landlords are increasingly resorting to offering incentives to tenants in an attempt to stimulate demand for shops. The number of landlords offering inducement packages, such as rent-free periods and financial incentives on retail premises saw a noticeable rise in the second quarter of 2012. Surveyors’ expectations for future rents were suitably modest, with 28% more predicting values to remain low over the coming six months. This news comes at the same time as the launch of RICS free Small Business Retail Lease, which has been designed to attract new and independent shops into vacant high street space.

The lease, developed in collaboration with the British Retail Consortium (BRC), has been devised to simplify the often complex and time consuming process associated with commercial property leases. The new, freely available contract will enable quicker occupation of retail premises by small and medium-sized enterprises, helping to support the retail sector and British high street at a time when the latest figures published by the BRC show town centre vacancy rates of 11.1%. The lease takes the form of an easy to use eight page pro-forma providing the tenant with fixed property costs and a clear picture of the responsibilities they are signing up to.

Intended for leases of up to 5 years, it is a stand-alone short-term contract offering entirely flexible terms for occupiers, including break clauses and no rent reviews. It will significantly reduce the cost of a long lease negotiation process. In response to industry feedback, two versions of the lease have been developed: one with security of tenure under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 and one without. To ensure the lease is understood and used correctly, explanatory notes for occupiers,surveyors, lawyers and landlords will be published with it. www.michaeljones.co.uk

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02/11/2012 11:07


COURTWICK

LANE

PARKER SSD DRIVE

A259

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3.16 Acre Development Land For Sale

Prime Office Investment For Sale

• Site with the consent for the development of up to 4,000 sq m (43,000 sq ft) of employment space • Would also suit trade counter / drive thru / medical etc (STPC) • Extending to approximately 3.16 acres (1.28 hectares) • Considerable roadside presence to the main A259

Offers are invited for the freehold of the site

• Total area approximately 7,869 sq ft • Reception and storerooms to ground floor, open-plan offices to 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors with partitioned meeting rooms • On-site parking for approximately 19 cars • Current owners are offering a new 15 year lease back (with break at 10) at an initial rent of £85,000 per annum

Trade / Warehouse Units To Let

High Quality Offices To Let

• Situated on popular south coast industrial estate close to main A27 and A259 coastal roads • Approximately 3,158 sq ft with potential for 6,308 sq ft • 3 phase electricity, allocated car parking, roller-shutter door and glazed front elevation • Potential for trade counter use (STPC)

• Total area available from 574 sq ft to 5,357 sq ft • Private allocated car parking spaces, attractive communal areas, open plan office space • Situated in the heart of Worthing town centre • Suit professional occupiers • Accommodation offered as a whole or on a floor by floor basis

From £15,750 per annum

From £12 per sq ft

Offers invited in excess of £950,000 Freehold

Commercial

Download our latest newsletter

01903 228602

8 Chapel Road, Worthing commercial@michaeljones.co.uk

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01/11/2012 10:51


Offices With Parking To Let

Ground & First Floor Retail Unit To Let

• Total area approximately 5,131 sq ft • Ground and first floor offices • Parking for approximately 20 cars • Carpeting throughout • Reception and meeting areas

• Total area approximately 3,319 sq ft • Ground floor sales with first floor sales and storage area • Nearby occupiers include Boots, Marks & Spencer, Next and BHS • Other commercial used considered (STPC)

Rent and incentives upon request

Rent offers invited

Character Office For Sale

Pub With Development Potential

• Currently B1 office use • Total approximate area of 2,550 sq ft • Suitable for residential conversion (STPC) • Off-road parking for approximately 5 vehicles • Would suit a variety of other commercial uses (STPC)

• Prominent corner plot • Town centre location • Vacant possession • Residential development potential (STPC)

Guide price £300,000 Freehold

Offers in excess of £275,000 Freehold

Contact our Commercial team: Steve Berrett steveberret@michaeljones.co.uk Jon Justice jonjustice@michaeljones.co.uk Susie Viner susieviner@michaeljones.co.uk

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ESTATE AGENTS

SURVEYORS

Marketing Commercial Property in East Sussex Superb Corner Development Site - Adjoining A22 Uckfield/Maresfield Bypass ASHDOWN BUSINESS PARK, MARESFIELD, EAST SUSSEX TN22 HN In total 32.86 acres (13.30 hectares) Planning consent granted for industrial/office development of approx. 240,000 sq ft.

Freehold For Sale

Visit www.ashdownbusinesspark.com Good Value For Money Modern Warehouse - 0.57 Acre Plot Wealden Industrial Park, CROWBOROUGH Overall 10,957 sq ft including offices & showroom.

Development Opportunity Former Dental Laboratory Turkey Road, BEXHILL Overall 8,436 sq ft + detached store 850 sq ft.

Freehold Price £695,000

Large parking area. Now £395,000 Freehold

Offers considered for quick sale

Motor Dealer Showrooms & Workshops Income From Rear Bodyshop Business Beeching Road, BEXHILL

New Lower Price Factory/Warehouse Unit For Sale Or To Let Bellbrook Business Park, UCKFIELD Overall 5,800 sq ft including small mezzanine store + 1st floor offices

Showroom 1,769 sq ft + ancillary space. Workshop.1,815 sq ft. Outside display for 50 cars +.

Now £395,000 Freehold or will let

Net rent £37,000 pa.

Uckfield (01825) 50 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk P 46-49 Listings SBT.indd 50

76 44 88

Email:info@lawsoncommercial.co.uk Website: www.lawsoncommercial.co.uk

01/11/2012 10:51


Pulling together Lawson Commercial – the perfect team For East Sussex commercial property from prime to picturesque

LETTING • SELLING VALUING • ACQUIRING • SHOPS • OFFICES • FACTORIES • WAREHOUSES • LAND • INVESTMENTS SURVEYS & VALUATIONS RENT REVIEWS RATING LEASE RENEWALS

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Tel 01825 76 44 88 Fax 01825 76 11 44

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The Granary, Cornfords Yard, High Street, Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 1RJ Email info@lawsoncommercial.co.uk www.lawsoncommercial.co.uk www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk 51

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The development of the Ocean Suite at Eastbourne Pier has created one of the most spectacular private hire venues on the south coast. The Ocean Suite is reached via stairs up to a private traditional terrace area which offers unbeatable 360ยบ sea views. The suite can hold up to 200 guests. Guests can enjoy the comfortable surroundings and state of the art facilities in the suite and then walk out onto the roof terrace and private sun deck, complete with mini bar to take in the beautiful Sussex coastline. As you arrive into the Ocean Suite the sense of space and light is amazing. The suite is glass to three sides and bathed in natural light which gives a spectacular feeling of being on board a luxury boat. The room itself has been given a cool finish of light creams and jet black which compliment the champagne bar decor running almost the full length of the back wall. The striking lighting gives a crisp feel to the whole room which is a complete contrast with the blue of the ocean surrounding the suite. The Ocean Suite offers unrivalled fine dining options through RED Anywhere who will manage all catering on site, headed up by Daniel Clarke (Master Chef of Great Britain). We look forward to welcoming you to the Ocean Suite in the near future.

THE OCEAN SUITE, EASTBOURNE PIER, GRAND PARADE, EASTBOURNE, BN21 3EL T 01323 410467 F 01323 738918 E INFO@THEOCEANSUITE.CO.UK W WWW.THEOCEANSUITE.CO.UK

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02/11/2012 11:38


SBTQ&A

WE ASK THE EXPERTS TO GIVE YOU THE ANSWERS YOU NEED.

Q

SBT asks Chris Sullivan, CEO of Corporate Banking Division, NatWest RBS: What gives a small business the best chance of being eligible for lending?

A

Helping businesses is not just about lending. Of course, lending is a major part of it but we can do so much more. It’s important that we understand everything about a business that we might be helping so that we can do so in the right and most appropriate way. There’s a definite misconception that banks are reluctant to lend, but that’s not the case. Rejection rates for loans are only around 1 in 10 at the moment. What’s key is that we lend correctly. If I could find more businesses that it was appropriate to lend to, I definitely would! The statistics about less business loans being approved come about because, in tough financial times, more business owners appear to be more cautious about borrowing money. In fact, lots of businesses have cash that they’re not spending, because they lack the confidence. I understand why people don’t want to get into debt in today’s climate but the money is there for those who are willing and able to invest in order to push their business forward. The best way for a business to secure funding is to work closely with their bank, creating a relationship to

help ensure that we understand your business and how it works. Then we will we know what you’re trying to achieve and how we can help you do that. If you’re a business banking with NatWest or RBS you’ll have a relationship manager, so if for some reason you feel you’re not getting everything you need, speak up. As I’ve said, not as many people are asking to borrow money as you might think, and it may be that some who do want to have been put off by this rumour. Don’t forget that loans needn’t just be for things like expansions, either. We can help you to make your business safer and more efficient, and we can only do that when we know you, your business and your core values. Rates and products vary all the time. The only constant that makes a difference between banks is their culture and ethos. All banks are not the same in this sense, and our bank is very much about people. Our people are rewarded for the level of service they provide and how much they help other businesses, and they can only do that by getting to know your people. If you want to talk about lending specifically then yes, we have the cheapest loans for businesses available at the moment and we are looking for people to lend to! Where businesses sometimes find they can’t

get banks to lend to them is expecting the bank to put up risk equity, and we just can’t do that. Of course some businesses we lend to may fail but obviously we don’t want that to happen to anyone. We don’t make money out of the businesses we support losing money, which is why we’re not out to give anybody the hard sell or pressure them into taking financial products which aren’t right for them. The idea that local bank managers aren’t able to make decisions or help you out is wrong. I live in Sussex, and the economy and community of the local area mean a lot to me. Banks should be a positive part of the local community and everybody should be able to get to know their bank manager. We are people, we deal personally with the individual accounts of all the businesses that bank with us and we do want to help!

www.natwest.com www.rbs.co.uk

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SBT speaks to Mark Williams, Partner, Gaby Hardwicke Solicitors and asks: “What does a corporate finance lawyer bring to a deal and why is it important to choose the right one?”

1.What is the role of a corporate finance lawyer? Whether acting for a Seller or a Buyer in a corporate transaction, there are a number of common attributes of a good corporate finance lawyer:(a) An ability to negotiate of complex legal documents. Protection for the client within the documentation will ensure that in the long run they do not lose out. (b) Deal management and keeping it moving forward in a way which will ultimately fulfil the clients’ objectives. (c) Understanding what is important for the client and his motivation behind the deal. (d) Flexibility. A deal will take a number of twists and turns along the way and you the skills to address these quickly to ensure the deal stays on track. 2. We hear horror stories about banks not lending. What is the market like at the moment? Banks do still have money to lend and relationship managers still have targets to hit. However, I think it is fair to say that the credit committees of the banks are cautious and will be more selective about the types of businesses they lend to. There are also a number of other factors currently affecting the market:(a) Unrealistic expectations – some sellers are holding on to a belief that the profit multiples seen before the financial crisis will return and are holding out for improved offers. In my view there is no real evidence to suggest this belief will be fulfilled in the near future. (b) Confidence – I am a firm believer that confidence plays a huge part in tipping us into recession and bringing

us out of one. Confidence is at its lowest at the moment and it takes a confident buyer and funder to take the final leap and commit to an acquisition. However, there are great opportunities for buyers and sellers and a number of our clients are reaping the benefits of adopting a confident approach and seizing those opportunities. (c) Lack of return – this is especially true in retirement exits. If a company is generating good profits, these may well be producing a better income than a seller will achieve on investing the proceeds of a sale. For that reason, a number of sellers approaching retirement have decided to carry on for a year or two. 3. Are deals still being done? Yes, they are and part of what we do at Gaby Hardwicke is be pro-active and if a client wants a deal to happen we will move heaven and earth to find a way to do it. Therefore we have to be imaginative in the way a deal is structured and this may involve any one of a number of different approaches including:(a) Vendor loans – this means leaving part of the purchase price outstanding on completion and the buyer ‘repays’ this over a set period. With the appropriate security and interest payable on the deferred amount, this can be attractive both for seller and the buyer. (b) Joint ventures – a seller and a buyer may not, for whatever reason, be able to structure a complete sale/ acquisition but there are still synergies between the businesses which can be exploited to mutual benefit. We have done a number of deals with a period of exclusivity and an option to enable a full sale/disposal at some point in the future when conditions allow. (c) Private equity investment – where banks may not be prepared to lend on a particular deal, companies can find a source of funding from private individuals in return for an equity stake. A good Investment/Shareholders

Agreement is key to ensure that both parties know and understand the parameters in which they can act in going forward. It will also cover matters such as the investor’s exit strategy. (d) Outsourcing – in a recession, cutting expenditure is something which every business is looking at. As part of this, it may find it can improve profitability by outsourcing a certain part of its business. 4. What can a seller do to make their business more attractive? Grooming your business for sale is crucial: in a recession a buyer will be looking under every stone in enquiring into the condition of your business. If they find any problems or issues, then a buyer will use any opportunity to reduce its offer. This often comes in a late stage in the transaction and a seller will often have no option but to accept the reduced price or walk away from the deal. Therefore getting your business in good shape could save you tens of thousands of pounds and indeed keep the deal alive. 5. I imagine there is a lot of activity as a result of corporate insolvency? We act for a number of Insolvency Practitioners in dealing with administration/liquidation sales and also for buyers acquiring businesses out of an insolvent situation, where very good deals can be found. This does give rise to fantastic opportunities for a buyer to build its business at a relatively low cost. 6. In conclusion? There is still an appetite for deals to be done and having the right team, including a good experienced corporate finance lawyer, from an early stage will improve your chances immeasurably in getting a deal together and completed. mew@gabyhardwicke.co.uk www.gabyhardwicke.co.uk Tel: 01323 435900

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SBT Q&A

Conference and Function Room Hire Whether you need to hire a room for training, conferences, meetings, group outings, lunch parties, exhibitions, kids parties, evening activities or a wedding reception - we have a choice of three rooms and The Bothy situated in the heart of the woodland walk, with well equipped facilities to meet your requirements. Number 64 - High Street, Bognor Regis (Situated in the heart of Bognor Regis; Easy access via train and bus) Aldingbourne Country Centre - Chichester (Situated just off the A27 near Fontwell Race Course with free parking) If you hire a room, you can use a modern, easily accessible venue in a great location. What's more, your money will be going towards supporting adults with learning disabilities to train towards gaining employment as we are a non-profit making social enterprise. We Provide A choice of 3 bookable rooms and The Bothy, that can be set up for you in a choice of layouts. Use of Data Projector, OHP, Flipchart, DVD, Whiteboard. Internet access and hearing loop. A choice of freshly made food and refreshments.

Visit the pigs, goats, alpacas, rabbits, ducks, guinea pigs and chickens on our open farm or take a stroll in the woodland walk - Aldingbourne really do have a tranquil venue for all your needs. The Aldingbourne Trust, Blackmill Lane, Norton, Chichester, West Sussex PO18 0JP Phone 01243 542075 Email conferences@aldingbournetrust.co.uk Visit www.aldingbournetrust.co.uk for more details on how to find us

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Q

We asked Joanne Kavanagh, Head of Employment at Morrisons Solicitors LLP how employers are dealing with the abolishment of the default retirement age?

A

Why was the default retirement age abolished? The age discrimination regulations provided that it was not unlawful to retire an employee aged 65 or older (the Default Retirement Age) so long as the statutory requirement procedure was followed. Following a long promised review in 2010, the Government repealed the Default Retirement Age because people are living and working for longer to save for retirement. There were also concerns that the procedure to request working beyond retirement was too onerous on businesses. As a point of interest - the very last date on which an employee could request retirement under the old rules was 4 January 2012. It is now unlawful to force employees to retire just because they reach 65 or any set age unless there is objective justification for doing so. Of course employees can choose to retire and this is a matter for them providing they give the correct notice of their resignation from employment. Does this mean we cannot retire our employees at all? You can still compulsorily retire employees where objectively justified i.e. that the particular age at which you want to retire employees, is for a legitimate business/public policy aim. We have limited case law in this area as yet, but such aims are likely to include workforce planning, promoting and retaining younger employees and protecting the dignity of older

employees by not forcing them to undergo performance management procedures (although there is an argument that such grounds are themselves potentially discriminatory). Many employers are taking a cautious approach and rather than compulsorily retiring employees and risking tribunal claims of unfair dismissal and/or age discrimination from older employees, are allowing them to work on beyond what would have been the normal retirement age. Such claims are also likely to be potentially for higher awards at tribunal as older employees may be paid larger salaries and are likely to find it difficult to obtain another job. What if I have concerns about older employees’ performance or want to find out about their retirement plans? This repeal in the law presents new opportunities and challenges for businesses and their employees. Some employees will continue to choose to retire voluntarily, but with growing numbers of employees working for longer, employers are already having to deal with issues arising in an ageing workforce. Some suggested steps to provide some certainty to businesses and avoid tribunal claims, include: • Having regular discussions with your employees of all ages asking questions about their short, medium and long term plans e.g. in the appraisal. Whereas this discussion would, prior to the legal changes, normally be had pre-retirement, now singling out older employees, particularly those who may not be intending to retire to discuss their retirement plans, may well be perceived to be discriminatory. These regular discussions can also assist in workforce planning and managing the

promotion expectations of junior employees. • Not making stereotypical assumptions about older people that they are slowing down, or no longer up to their jobs because of age. • Addressing poor performance and sickness absence, regardless of age. Avoiding a formal procedure because of well meaning concerns about an older employee’s dignity can lead to a successful unfair dismissal and/ or age discrimination claim. In one case an employee who was invited to apply for early retirement as an alternative to formal capability proceedings succeeded in a claim of age discrimination. • A Retirement Policy setting out a commitment to treating all employees fairly and without discrimination. Employees contemplating retirement can be offered a change in role or, reduced hours (which they may be reluctant otherwise to raise). • Reviewing your insured employee benefits such as life assurance and private medical insurance which are exempt from the anti-age discrimination rules and can cease at age 65 (or the state pension age if older) subject to any contractual obligations.

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Christmas at Dale Hill Hotel...

SBT Q&A

Why not come to Dale Hill Hotel and enjoy a Christmas party night with friends, family or colleagues? You will enjoy a 3 course festive Dinner followed by dancing. We also offer discounted rates for all party night guests wishing to stay within our 4 star hotel. Single rooms from £50.00 per night and Double/Twin rooms from just £65.00 per room. Both rates to include breakfast. Subject to availability.

Please contact Chloe for more details on Christmas and New Year’s Eve party nights. Direct Line – 01580 202103 Email – chloe@dalehill.co.uk

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Q

SBT Asks Peter D Hill FCA, Director of Dominic Hill Chartered Accountants in Eastbourne: Why should I be running my business as a limited company?

A

The first point here is that some businesses are suited to be run as a limited company while others might be more suited to be a sole trader or a partnership or maybe a Limited Liability Partnership. A sole trader is quick, simple and cheap to set up. If you are starting up and not sure whether you will be self-employed for very long then this is probably the route for you. Being a sole trader offers the best tax relief position for expenses. If you create a loss, it offers the most flexible options to set

Q

this against other income – even from other tax years and will get you a tax repayment to help you when you need it most. It is confidential – because only HMRC and maybe your bank manager will need to see your accounts. The down side to sole trader is unlimited liability. If things go wrong you could become personally bankrupt. Partnerships operate in a similar fashion to sole traders but with the advantages and disadvantages that come from working in a team. Limited Companies are more expensive to operate but they have different tax characteristics from sole traders that can save thousands of pounds under the right circumstances. This normally works to your advantage when you have more substantial

profits and you are more established. Therefore, I usually recommend converting from a sole trader to a limited company once a business is more mature. In this way you get the ‘best of both worlds’. Limited companies provide ‘limited liability’. This is because a Limited Company is a separate person in law and therefore can be held liable for debts separate from the company’s owners. Limited Liability Partnerships offer some great opportunities. They do not always offer the great tax advantages of the Limited Company. If you have owners joining and leaving regularly, if you want ‘company’ cars and you want limited liability just like a Limited Company then this is probably for you. In any case, why not come and see us for a free first hour and I’ll advise you on which suits you best. Peter D Hill FCA is a Director of Dominic Hill Chartered Accountants in Eastbourne. He has been helping businesses in the South East to work efficiently for over 20 years. For more information visit: www.dominichill.co.uk

Far from simply being a means of contact, a phone number can speak volumes about a business, with associated costs and functions that could have an impact on why and when customers dial. SBT asks Omar Shah of Direct Numbers exactly what is in a number for a Sussex business?

A

Whenever I attend a business networking event I tend to get asked some common questions – “what are 0844 numbers?”, “why does it cost more to call 0845 numbers from a mobile”, “do companies make money on their inbound calls?”. So exactly why do businesses use these numbers and more importantly does your business need one? There are so many different types of business phone numbers now that keeping tabs on how much they cost can be tricky even for people like me.

Most businesses will interact with their customers over the phone in some way and so calling your number maybe the first interaction a customer has with your business. That’s why picking the right number for your business is very important. A customer calling in and getting an engaged tone, constant ringing or long automated menu options can be a turn off. So if you are a Sussex business and your customers are local, then there really is no need for an 08 business number – keep it local on a 01273 number which will end up cheaper for your customers to contact you. You can still incorporate some of the clever call handling services which will help you keep in touch with your customers – call queuing, distributing calls to the

right department, divert to a mobile etc. Remember, you don’t need to be a big corporation to have these affordable services set up for your company. We’re seeing more and more people working remotely now so you should be available to your customers no matter where you might be – in the office, out on the road, abroad (not when you’re on holiday though that’s the rule).

www.directnumbers.co.uk

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Q

Finding new business premises and negotiating lease terms can often be difficult and a stressful process. We ask Steve Berrett, partner at Michael Jones Commercial, how a business is best to approach this matter.

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Negotiating a new lease or purchasing a new property for your business can be a daunting and lengthy process, which can often result in high legal costs if protracted. We often get asked how long it takes for a business to firstly find a property and eventually complete and move in. This can be relatively swift as long as you are clear and decisive on your negotiating terms and it is important to have a clear understanding before a contract is granted. We have put together the following tips: • When negotiating lease terms, request to put a response in writing to the landlord to show that all the things which are important to you and your business have been accurately written down in the Heads of Terms and then documented in the lease. • Take professional advice throughout the process. You may wish to appoint a property consultant to negotiate the terms on your behalf who will follow the Code for Leasing Business Premises in England & Wales 2007. • If you are taking a lease or legal agreement that requires a personal guarantor, then think of it as if it would be called upon the first day of the lease i.e. what would be the personal consequences of it for you? And can you afford it? • Is the lease you are entering into within the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954? This will allow you rights of renewal at the termination of the lease,

which will protect your business with in the property. The business may require a short lease and therefore the landlord may require this to be outside the Act which could put your business in a more vulnerable position. • It is always advisable that businesses make a note of any future important dates. When is the next rent review? What date is the break clause and how many months prior notice do you have to give. How much time will you need to carry out dilapidation works at the end of the lease?

As commercial property agents and advisors, Michael Jones has experts who can guide you through this process and any other property related issues. We specialise in helping business owners, landlords and tenants on retail, office and industrial premises as well as development land and investments.

• Making alterations such as installing mezzanine floors to warehouse will improve the running of your business however, the landlord under the usual terms of the lease could request you to remove this at the end of the tenancy. This can apply to other alterations such as partitioned walls and other facilities specific to your use.

For more advice and information contact the head office in Worthing on 01903 228602 or commercial@ michaeljnes.co.uk Over the last two decades, Michael Jones has grown rapidly and is now one of the leading independently owned property agents with a growing chain of offices in the area. They are also known for being one of the largest residential letting agents as well as acting for award winning homebuilders and marketing some of the most prestigious new developments across the south coast.

We are frequently approached by businesses looking to relocate and often they only allow themselves a few weeks to find, negotiate, and complete on a building. Whilst in theory this is achievable, in practise we advise businesses to allow two to three months in order to go through the whole process. Many landlords, particularly in these current times, will allow a small amount of rent free or reduced rent in order to assist in a business relocating and to possibly overlap. This allows for a much smoother transition and relocation over a period of time rather than being rushed over a single day or week.

www.michaeljones.co.uk

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02/11/2012 11:38


Home Grown Hero

Made In Sussex:

GatwickDiamondJobs.com Given a lucky break at the age of 19 and aged only 36, Gary Peters has established a globally recognised executive search organisation and is now reaching over 750,000 local job seekers each with his new regional job board venture which has injected new life into Sussex Businesses.

BrightonandHoveJobs.com launched Brand in 2010, the brainFocus child of Gary Peters. Having given up his childhood ambition of becoming a professional footballer, dropped out of college, travelled to Australia and returned by the age of 20, Gary found himself in need of the break into business that he now takes pride in giving to others. That break came in the form of a chance meeting with the CEO of Brighton-based training group FDM Group, who gave Gary his first job. He worked his way quickly through the ranks at FDM Group before beginning his own challenge by setting up ICP Search: an executive search organisation working within the semiconductor, satellite and communications industries. Once ICP Search was ready and set up with its own directors, Gary was free to concentrate on his long term goal: providing that same first step into business that he had been given and he saw a clear gap in the market for a focused, local jobs board. “On-line recruitment seemed very hit – and-miss, at the time,” explains Gary. “Employers didn’t know where to advertise, candidates didn’t know where to look and the vast majority of listings weren’t kept up to date. A more applied and effective approach was needed in order to inspire a bit oflife in the local job market.” Within just four months of being up and running, the business agreed a six figure deal to become the official club sponsor of Brighton and Hove Albion football club, and was going from strength to strength, due in part to active presence and promotion at events throughout Sussex and proactive

involvement with Brighton sport and culture. “Brighton has a thriving sports and cultural scene and that’s a huge resource we love to work with,” says Gary. “We made it our business to get out and meet young people at their interests, inspire them and show them that work doesn’t have to be dull. We’ve also taken on three apprentices of our own, and I’m determined to continue to provide opportunities for young people taking their first steps into business.” On the strength of BrightonandHoveJobs.com, GatwickDiamondJobs.com was launched in 2012 on the very same formula. In its first 9 months it has advertised over 3,000 jobs, resulting in 75,000 visits and nearly half a million page impressions - well ahead of their predictions, indicating that GatwickDiamondJobs.com is already becoming the local hub for all of the best job opportunities, employment advice, volunteering and training information in the area. By encompassing Gatwick, Crawley, Redhill, Horsham, East Grinstead, Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill and Reigate, the new jobs board is becoming instrumental in advertising and creating jobs, placements and development across a huge area of Sussex and Surrey whilst maintaining the same community feel that has been so fundamental to the success of sister jobs board BrightonandHoveJobs.com. There have been many highlights in the time that the jobs boards have been launched and include being finalists in both the National Online Recruitment Awards and the Sussex Business Awards. Other highlights are based around the commitment to supporting and promoting the area, working with new

Gary Peters, Chief Executive

partners and creating a number of programmes and projects that endorse employment and training opportunities. With some significant employers in the Southeast, it is also a great portal for companies to engage with the local people and actively promote their brands as a great place to work. The launch of GatwickDiamondJobs. com adds further recognition of the Gatwick Diamond whilst reflecting the strength and importance of working collaboratively across the region. “Now, on the back of the incredible contribution we have made in Brighton and Hove, we want to support further apprenticeship start-up schemes in the area, helping young people in the Gatwick Diamond get their first steps onto the work ladder and to help school leavers get the careers advice theyneed. A motivated workforce is going to be essential as the UK recovers from recession,” concludes Gary. Following the success of the two boards so far, Gary intends to expand and apply the same business formula to websites for the London market, as well as expanding East and West in a bid to rejuvenate the job market for employers and candidates. www.gatwickdiamondjobs.com

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01/11/2012 09:20

Xma


Fantastic gift offers for the Albion fan this Christmas S SELECTED b bOOkS & DVD DVDS

WITH TODDLERS REPLICA SHIRTS

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www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk 59 Offers available while stocks last at the Seagulls Superstore, located at the Amex Stadium, or at the Seagulls Store in Queens Road, Brighton. Alternatively, visit www.seagullsdirect.co.uk for more offers.

31/10/2012 09:20 13:21 01/11/2012


WE ARE ALFA ROMEO. WE ARE PDH CARS.

YOUR NEW ALFA ROMEO DEALER FOR SUSSEX You don’t have to travel to Milan to find the best of Italian style, performance and engineering. PDH Cars, the new Alfa Romeo dealership in Sussex has it all, right on your doorstep. So whether you’re already an Alfa Romeo owner or would like an introduction you’ll find a little bit of Italy is now a little closer to home. Test drive the Alfa Mito - our sporty supermini or the Alfa Giulietta - with coupe looks and 5 door practicality. We look forward to welcoming you to PDH Cars.

PDH CARS LTD. LONDON ROAD, HASSOCKS, WEST SUSSEX BN6 9NZ 01273 845544 www.pdhalfaromeo.co.uk WITHOUT HEART WE WOULD BE MERE MACHINES

Model shown Alfa MiTo 1.4 TB MultiAir 135 bhp ALFA TCT Distinctive at £17,925 OTR including Alfa Red special paint at £425 and Alfa Giulietta 1.4 TB MultiAir 170 bhp ALFA TCT Veloce at £23,645 OTR including Ghiaccio White special paint at £490. Range of official fuel consumption figures for the Alfa Romeo MiTo and Giulietta range: Urban 26.2 – 64.2 mpg (10.8 – 4.4 I/100km); Extra Urban 48.7 – 97.4 mpg (5.8 – 2.9 I/100km); Combined 37.2 – 80.7 mpg (7.6 – 3.5 I/100km). CO 2 emissions 177 – 90 g/km.

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02/11/2012 09:59


Sussex Business Times Magazine