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March/April 2020


Niche Business Awards This year’s Judges announced

International Women’s Day Leicester’s Leading Ladies

Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire 18 months of service


THE CATEGORIES Best New Business Best Family Business Best Small Business Digital Business of the Year Innovation in Business Business Growth Rising Star Employer of the Year

Best Customer Service Leicestershire Charity of the Year Achievement in Sport Educational Excellence Professional Services Businesswoman of the Year Businessman of the Year Community Champion

LAST CHANCE TO NOMINATE Don’t miss out on your chance to nominate an individual or business you believe deserving of any of these 15 categories.

This year’s ceremony, held September 4 at Athena in the city’s Cultural Quarter, will be 1920s themed.

NOMINATIONS CLOSE MARCH 31ST. Semi-finalists to be announced at the next Niche Networking event May 19.








SALES DIRECTOR 07931 220 116






















Disclaimer – Niche Magazine and Cross Productions Ltd are fully protected by copyright; no part of this magazine may be reproduced or reprinted without the complete and expressed permission of the publisher. The greatest care has been taken to ensure accuracy, however there can be no liability accepted by the publisher for errors and omissions. We can under no circumstance be held responsible for any materials, matter or photographical copy submitted for publication or not within the website or magazine. We cannot be held responsible or liable for any breaches of copyright from adverts, materials or photography or any other such material supplied by a third party. The views and opinions expressed within our publications are not necessarily those of the publisher or indeed Niche Magazine or any featured parties.

0116 271 2573


nichemagazine.co.uk Published by Cross Productions Ltd 17 Mandervell Road, Oadby, Leicester LE2 5LR info@crossproductions.co.uk

Distribution Media Matters Direct Mediamattersdirect.co.uk Self Select Distribution Selfselectdistribution.co.uk



We’ve experienced a fantastic start to the year. It’s consisted of award wins, new starters, new partnerships and invitations to some memorable events. It was brilliant to attend the Triumphs of Leicester event run by Leicestershire Law Society. It was a one-off gala that celebrated people who had made an extraordinary impact locally or around the world. It was a privilege to be surrounded by such inspiring people and some incredible motivational speakers. We’re excited to have taken on some new staff expanding the digital and sales sides of what we do. Keep an eye out for our new colleagues on the networking scene and spot them in future editions of Niche Magazine. Prep work has begun for the #NicheBizAwards 2020, and for the first time ever, the theme is not being kept under wraps! Get your outfits ready for the 1920s gala with themed entertainment. In the meantime, nominate for your favourite individuals or companies in any of our 15 awarding categories. Nominations close on April 1. In this issue we announce the #NicheBizAwards judges who will visit the finalists this year rather than interview them as in previous years. We had a great night at our Sponsors and Ambassadors Evening introducing our headline sponsors Assured Energy. The company really is a true ambassador of Leicester. Read why they’re the perfect fit for the role on page 12.



Don’t miss our Niche Networking event on May 19 where we announce the semi-finalists! We are working in partnership with De Montfort University graduates on some animations to really gear up the way we present ourselves at Niche Magazine and Cross Productions. Leicester Comedy festival has been a roaring success. It was our first year as a business partner with Big Difference Company which runs the event and the team can all agree it’s been a lot of fun! Each year, Big Difference Company produces an ambitious programme of cultural events and projects. They’re committed to helping numerous schemes from planting trees to helping men take their health more seriously. Together we’ve attended our fair share of Leicester Comedy Festival events, which of course includes the Alternative Business Awards which saw our parent company Cross Productions win Team with the L Factor, and our Managing Director Jenny Cross deservedly win the Contribution to the Community award. We really have started the year as we mean to go on!


CONTENTS NEWS 08 Sarah Harrison 10 Business news

BUSINESS FOCUS 12 14 18 21

Assured Energy Niche Business Awards QDTS Construction Growth Hub


24 Leading Ladies Global 25 Glynis Wright & Co Family Solicitors 26 Jigna Varu 27 City Laser Skin Clinic 27 Leanne Bonner-Cooke 28 Virtual Assistant Support 28 AumSpa 29 Broadhead Global 31 PPL PRS Ltd 32 Hotpod Yoga 32 JSP Virtual 33 Debbie Moore Coaching 34 J Webb 34 Green’s Catering 35 Rutland House Counselling & Psychotherapy 38 Turnaround CEO 40 Succession Planning 42 Traction Matters 44 Financial Planning 47 Finance Lab 49 Tax with Pete Miller 50 Growth Partners 54 The Dock columns

Featuring Rapid Business Systems and BGS Accounting


56 Leicester Prep School 58 CashFlow 60 St Martins House 63 Leicestershire Law Society 64 Legal columns

Featuring Paradigm Wills and Legal Services, Hollingsworths Solicitors and Glynis Wright & Co Family Solicitors

65 Hollingsworths Solicitors 67 Paradigm Wills and Legal Services 68 Marketing Columns

Featuring Soar Valley Press, Mocha Marketing and Cross Productions

71 Lead Balloon Studios 73 Indigo Blue Media 74 Property columns

Featuring Oadby House

78 83 86 88

1 Stop Maintenance Sarsons Electrical Nuffield Health Health Columns

Function Jigsaw, Priti Coles and Stoneygate Eye Hospital

90 Food Court 95 Cini 98 Curve

CHARITY 101 102 103 104

Hope Against Cancer Amwell Care Home Focus Charity Shama Women’s Centre

SOCIAL 105 The Big Chill 106 Suits and Vinyl 107 The Alternative Business Awards

Cover: QDTS and Gemma Orton, Mocha Marketing photographed by Hitz Rao at Winstanley House

Photography & Video courtesy of: Hitz Rao Photography 0116 246 0475


Alex Benyon Photography alexbenyonphotography.co.uk

QDTS Construction with Mocha Marketing

12 Assurred Energy

27 Leanne Bonner-Cooke

42 Traction Matters

60 St Martins House


The city of

‘World Class’ creativity

In creative terms, Leicester is growing, and fast – a new arts and culture brochure has paid tribute to the range, quality and impact of the arts and cultural organisations the city now boasts


‘World Class’ was the theme at the official launch of a new arts and culture brochure that celebrates the best Leicester has to offer. City Mayor Peter Soulsby and Arts Council England Chief Executive Darren Henley both addressed an audience of 150 at The Venue@DMU on February 5. The City Mayor stressed that despite Leicester not being awarded UK City of Culture in 2017, it had nonetheless stepped up the pace and was now in a much stronger position with ambitious new plans. He noted that investment in more seating at Curve alongside proposals to expand


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Phoenix Cinema and Art Centre, and to create a world-class visitor attraction to tell the story of Leicester’s 400-year Roman history at Jewry Wall would keep up the recent momentum. Six of the Arts Council’s 42 new National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) are in Leicester, which raises the city’s NPO tally to 16. Amongst those featured in the brochure are Curve, ArtReach, Aakash Odedra, Bamboozle, Graffwerk, De Montfort Hall, Metro Boulot Dodo, and Leicester Comedy Festival. They span the full range of visual arts, dance, music and theatre. At the event, presentations of recent and

forthcoming work were accompanied by live performances from local poet Jess Green, who delivered a stunning reading of a poem about Leicester, and a short two-hander piece from dance company Epic ID. As well as performing locally for Leicester audiences, many artists work not just throughout the UK but internationally. Mike Dalzell, Director of Tourism, Culture and Inward Investment at Leicester City Council said: “One of the things that surprised me whilst doing this work was discovering the extent of international reach. Some of our most successful organisations are

We hope that people will use this material as part of their recruitment packs and induction materials as it is a great introduction to the city




as well known in India or Australia as they are here. “We know that attracting talent is a key challenge for a lot of our businesses and this brochure will tell anyone who is thinking of living, working or investing in Leicester that the city is alive with excitement and creative opportunity and they will be able to access world-class art and culture. “We hope that people will use this material as part of their recruitment packs and induction materials as it is a great introduction to the city.” The event showcased how the additional investment in many of the organisations by the Arts Council has been used to drive both new quality art and more effective engagement with communities and audiences that are under-represented. As well as celebrating what Leicester already has, the event also marked the official start of a six-month period to create a new forward plan for arts and culture in the city that will also include plans to grow the broader creative industry sector. The event heard how Leicester also benefits from one of the densest concentrations of design professionals outside London. Chris Stafford, Chief Executive at Curve, said: “We hope the message for all young people is loud and clear – you don’t need to leave Leicester to forge a successful career in the creative or cultural industries.” The online brochure and video content are intended to support place marketing campaigns for the city and to encourage new investment and collaboration amongst arts and cultural organisations. These can be accessed at visitleicester.info. You can also request copies of the brochure by contacting the City Centre Director. 0116 454 2481 sarah.m.harrison@leicester.gov.uk.

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Leicester Racecourse welcomes back its previous general manager

Small firms looking to Budget for support on business rates and IR35 The latest labour market figures and productivity statistics from the Office for National Statistics have been released. Responding, Federation of Small Businesses National Chair Mike Cherry said: “It’s welcome news to see the labour market continuing to grow along with productivity which has fluctuated for some time. “But there was no growth in labour productivity per worker in the final quarter of 2019, which illustrates why this shouldn’t be a time for complacency. Small firms have been desperate for certainty for years and will look to the upcoming Budget as an opportunity to help them grow and succeed. “After years in the doldrums, the new Chancellor must illustrate his support for the small businesses that form the backbone of the British economy. “It’s vital that the cost of doing business, specifically when it comes to business rates, protecting incentives to grow, and accelerating the delivery of key infrastructure commitments are delivered sooner rather than later. “These figures also revealed a sizeable 3.6 percent increase in the numbers of self-employed people in the UK, people that have set themselves up in business. These individuals will be looking for a Budget that shows this Government is on their side, including launching the pledged review of selfemployed access to pensions and mortgages, and the results of the investigation into IR35 which they hope will see a delay in the roll-out from April.” 08 | NICHE

David Maykels has re-joined the Oadby-based racecourse as its new general manager. David said: “I am very excited to be back at the racecourse after six years away. I have enjoyed my time working with various different business genres and now need some time to re-engage and familiarise myself with all operations here at the racecourse. “Having been a racing fan since the age of 13, this industry always pulls you back, sometimes when you least expect it. I look forward to the future!” He joined the sporting venue in 2006 and continued as its general manager for eight years. David has spent the past six years working for various major organisations, mostly within the leisure industry attaining new skills and experiences. His last role was as general manager at Coventry and North Warwickshire Sports Club. He has also worked for Virgin Active since leaving the racecourse six years ago. In a statement, a Leicester Racecourse representative said they were pleased to welcome David back to work for the company in the same position he once held. It went on to say that under his direction, the company is looking forward to the racecourse going from strength to strength.

Lord-Lieutenant reflects on first 18 months representing Leicestershire One of the youngest Lord-Lieutenants in the UK, Mike Kapur OBE has represented Leicestershire for the past 18 months. He will serve in the role for another 18 years. Using this significant milestone, he reflects on his experience as Lord-Lieutenant as he reaches this milestone. The Lord Lieutenant is The Queen’s representative in Leicestershire carrying out a number of duties. Foremost is arranging visits for Royal Family members, but he also is needed to advise on Honours nominations, promote Queen’s Awards for Voluntary Service and Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, as well as participating in civic, voluntary and social activities and liaising with the local Reserve and Cadet forces. Since starting in his role in June 2018, the 57-year-old already has memories that will last him a lifetime. He said: “The last 18 months have been terrific and an amazing experience for me personally. I’ve met some fantastic people from all backgrounds and ages doing some wonderful work to support their fellow citizens. “I do my best to get to as many places as I can. In my first year I managed to get to all four corners of the county. I’m keen that no part of the city or county feels disconnected from the lieutenancy. “I have no personal status but am the representative of The Queen within our county boundary. Lord-

Lieutenants have no function or status of their own and so are always considered private citizens when outside their county no matter what the occasion.” During his first 18 months, Mike has attended more than 200 events, but this is not the only responsibility for this father-of-four. He still runs his own business, Signum Corporate Communications Ltd, is the Chairman of the National Space Centre and is also the Chairman of Leicester City FC Community Trust. Juggling these commitments is something he’s able to manage with the help of his Deputy Lieutenants. Despite the number of events the Lord-Lieutenant attends, Mike admits that some people end up disappointed as he and his Deputy Lieutenants ‘can’t be everywhere’. He said: “The office receives nearly 400 invitations a year. Everyone is entitled to access the Lord-Lieutenant. However, I’m conscious that we don’t attend the same events year on year. A visit from the Lord- Lieutenant, or a Deputy Lieutenant, should be seen as special since we are representing a very special person – The Queen. We should make sure we encourage organisations to keep this in mind when sending in invitations. “We organised a very successful event attended by 30 small charities in the City in September, at which I spoke and where they were also able to meet some of my Deputy Lieutenants. It was

very well received, and we have plans to repeat this for small charities in the towns around the County in 2020.” As part of his role, Mike is also keen to continue promoting the achievements, talents and bravery of young people through his Young Person of the Year Awards which acknowledge the remarkable successes of teenagers in the fields of the arts, sport, volunteering and caring. “I’m delighted and honoured to be doing this. When I was appointed, I knew my life was going to be different, I just didn’t know quite by how much. But I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

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sponsor announced The company is part of a global organisation working on saving billions for small businesses

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The Niche Business Awards has signed up a new headline sponsor for its 2020 celebration. Assured Energy has taken the opportunity to support local businesses in the run up to the event on Friday, September 4. The business is a locally focused arm of its parent company The Consultus International Group, which recently won the Most Trusted Consultancy at the 2019 Energy Live Consultancy Awards (TELCA). With a goal and ethos aligning with that of the awards, the company is a perfect match for headline sponsorship. Assured Energy provides energy and utility procurement for smaller businesses. Its leaders are passionate about regulating the industry as well as connecting local SMEs to suppliers with the best tariffs. On why Assured Energy chose to get involved in the awards, General Manager Hiren Kanabar said: “We chose to become the headline sponsor of the Niche Business Awards because of its reputation and reach. These awards are renowned for applauding success as well as bringing the business community together.” Run by local strategic marketing company Cross Productions, Niche Magazine’s Niche Business Awards recognises and celebrates only Leicestershire organisations, therefore recruiting only the most passionate advocates of supporting local businesses. The Consultus International Group serves the utility requirements of medium to large corporations, while Assured Energy was born to take care of the needs of local SMEs. Five of its most experienced team members have




over 100 years of involvement in the utility industry between them. Gleb Smatko, Group Marketing Manager, said: “Assured was formed because our parent company dealt with larger, more industrialised companies. We can help the smaller businesses achieve the same reach to the suppliers used by big firms. “The little, local businesses – from your corner shops to your entrepreneurial thinkers – are never able to build the kinds of relationships that give them access to the type of deals we’re able to gain on their behalf.” It’s not just Leicester businesses the company is keen to support – Gleb and the team work hard to raise money for and promote local causes. Assured Energy uses its reception as a collection point for donations to Rainbows children’s charity and also participates in fundraising events for Hope Against Cancer. The company is a patron of East Midlands Chamber of Commerce and attends their networking events, where it actively participates in sustaining and facilitating the ‘Midlands Engine’ partnership. The energy consultants speak over 10 languages between them, making client relations easier to build. With directors working in partnership with gas and electricity government regulator Ofgem, the group aspires to tighten the regulations and police the bad habits of questionable utility brokers. Gleb explained: “Almost £2bn a year is stolen from SMEs due to them being mis-sold contracts by unscrupulous brokers. Businesses are led to believe that they can’t access better tariffs, or that it’s too difficult to switch.” Partner Channel Manager, Sam


Almost £2billion a year is stolen from UK SMEs due to them being mis-sold contracts by unscrupulous brokers Edwards, said: “The rules are more relaxed in comparison to say the finance market. For the utilities market, there are less regulations and more grey areas. “One of the most common reasons that small businesses encounter bankruptcy is due to overheads such as utilities. We want to help prevent this from happening. The best way we can do this is by working with partners, suppliers and regulators to tighten the reins on bad practice.” By offering the same great tariffs to SMEs as are available to multicorporations, Assured Energy is helping to maximise their lifespan. Hiren said: “Some energy brokers are locking small businesses into poorvalue, long-term gas and electricity contracts. This often hits those clients who can least afford being caught out in this way. “Where Assured Energy becomes aware of such practices, we’re happy to provide the regulator with evidence of mis-selling, unreasonably high commission payments, and immoral practices of other brokers.” Gleb added: “We’re ranked ‘excellent’ on Trustpilot which gives us credibility with potential customers and helps them when they are doing their due diligence.” Cross Productions has set its standards on the kind of companies they invite to become headline sponsors of the Niche Business Awards. Jenny Cross, founder of Cross

Productions, said: “Assured Energy is an avid and proactive supporter of local businesses and charities, which is what we always look for in our sponsors and ambassadors. “But the fact they are also doing much-needed campaigning in their industry, locally and beyond, to assure that the future of SME businesses is a certain one, makes the company one we are exceptionally proud to be working with.” On the night of the Niche Business Awards, Assured Energy will announce the Niche Business Awards Community Champion winner – a unique accolade awarded to an individual who has been hand-picked by Cross Productions and Assured Energy themselves. 0330 221 9899 assured.energy


Receive a £100 reward!

Quote Niche100 when you sign up If you choose Assured Energy to source your energy contract, a £100 cashback reward will be paid into your account within three months of the contract start date. NICHE | 13

Meet the


The official line up of judges for the Niche Business Awards 2020 consists of eight local personalities from industries including law, entertainment, technology, and more. Get to know who will be judging the 15 categories and assessing your applications in the run up to the ceremony on Friday, September 4.

The Niche Business Awards’ judges line up adds an extra two members to the panel this year. These eight high-profile personalities will be receiving your nominations, researching and inspecting your applications, and for the first time ever, visiting you or your business to discover more about you. In preparation for your applications, read more about each of the judges here to find out what they value and what they’ve achieved


Glynis Wright is the founder of Glynis Wright & Co Family Solicitors and Mediators. Glynis became a lawyer at the mature age of 42. Within five years of qualifying as a solicitor, she set up her own firm specialising in family law. The firm grew rapidly and now employs 18 staff in total. Glynis Wright & Co has won multiple legal and business awards and is now a leading provider of family law services in the Midlands. The company was named the national winner of Law Firm of the Year (Small) in the Law Society Excellence Awards 2018. Glynis was elected President of the Leicestershire Law Society in June 2019, having served on the executive committee of the society for the past four years.

CCO at Micro-Fresh® Jigna Varu holds a degree in Biomedical Science and joined Micro-Fresh as a part-time Client Services Assistant. Within five years, she became Micro-Fresh’s Commercial Director at just 28 years old. She is now Chief Commercial Officer. She drives all commercial aspects of the business on a global level, including its nine offices around the world. With a natural flair for people – having built relationships with global household names such as John Lewis and Emirates – her exceptional skillset and driving force has led her to set KPIs for all Micro-Fresh international offices. Thanks to Jigna’s continuous success, the company is now tapping into the vast American market. Jigna is paving the way in the business world with her determination, creative mindset and passion – and is sharing this with the next generation too. She actively takes part in the Micro-Fresh 1000 Children campaign where she delivers talks to students helping to inspire them and encourage them to go into STEM careers, as well as taking on work experience students and coaching them during this time.

The award-winning entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist is Chief Executive at Morningside Pharmaceuticals Ltd, supplier of medicines to over 100 countries since 1991. Dr Kotecha has become an active Midlands business leader, taking up board and advisory positions for the Confederation of British Industry, Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership, Department for International Trade, and the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce. In 2016 he accompanied former Prime Minister Theresa May on her first overseas trade mission to India. In 2018 he received a Board of Trade Award from the then Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox. Dr Kotecha also established the Randal Charitable Foundation. Its vision is to save lives, help the socially disadvantaged, and improve the quality of life for those in need in the UK and around the world. The business leader won Businessman of the Year at the Niche Business Awards 2018. He went on to win the Community Champion award in 2019.

Partner at KPMG Ian has worked at KPMG since 1985, mostly based in its Leicester office, and as a partner for the last 22 years. He has extensive experience in advising companies on strategy, fundraising, profit and cashflow improvement, buying and selling businesses, and governance best practice. In 2007, he was appointed Senior Partner for KPMG’s Leicester Office and, in 2014, for the whole East Midlands practice, giving him the experience of running his own business. Ian has served on the boards of Leicestershire Business Voice (and as its Chairman between 2007 and 2014), the CBI’s East Midlands Regional Council, the Richard III Visitor Centre, National Forest Charitable Trust, Special Olympics Leicester, and the National Space Centre. He’s also been a judge for the Leicester Mercury Business of the Year Awards and Business Executive Awards, and still acts as a judge for the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust Award Scheme. He received an honorary doctorate from De Montfort University in 2013 and was named Leicestershire’s Non-Executive Director of the Year in 2016.

Allison leads ‘Leicester City in the Community’ which is a charity working in partnership with Leicester City Football Club that ‘engages, inspires and empowers through togetherness, respect and pride’. Alli was formerly Deputy Head of Community at West Bromwich Albion Football Club. Here, she had a more diverse range of income streams and worked on directing them into different areas of the community. She is a qualified teacher and trustee of several multi agency trusts. Alli’s passionate aim is to use the kudos of football and the Premier League to inspire, motivate and make a real difference. She has been heavily involved with the rebranding of the Leicester City in the Community trust. There have been a number of programmes and campaigns set up by Alli in order to give back to the community, particularly in schools. Her plans have helped to develop young people’s education, health, and community cohesion by working with various local organisations.

Brewin Dolphin is a national wealth management company with a key focus on being active in local communities. For Leicester, that shows in the company’s support of a series of initiatives aimed at supporting local businesses and Scott’s professional colleagues in the county. Brewin Dolphin sponsors Leicester Business Festival, of which Scott also chairs the Steering Group. Scott has been working in and around Leicester for most of his career and has been fortunate to have dealt with many great businesses and the people behind them. His day-to-day role enables him to get to know people very closely, whilst assisting in managing their financial affairs and helping them to achieve their goals. A major benefit of this is that he can listen to and learn from some of the region’s most successful businesspeople. Scott has enjoyed working in Leicestershire and wishes to ensure its prosperity continues. Observing the importance of the business community and taking pride in creating opportunities for businesses to work together, he appreciates working alongside others in ensuring opportunities are shared as widely as possible.

With more than 30 years’ experience working in contact centres, Andrea has held senior leadership roles at FTS Ltd, Nuffield Health, and Hastings Direct. Andrea initially came to Leicester to set up a third UK site for Hastings Direct – launching in a temporary office in the city in 2015 with 36 colleagues. Over the following years, Andrea grew the site to over 1,200 colleagues and took responsibility for all of Hastings’ retail operations – both on and off-shore, before leaving Hastings in September 2019. Andrea joined music licensing company PPL PRS Ltd in November 2019, taking up the role of Managing Director at the Leicester-based joint venture for public performance licensing. In her new role at PPL PRS Ltd, Andrea and her team aim to provide the best licensing experience in the world for customers and are fully committed to making the organisation one of the best places to work in the Midlands. Andrea firmly believes that investing in people and their development plays a critical role in delivering an exceptional experience for customers.

The latest Niche Businessman of the Year, Sam Hagger, has met many talented people that contribute to Leicester’s economy through his role at The Beautiful Pubs Collective. The company was founded in 2008 when Sam took over the company’s first pub, The Forge Inn at Glenfield. Since then, it has expanded and has become one of Leicestershire’s most highly acclaimed multiple operators employing a team of over 100 people with a turnover in excess of £3.8 million. In his field, Sam has been recognised as ‘Ambassador of the Industry’, a ‘Local Food Hero’, and Beautiful Pubs has been recognised as one of the Top 25 companies to work for in hospitality by the Caterer.com People Awards. Sam sits on the board of BID Leicester, a not for profit organisation working to transform Leicester city centre, making it a better place to live, work, visit, study and do business. He is also a Trustee for De Montfort University’s Student Union.

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Niche Business Awards Sponsors and Ambassadors Evening Cross Productions hosted an evening to thank all the sponsors, ambassadors and event partners of this years Niche Business Awards at Lumbers Jewellers.

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It’s about understanding the target audience and understanding the message that needs to resonate with them

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“Don’t ask me how to build...

“talk to me about how to grow” Why marketing is a vital piece of the puzzle for construction companies


Does the construction industry’s attitude to marketing need to change when competition is fiercer than ever? To answer this question, our front cover shoot and interview featured Terry Benson, Founder and Construction Director of QDTS Construction, and Gemma Orton, Founder and Managing Director of Mocha Marketing. Both of these local businesses are award winning and growing at a fantastic rate while delivering what’s most important to them: their customer promises. QDTS has grown from a £500,000 turnover business to £14million in just three years whilst Mocha has just merged with a London digital agency, putting them firmly on the London map with a second office. Terry is a firm believer that marketing is the way forward when it comes to growing your business in the industry. To achieve this for his own company, he insists that working with marketing agency, Mocha Marketing, has been the catalyst for QDTS’ growth. It was important to Terry that the interview wasn’t conducted on a building site in high-vis jackets. His passion for the construction industry is so much more than this. So, the beautiful backdrop of Winstanley House was chosen to sit with the pair to discuss marketing and why it’s essential for construction companies to invest. The specific subjects covered included the different avenues construction companies may use to market their business, the impact of marketing, and why working with an agency as a true part of your team is crucial. What are the fundamentals of marketing the construction industry? Gemma: The construction industry is like any other industry in how you’d approach it. It’s about understanding

the target audience and understanding the message that needs to resonate with them and looking at where they are, what channels to use and where to commit activities. How can construction companies market their business? Terry: The whole concept of construction is that whatever you build, people will see it. But that is usually a bit too late. It’d be nice to actually let people know what you’re about to do, what you’re involved in and let them know about the end product. There is so much that construction companies have to shout about. Technology and design software are used for just about everything to get a project to the site, but from the site to the end product is where it slows down. Estate agents are already realising the importance of marketing by using 3D walk-throughs and visuals – these kinds of things really attract attention. One of the other things we like to demonstrate is that we invest a considerable amount of time to work with charities. We want to do work with charities not because we want to tick boxes or receive a pat on the back, but because we want to give back. Why invest in a marketing agency? Terry: I engaged with Mocha not far into our expansion. They’re not just a marketing company to us, they’re part of our team and that’s how we see it. For marketing to work successfully, you’ve got to be able to understand each other. Mocha has this attitude that they want to become part of the team and want to understand what you’re doing. This is the only way that marketing success can be achieved. We get so much feedback on all the social media we do. We’ve also had major contractors asking us who does our marketing.

What can construction companies do as part of their marketing to make a wider impact? Terry: The construction industry can build more awareness through apprenticeships and charities. They’ve been doing this for years, but no one really knew. Unless you market it and get people to understand, your business could become lost in a sea of other businesses. There is a skills shortage in the industry – generally because it’s doing so well – and this is where bringing in the next generation is crucial. We’ve got a good policy for bringing young adults into the company. But for all the hard work they do, I want people to know about it. Marketing has become so digital. A six-year-old is better on the iPad than me, so when these young adults are growing up and are of working age looking for a career, well, we need to be there. The construction industry needs to be there. Do businesses understand the importance of marketing? Gemma: There are lots of businesses that try to engage in marketing. They may do this themselves or, if they choose an agency, they don’t necessarily make them part of the team. They’ll have a bash at some marketing activity, but they’ve not considered the fundamental steps. So, the way we work with Terry and the team is fundamental. Terry: The whole concept of this interview today is sort of ‘don’t ask me how to build but tell me how to grow’. In terms of growing a business, your marketing – in my opinion – is the place to start. QDTS: 01455 891 199 qdtsconstruction.com Mocha: 0161 298 9430 mocha-marketing.co.uk NICHE | 17

Would you like to have lunch with nine potential clients? How valuable would it be to sit with nine potential clients round a table? What is your conversion rate? What is the average sale price to each customer? How many purchases does each client make This is a direct opportunity to pitch yourself naturally to potential clients within a two-hour discussion. Chairing a round table discussion sets you apart in business and gives you the stage to demonstrate your knowledge and skillset. Cross Productions will organise the date, venue, catering, invites and manage attendees – inviting nine additional guests to join yourself in a discussion full of opportunity to strategically place yourself in front of a prime audience of potential clients.

Get in touch now to discuss your opportunity to impress potential clients 0116 271 2573 crossproductions.co.uk


How a Business Gateway Adviser can help your

business Emily Kirton meets with a Business

Gateway Growth Hub Adviser to discuss how businesses can make the most of opportunities for funding in Leicester


“One of the challenges we have is that people simply aren’t aware of the free advice and expertise that we offer for small to medium-sized businesses here in Leicester and Leicestershire. “This is particularly the case for those that need funding to grow their businesses. With several funding options available across the area, the fact that people aren’t aware of this is something that as an organisation we are keen to change,” says Growth Hub Adviser Ian Evley. Taking a holistic look at businesses, the Growth Hub provides comprehensive business support, free and impartial advice as well as capital grants of between £2,000 and £25,000 to small and medium-sized enterprises in Leicester and Leicestershire for growth projects. This could be for innovative technology products, premises improvement/expansion, or upgrading capital equipment to enable a more automotive approach, for example. As one of eight advisers at the Growth Hub, Ian explains what happens at an initial meeting

for those looking for advice or help with applying for grants to develop a business. “The first meeting is really about unpicking a business and discovering what it is that makes it work. We get to discover the core values of the business and work from there. People often ask what they need to bring to our initial meetings and I always answer the same – just themselves! This helps us understand how we can help them.” From there, the adviser will support the business throughout the stages of their growth, as needed. They’ll also signpost them to other services from the Growth Hub or elsewhere, where they feel the business will benefit, including workshops and events as well as funding. All advisers have either had experience of running their own business or held significant roles in commercial businesses. More than simply providing information, a Growth Hub adviser will find key areas where a business could utilise advice and funding most effectively.


The take home message, Ian tells me, is that: “There are funds including grants available that businesses simply aren’t aware of. We can help vast numbers of eligible businesses to access it to grow their business. Being a business owner can be highly pressured, whether it’s the everyday running of a business or financial strain; it can feel lonely. Sometimes just by sitting down and communicating with us a business owner can gain clarity, and we can lead them to the answers they need, which can help to move their business forward.” The Business Gateway Growth Hub is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered in partnership by Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP). bizgateway.org.uk NICHE | 21

r u o y w o r Looking to g

? s s e in s bu

Call us for free expert advice, access to finance, support programmes and events to grow your business Your gateway to growth Business Growth Grant: capital grants from ÂŁ2,000 to ÂŁ25,000* Tailored, commercially focussed one-to-one business advice Workshops and seminars with networking opportunities Signposting to expertise, funding and support services *eligibility criteria applies

0116 366 8487 (Quote ref: Niche20) bizgateway.org.uk

@bizgateway Business Gateway Growth Hub Part-funded by:

Delivered in partnership with:

Removing unconscious bias at board level The ‘unconscious bias’ is a topic frequently discussed amongst business leaders right now. With diversity and equality at the forefront of business conversations, it is unsurprising that it is shaping the way organisations are recruiting, particularly at senior level. Despite many businesses' sincere intentions to adopt a neutral and fair recruitment process, unconscious bias is still a current issue being felt within the modern workplace. With International Women's Day growing in significance year on year, we look at how women’s position at senior level has evolved and ways that unconscious bias is still holding some women back in their careers.

In 1980: Around 40% of women participated in the work force as opposed to 84% of men.

15% of women went on to study higher education

Women's salary was 50% less than mens

When we review these statistics, it is incredible to see how far we have come as a society within the last 40 years. However, whilst it is immensely important to point out that many businesses today are implementing ways to ensure they are attracting diverse talent, there is still a noticeable gap in the amount of women appointments at senior level with only 16% of people on FTSE 350 executives being women. One suggested reasoning for this is unconscious bias occurring throughout the recruitment process. Unconscious biases are defined as “learned stereotypes that are automatic, unintentional, deeply ingrained, universal, and able to influence behaviour”, which can consequently lead to individuals basing their decisions upon instinct and habit as opposed to facts. Women in the workplace have widely proclaimed this to be one of the biggest hurdles within their career, feeling the pressure to defeat generalist female labels to fill the gender gap in corporate leadership. As specialist recruiters within the Search and Selection & Non Executive division, we find that this bias also sits amongst female talent themselves with only around 10% of applications for leadership roles being women. There are several possible reasons for this, including the lack of female role models; however organisations are working towards a future where this is no longer the case. Here are 3 ways employers can support gender equality at leadership level: 1) Ensure hiring managers and leadership are driving change by providing them with unconscious bias training 2) Setting business goals to attract more females to management level through hiring and promoting from within 3) Fostering diversity, building a culture of opportunity and fairness across the entire business

For a free consultation regarding our leadership recruitment training and tips on how you can achieve diversity and inclusion within the workplace, get in touch with our experienced team.

0116 254 9710



Leicester’s Leading Ladies In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, we’ve partnered with Leading Ladies Global and have been interviewing women talking through the struggles and successes they have faced


Leicester has seen so many outstanding achievements within our local business community, from Glynis Wright becoming the President of Leicestershire Law society, Eileen Richards MBE becoming Vice President of the East Midlands chamber of commerce, and Jigna Varu confirming Micro-Fresh’s deal with Emirates, and of course Leicester’s very own Mehmooda Duke launching Leading Ladies Global! Leading Ladies Global was set up to inspire others and create a worldwide community of confident women who are not afraid to follow their dreams

and achieve whatever they put their minds to, which is what we’re all for supporting in this issue. About Leading Ladies Global Who they are – Leading Ladies is a membership organisation made up of a hub of women from all walks of life. They may be professional or non professional, they may be young or not so young but one thing they all have in common is that they are all women and girls with a vision to inspire, mentor, coach and support one another to ‘dream big and fly high’.

The vision – to inspire a million women and girls, locally, nationally, and internationally, in the next 10 years. The How – Leading Ladies aims to do this in a number of ways; examples include working with schools, colleges, universities and organisations which share the vision. It aims to connect the generations and see them learn from each other. Watch this space – the Mentor Match Scheme aims to link mentors and mentees who have skills to share, and the Entrepreneurs Programme will take the form of an annual competition. Both are still in development so keep an eye out to get involved.

Finding her NICHE A look at the work of Niche Magazine’s very own founder


Jenny Cross is the founding director of Cross Productions and its bi-monthly publication Niche Magazine. After falling into a sales and marketing role at the age of 18, she has nearly 20 years’ marketing experience working with businesses and organisations from SMEs to Global Enterprises and even local government bodies. Having seen the challenges many businesses face as marketing opportunities and trends frequently grow and change, her passion is working in partnership with a client to ensure they generate a decent ROI on all marketing investment. Her

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main role is in consultancy where she will write a strategic blueprint tailored specifically for a business focusing on their goals, ambitions, values, whilst managing expectations. Jenny said: “I’m keen to share my knowledge to help others succeed. I also invest in myself ensuring I extend my own skill set. I’ve recently completed a post graduate diploma in professional business coaching at Leicester Castle Business School. Keen to grow and develop our team as well as the business, we have recently begun to embed EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) into the business.” Winning her first regional award in 2015, Jenny and the team have now picked up numerous awards in the company’s seven years. With the most recent being a National English Womens Award, and Team of the Year and Contribution to the Community award with the Alternative Business Awards. The Leicester-born business owner was recognised as sector

lead for marketing, communications and business support as part of the Leicester Business Festival in 2018. Jenny sits as an area lead for Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) East Midlands supporting local organisations as well as having recently been invited to sit on the Growth Hub board, and is a trusted advisor for the employer board for Leicester Castle Business School. Finding time to run a business, support other businesses, and spend time with her three children looks easy for Jenny with her beaming positive attitude. Yet she still finds time to fit in more. She’s a board member and Trustee for Focus charity and Dorothy Goodman Academy. She supports the LionHeart Academy Trust and is an Entrepreneur in Residence for De Montfort University’s and mentor on the DMU Crucible program. 0116 271 2573 crossproductions.co.uk

A Lawyer with

Passion and Drive Glynis Wright is the founder of Glynis Wright & Co. Family Solicitors and Mediators. She became a lawyer at 42


Breaking the mould by being the first one to go to University in her family, Glynis’ dream to attain a career in Law was one that her family were initially sceptical about. She said: “Whilst they were supportive of my dream, they couldn’t understand it at first! I changed direction so late in life that they were worried that I would lose my home. However, my father had himself changed direction when he took his first degree in his 60’s and then set up a successful business in Abu Dhabi. He gave me a loan of £10,000 to start my own law firm. I paid him back every penny with interest and on the back of that small loan, my firm is now the biggest provider of family law services in Leicester.” Glynis had made the decision to set up her own law firm within five years of qualifying as a solicitor. It now employs 18 staff in total. Since its inception, Glynis Wright & Co has won multiple legal and business awards and has become very well known for the work that it does in the philanthropic and charitable sectors. The firm was named the national winners of Law Firm of the Year (Small) in the Law Society Excellence Awards 2018 which no other law firm in Leicester has achieved thus far. A staunch advocate for businesses supporting each other within the Leicester business community, Glynis

is passionate about sharing knowledge, experience and support with fellow business owners. “I am hugely proud of the achievements of the Leicester business community and our abilities to support each other. Leicester is one of the most entrepreneurial communities in the country which is something we should be very proud about.” The company has launched a variety of community projects. Notably, Pulled Both Ways; a project aimed at raising awareness of the need to protect children in divorce. In addition, the firm works with the charities Soft Touch Arts and Alex’s Wish for whom Glynis is a proud Trustee. Only recently Glynis organised a very successful fundraising event for the charity raising over £9,000 for funds to find a cure for children diagnosed with muscular Duchenne which is a killer. Glynis also gives her time freely to running not for profit seminars entitled ‘Inspirational Women in Business’, is a regular public speaker and she offers her time to support both Leicester’s Universities. Last year, Glynis was extremely proud that the firm won two awards for Outstanding Contribution to the Community. “I have always believed that success in business means nothing if you do not give back to your community. If your community are willing to support


you in your business endeavours, it must be part of your whole business ethos to give back wherever you can.” Glynis was elected President of the Leicestershire Law Society in June 2019 having served on the executive committee of the society for the past four years. “My time as president has been hugely rewarding and I am delighted that many have congratulated me on a successful presidential year thus far. Being elected by your peers to the position of their President is one of the most rewarding things that you can experience in your career.” 0116 238 5680 glyniswright.co.uk NICHE | 25

Sweet Smell

of Success A UK-based firm has just signed a breakthrough deal with Emirates which will mean passengers can enjoy a new level of luxury in an unexpected way


In a world-first, the airline is now adding award-winning fabric technology from Micro-Fresh to pillows in first and business class on all Emirates flights, which will effectively remove all bacteria, odour and dust mites. Micro-Fresh Chief Commercial Officer Jigna Varu said: “I’m delighted to say that Emirates will now be incorporating our latest fabric innovations into their pillows. It’s 100% natural, hypo-allergenic and completely eco-friendly and will help ensure passengers arrive at their destination having had a relaxing, restful flight. When you want to get your head down during a flight, its so important to know that what you’re putting your head on is

actually clean, fresh and hygienic. As a regular long-haul traveller, I know how important that is.” Byron Dixon OBE is CEO of the company which is located in Leicester. He added: “We may be a relatively small business, but this global contract really thrusts us onto the International platform. We’re a forward-looking, fresh-thinking firm, and I’m really excited and proud that our latest innovation will make a significant difference to people’s lives, even when they’re 38,000 feet up!” Micro-Fresh products can already be found around many of our homes, tackling bacteria and odours in the likes of shoes, towels and bathroom

products. The company has offices in nine countries including China, India, Vietnam and America and provides fabric technology to a range of sectors such as footwear, textiles, clothing, construction and now aviation. 0116 270 1333 microfresh.com

A risk that paid off The investment into City Laser & Skin Clinic was the biggest risk her accountant had seen


City Laser & Skin Clinic has been offering laser hair removal, laser skin tightening, skin needling, pigmentation treatments and more since 2013. Its owner, Dimple Verma studied for five years to qualify in the aesthetics industry ranking her amongst the highest qualified practitioners in the UK. It all started 7 years ago when Dimple decided to start up City Laser & Skin Clinic, she went from qualifying to working in the aesthetics industry

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to running her own clinic! Although she understood and mastered her trade she never thought in a million years she would own her own business. She said: “Whist I was working for others or during my training, often there is a process which everyone follows, there was no way to implement your own ideas, treatments or products. So, having my own business now, I can cater to each clients’ needs individually.” It was also the flexibility that came with running a business that appealed to Dimple. “It can be restrictive working for someone else. I’m now able to spend quality time with family, whilst doing what I love.” But starting a business wasn’t without its challenges. She found that she had all the experience she needed to carry out her craft, but had to learn the ropes and

plan how to start a business. “I remember my accountant saying it was a huge risk because of the investment needed for all the equipment and start up. But in our yearly review meeting he told me if I carried on the way I have, the future would be bright!” “I just continued to do what I was passionate about and everything else fell into place. Initially it was quite hard to let go and let my staff take some of the responsibility. I love being hands on – I don’t think I could ever be pulled away.” Dimple also helps others by being a mentor to business owners and raising money for Cancer Research and Macmillan. 0116 242 5299 citylaserskin.co.uk

Services to Women in Business and Technology Leanne Bonner-Cooke told us what she has celebrated, and what she has overcome


After over 20 years in a corporate career, Leanne Bonner-Cooke MBE founded Evolve-IT Consulting Ltd in 2007, which is an award-winning business, delivering innovative solutions and products of both start-ups through to corporates. Leanne then started her second business e-Bate Limited in 2018, which was backed by Mercia Asset Management in 2019 as part of the MEIF fund. Along the journey there have been some highs and lows.

The highs

1. I took the plunge and started my own business in 2007, this was a scary time as I didn’t really know how to run a business, but there is a lot of help and support out there from the business community, universities and Business Gateway. 2. Thirteen years later we have offices in the UK and Ukraine and are turning over in excess of £2m and employing over 40 staff members. 3. I have met some amazing people along the journey both within our local community, that all have varied and interesting challenges and most importantly,

my staff, who make it all possible. 4. I now have the choice about what I do, and how I do it, whilst this can have its own pressures, I wouldn’t swap it for my previous corporate career. 5. In 2018 I started e-Bate Ltd and gained £950k of external funding from a venture capital. Only 1 per cent of female founder businesses receive VC backing, so this was a great achievement. 6. I was incredibly proud to have been awarded an MBE for Services to Women in Business and Technology in the 2018 New Year Honours list. I use this to promote technology to all young people as we have a massive skills shortage in the UK.

The lows

1. Cashflow and financial worries. As small businesses cash is king, but when working with corporates, they don’t appreciate that and think 90-day payment terms are acceptable. 2. Creating the right teams. When you make hiring mistakes, they are costly. Go with your gut! 3. Trying to get funding for a business that is going through a transition when banks are so risk adverse. We had to find funding


elsewhere which, fortunately, my network could help with. 4. Trying to get investment in a tech-based business outside of London. Whilst the British Business Bank are trying to address this, it is still difficult. What the investors need to realise is that the valuations are much more realistic in the regions, so a better return on investment. 5. Being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019 whilst in the middle of securing investment for e-Bate Ltd was a challenging time both personally and for businesses. However, I kept my ‘why’ at the forefront and this kept me going. 6. That I rarely reward myself. As entrepreneurs, we are our worst critics, yet we do need a pat on the back ourselves. If we don’t look after ourselves, there is no one to look after the rest. Get up each day, with appreciation for what you are going to learn, Support others around you and be kind in everything you do. 033 022 32500 0791 220 4494 e-bate.net NICHE | 27

The growing trend for

virtual assistants


LinkedIn and networking have been catalysts to success

Nine years ago, Virtual Assistant Support Services was born. It’s now a successful business with international clients. But when it first started, it wasn’t long before the business was put on hold. “I didn’t research what running a business would entail” admits Rachael Flint, who runs the company. “I also knew nothing about networking – I thought it would be very male dominated and a lot of standing around with awkward silences. It was when I went to a BNI meeting in 2018 that I was inspired to start the business back up.” Virtual Assistant Support Services now has clients all over the country and has just landed a new project in Belgium after a friend working there recommended her. Rachael says it really is all down to who you know, but she also boasts a business degree and over 20 years’ senior level support experience working for the likes of Ernst & Young and Viacom. No matter what experience you have though, she believes networking is key. She gained one of her biggest London-based clients through LinkedIn. She said: “There are thousands of

virtual assistants on LinkedIn, but I gained that client because we had two mutual connections.” There’s a growing trend for virtual assistants, as Rachael explained: “When you’re self-employed, you want your clients to come back to you. Clients only pay for the time spent working, so I get the work done in half the time it would take an employee, who may get distracted. With employees, you also have to think about overheads such as tax, NI, pension, sickness, holidays and providing them with space and equipment. “Many business owners take on all the roles from CEO to PA, eventually, the business will suffer. If you outsource, you can use the time you saved to concentrate on growing your business and spend more time with your family to give you a better work/life balance.” rachael@vasupportservices.co.uk vasupportservices.co.uk

Where time is forgotten aumspas is the ultimate luxury experience to restore physical and spiritual balance, here’s how it came into existence


Hershey Champaneri’s vision for creating a spa environment that was tranquil, warm, welcoming that provided the very latest in expert beauty treatments began aged 19 when. Unlike many of her peers on the tropical island where she lived, she wanted to make her mark not in academia but in beauty. Without a training academy on the island she needed help to make her dream a reality and it was her father who made it happen. With family here in the UK, he booked a flight and accompanied his daughter to England where she completed a course that was to be the first step in her beauty journey. Hershey then married, had a family and worked as an agency manager under Ash Kumar, who became her mentor and source of inspiration. As her business grew, her path led her to David Lloyd Leisure at Carlton Park, Narborough where 28 | NICHE

another opportunity presented itself with a partnership with local leading hair salon Barrie Stephens, who was attracted to the organic and welcoming way that Hershey does business. With a natural approach to beauty, Hershey isn’t one for invasive procedures, opting for the use of revolutionary Elemis BIOTEC technologies over injectables. Her Elemis range consists of specialised treatments specifically designed to contour, define, brighten, and resurface the skin tackling ageing with clinically proven age-defying ingredients, all delivered under exceptionally relaxing circumstances with bespoke massage. She said: “I want every client to feel listened to, pampered and special. Clients say that my logo is my smile and that’s something I will never

change. I have always had a strong work ethic, but I would never be able to have got where I have without the support of my husband Jay and my two beautiful children Khelan and Ria.” Through expert treatments and a heavenly peaceful space in which to escape the world, you will emerge relaxed, calm and rejuvenated. Clients enjoy an essential list of treatments for nails, hair removal, massage and facials using the very best products in each field. 07779 512 904 aumspas.co.uk

As the co-founder, business manager and strategic lead at Broadhead Global, Katy Broadhead has a unique but crystal-clear vision for the future

Doing things



Katy’s career has been varied and exciting, taking her around the world. Her vast experience working with people and large multinational organisations creating opportunities to develop people to the best of their abilities is all part of what drives Katy to look for alternative ways to do things differently. “I’ve always cared less about societal expectations and cared more about how things can be done differently and for the better. However, I think my attitude created some bumps in the road during my career. After many years of trying and failing to fall in line, I’ve now made it my objective to harness my need to do things differently! I believe it’s how positive change comes about.” It’s this positive approach to change that has been the catalyst for success within the last year and now as the company grows and takes on members of staff,

Katy reflects on the challenges that the company has faced. “I am always ‘on’ with the business, always brimming with ideas and with two young sons and my husband, I can find it difficult to find the time to relax and focus on myself and those around me. These are ongoing life goals, a work in progress if you like.” This global health, safety and wellbeing company offers transformational leadership training to senior managers, as well as guidance and organisational reviews. ‘It’s about changing the culture of the people through leadership in such a way that health and safety becomes owned rather than simply protocol. Our unique Broadly Thinking consultation process means that leaders take control of these crucial elements of their business. ‘The result of a company


adopting a different approach has a ripple effect throughout encouraging a more positive, proactive and dynamic workforce – but it also translates into a commercial benefit as improvement to the bottom line is realised through efficiencies’. Katy reflects on the achievements the company have enjoyed so far, as well as a few personal ones in the mix. “Setting up a business and moving it forward in the last four years is huge for us and it’s grown so organically. On a personal note, three years ago I took up open water swimming and due to a lifelong love of music, I now practice rock drums - all in a bid to create a healthy work life balance!” 01664 503 655 broadheadglobal.com

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discover a healthier mind PROFESSIONAL ● TRUSTED ● COMPASSIONATE

Offering a range of mental health and wellbeing services to adults and young people ONE-TO-ONE THERAPY WORKPLACE WELLBEING MINDFULNESS Kate Jackson has a BSc (Hons) in Occupational Therapy and a Masters degree in Mental Health Studies.


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13 Dunholme Avenue, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE11 4SG | 0781 844 0472 | www.jaywebbconsultancy.co.uk 30 | NICHE

Self-belief and believing in Leicester New to her role as Managing Director at PPL PRS Ltd, Andrea Gray is still learning the ropes but has already made her mark


PPL PRS is a joint venture between PPL and PRS for Music, set up with the aim to provide the best music licensing experience possible. Previously, companies had to obtain two separate licenses from each company, but in 2017 they formed a joint venture, PPL PRS, which is solely responsible for music licensing here in the UK. Self-belief is the biggest challenge she’s faced but she hasn’t let that hold her back. She’s run operations for the likes of Nuffield Health, American Express, and Hastings Direct where she was responsible for setting up its third UK site here in Leicester growing it from just herself to over 1,200 colleagues. This gave her a real insight into Leicester both as an employer and as part of the business community. She said: “The biggest challenge I’ve faced is probably my own self-belief – or lack of it! I think some women, possibly a

bit more than men, really focus in on what they feel they can’t do, rather than what they can. I sit firmly in that camp. Luckily, I have an incredibly supportive husband who constantly reassures me, and a great group of girlfriends who really want me to succeed so are always there with advice, pep talks, and wine!” Andrea acts as a mentor to women starting out, or at an early stage in their career. She supports them by building their confidence and leadership skills. She explained: “I recently attended an Inspirational Women in Business seminar which was exactly what it said on the tin! It really made me think about what else I can do to support other women in the future. Leicester has a great business community with some really inspirational ladies – and it’s great to network with them and swap ideas and experiences.” Being part of PPL PRS means Andrea can also help out in


other areas of the community. The company is a member of the Leicester BID scheme that funds improvements to the environment for those who work, shop and live in the city. “We have also contributed to the LLEP Local Industrial Strategy to encourage further investment and bring more commerce and talent to the area. Since arriving in the city, we have created over 250 jobs with strong brand values and employ a diverse workforce of talented and creative people who also work within the local community, through music, design and the arts.” Andrea’s goal for the future with the company is simply to make PPL PRS the best place to work for her colleagues and to continue contributing to the community. 0800 0720 808 pplprs.co.uk NICHE | 31

Jenny Lui: Bringing

Zen to the city Hotpod Yoga has created a new community in Leicester


Jenny Liu runs Hotpod Yoga in the heart of Leicester, which incorporates vinyasa flow yoga in a heat of 37 degrees. The 20-person unique pod’s heat allows for stretching further, breathing deeper and sweating harder, calming both the body and mind. She was introduced to Hotpod Yoga in 2016 and immediately fell in love with the company’s inclusive culture and the beautiful immersive pod. Having worked in a high-pressured, corporate HR environment in London, Jenny had been practicing yoga for a

number of years – and over time her consistent yoga practice had totally transformed her life. “Working at the pace I was, I needed something to help me mentally switch off. With yoga I discovered I could have greater balance in my life. It was the perfect antidote to my fast-paced city lifestyle,” she said. Soon enough, though, Jenny realised that she wanted to bring this practice to others, to share in the joy she found in it. “When I moved to Leicester, I wanted to make yoga a bigger part of life and as it had such an impact on my life, I wanted to make it part of other people’s lives too.” Keen for a community feel, the studio is a welcome and warm environment and the connections that Hotpod users have with one another is something which Jenny cites as an incredibly rewarding part of the studio.

“I wanted to provide a place where people could come and meet friends to practice, but also somewhere where people could come for solitude and space when they needed.” Bringing the Zen to our bustling city centre, Jenny and her close-knit team provide a non-exclusive slice of much needed chill to our lives. Jenny, together with her partner Neil, have recently opened Optimum You Yoga & Wellness, a traditional yoga studio in Market Harborough. Hotpodyoga.com Optimumyouyoga.com

From one to many JSP Virtual Director Joanne Peters has grown her company from the roots up exponentially


Providing an ever-expanding range of administrative services to her clients through a small yet highly skilled team, JSP started out with modest beginnings. “When I set up the company, I started out believing that it would be a solo business, a way for me to get back into a career that I loved.” Director Joanne Peters tells us. “The company now has two further admin assistants and now my husband too, to meet the growing demand for our services.” Jo has built up a vast amount of experience working in a high-level administrative role at a logistics and freight firm for over 20 years,

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and undertaking regular training to expand her skill set. Recognised for her friendly, approachable and professional manner as well as her ability in completing tasks with accuracy and care to deadline, she has achieved many client recommendations. “I really enjoy what I do and I think that is reflected in the relationships I have with my team and our clients.” JSP Virtual provide services to a range of business all looking to get the expertise of the team without experiencing the high costs which would often be associated with recruiting these services internally. Looking to expand and grow

through further training and the recruiting of skilled personnel, Jo is delighted at how she has grown the business since its inception. “When I look back to just a short while ago when I was setting up the business, I couldn’t have dreamed it would be where it is now. I am excited for the future as we continue to grow.” 0116 366 2040 jspvirtual.co.uk

A catalyst for change Debbie Moore is known as The High Achievers Coach – an internationally trained transformational coach whose life experience and passion to learn has led her to create a thriving business assisting others


Naturally drawn to a personcentred career Debbie worked corporately in senior HR roles, training and developing individuals to be successful, confident and happy within their roles. Debbie said, “To the outside world I looked successful, yet it all wasn’t as rosy on the inside. I was exhausted, overworked, LOST. I felt I had to work twice as hard to be anywhere near as good as those around me and I felt stuck! This was a repeating pattern in work and in life. I aspired to more joy and success in my own life yet no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get out of the cycle I was in. Deep down I knew I was made for more. Igniting a passion, in 2010 Debbie achieved a Masters Degree at Sheffield Hallam University in Coaching and Mentoring. However, it wasn’t only professionally where Debbie gained experience in coaching; in her own personal life she was experiencing challenges which were to shape her outlook and contributions to assisting others with their own paths. A real catalyst for starting to coach professionally in a solo capacity followed a painful relationship breakup. “I discovered my partner was living

a double life and the betrayal had a monumental effect on me. As part of the healing process I encouraged myself to look at how my self-limiting beliefs and behaviour patterns may have contributed to what happened between us and learnt new skills to help me do this effectively.” In 2013 Debbie established her service as a transformational coach; with an aim to help those who are highly successful, but like her may also feel unfulfilled or ‘stuck’. She now supports individuals to understand the behaviour patterns that hold them back and teaches accessible, powerful tools in order to enable help her clients become more fulfilled and happier in their lives – personally and professionally. Debbie’s approach is a holistic one, drawing on studies which incorporate working with the body to tap into where we might be holding on to negative emotion and trauma. It centres more on the person and their personal goals and desires rather than their drive for material goals, learning to notice and shift patterns and powerfully make more empowering aligned choices. “I found that with many high achievers and in particular


female high achievers, that they had attained a certain degree of career success but were still left feeling as if something was ‘missing’ from their lives. “Often, it comes down to discovering the limiting false beliefs that an individual has about themselves and the ability to identify the pattern that has been the biggest obstacle in the way of their own greatness and happiness. Once they can transform this, they re-connect to the deeper truth of who they really are and chose alternative empowering ways and beliefs that really speak to their inner desires.” In the past year Debbie has won prestigious, internationally recognised industry awards and continues to strive to evolve and develop in an ever changing and dynamic sector. “We’re all a work in progress and I continue to learn, collaborate and grow. I hugely relish the opportunity to work with my clients and help them to do the same.” 07808 783 483 debbiemoorecoaching.com NICHE | 33

Rising from

redundancy From working through challenging times to ‘loving getting up for work in the morning’


Jay Webb, who owns Jay Webb Consultancy Services Ltd, built her business from scratch after being made redundant from her role as a Head of HR at Leicester City Council. Although apprehensive of what was to come, she took a year to create a business plan that would gain her a deal on a major project in London. She said: “I had been told I should set up a consultancy business in the past. But it seemed like scary stuff. I didn’t know that I was ready to do it! My first client was a national one based in London with sites throughout the UK. With the Team, we ended up saving them over £650,000 a year from transforming their human

resources systems and how I dealt with their worst grievance cases.” Soon after setting up, her son joined the business, meaning Jay Webb Consultancy not only offers outsourced HR, grievance handling, disciplinary investigations, and more, but also computer services providing IT equipment, installations, maintenance, and support. Just two years ago however, Jay was given devastating news. She said: “I was told I was going to die. I had pneumonia and blood clots on my lungs and heart. With the help and support of my fabulous friends and my determination to see us through we succeeded in what turned out to be one of our busiest years. Great clients,

good friends, fabulous staff and support from my business network group got me through. I love getting up in the morning. My clients are all so different. Today I’ve written a contract and later I’m doing work for one of our international clients.” And when she’s not working, she’s networking and Chairing the Board of Trustees for a local homeless charity. She is passionate in supporting others setting up a business and believes in passing on her knowledge - just as others did for her when she was starting out. 07818 440 472 jaywebbconsultancy.co.uk

What’s cooking

in Leicester?


Food is not all Greens Catering is known for. Handling every aspect of the catering, an array of traditional and vintage crockery options, linen, uniformed staffing and event planning services are all part of the service. It means business owners and happy couples have not just one less thing to worry about, but many. The business is a family-run one and began in 2012. Danielle Fraser and business partner Ashley Harrison have built a strong reputation for providing high quality, homemade cuisine for weddings, corporate occasions and events. Danielle said: “Using local suppliers and ingredients we only serve completely homemade, delicious catering options. We love the fact - and so do our clients - that we’re able to create dishes from our five-star premises and bring them to your venue, or cooked in front of your guests. We’ve put together a service that certainly adds the wow factor to

34 | NICHE

Red Bull, Thomas Cook, Virgin Formula E and more high-profile brands have sought the hospitality of Greens Catering any catering experience.” They have proven themselves to be the go-to caterers for a number of prestigious venues within Leicestershire. Greens has catered for the likes of Red Bull, Thomas Cook, Virgin Formula E and the Lawrence Dallagio Foundation to name but a few. More locally, the company has been the chosen caterers to Mattioli woods, Shakespeare Martinez and nelsons solicitors. Each element of Greens’ menus carefully and thoughtfully integrate local ingredients that also tap into foodie trends. Greens specialises in classic fine dining with a modern twist – it’s chefs also love creating cakes, sweets and pastries! 07712 157 296


Making therapy

affordable How two working mums overcame moral dilemmas in business


Born out of friendship, Rutland House Counselling & Psychotherapy (RHCP) was cofounded by Jenny Collard and Rima Sidhpara who met while working for a charity supporting disadvantaged women. Nine years on, RHCP has a team of 32 qualified and intraining therapists delivering psychological therapies to private clients, insurance claims and to businesses. The company provides over 200 therapy sessions each week. Jenny and Rima originally set up RHCP as they were both keen to work privately, but they were soon faced with an uncomfortable dilemma. The people they supported in their charity work would not have been in a position to fund private therapy. “This felt very much that we were leaving our roots in supporting those with disadvantage to supporting those with privilege,” Jenny explained.

“This didn’t sit comfortably with us, so we created a service that bridged a gap between private therapy and the free therapy provided by NHS or charities which often have long waiting lists. Despite being a private practice, we continue to incorporate a service for those on low income.” Both working mums, the pair have hit many highs and lows along the way. Jenny said: “Nothing prepares you for being a parent, let alone a parent and a business owner! You have parent guilt for working and guilt to the company for being off with the kids. “Thankfully, being a therapist has helped with my mindset to get through the rough times. Founding and growing a company from scratch is hard work, but would I change it? No way! “I’ve learnt to work smarter rather than harder. Any working parent knows it’s a juggling act. One minute you’re


in meetings, the next you’re dashing about on the school run. Over the years, I’ve had to learn good work boundaries and the power of saying ‘no’. In the early days of running a business I think it can be daunting to say no, but actually it’s liberating and enables you to give your all to the projects you do take on. The company turns 10 next year. Jenny and Rima intend to continue developing their clinical services to assist local and national businesses to respond to mental health problems in the workplace. RHCP is a provider of services to the general public, handles referrals from the NHS, social services, health insurance firms, and works with over 150 Leicestershire companies to provide employee counselling services. 0116 416 1626 rhcp.org.uk NICHE | 35


Friday April 17, 2020 10am - 2pm St Martins House, 7 Peacock Lane, Leicester LE1 5PZ

Founded by local businesswomen Jenny Cross, Glynis Wright and Leanne Bonner-Cooke MBE, Inspirational Women in Business is an event where guest speakers will share their experiences with their journey, their career and personal highs and lows, to inspire change.

GUEST SPEAKERS FOR THIS EVENT TO BE ANNOUNCED Followed by an interactive session with the guests where current issues in the workplace and business problems are discussed.

EMPOWERING WOMEN TO NETWORK LOCALLY AND BUILD LIFE-LONG CONNECTIONS Book your tickets on eventbrite or email info@crossproductions.co.uk


Masterclass A three hour session to learn how to make the most of your LinkedIn activity LinkedIn is fast growing in the business industry. With 6.7 billion searches being made a year and with 45 per cent of LinkedIn users as ABC1 decision makers, the importance of using the platform to its full potential is increasingly important. The one off training includes a refresh and optimisation of your personal profile as the majority of work is won through personal rather than business pages. You will learn how to connect with relevant industry professionals. This is to open the door for further conversations by yourself. From a call to action cover image to a strong strapline. The changes we make will boost your positioning on the platform aiming to make you more visible while generating trust, interest and opportunities. Giving you the skills and knowledge to generate warm leads via your accounts. LinkedIn Masterclass will teach you how to utilise the platform in a time efficient way. You will learn the rules and regulations and leave with a fountain of knowledge to help you generate business.

UPCOMING CLASSES March 26, 9:30am - 12:30pm April 17, 10:00am - 1:00pm To book your place or book a company class; call 0116 271 2573 or email sally@crossproductions.co.uk

Be the change Women – you have the tools to change your life and coach Amanda Daly has the support to get you to take the leap of faith, make change and reap the rewards



For women, the key to success in both our business and personal life comes in those moments of taking a leap of faith, crucially changing our thinking and what’s expected of us and finding a way to be comfortable with the uncomfortable


“The question I always start with whenever I have an initial meeting with a client is: What is stopping you?” Amanda tells me as we settle into a comfortable sofa, coffee in hand. “For women,” she continues, “the key to success in both our business and personal life comes in those moments of taking a leap of faith, crucially changing our thinking and what’s expected of us and finding a way to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. I didn’t get to this point in my life without going so far out of my comfort zone at points that I felt like fear might take over!” Amanda sits opposite me now, CEO of her own successful consultancy company, not with a hint of superiority about her journey but with a quiet reflection which has put her in the position of experience and desire to share her lessons with others. “I didn’t always have a good work/life balance. Just a few years ago I was working as a MD of a IT company. I had a working life which was absolutely draining me. I was barely able to be part of the growing family I had at home, my marriage was suffering. It wasn’t sustainable, throwing more of myself into work was what I thought was the answer at the time, but the guilt I felt for neglecting myself and my family was huge.” Her personal life-changing moment and the catalyst for change came when she attended a retreat. “It made me take a moment to reflect, away from the noise of my everyday life, amongst women in a similar position to me. I suddenly realised I couldn’t do it anymore, that if I wanted happiness, I had to make some big changes. I was scared, but knew in my gut it was right. I started Turnaround very shortly after I got back. It’s about the willingness to take action when needed.”

Meeting with both men and women in the business world, Amanda shares her knowledge for change and creating an environment for success. This goes beyond the numbers in a bid to help leaders address limitations that they themselves may be unwittingly applying to their business. Her perspective is the driving force behind changing the company culture for good and it’s “through change that we grow” says Amanda as we order another coffee. She knows as much as the next person that changing a company culture isn’t plain sailing: “Change can be uncomfortable for us all, especially if we have been approaching it all with the same mindset we always have to start with. And for many, the very beginning stages of implementing change can be the toughest part of the journey. It’s during these changes where the good things will emerge though – change is vital, nothing good can come from standing still and if you

change nothing, nothing will change!” Citing a lack of confidence and convention as two of the key factors which often hold women back in particular, Amanda appreciates these difficulties that women face, being a woman who faced these challenges herself! “I know what it’s like for a woman to struggle to find the strength to change her life, and then for her to find it and flourish! Clients are often surprised at how by making small changes to their life and their approach to their business that things personally change drastically too.” And with that and a smile Amanda is off with the fizz of what a positive approach to life can do. Her next meeting is with a client who she says: “is just at that thrilling crossroads point where the changes are starting to come into fruition.” 01509 274 119 theturnaroundceo.co.uk,, NICHE | 39


Succession planning Creating a water-tight succession plan is fast becoming as vital to your long-term business goals as your financial planning. Creating one provides a healthy contingency plan for the HR elements of your business



I regularly hear: “we don’t need succession planning; they will never leave” or: “let’s worry about that when someone leaves”. All businesses, irrelevant of size, need to prepare themselves for the day when they lose one of their key business employees. The impact of losing a key member of the team can have a huge impact on any sized business. Those businesses that prepare for succession planning will definitely have the edge on

their competitors, as a well thought-out plan can avoid long periods of instability for the business. Succession planning is one of the many strategic roles that HR faces with the business leaders. Whilst HR is regularly consulted with about planning for business leader/owner exits, other key roles within the business can sometimes be overlooked. In reality, these roles can lead to equally as much disruption if succession for those roles is not carefully planned out. Business leaders need to think about the internal impact on their teams to avoid further unnecessary exits, by putting into place simple development plans to manage the expectations of employees. Providing transparency of succession plans will inevitably also provide an improvement in morale amongst employees. If a business takes these straightforward steps, they can utilise the knowledge they gain through the identification and development of employees. This will also highlight any skills gaps, which can then be fed back through their recruitment strategy to encourage recruitment of certain skill shortages.



Succession planning ensures business continuity by having the right people prepared to fill critical positions when vacancies arise. The six key benefits of having a good succession plan are: 1. Mitigates risk By identifying which positions in your business that are critical to successful business operation, you’re able to plan for continuity and reduce the risk of being left in a mess by a key player’s departure. 40 | NICHE

2. Eliminates reactive recruitment Recruitment can be time-consuming and expensive. Whilst you will not be able to avoid the recruitment process entirely, you can streamline it by filling critical positions internally. 3. Easier retention Retaining high performing employees can be tough, and succession planning is key to making sure your top performers can envisage what a longer-term future with your business would look like.

4. Facilitates future growth When the right people are in the right positions at the right time, and there’s a contingency plan to deal with unexpected departures, you won’t be scrambling to fill the gaps. That means you’ll be free to focus on the big picture, like planning for growth and executing on strategic plans. 5. Smarter use of training budget Develop your talent in-house and strategically place top performers with business mentors so they can progress within your business and you continue to reap the benefits. This prepares them to become productive when they take on a new role. 6. Knowledge transfer As individuals leave your company, they’re taking with them years of history and internal knowledge. If that information isn’t captured, all that history can be lost when they depart. Knowledge transfer, therefore, should be part of your succession planning process.

Succession planning



In my experience, the most common factor that sets apart the most successful businesses from the rest is the strength of the workforce. The right blend of skills, experience, teamwork, shared goals and strong leadership usually results in a more profitable, cash-generative and sustainable business. Employees, and management, are key to implementing strategy successfully and responding to change. But pulling together such a team and, crucially, keeping that team

together is no easy task. And that’s why I believe a succession plan is so important. These days, employees are much more mobile, and less loyal, than they were at the start of my career. That can be a good thing, as they gain experience across a variety of jobs/sectors, picking up many new skills along the way. It also helps your business avoid the “we’ve always done it this way” trap. However, management teams need to anticipate that – from Chief Executive down – key employees are unlikely to stay with your business for their entire career. Accordingly, it’s essential that you have a succession plan in place to respond to that. In fact, I’d go further and say you

need a ‘talent plan’ looking not just at succession, but training, reward, career paths, wellbeing, etc. Within that, your succession plans should be much more than merely looking to replace employees on a like-for-like basis. It needs to anticipate future change and innovation in the business. For example, new products or markets, increasing automation, changes in production methods or locations, digital routes to market, artificial intelligence, etc. It should also address any inclusion and diversity shortfalls you might presently suffer from. In short, does your talent plan fully align with the business’s strategy and forecast needs in the short and long term? And how will you successfully compete for that talent?

PHIL NASSAU Business Growth Specialist at ACTION COACH Business Coaching



The inevitable truth is that, as a business, you are going to lose most of your best people. The reason is they want to progress and that means they will keep moving to the best companies. Succession planning is identifying and developing internal people with sufficient potential and who are prepared to assume the key positions as they become available. Those businesses that choose replacement planning will be forced to go outside the business to find the best talent. This is difficult and expensive. Top talent within a business must be managed for the greater good of the business. Talented people get it, want it and have the capacity – they are also people who share the businesses values. Developing your people for the future is a true path for a successful business, that is because no one can predict the future. Those businesses that become successful have leaders who show a high

ownership of succession planning. Some business leaders argue that a ‘talent mindset’ must be part of the leaders’ culture to be effective. For great succession planning, objectives are to: those with the potential ◆ Provide critical development experiences ◆ Engage the leadership in supporting the development of those with potential ◆ Meet the career development expectations of existing people ◆ Identify

Through succession planning there is a secondary benefit; you start to build a great company and will attract the best people, so completing the circle. The other option is relying on optimism, in business this is a deadly word. In tough economic times, if your business finds itself lacking quality people, there is no way that it will be able to survive and grow. There are no guarantees, but by planning for succession the odds of success will improve significantly. NICHE | 41



Cross Productions’


The Cross Productions team is using a system that helps businesses focus on and take ownership of their goals


In December Cross Productions started on a journey to implement the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)®. EOS is a simple set of practical tools and disciplines to help organisations get what they want from their business. The team have been working with Martin Andrew, a Professional EOS Implementer™ and owner of Traction Matters, who is leading them through a spaced learning process which involves a series of full day sessions. The team have just completed the Vision Building™ stage. Martin said: “It’s a really simple approach to strategic planning. We work through and answer in unison eight simple questions. This creates a clear vision for the organisation and a simple plan to execute it.” Cross Productions’ CEO Jenny Cross explained: “I’m usually quite reluctant to get the team involved in programmes that need us to take chunks of time out of our working day. There seems to be a lot of companies out there using buzz words promising to change your business through some kind of therapy session. “But Martin takes the leadership team away from the office to look at your business from a different point of view. The rest of the team can carry on while you focus you on what actually matters most, which you can often lose sight of when you’re in the thick of it. Here’s an insight into the eight questions Martin asked Jenny, Sales Director Sally Smith, and Operations Director Leanne Latham. 42 | NICHE


1. What are your core values? Jenny and the team listed the core attributes and attitudes Cross values most and defined what it looks like to exhibit them. Then, we implemented a series of tools and a process that ensures everybody in the organisation lives and breathes those core values – rather than sticking them on coffee mugs and business cards. Going forward, we bring the values to life by hiring, reviewing, rewarding and firing people against those values. 2. What’s your core focus? The purpose of this one is to help you stay laser-focused on the kind of work where you’re going to make the most money, have the most fun, and most consistently satisfy your clients. As entrepreneurs, we tend to become a little bored or distracted once we are skilled at one thing. We think we can be good at everything, and we become side-tracked from our core focus. Once the core focus is defined, you can be laser-focused and will run a better business. 3. What’s your 10-year target? This can be thought of as a big goal for the organisation. What’s the most important thing you want to be true of your business somewhere around 10 years from now? The timeframe, really, is up to you – anything between five and 30 years is fine.

4. What’s your marketing strategy? There are four elements to this question. Part 1: Target Market. The demographic, geographic, and psychographic profile of the kind of person or organisation whose needs and wants align perfectly with what you have to offer the world. Part 2: The Three Uniques. What is it about the organisation that makes it different and better than the competition? It could be that the competitors could claim one of them – possibly even two, but not all three – that make you unique. Part 3: Proven Process. A visual illustration that shows everybody the ideal customer experience you deliver. It sends this message to the target market that you have a proven way of taking care of people or companies like theirs and they can count on you to be consistently great. Part 4: Guarantee. A pledge, promise, or guarantee around the business which eliminates reasons for customers to not consider or choose you. 5. What’s your three-year picture? Three short years from now, what does the team have to achieve from revenue, profit, and other measurable standpoints to be on track to achieve the big goal? Then we ask for between seven and 15 other things of importance. This is where we see strategic bullet points added like

employee numbers, key additions to staff, adding business units, or changing out your business operating or accounting system. 6. What’s your one-year plan? Once we have the team all on the same page, we then set three to seven goals for the company. We choose three to seven because, in an organisation where everything is important, nothing is important. 7. What are your Quarterly Rocks? These are the most important things for us to accomplish over the next 90 days. We do something simple but important when it comes to accountability: assigning a single person’s name from the leadership team. That person is then personally accountable for completing whatever we commit to as a priority for this quarter.

It’s a really simple approach to strategic planning. We work through and answer in unison eight simple questions. This creates a clear vision for the organisation and a simple plan to execute it

8. What are your issues? An issue isn’t a problem. It might be a new opportunity, a great idea, an innovation, a new piece of technology, an acquisition. If we’ve made the tough but appropriate decision not to prioritise something right now – because many of us want to prioritise everything right now – it belongs on your issues list. Once the team has answered the eight questions, we capture the answers in a simple two-page document called the Vision/Traction Organizer (V/TO) ™. This simple document allows Jenny and her team to have everything they need to know about where Cross is going and how it plans to get there. 07793 696 809 tractionmatters.co.uk NICHE | 43


Financial planning As a business, current assets and liabilities need to be continuously assessed in order to not only know where things currently stand, but also what needs to be done to achieve any financial goals for the future. It is critical that you plan your finances better for a secure and sound business future. How much importance should businesses place on their financial planning in 2020?


DAVID ADAMS Tax Partner at Newby Castleman


With interest rates remaining low, investing could be a wise move in the current financial climate. Decisions about when, where and how much to invest should never be taken lightly, and in order to get the best out of your investment, you may wish to consider the following points before taking action. 1. Take time to outline your financial goals. It could be that a certain level of income in retirement is a priority for you, or perhaps saving for a deposit for your first home. 2. What are your timescales and deadlines? Do you wish to retire at 60, or buy your house in five years’ time? 3. Review your existing wealth. You may decide it’s a better idea to clear any existing debts before starting to think about saving. 4. Be honest with yourself. How much risk are you willing to take? Could you afford to lose what you’ve invested if a venture didn’t work out? 5. How much help do you need? It may be that you’re experienced enough to go it alone, or perhaps you’d like advice while maintaining a hands-on approach. Alternatively, leaving everything to a professional might be right for you. 6. Find the right financial adviser for you. Initially, it’s a good idea to see a financial adviser and decide if having one is right for you. 7. Check the charges. If you do decide to start investing, make sure you understand and review the charges to 44 | NICHE

ensure they offer value for money. 8. Review the situation. Going over your investments regularly is essential for maintaining control and making sure they’re working for you at all times. Every individual’s financial situation and goals, in the short-term as well as the long-term, are unique. For this reason, it’s certainly worthwhile to take the time to stand back and survey all the available options, which is where our combined Wealth Management service can help. We all have different objectives and requirements so our pensions, and other investments, will need to be organised to ensure we can achieve them as well as cater for any unexpected problems. Many of us also have a desire to provide financial help for later generations both during our lifetimes and on death. Planning the way this can be achieved without incurring substantial inheritance tax charges inevitably becomes more important as we get older. Newby Castleman Wealth Management is a joint venture between Newby Castleman LLP and GHC Wealth Management, an established Leicester based firm of Financial Advisers. It provides expert financial advice covering a diverse range of subjects such as general financial planning, investments, retirement planning and pensions. Will Sallis, Director of GHC Wealth Management, said: “There is a host of questions to consider when it comes to financial planning, and embarking on the decision-making process can be daunting. “Seeking professional advice, both at the planning stages and further down the line, can make all the difference when it comes to securing a successful return on your investments.”




Partner of The Miller Partnership

Senior Partner at Furnley House


Allen Lakein has famously said: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” As a business, current assets and liabilities need to be continuously assessed in order to not only know where things currently stand but also what needs to be done to achieve any financial goals for the future. Thus, it is critical that you plan your finances better for a secure and sound business future. How much importance should businesses place on their financial planning in 2020? Imagine setting off on a 250 mile car journey to somewhere you’ve never been before without the use of a Sat Nav or map. Whilst you may reach your end destination, chances are the journey will take longer than expected, will involve a few wrong turns and potentially will cost you a lot more due to covering unnecessary extra miles. Like a Sat Nav, good financial planning is about getting you to your end goal in the most efficient manner, without taking unnecessary risk and without breaking any laws.

A good financial plan will consider: ◆ What is your current financial position? ◆ What is your end goal? ◆ How much risk are you willing to take to get there? ◆ Is there anything you want to avoid? ◆ What happens if your plans change? ◆ What protection do you have in place if things don’t go to plan? With this information gathered, your financial plan can be built. For some it will be all about plotting a smooth ride with as few hiccups as possible, whilst for others it will be about trying to get to the end point as quick as possible, even if that means being a little more risky. In terms of the financial markets, this analogy would be used to look at what investments you hold. Do you

want to hold lower risk (and typically lower performing assets) such as corporate bonds? Or would you rather invest in assets such as global equities where the potential returns are higher, but so too are the potential losses? Maybe you would like a blend of the two? These are just two examples of assets you might want to hold. There are plenty of others that can be factored into an investment portfolio. Perhaps you’re very risk averse and are thinking of leaving all your cash in the bank? It’s certainly a good idea to leave some cash in the bank, after all if you get a flat tyre, you need access to cash in order to pay for these unexpected bills. At the same time, inflation is eroding the value of your cash in the bank, so you don’t want to leave too much there. Talking about paying for tyres, the last thing you want is to be paying for expensive tyres when the standard ones will do just as good a job. Likewise, when investing, you want to be making sure you’re utilising any tax advantages, to make sure your assets are growing as quickly as possible. Finally, what happens if you break down on the way? Do you have the necessary cover in place? It’s all good having a clear plan as to how to get to your goal, but it’s not much help if it all falls apart because you haven’t taken any steps to prepare against the worst happening. Does your business have the necessary protection in place in case something breaks down or something happens to a key member of staff? In summary, if you enjoy being stuck on motorways and endless games of eye-spy, then a financial plan may not be that critical. If, however you have a clear view as to your end goal, and you want to make sure you achieve it, then a good financial plan is essential.

The time is now


It’s 2020, the start of a new decade. What plans do you have for your business? Act now before the start of the new tax year Perhaps you’re thinking of restructuring or entering into a partnership agreement. Or, you might have decided to undertake a management buyout or to launch a new patented product. Maybe demerging – breaking up your business – is on the cards, if, for example, you’re thinking of selling your trade but would like to retain your work premises. Similarly, a demerger could be a sensible option if you and your business partner would like to go your own separate ways. Alternatively, you might have concluded that 2020 is the right time for you to sell up and retire – giving you the freedom to enjoy the rewards of all your hard work. If that’s the case, you’ll be busy considering your exit strategy and preparing to market the business. Whatever you’re intending to do this year, there will be tax implications – some of them complex – so it’s essential you seek sound, professional advice a soon as possible. We’re experts in assisting businesses of all sizes and sectors to navigate their way through the tax maze, saving them money and a lot of sleepless nights! Bear in mind, too, that the start of April sees the start of the new tax year, so don’t delay. 0116 208 1020 themillerpartnership.com NICHE | 45

Commercial Mortgages Business Loans and Peer-to-Peer Lending Property Portfolio Funding Buy To Let Mortgages Development Funding Finance for Pension Funds Asset Finance Commercial, Business, Personal Insurance Invoice Discounting and Factoring Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme

FINANCE BROKERS YOU CAN TRUST! 07736 359 413 2xlcommercial.com info@2xlcommercial.com BGS Accounting Limited, The Dock, 75 Exploration Drive, Leicester, LE4 5NU



Money Talks Most of us have a ‘story’ when it comes to our relationship with money. Here in the second spot of his residency, leading female focused holistic financial planning firm Finance Lab’s Rajesh Modha explores the stories and perceptions of money for successful women.

In conversation with: DEE SAIGAL


Here, Rajesh speaks with Dee Saigal, Co-founder of the awardwinning digital company Erase all Kittens. With a company which have designed a game to teach young students transferrable digital skills, and inspire girls to code and create, the company currently has 150,000 players in over 100 countries. Can you remember the first major obstacle? Our biggest challenge so far has been fundraising. We bootstrapped, applied for government grants, wrote proposals for corporate sponsorship funding and made sure that we were constantly progressing with our product design and traction to the point where we were able to raise Venture Capital (VC) funding. It was extremely difficult keeping experienced developers who are on £70-100K salaries on our team which is what we needed the most. As CEO of a small team, I had to learn how to create a pitch deck, business plan, financial model and raise funds from investors and government grants, as well as work on our game design. We’ve had so many ups and downs, but I’ve never wanted to quit because I really believe in our product and mission.

How have you found the process? Like a ‘dark art’ as opposed to a skill you can learn. Although I couldn’t help feeling like a failure at times, all the no’s built up my resilience. The incredible feedback we get on a regular basis from children, parents and teachers kept us going, and I knew that all anyone ever needs is one yes! So, we never gave up, and having incredibly supportive mentors and advisors really helped. For those of you starting out – make sure that you’re happy with your deck and have shown it to others, then contact investors who have invested in products similar to yours (a warm introduction is far more effective than a cold email or call!) and start with asking for their advice. What role does money play in the development of your business? Money is essential for the development of our business, and we are in a niche area – intersecting gaming, education and coding for girls. The types of investors we attract, and who we want on our board, aren’t just looking for a 10x return on investment in a few years. They are passionate about our mission which is to equip children, especially girls, with essential skills for their future – as well as making a profit. What is the usual way of raising these funds? Most start-ups need to create a pitch deck before they


approach investors. There are an increasing number of pitch competitions and startup accelerators which offer funding, which is how we met our first angel investors. I would recommend building up relationships with investors early on, and sending regular updates as opposed to only fundraising when you need the money. We also applied for corporate sponsorship from tech companies, we won a UK government grant to continue our R&D, we ran a successful Kickstarter campaign, and now having gained far more traction, we’re in the process of closing an investment deal with a VC firm. If it’s possible with the kind of product or service you want to build, I would recommend bootstrapping until you’re able to earn some revenue. Now that there’s an increasing awareness of biases in the tech industry and a growing number of female VCs and angel investors, it should become easier for female founders to build innovative products and get their businesses off the ground. If you have an enquiry about raising finance for your business please contact rajesh@financelab.co.uk 0116 262 1414 financelab.co.uk NICHE | 47

When your accountant stands still, your business pays more Your accountant may be experienced and technically sound, but we’re guessing they’re probably expensive too. We’ve streamlined our service; which means when it comes to fees, we’re confident that we’re far more competitive. What you pay!

Ye Olde Accountant

What you could pay!


Paper, photocopier, receptionist, IT consultant, server & other unnecessary overheads Staff, office, software, training & licenses

0116 255 2422 hello@mneaccounting.co.uk mneaccounting.co.uk


Tax-efficient fund The government has revealed a new kind of tax-efficient fund to invest in the UK’s highest-risk businesses in exchange for tax relief. The new Enterprise Investment Scheme fund will invest in knowledge-intensive companies defined as those with high research and development spends in an effort to funnel more money to innovative entrepreneurial companies. But will this new tax efficient funding work in your favour?


PETE MILLER Partner of The Miller Partnership


Most people have already heard of the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) as a tax efficient way of investing in early stage companies. Qualifying investors can invest up to £1million per year in a company and gain income tax relief of 30 per cent of their investment, as well as capital gains tax relief if the shares are held for at least three years, and loss relief if the company fails (as these are usually high-risk investments). The government wants to encourage investment into innovative companies, so the limit has been increased if you invest in a ‘knowledge intensive company’. For investments from April 6, the limit will be £2million per person per tax year, so long as at least £1million is invested in knowledge-intensive companies. Broadly, a knowledge-

intensive company must be carrying out work to create intellectual property. And, at least 20 per cent of the employees must be doing work that requires at least a master’s degree and must be carrying out research for at least three years from the date of the investment. The company itself must also spend 10 per cent a year of its overall operating costs on research, development or innovation for at least three years, or 15 per cent of the costs in one of three years. The maximum EIS investment that a knowledge-intensive company can have is £10million a year but no more than £20 million in total. Frankly, the detailed requirements for a knowledgeintensive company are quite onerous and may be hard to satisfy for smaller businesses

that carry out research in-house using experienced technical staff, but not necessarily people who have higher degrees. However, if you are an investor, then the enhanced EIS investment limits might be of interest to you. If you are thinking of making an EIS investment, whether through the normal EIS scheme or the enhanced scheme, you must make sure that you speak to a tax adviser to guide you through the complexities of the legislation. There’s a lot of administration involved and a number of well-known (in the tax world) cases where relief has been denied simply due to administrative oversights. For more information on this, or any other business tax requirements, email The Miller Partnership at pete.miller@themillerpartnership.com. NICHE | 49

WHY WORK WITH CROSS? Cross Productions has a huge, reputable presence across the city connecting likeminded business professionals together. The brand is well known for its successful networking events and expos and by partnering with a proactive, dynamic firm that has creative and innovative ideas has aided an increase in our own brand awareness as well as many other local businesses. The team at Cross Productions is truly unlike any other. Their approach is unique and innovative, empowering businesses with innovative ideas. The team is experienced in what they do and go above and beyond for their clients.

Eileen Richards MBE, Eileen Richards Recruitment

I had initially seen the publication and thought it was something that I would like to be a part of. I had also been recommended to meet Jenny and was very impressed with her enthusiasm and her understanding of my business – we have always been very reluctant as far as marketing spend is concerned and have never really speculatively gone down this route. The increased profile we have now is fantastic and I certainly feel people know who we are now more in Leicester and this means that going to events and networking is a lot easier. We have directly benefitted from new clients and contacts which have introduced by the team and also, we have reconnected with many also off the back of the exposure. It’s also been great that people can actually see our success as a business and share in it also.

Darren Willoughby, Managing Director of 2XL Commercial Finance

There was a genuine interest in my business to help me make a success out of it. Really good connection as well as that is so important when you decide to work with each other. Also recommended by another colleague which also helps. Jenny has a wealth of information, contacts and experience which is so valuable. Not only that we share so many core values, beliefs and work styles that it is a mreally good fit.

Amanda Daly, The Turnaround CEO

0116 271 2573



Growth Partners

for people

With a vision to help businesses grow from the inside out, we chat with Growth Partners’ CEO Scott Read to get to the heart of their business What was the driving force for starting Growth Partners? In both name and vision, Growth Partners are a business growth consultancy that began with a simple mission: to help businesses grow from the inside out. We believe that people are at the centre of every business and the work we do doesn’t shy away from this. Our unique range of HR and wellbeing services allows us to offer a bespoke solution for businesses looking to grow. Our services enable employers not only to reduce their overheads, but also to boost workplace wellbeing, optimise productivity targets and win back time. What are the core values of the company? Without a doubt, one of our core values is to never lose sight of the people at the heart of the companies we grow. Whether we’re creating a solution to

help boost employee health, or helping employers save time and money on their payroll, our consultation incorporates a welcomed human aspect into the very corporate world that businesses like ours live in. This people-centric value is something we carry into every conversation, be it tailoring a growth strategy for a small firm of five employees or a large corporation. What are the main skills required to succeed in business? No matter the business type, what I’ve noticed is that people are willing to develop, to work harder and more proactively – providing their employer builds upon their sense of purpose, gives them the time and tools they need to do their jobs well, and the recognition they deserve when targets are met. People are at the heart of every business, so it’s crucial that the culture they work in works


with them, not against. This is the case across any industry. It really doesn’t matter which. Whether you work in catering, you’re a teacher, run a startup business or sell TVs for a living, no matter what you do, belonging to a proactive, positive working culture is vital to both personal and professional success. At Growth Partners, we’re working with companies across the UK to promote this through expert consultation and technology. To quote Richard Branson: “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” In order to wire your business for success, you need to make sure your employees aren’t left out of the picture. 0116 340 3116 growthpartnersplc.co.uk scott.read@growthpartnersplc.co.uk NICHE | 51

LEICESTER’S HUB FOR HIGH TECH, LOW CARBON AND INNOVATIVE BUSINESSES! Opened for business in 2013, Dock is a workspace and business development centre for knowledge economy businesses. It offers a range of workspaces including office, lab and workshop space for up to 55 businesses. The onsite business development team will be on hand to support your business growth needs.

Changing your accountant There are a number of reasons why you may want to change your accountant: they may be too expensive, have poor communication, or they charge by the hour. Here is BGS Accounting’s quick guide to the process


If you want to change your accountant, one of the first things you must do is advise your current accountant that you wish to switch to another firm. Most firms will ask for this in writing. However, a conversation with your dedicated accountant will normally be sufficient. When giving notice, you should also confirm the last date they will act on your behalf, and what work is expected by this date. Register with your new accountant. This will be a simple on-boarding process which will entail providing details to the new accountant such as name, date of birth, and address. You will need to provide a copy of your passport/driving licence and a utility bill so the accountants can do their antimoney laundering checks required by UK Law. Sign a new 64-8 form for your new accountant. This will authorise the new accountant to deal with the HMRC for your personal and company tax affairs. Alternatively, you can use HMRC’s online authorisation service to complete this step. Your new accountants will issue you with an engagement letter. This will set out the expectations between you and

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your new accountant. Make sure you read this and are happy with what it entails before going ahead. Your new accountant will write to your previous one requesting professional clearance. This explains to your previous accountant that you have contacted the new accountant to represent you asking if there are any professional reasons as to why they should not accept the appointment. The letter requesting documents from the previous accountant will include a request for any copies of accounts, tax records, tax returns and any other information they may need. Just a few weeks later, all your accounting information should have been safely transferred to your new accountant. If there is any outstanding work to be completed to bring your accounts up to date, you may have to negotiate this fee with your new accountant. bgsaccounting.co.uk


WASTING TIME AND MONEY? If your software isn’t working efficiently, your employees may be wasting time on repetitive tasks and workarounds. By addressing your software issues, Rapid Business Systems will help you maximise your performance and productivity. SOFTWARE SELECTION If you’re looking for software to meet a specific business need, we’ll help you find it. CUSTOM SOFTWARE If the software your business needs doesn’t exist, we’ll create some specifically for you. SYSTEMS INTEGRATION If you need your software systems to work more effectively together, we’ll get them ‘talking’.

REPORT AUTOMATION If you’re still manually collating reports, we’ll automate the process to make it easier for you.

CONTACT US TODAY to see how we can help your business run more smoothly and effectively. 0116 456 0125 Info@rb.systems https://rb.systems

NICHE BUSINESS BECOMING INNOVATIVE It’s important to create a culture of innovation within a company. There are a host of benefits that come with it. Here are some ways in which companies can be innovative.– 1 Providing solutions If there is an issue within your business that keeps popping up, take notice of it. You may feel you’re too busy to deal with it right now but of course, it will continue to rear its head. Listen to your employees and colleagues when the issue arises. How do they respond to it? How does it affect them? You may find the answer to the problem is right in front of your eyes. 2 Build relationships Ask your customers or clients what they actually think of you, your services, and their overall experience. They’ll feel valued and you’ll gain valuable feedback. You must then put this into action. If you don’t, you risk your relationships deteriorating. Improving your products and services will ever increase your client base and your reputation. 3 Show off You know that you need to stand out of from the crowd. But how? Perhaps you have a great underdog story to tell your audience. Or maybe you have a product that is created ethically and is environmentally friendly. Do you partner with another brand or support a charity? Shout about it. This is how people will remember you. 4 Getting ahead of the competition Get creative here. Design a new mascot to accompany your logo and business activities. Hire a new copywriter to tell your story. Find a photographer to take new photos of your products. But don’t copy your competitors. You need to find your own voice. 54 | NICHE


SPREADSHEET USERS BEWARE Spreadsheets are everywhere in business. They’re quick and easy to create, even for those with a modest skill set – but beware of the perils of using them inappropriately. Spreadsheet errors can have serious repercussions In 2018, the owner of retail chain Bargain Booze saw trading in its shares suspended and their market valuation drop by £300m after multiple profit warnings. The company later admitted that a “material error in the financial forecasts” was in part due to “a spreadsheet arithmetic error”. Administrators were appointed shortly thereafter. Spreadsheets quickly become complex A small tweak here to cater for this problem, a temporary fix there so you can get management accounts out on time (“we’ll fix it properly next month”). Before you know it, a simple spreadsheet can become a tangled

ELLIOTT STEVENS Director at Rapid Business Systems mess of formulas, pivot tables and hidden columns. Spreadsheets have a common lifecycle Spreadsheets are typically created by one person. Soon afterwards they become essential to the functioning of an entire department or business. Someone then spots a problem, but the person who created the spreadsheet is on holiday – or, worse, no longer works for you. Spreadsheets can present risks to business continuity because knowledge of how they work is often not shared and rarely ever documented.

0116 456 0127 rb.systems

HOW TO EMPLOY A YOUNG APPRENTICE SARAH CRIPPS Director at Salad Skills We have seen a 40 per cent growth in businesses using our specialised apprenticeship recruitment service, however, there is still some uncertainty about employing one. An apprentice isn’t cheap labour; the salary can be lower than other employees, but you have a greater responsibility. They will need an investment of time and effort. Have an assessment centre day. A group assessment will show someone’s personality and potential in a more natural environment. Create a plan so they will always have safe support. In the early days they will need direction and support. Assign them a ‘buddy’ and develop a ‘working practices paper’. State the importance of timekeeping, set

parameters on social media protocols and define a dress code. Establish how their targets align with your business. You will be responsible for their practical learning and development, which works best when it dovetails with the accredited apprenticeship programme. Provide a goal. Make sure they understand what you expect from their role and where it could lead. Also consider reverse mentoring; what can they teach your organisation? Make the transition into work smooth. If this is their first full-time job, it’s going to be an enormous change, so ease them in gently to allow them time to grow. Reward and recognition. Always celebrate success and include them wherever possible. If they feel like a valued member of the team, they will care more about what they do.

01858 458 088 saladskills.co.uk



Leicester Castle Business School(DMU), has beento meet created by De Montfort University De Montfort UniversityWe (DMU), thecreated needs by of 21st century business. do thistobymeet the beyond needs ofbusiness 21st century business. We do this by going as usual, offering a unique going beyond business as usual, offering a uniqueto learning environment where you are encouraged learning environment where you are encouraged challenge convention and given the opportunitiesto given the opportunities andchallenge tools to convention think, createandand inspire. and tools to think, create and inspire. Located in the beautiful and historic setting of LocatedCastle, in the beautiful andone historic of Leicester we are only hoursetting by train Leicester we are from only one hour bytransport train from LondonCastle, and benefit excellent from London and benefit from excellent transport links to the rest of the country. links to the rest of the country. Our portfolio Our portfolioofofopen openprogrammes programmesisiscomplimented complimented by by ourour ability to design and deliver flexible, ability to design and deliver flexible,bespoke bespoke education programmes which can be tailored education programmes which can be tailoredto to meet an organisation’s specific training needs, meet an organisation’s specific training needs, offering master offering masterclass classworkshops, workshops,through throughto to accredited graduate accredited graduateand andpostgraduate postgraduatequalifications, qualifications, including higher including higherand anddegree degreeapprenticeships. apprenticeships. ForFor more information more informationorortotodiscuss discusshow howwe wecan canhelp help your business email your business emailususatatinfo@lcbs.ac.uk info@lcbs.ac.uk keep datewith withallallofofour ourlatest latestnews newsfollow followus us on To To keep upup toto date LeicesterCastleExecutiveEducation LeicesterCastleExecutiveEducation LCBSExeEd LCBSExeEd Leicester CastleExecutive ExecutiveEducation Education Leicester Castle


accredited course Chartered Management Institute (CMI) accredited Flexible studycourse via blended and integrated learning Flexible study via blended and integrated learning

Develop competencies through an innovative Develop competenciesmodule through structure an innovative ‘project-based’ ‘project-based’ module structure Transformational personal development through Transformational personal development throughand psychometric assessments, theatrical training psychometric assessments, professional theatrical coachingtraining and professional coaching 24 months part-time 24 months part-time


PG CERTCOACHING PROFESSIONAL COACHING Deliveredbybyexperienced experiencedcoaching coachingprofessionals professionals Delivered AssociationofofCoaching Coachingaccredited accredited course Association course Studypart-time part-timearound aroundwork workcommitments commitments Study Combineacademic academicand andprofessional professionalqualifications qualifications Combine Networkingand andCPD CPDopportunities opportunities Networking depthpersonal personalassessments assessmentstotosignificantly significantly InIndepth improveself selfawareness awarenessand andcoaching coaching ability improve ability

APPRENTICESHIPS APPRENTICESHIPS Chartered CharteredManager ManagerDegree DegreeApprenticeship Apprenticeship Senior Teaching SeniorLeader LeaderManager ManagerApprenticeship Apprenticeship Teaching Executive ExecutiveMBA MBA

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Helping your business grow through apprenticeships Apprenticeship recruitment Assessment centres Training provider quality assurance Learner evaluation and support Impartial, end to end, service Let us help you nurture your next superstar saladskills.co.uk 01858 458 088


Wednesday 24th June 2020 at Luffenham Heath Golf Club organised by Craig Mitchell Arrive at 12.15pm for a light sandwich lunch Team Stableford with Shotgun Start at 2.00pm Drinks and bites at the 9th green Followed by Dinner in the Clubhouse, prize giving, and something different all from 7.45pm The cost is ÂŁ395 per team of 4 to cover everything except your drinks in the Clubhouse. For an entry form, please contact Craig Mitchell at Craiglancelotmitchell@gmail.com Tel: 07718 559699 or Richard Grudgings at opsmanager@warningzone.org.uk - Tel: 07807 121372

Hole sponsorship at ÂŁ200 per hole Please support the day and the Charity Warning Zone for the outstanding work it does in educating young children, and also some older ones too, about the real dangers they do and will face in the outside world. Warning Zone, 30 Frog Island, off North Bridge Place, Leicester, LE3 5AG

Reg Charity No: 1113659 | www.warningzone.org.uk | Email: enquiries@warningzone.org.uk

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how to think A Stoneygate school has cut its lesson times from an

hour to 40 minutes after it appointed a new headmaster


Since he took over as headmaster in August last year Charles Northcote has transformed school life for the 80 pupils that attend Leicester Prep School. The new timetable means the school’s pupils – aged between three and 11 – will be having shorter lessons on a more frequent basis. Charles said: “A child can’t concentrate on maths for an hour, a teacher can’t either and by the end, everybody’s exhausted and learning time is lost.” The new headmaster has also brought in topics to prepare the children for their future learning with the aim of seeing that they become resilient, confident, inquisitive thinkers. Pupils are learning to create presentations and spreadsheets, coding and computer science – topics that might sound far too advanced to some adults. “People tend to forget that children are learning from scratch. If they don’t know something is hard, they’ll give it a go and have the confidence to do so. Instead

of ‘I can’t do this,’ we are teaching them to think ‘if I keep trying, I might be able to do this.’” What Leicester Prep School focuses on is akin to universities. University might seem far off, Charles admits, but ultimately, they are looking for students who can communicate their ideas. “And when do you start embedding that?” Charles asks. “We teach our pupils how to make a podcast for example, but they need to understand how to talk about things, to stand up and express their opinions in front of others. “It’s all about teaching children how to think, not what to think. When they can do this, they’ll be able to work and think independently when they move on to a senior school.” Charles insists on teaching his pupils how to deal with real life situations. He said: “Grammar schools choose who they want to let through the door, but life is not like that. Children have to be able to interact with a variety of people with different beliefs and backgrounds.”


0116 270 7414 leicesterprepschool.co.uk

Leicester Preparatory School OPEN DAY: Friday 6 March 2020 th


Leicester Prep School provides an environment of excellent pastoral care. Being a small school, teachers get to know and understand each individual pupil personally. Parents can be confident that after this unique primary school experience their children will have the confidence to reach out to teachers and take responsibility for their own learning when they move to senior school, where they will be one of potentially 700 students. The new 40-minute lessons also come with individual learning programmes. Each child receives their own homework, spellings, and targets tailored to their needs. And, as part of the independent school’s pricing, Leicester Prep is open until 5pm daily for pupils who want to engage in and explore new hobbies ranging from cooking to yoga and everything in between.

Register with the school office 0116 270 7414

2 Albert Road, Leicester LE2 2AA


Cashflow forecasting Cashflow forecasting may seem like a straightforward aspect of your business, but a projection of your cashflow needs to be continuously reviewed. There are many elements which can affect the cashflow of a business at any one time. Managing liquidity within a business, as well as ensuring that the business has the necessary cash to meet its obligations, is crucial to keeping ahead of the game


DARREN WILLOUGHBY Managing Director at 2XL Commercial


We often speak with clients around financial modelling in particular when assisting clients for either acquiring a business or when starting one, especially when it comes down to funding. I have the following key points.

in all the additional costs this may bring? If you are going to sell more widgets, what impact does this have on the cost of raw materials, etc? The numbers only actually work if some thought has gone into them.

Know your audience Often, the figures are designed to assist with funding – if so, be prepared for them to be scrutinised. If you are making the numbers fit just to satisfy a lending requirement then you have to ask yourself about the validity of the work you are undertaking and whether this is actually the right step for you or your business to be taking. So, be honest and don’t just put numbers in for the sake of it.

It’s a moving feast Be prepared to alter the numbers as your business evolves. They should be a guide for ensuring your business is on track and not just something you do at the start. Constantly checking to ensure you are reaching your key performance indicators and altering the numbers as your business changes is a must. This also enables you to see problems that may be occurring in the business early, which means you can take the appropriate action to stay on track

What sits behind them The numbers might look like they work, but what do you have to implement to actually achieve them? Do you need more staff to hit these numbers and if so, have you factored

It’s called cashflow for a reason It sounds very basic, but it’s about when cash will go in and out of your business. Timing is crucial. There is no point in having an order book if you can’t fulfil it.

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REKHA DHOKIA Finance Director at Hammonds Furniture Limited


Cash is king – this has never been so true and relevant than in current times and it is my number one rule when it comes to assessing the performance of our business. A company generating profit doesn’t necessarily mean it is doing well. Cashflow forecasting not only helps a business to plan for the future but also helps in understanding key factors affecting them. It forms a basis on which you can build budget and growth strategy. Reviewing your cashflow regularly helps you to identify your low points, and high points which might be crucial when it comes to decision making. When preparing your cashflow forecast it is important to break it down into weeks, months and years and have a detailed forward view of at least three months at any point in time. In order to stay on top of your cashflow, review your creditor and debtor days regularly. This will help in identifying

MATT BULL Director of Coaching at ActionCOACH Loughborough


As with most things in business (and in life), our view of cashflow is primarily impacted by our mindset and what I call ‘limiting beliefs’ about both its importance and what it actually means. To help business owners shift their mindset, I work on three key areas. 1 Understand how long it takes for every pound your business spends to end up back in your bank account. I call this the ‘cash gap’ and the shorter we can make this, the more money you will have in your bank account.

early signs of liquidity issues with your customers and help you to seek a desirable credit period from your suppliers. A cashflow forecast also allows you to map out your critical payments such as employee salaries, PAYE obligations, VAT, etc, which you cannot afford to miss. Being able to run a successful business is all about planning and protecting it from risks whilst taking advantage of the right opportunities. Cashflow forecasting is one of the ways to achieve this. It helps senior management and board members to take actions and make quick decisions that shape the future of an organisation. If your company is funded by investors and banks or is in the process of seeking funding, your cashflow forecast will play a critical role. It will give your investors confidence in your business and their ability to work with you in order to support future growth and sustainability.

Think about how effective your marketing is, how much stock you hold, how effective the workforce is in producing and delivering your product, and how good your finance team is at getting you paid for what you provide. The main reason high growth companies run out of cash is that they simply don’t understand this concept. 2 Think of cash like blood pumping through your body. It has to be kept moving as efficiently as possible. Otherwise, things go wrong. You can make a loss for as many months as you like, but you can only run out of cash once. What are your rituals for ensuring your business is heathy and keeps cash moving effectively?

3 Your bank balance is a mirror. A mirror of the health and effectiveness of your business and a mirror of you as a businessowner. If you don’t like your bank balance, take a look at the areas you can improve in yourself and your business to start building positive cashflow. This forms a key part of how we coach clients on cash. One of the most common things I hear from business owners is that they are constantly looking at their bank balance, wondering why it’s so low when sales are so good and everyone is busy! The old saying ‘profit is vanity, margin is sanity and cash is reality’ sums up how important cash is for any business serious about growing through 2020 and beyond.


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City 36 | NICHE


The East Midlands economy continues to be the fastest growing outside of London in the UK – and with our central location and excellent transport links, Leicester is a prime location for conferencing attracting major companies within the region and beyond


Providing a city central location for your conferencing needs, St Martins House is one of our city’s premier conferencing spots. Located in the unique and tranquil Historic Quarter of the city, St Martins House provides a sophisticated, convenient and memorable conferencing centre. The venue is able to host anything from intimate gatherings to extraordinary celebrations. Opt for the 19th century styled Bardsley room for up to 12 people with buffet options, or the Grand Hall complete with glorious high vaulted ceilings and historical features accommodating up to 200 people where delegates and guests can enjoy three course dinners, cocktails and entertainment. The location has so far attracted a multitude of large businesses, including Natwest, RBS, Leicester Comedy Festival, Pick Everard and Mattioli Woods. Drawn to its capabilities for providing all aspects of holding a corporate event under

one roof, the experienced and multi-talented personnel team can accommodate a wide range of requirements and budgets. There are dedicated managers for every aspect of the event, and they take care of every detail – from the welcome drinks through to menu planning and entertainment. James Hayter, Manager at St Martins House comments: “We are able to offer a 24-hour conference rate including overnight accommodation alongside our existing function room hire and catering facilities. We are thrilled at this new addition to the now thriving, historical sector of the city.” A stunning Grade II listed former grammar school, St Martins was built in 1877 and over the years has undergone numerous sympathetic renovations to create an open and inviting contemporary setting. With an elegant mixing of period features and contemporary styling, St Martins House stands out from the crowd giving you,

We are able to offer a 24-hour conference rate including overnight accommodation alongside our existing function room hire and catering facilities

the event organiser, something truly unique. The venue is now also able to offer location conferencing with the addition of the elegant £1.8m St Martins Lodge development at just a short stroll away. The luxurious accommodation is located on Peacock Lane in the beautiful Leicester Cathedral area. Providing boutique hotel accommodation for the tourism and conference market within the city, the Georgian building offers premium overnight accommodation with 28 luxuriously appointed bedrooms, including a top floor suite, two accessible rooms, car parking and breakfast provision overlooking the Cathedral Gardens. The Lodge is the latest development in the exciting regeneration of the area which has already seen the creation of the peaceful and attractive Cathedral Gardens as a public space for city residents and visitors to enjoy. This part of Leicester is also currently being boosted by City Council investment to develop the surrounding streets and buildings, enhancing the local heritage, and is home to the famous protected car park where the remains of King Richard III were discovered. Blending seamlessly with its surroundings in this historic quarter of the city, its proximity to St Martins House conference centre means that it is perfect for people wishing to stay close to their meeting. For St Martins House delegates, the Lodge provides accommodation quite unlike any typical conferencing accommodation. Full of stylish rooms each decorated with character and luxurious touches, the boutique style hotel is more of a break away than anything that feels close to business. St Martins House is a high-class conferencing and events venue which has the capacity for a wide range of event sizes and styles. 0116 261 5200 stmartinslodge.co.uk stmartinshouse.com NICHE | 61


Night Thursday 19th March 7:00 - 10:00pm

at: Peepul Centre Orchardson Avenue, Leicester LE4 6DP

Tickets available from Sally: 07931 220 116 | sally@crossproductions.co.uk





Tuesday May 19, 2020 HEADLINE SPONSOR

6.00-9.00pm at

Leicester Racecourse

£15 per person Book on eventbrite.com 62 | NICHE


Niche Journalist Emily Kirton and Designer Susan Holmes were delighted to attend Leicester Law Society’s Civic Dinner


The President and Committee of the Leicestershire Law Society annually invite members of the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland community to their Civic Dinner and with an invitation from the President Glynis Wright herself we were thrilled to attend. On Friday January 24, Glynis Wright was delighted to host the Annual Civic Dinner, which was a huge success enjoyed by the esteemed. We were honoured to have in our presence The Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Mike Kapur Esq OBE; The Rt. Worshipful Lord Mayor of Leicester, Annette Byrne; The Chairman of the Leicestershire County Council, Pam Posnett MBE;, Lord Willy Bach and members of the Judiciary. One hundred guests were welcomed in the Grand Hall at St Martins House with opening words from the President who celebrated the community and diversity within

Leicester. This was followed by honourable guest and keynote speaker for the evening, Simon Davis, the National President for the Law Society of England and Wales. The atmosphere of the evening was then enlivened with Indian Classical Dancers from Nupur Arts, plus an exclusive performance of Indian dance fusion from Rina & Priya. Each year, the Annual Civic Dinner is an opportunity for Leicestershire Law Society to thank its supporters, patrons and sponsors, whilst bringing together the people who have helped to build Leicester’s community. In addition to presenting an excellent networking opportunity, great food and wonderful company, the dinner also highlights some of the brilliant creative talent we have locally.





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DECEIT DOESN’T PAY GREG HOLLINGSWORTH Director at Hollingsworths Solicitors

WHY SETTLE A COMMERCIAL DISPUTE? A settlement gives the business certainty and closure. It avoids the anxiety of having to wait for a judgment from a court and the uncertainty about that outcome. It also avoids the expense of continuing with litigation. Even if the business wins in court and is awarded costs, it will rarely get all of its costs back from the other side. Here’s what you need to do: Review your case Undertake an early analysis of the case. Compare the analysis with possible settlement outcomes. If an offer is made, consider its value, bearing in mind how long it will take to get to trial and the potential cost of litigation. They can take place at any time. And remember, settlement negotiations aren’t a sign of weakness. Discuss the settlement Settlement discussions are conducted on a ‘without prejudice’ basis. This means that anything said about the dispute during the settlement negotiations, or in any written settlement offer, cannot be used later at the trial. This protection only applies to statements made purely in an attempt to settle the case – something which businesses sometimes forget. Record the settlement Ensure that any settlement is recorded in a written settlement agreement. This is essential if a claim has been started. Having reached acceptable terms, businesses want to avoid another dispute arising on the settlement terms

0116 204 2500 hlegal.co.uk 64 | NICHE

Honesty in divorce proceedings has never been more important. Any spouse caught trying to hide assets will be in big trouble with the court. Prime examples of this that I often recall are the cases of Sharland v Sharland and Gohil v Gohil which were heard in the Supreme Courts. Both involved women trying to set aside their divorce settlements to get more on the grounds that their husbands had lied about their wealth in the court proceedings. The court made it clear in both cases that dishonesty will not be tolerated and that anyone proven to have misrepresented their assets will be punished with costs and a more generous settlement being made to the ex-spouse. The most important lesson to learn from these cases is that if you want finality in your divorce settlement, do not lie. If you try to outwit your spouse or the court, you can never be sure that your ex-spouse will not bring the case

GLYNIS WRIGHT Head of Glynis Wright & Co Family Solicitors & Mediators back before the court at some point in the future, arguing for more if they discover the deceit. There is no time limit imposed on these applications, so you can never rest easy. Since Sharland and Gohil, there have been numerous applications to court by ex-spouses seeking to get previous orders set aside on the grounds of misrepresentation. If you think that your settlement was based on dishonesty and that new information is available to prove this, you should take legal advice from specialist divorce lawyers.

0116 238 5680 glyniswright.co.uk

WHAT SEPARATION MEANS FOR YOUR WILL SATWINDER SIDHU Director at Paradigm Wills and Legal Services It is important to be aware that if you’ve separated, but not yet divorced, your spouse or civil partner is still entitled to your estate. The actual event of a divorce doesn’t revoke the Will you have in place. From a legal point of view, you are still married and so the rules on inheritance do not change — no matter how long you have been separated. If you do not have a Will in place, your spouse will still inherit from you. For example, if you are married but do not have children, your entire estate will pass to your spouse. If you do have children, the first £270,000 of your estate will pass to your spouse. The rest will be divided

into two equal parts. One half of the estate will go to your spouse, and the other half will be held for your children in equal shares until they turn 18. If you don’t update your Will, and the spouse you’re separating from inherits your estate, remember: if something then happens to them it could go to their new spouse. This means your hard-earned money and assets could eventually go to people who are not related to you or people you have never even met, cutting out your own children and family out entirely.

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Journalist Helen Rowland said: “When two people decide to divorce, it isn’t a sign that they don’t understand one another, it is a sign that they have, at last, begun to”


through Mediation


The separation of a couple doesn’t always mean tragedy for everyone left in its ‘wake’, especially now that there are supportive services such as mediation which help parting couples discuss and resolve issues arising from their parting. Glynis Wright & Co Family Solicitors & Mediators are specialists in the area of family law and mediation. Since April 2014, an individual cannot issue court proceedings unless they have first attended a family mediation awareness session (called a MIAM) to at least consider the benefits of mediation. After that, their attendance is voluntary. “Family mediation is a voluntary process for separating couples, despite it being made a pre-action. If their case is considered suitable for mediation by the mediator after he or she has met the parting couple, and both agree to mediate, then a first joint mediation session is arranged,” Head of Practice Glynis Wright explains. Mediation provides a less intimidating and less costly environment for parting couples to resolve their differences.

They can discuss and work out solutions together to the issues facing them; whether that’s dividing capital, the family home, pensions or child arrangements. “There is typically a whole range of issues that need to be resolved on breakup and many find it a great relief to be able to cover all of them amicably through discussion in meetings that are carefully managed by the mediator,” Glynis comments. Mediation is flexible and can be tailored to individual cases taking into consideration the needs of all involved. Everything can be open for discussion including dividing up possessions right through to working out where your children will spend their holidays. The efficient manner in which items are addressed in mediation avoids a drawn-out process and sometimes allows for resolutions in one or two sessions, but typically three to five sessions are more likely. Certain aspects of the separation can also be prioritised for immediate discussion, such as childcare arrangements and who should remain residing in the family home. These elements are, of course, all emotionally charged


but with the experience of the mediators at Glynis Wright & Co, the process is made as easy as possible. Glynis explains: “The sessions are a confidential and guided process, and we remove the fear of saying the right or wrong thing so that open and frank discussions can be had.” The advantage of using Glynis Wright & Co for family mediation is that both Gayle Rowley and Glynis Wright are specialist family lawyers and mediators. Glynis is the also the current President of the Leicestershire Law Society. They are able to bring to the table their many years of experience and knowledge, which can greatly assist with the mediation process. Family mediation is often a welcome relief for couples looking to part in the most amicable way possible. It provides a way to discover solutions to any of the problems caused by breakup in a safe, efficient and reasonable way without the need for what are sometimes lengthy, costly and often upsetting court cases. 0116 238 5680 glyniswright.co.uk NICHE | 65

Getting employment contracts right Employers will soon need to be on the ball when taking on new staff from April 6


Contracts for new staff members will soon need to have the particulars covered and given to new employees on or before they start working for you. This will be in place from April 6, meaning contracts need to detail the ins and outs of roles ready for the start date. The principles of employment contracts are the same as any contract, but there are some differences. This is mainly due to their personal nature. Meesha Kanadia of Hollingsworths says there is a few key points to consider in preparation for this. The parties aren’t equal An employer will usually be in a position to dictate the terms of the contract. Courts and tribunals will be aware of the fact that the written terms may not reflect the actual legal obligations between the parties. Formalities There is no legal requirement for an employee to have a written contract of

employment – it may even be simply expressed or implied. So, there is no strict requirement for a contract to be signed. However, it is clearly in the employer’s interests to obtain a signed agreement, otherwise it may be difficult to establish what the terms are and will avoid future disputes. As of April 6, the bare minimum terms of employment must be established on or before the employee’s start date.

Statement of terms Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 requires an employee to be given a statement of certain specified terms. That said, those basic terms don’t cover many important issues for employers such as confidential information and post-termination restrictions. The changes happening centre mainly around the Section 1 statement. 0116 204 2500 hlegal.co.uk



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The legal contract that is

marriage When you marry someone, you should

update your Will immediately according to Paradigm Wills and Legal Services


One of Paradigm Wills and Legal Services’s top five reasons for updating your will is getting married. Your life and the lives of your loved ones can be affected by many factors – this is the same for your Will. That legal document you think is securing the future of your family is not immune to the changes that happen in your life, so it will need to be amended as and when circumstances change for you. Your Will is not set in stone, and thankfully so because once your professional or personal situations change over the years, the wishes you stated in it may become invalid or may be overridden in certain aspects. You can and should update your will as and when your circumstances change. Many people simply forget to update their Will when a life changing event takes place. Getting married is one of these life-changing events. First of all, congratulations! But secondly, please do

remember that this means changes for your Will. As unromantic as it may be, marriage is a lawful agreement. You’re basically signing a legal contract when you sign that register on that magical day with all your loved ones around you. Statistics show that 1.5 million people may have unknowingly made their Will void by getting married. Marriage automatically revokes a Will unless it is written in contemplation of marriage. Marriage will affect a number of areas in your life which, hopefully, you may never even notice or have to worry about. But it’s important to bear in mind that your union will extend to things such as property, pensions, bank accounts, savings, debts, and inheritance. Any Will you had before signing the register will now be invalid. If you had no Will in place, then your estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy (a law that determines who is entitled to the property from the estate under the rules of inheritance).

Directors, Bhavin Gandhi AIPW and Satwinder Sidhu MIPW


If you’ve signed up to the Paradigm Wills and Legal Services newsletter, you’ll be familiar with the five top reasons to update your Will. You can sign up to receive it on our website. 0116 464 7055 paradigm-wills.com NICHE | 67


BECCI HOULSTON Digital Marketing Manager at Cross Productions

LET’S TALK ABOUT TRENDS People tend to think about marketing trends at the start of the year, but in reality, trends adapt on much faster pace than most people realise. There are so many changes in what’s trending that you may not be utilising your social media strategy to the best of its ability. As platforms adapt and change, so does the audience, so you need to be ahead of the game! Here’s a few of my current favourites. Video Video has been mentioned a lot over the past year, but it’s still just as important for business in 2020. People like to know people, so the more they can see and hear from you the better. Instagram stories Instagram stories combine many digital marketing trends, from pictures and gifs to videos and polls. They may only last for 24 hours, but it’s a great way to quickly engage with your audience. Know your platform It’s hard to keep track of trends with so many platforms to choose from. You don’t have to be on every site, but knowing where your audience is and how to utilise that particular platform is key. Linkedin Most business individuals have a LinkedIn profile, but do you know how to use it effectively to promote your business? As Facebook slowly moves away from being a key platform for business pages, LinkedIn continues to grow with opportunities. Tik Tok This time last year Tik Tok didn’t exist, yet the video app started 2020 with over one billion users! Influencers are already using the app to promote brands so it’s only a matter of time before you see businesses using it themselves.

0116 271 2573 crossproductions.co.uk 68 | NICHE


EXHIBITION STANDS MADE SIMPLE A stretch stand in your exhibition space is a fantastic way to get your brand in front of your clients. With so many other fantastic signage options, why should you put a stretch stand at the top of your exhibition checklist? 1. Easy set up At exhibitions and business expos, with lots of people in attendance, you want to ensure you have enough time to talk to as many people as you can. Stretch stands capitalise on this fact, being quick and simple to set up – leaving you with plenty of time for networking. 2. Stand out With many people favouring pull-up banners, your stretch stand will stand out against your competitors. Their seamless, un-creased fabric, vivid colours and double-sided print are fantastic for drawing attention to your brand. 3. Cost-effective Stretch stands offer a

CHRIS GOODMAN Managing Director at Soar Valley Press wide range of different design options making them fantastic at creating a great exhibition display that fits any budget. Their compact size and easy set up means avoiding transportation costs saving both time and money. With a range of widths up to 6m, one stand will fill your exhibition space. 4. Durable Both the fabric and aluminium components of stretch stands are sturdy and durable. They stand the test of time – when taken care of properly.

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TOP TIPS FOR A ‘GOOD’ BRAND GEMMA ORTON Managing Director at Mocha Marketing But it’s just a logo, right? Wrong! A brand is way more than ‘just a logo’. A brand is about how we leave somebody feeling and to achieve the right feel, there are many areas which need to be considered. ◆ Work with a professional to create a brand which talks to your audience. Design with the future in mind. Be authentic and memorable. You need people to understand what it is you do so be careful not to be too clever. ◆ Once you’re happy, create a set of brand guidelines to stop anybody deviating from being on brand. ◆ Message is key! Agree with key members in your team on the right message for your target audience(s) (there may be more than one!). You could use a professional to conduct

this. Keep the consumer in mind at all times. Put yourself in their shoes. ◆ Be consistent. Don’t do all this amazing work and only keep it up for a month or so. Consumer trust will plummet. ◆ Do what you say you’re going to do. The effect on a company brand when they don’t deliver what they promise can be devastating (most of us have been on the receiving end). ◆ Keep the team updated with your plans for the brand and marketing. The more you involve your team, the more powerful the vision and results will be. The most important measure of branding is whether the product or service is selling. If you’re investing in them and achieving what you set out to, it’s a good indicator that your branding is effective.

0116 298 9430 mocha-marketing.co.uk


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Mascots and

marketing De Montfort University students turned professors say animation and company mascots are the way forward in marketing


Two De Montfort University alumni who set up an animation company together – and taught the craft throughout 2019 in the same lecture halls they once learnt in – are showing businesses why animation is good for business. Couple Lois Cockerill and Darrell Wright graduated in 2017 with first class honours degrees in animation. They went on to gain Masters degrees and, shortly after, created their own company, Lead Balloon Studios in October last year, with their goal being to inject more fun into the world of business. With over 10 combined years of animating experience behind them already, Lead Balloon has worked with CODE, CapDragon, DMUWorks, and many more. Lois and Darrell, who got engaged to each other in September last year, create animations to enhance their client’s branding, entertain their audiences, inform their customers,

and market with mascots. Darrell said: “We love to entertain. From pilot episodes to animated shorts, we hope each animation puts a smile on someone’s face. “Our mascots are the most unique part of our business providing a friendly, recognisable face to brands, making them stand out from the competition.” Lead balloon uses informative animations to teach audiences about a product or services. They claim their unique approach to branding will add life to your marketing with beautiful 3D visuals and entertaining characters. Equipped with unique talent, the pair were invited back to De Montfort University to teach animation to students last year. Lois said: “We not only want to make brands recognisable but also memorable. An animation can do just that and more. “Think Frozen or those Minions popping up everywhere, even the meerkats on telly talking


about car insurance, they’re all CGI and they all left a lasting impression on their audience.” According to HubSpot, 54 per cent of people want to see more video content online and 73 per cent want the videos they see to be more entertaining. The Lead Balloon animators say if you’re not featuring eye-catching animation somewhere on your digital platforms you may struggle to stand out against your competition. With this business foresight, Lois and Darrell are teaching businesses to put their passion into animation as it continues to hook audiences from all generations and all walks of life. It seems no matter who your audience is, their age, religion, location in the world, mascots – and animation in general – work in a way that no other media form can. leadballoonstudios.co.uk NICHE | 71

How sticky is your business? Brand glue is a term we use to explain to our clients how to best look at and consider brand. Realising and seeing a brand as individual actions, and how each action behaves and reacts in the environment. But, more importantly, how you control your brand; how do actions interact and what should you do next – are you joining the dots? This methodology helps ambitious businesses plan brand activity and get the greatest return on investment.

Your logo is just the beginning A great business presence starts with a logo. Not just any logo – if you get this wrong you’ll miss the opportunity to stand out from your competitors and turn off customers from the start. Think about how many times your logo will be seen in the life-cycle of your business; every web impression, email, brochure, business card and social media post. Stop thinking of your logo as an expense and start thinking of it as a long-term investment.

Service with a smile Is your workforce engaged and onboard with your brand? From the receptionist to the MD, attitude and impressions count. A negative encounter with a member of your staff can seriously damage your brand. Take the time to train, educate and inspire your workforce and make sure that they feel valued as a brand ambassador.





Don’t come unstuck Think of brand glue as a mindset. A brand isn’t something that you do once and then put on the shelf, it should be on the agenda all the time. Brand glue is a way of approaching the brand environment, it focuses you on what’s happening and how it should be connected. This way, your brand journey will be sound.

If you’re ready to develop your business brand, Creative62 are ready to help. Call us today on 0116 257 2831


Discovering the story When looking for a video agency, what are you looking for exactly? High-tech equipment, a creative mindset in the staff, a strong recommendation?


It’s highly probable that you will expect all of it. Yet not all video agencies are created the same. Too often, in the world of promotional films, the human story can get lost in a sea of business speak. Husband and wife team Steve and Catherine Baker aim to inject some ‘humanity’ into their films and have a long track record of creating content that really matters. “We create films that have heart, that communicate the sense of soul behind the product. From the outset this was and remains our aim, otherwise the audience just won’t buy into it and our brief wouldn’t be fulfilled,” Catherine says. Launched in 2010, Indigo Blue Media is made up from an exciting team of experienced film and media professionals, whose experience spans the last 20 years. “We have a solid grounding at the BBC, have worked in the cut and thrust of global agencies,

and as a company, have created a variety of award winning and effective films that are authentic, cinematic and fundamentally human in their approach.” Indigo Blue Media works with organisations and businesses big and small across the globe, creating films to support campaigns for clients such as HSBC, BBC, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Prologis, Coca-Cola, Velux, Nokia, Fujitsu and Sony Music. However, no matter the size, the agency’s commitment to the creative process is the same. Steve said: “We enjoy working with a wide range of projects, whether big or small. The variety of projects helps us to remain creative and stimulated to push each project as far as it can go. And, after carefully planning and designing even before the first frame, the vision we have for each project is always unique.”


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DANIELLA SMITH Showroom Manager at Sherwin Hall Kitchens/Oadby House

EMERGING KITCHEN TRENDS There are some distinctive spring/ summer kitchen trends emerging for 2020. Dark green hues on cabinets are really causing a stir, whilst also being incorporated in the form of accents, such as wallpaper featuring botanicals. However, it’s increasingly likely to take the form of tiles and cabinetry, in tones of emerald and forest green. Green can be an attractive and a bold choice for a kitchen in 2020. Combining two colours throughout kitchen cabinetry is also set to rise this year, adding interest and looking great with textured lighter wood paired with dark hues on cabinets. Open shelving is another simple yet stylish way to add interest to a kitchen space and this year it’s looking to be more popular than ever. Ideal for those who are committed to organisation of course! Commercial kitchens are incorporating these looks into new builds and they are shaping up to be as innovative as ever. Due to our expertise in the area, we won The Davidson Homes Customer Care Award due to our commitment to professional fitted kitchen design, supply and installation. Our experienced project management team will ensure that every aspect of the project is delivered on time and on budget. This last year we have also secured contracts with Sheiling Homes at Gilmorton, Foxborough homes at Foxton, and a new site with Littlejohn Designer Homes at Kibworth.

oadbyhouse.com info@oadbyhouse.com 74 | NICHE

HOW TO GET YOUR GARDEN ON TREND FOR 2020 Gardening is growing in popularity as a hobby for all ages it seems. Potting plants and trips to the garden centre are enjoyable activities in today’s techfuelled society. It means people are taking more of an interest in their garden and considering its décor as seriously as they do their home. Here are three of the top trends that you will see creeping into people’s gardens and displayed around garden centres throughout the year.

Get kids off their screens

Outdoor play areas for kids will be a big theme this year and are a welcome distraction to the screens! However, parents will need to get a little more inventive with their choices though as children are growing a little tired of the trampoline, plastic slide and swing set. Never underestimate the power of more ‘traditional’ play equipment and classic garden designs. Sometimes going back to basics can make for a more idyllic childhood – one that we as parents are so nostalgic over. Think more rustic in your approach with play zones including balance beams, tracks and hammocks. Garden designers in the past year have been asked to incorporate wooden climbing frames, hammocks, and traditional blackboards surrounded by wildflowers for children to get stuck into nature. With so much technology right in front of us all the time, people really are starting to appreciate the outdoors again.

Curved pathways

Lines are bending with wilder and more curvilinear approaches. Paths will be more winding, accentuated around curved, rendered raised beds and paved areas. It can work in small spaces too with the right flow.

Wild and glamorous

There has been a great deal of press about how each of us can help wildlife with our outdoor spaces and most of us are keen these days to make our spaces wildlife friendly as well as beautiful. For those that like order, a wild garden may seem daunting, but it needn’t be, particularly if you dedicate a specific section of the garden for this theme. Planting is evolving to use many more wild plants that are great for wildlife and pollinators and invertebrates but without losing impact. If a slightly more formal look is preferred roses can bring both romance and bees. It needn’t cost the earth to make small changes but create a big impact in your outdoor space.

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A-Z of maintenance issues

A one stop shop for every property need is provided by 1 Stop Maintenance, run by Narinder Nijjar and Jaz Kaur


From homes that need general repairs or sprucing up, to premises that need revamping entirely, the maintenance team will see to it that any job – no matter how big or small – is completed to the highest standard. Working with numerous contractors, and maintenance and property specialists, Narinder and Jaz have built a reputation within the industry. They are reliable and efficient ensuring all work is carried out to top quality standards. Narinder said: “We love to build lasting relationships, whether that’s a homeowner who needs a fence replacing, or an organisation that requires project management for a whole series of works. We really do carry out the A-Z of maintenance issues.” Providing solutions to all maintenance matters, 1 Stop Maintenance pride themselves on maintaining a personal approach to how they work with their clients. Whether a landlord


with 1 or 30 properties, or a lettings agent with hundreds of properties, 1 Stop Maintenance has the team to be able to service their needs. The company also deals with anything from handy-man jobs such as replacing door handles, guttering, decorating and house clearance right through to refurbishments, building extensions, and project management. All in one place, the company has saved time and money for its clients who no longer need to call around three or four contractors to complete one project. 1 Stop Maintenance takes on all that responsibility whilst being reliable, cost efficient and building long term relationships. The team is always on hand with no automated system, just a real person waiting to respond to all calls. You may require 1 small job or a range of repairs. Still, only one call is required. The maintenance company is also partnered with global brand


Home-Fresh™ meaning they are facing real problems head on. Home-Fresh is a mould treatment formula, meaning 1 Stop Maintenance can treat, repair and prevent the recurrence of mould, no matter how big or small. Narinder said: “It’s due to our success with all things maintenance that has led to our alliance with Home-Fresh. There can be so many physical and emotional issues caused by damp and mould that it is just not worth the risk of letting it develop. “As we offer an A-Z of maintenance we can also redecorate leaving the space as good as new. We are excited to have made this strategic alliance to be able to offer this service and tackle a common issue. We even guarantee the work too!” Why wait, get in touch with the team for all your maintenance needs now. 0116 4821700 1stopmaintenance.co.uk NICHE | 79




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Student Lets Sarson Electrical Ltd guides us through the things to consider when it comes to providing safe electrical components in student accommodation


Electrical work for student accommodation is not the same as any other building type. The shared aspect means there will be lots of communal and service spaces to attend to, in addition to the typical layout and electrical needs of a house or most business premises. Things to consider include: External security lighting and CCTV which are required to protect the entrances and inhabitants within the accommodation. These need to be checked and maintained regularly as a matter of personal safety. Then there are further electrical safety measures such as key fobs and smoke alarms which each come with their own wiring and circuitry considerations. Emergency lighting for fires are also an important addition to

student accommodation. When it comes to lighting, students often keep more nocturnal social hours so things like lighting activated by PIR (Passive Infrared) sensors in hallways are a great way to provide light for the night owls whilst saving money and energy too. Ultimately, to meet the specific and unique needs a large student accommodation will require, a contracted specialist electrician like ourselves is needed. We can help with initial requirements so that the building covers all aspects of regulations as well as long term assistance with electrical maintenance on the property. 0116 304 3509 sarsonelectrical.co.uk

#Craftsmennottradesmen Bedroom design and install Stair remodelling Bespoke storage solutions Fire door installations

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www.true-roots.co.uk NICHE | 83

Women’s health At Nuffield Health Leicester Hospital

Nuffield Health Leicester Hospital women’s health services – welcome to award-winning healthcare At Nuffield Health Leicester Hospital, we aim to provide women with the individual care they need with rapid access to surgery, expert advice and personalised treatment plan. All of our women’s health specialists are supported by our dedicated matron-led nursing team, who take pride in providing a well managed, comfortable and confidential hospital environment. We offer rapid access to a wide range of women’s health treatments, from hysterectomies to breast cancer screening. Did you know you don’t require private medical insurance or a GP referral to receive treatment from us? Patients can also self-pay for our clinical services.

From gynaecology consultants, to female physiotherapists, to our rapid access breast care clinic, we offer a wealth of services at our private hospital in Leicester. Our experienced consultant gynaecologists specialise in a range of women’s health treatments which help to transform the wellbeing of women. If you are a woman and are in need of fast, first class medical advice or attention please get in touch with us today.

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signs, symptoms and treatments By Consultant Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgeon Neil Bhardwaj


Up to 20 per cent of adults in the UK will develop gallstones at some point in their lifetime. They are often diagnosed via an ultrasound scan (non-invasive jelly scan) of the abdomen. The common symptoms are usually bloating, excessive burping or wind, and pain usually under the right rib cage radiating to the back or between the shoulder blades or it may feel

like a tight band across the upper abdomen. These symptoms are particularly exacerbated by eating fatty foods or dairy. Some of the complications associated with gallstones include; acute inflammation/infection of the gallbladder, acute inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), or jaundice which can be life threatening (cholangitis) if the stones escape from the gallbladder and block the bile duct (the main duct draining the liver that is attached to the gallbladder). Gallstones also increase the risk of developing gallbladder cancer. The gold standard treatment and the only proven method of treating gallstones is by an operation to remove the gallbladder called a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (keyhole surgery). 86 | NICHE

It is one of the commonest general surgery operations performed and – in the vast majority of cases – it is performed as a day case procedure. Most patients return to work within a couple of weeks. Sometimes gallstones, when found incidentally on scans completed for other reasons, can be left alone. As I treat patients with gallstone disease regularly as

part of my specialist practice at the Leicester General Hospital and the Nuffield Leicester, I have experience in spotting the specific symptoms of the disease, as well as the appropriate treatment for individuals. Therefore, I would advise that it is important to have a thorough discussion with someone experienced in managing gallstone disease before doing so. 0116 274 3709

The World Sleep Society is issuing a global call to action about the importance of healthy sleep. Friday, March 13, 2020 is the 13th annual World Sleep Day®. World Sleep Day is an internationally recognised awareness event bringing researchers, health professionals and patients together to recognise sleep and its important impact on our health. World Sleep Day 2020 will incorporate the slogan, ‘Better Sleep, Better Life, Better Planet,’ highlighting sleep’s important place as a pillar of health, allowing for better decision making and cognitive understanding in even big issues, such as our planet. Dr. Liborio Parrino is Chair of the World Sleep Day Committee. Dr. Parrino expresses, “If we really want to contribute to the planet’s survival, a wise activity is to extend the period of our sleep time. That’s why this year’s World Sleep Day slogan connects good sleep to improved planet health.” Increased sleep periods mean less consumption of fuel, electricity, food and oxygen (breathing is attenuated during sleep). Better quality sleep also reduces the risk of labor-related and road accidents, promotes the secretion of melatonin and protects the natural circadian clock, which can prevent premature aging in humans. Dr. Parrino adds, “Extending our sleep period also improves our mental and body performances during the day and, last but not least, enhances our dreaming experience, as REM stages are mostly concentrated in the final portion of sleep, which is often curtailed by the urging rules of modern life.”



Work Processes



Not Valued

Being Diverted

If this sounds like you contact Function Jigsaw on 0116 340 0255 For more information


on 4 D .9/ oc 5H tif y* *

Niche Ad 190 x 137mm final.qxp_Layout 1 20/02/2020 09:38 Page 1

The Stoneygate Eye Hospital The East Midlands only dedicated private eye hospital

…One page just wasn’t enough The Stoneygate Eye Hospital

376 London Road Stoneygate Leicester LE2 2PN Reception: 0116 270 8033 E: patient@thestoneygateeyehospital.com www.thestoneygateeyehospital.co.uk

For a no-obligation consultation

Tel: 0116 270 8033

** Data taken on the 13/02/2020, from 136 reviews




GOING PRIVATE FOR EYE HEALTH As a private hospital, we’re able to offer more services and options that wouldn’t normally be available through the NHS, including the option of having a multi-focal lens for a cataract procedure, which can negate the need for glasses entirely. Thanks to the streamlined patient experience and seven highly skilled consultants, wait times are drastically reduced. From initial phone call to surgery can be as little as two weeks. Seeing the hospital grow from where we were just a few short years ago, to now operating on over 3000 cataract procedures per year is quite remarkable. What sets the hospital apart from other ophthalmic services is a relaxed, comforting approach with state-of-the-art equipment and expertise. The Hospital benefits from free parking and an inviting atmosphere within two converted and extended residential buildings. There are a variety of different procedures on offer, ranging from cataract operations, lens exchange, laser eye surgery, vitreo-retinal surgery and many more. We’re constantly reviewing patient feedback and adapting all areas to ensure that as we continue to grow, our high level of service continues. We may not be the biggest specialist ophthalmic practice, but we strive to provide the best possible service with a traditional experience. The service we offer is personalised to each patient’s needs and help to alleviate any fears or concerns they might have. With many financing options available, we also offer 0% interest for the first 12 months.

0116 270 8033 thestoneygateeyehospital.co.uk 88 | NICHE

As an employer, how much do you focus on your employees’ wellbeing? How much attention do you give to their mindset? Are you aware of how they deal with pressure? Having the ability to deal with and perform under pressure requires us all to develop a wide range of mental skills. Our programme at Function Jigsaw incorporates a unique approach that provides businesses and individuals with a framework, as well as the practical methods and tools to help us all think clearly, feel more in control and act effectively when it counts. Performing under pressure requires us all to practice a range of important skills so that we can stay on task. Specific incidents can trigger emotional responses that find our attention being diverted away from important processes. It’s therefore safe to say that where our attention goes, our energy goes. Businesses and individuals who

ANDY KEY Head of Performance at Function Jigsaw perform to the highest level do so because they have a clear focus on the task in hand. Those who also regularly refer to the overview of their business, make sure they remain on track and efficient under pressure. Our bespoke programme positions mental attitude as a critical element to thriving under pressure. Having a clear plan and precise direction for performance improvement occurs when your structures, skillset and mindset have clarity and purpose.

0116 340 0255 functionjigsaw.co.uk

THE CHANGING WORLD OF HEALING PRITI COLES RCST/Bodyworker In today’s hectic lifestyle with our lives running to deadlines, we often forget to take time out to nurture ourselves. Part of nurturing involves being grounded, feeling safe and letting go of people, situations and feelings that no longer serve us. However, research suggests that the easily accessible talking therapies, meditation, yoga and mindfulness don’t always achieve the results that we expect anymore. For some sufferers, these therapies can even cause further anxiety and depression. We are now increasingly turning to therapies that reincorporate touch. Craniosacral therapy, chiropractic, osteopathy, Rolfing, acupressure and therapeutic touch are therapies offered by Bodyworkers. As a Bodyworker I can help you to release tension that you

may not be aware of. Bodyworkers are very knowledgeable about how your physical body holds stress at a cellular level. Your physical body holds emotions even when your conscious mind does not experience them as feelings. Using light touch a Bodyworker facilitates your body’s natural inherent power of selfhealing, helping you to heal emotional trauma and pain from injury and surgery. Working gently with an open mind and no judgements, I help my clients to care for their ‘wounds’ without overwhelming them or making their struggles worse. Craniosacral therapy is a hands-on therapy that is safe and gentle yet has profound results, used to treat all ages from birth to the twilight years. It helps with dyslexia, autism, depression, anxiety, headaches, inflammatory conditions, pain and many other conditions.

07795 361 288 priticoles.co.uk

FOOD COURT In this issue, local business people choose their favourite places to eat in and around Leicestershire

The best eating establishments in Leicestershire DOMINIC GOMERSALL


Managing Director at Lumbers

My foodie favourite is still back to our old haunt of Market Street. Newman’s restaurant – right next door to our older shop at 32 which used to be opposite the then Fenwicks. We find ourselves back at the welcoming Newman’s for more heartwarming, delicious food and friendly service. It’s a family run restaurant with Dean and Chris providing fantastic quality food. If you want a cooked breakfast – then there is nowhere better in Leicester. My lunch recommendation is the lasagne – no PC small portion here – a good healthy appetite will be satisfied! However, we’ve tried many dishes on the menu and are never


4 SEASONS CHAAT HOUSE 4seasons-chaathouse.co.uk 0116 266 0513 108, BELGRAVE ROAD, LEICESTER LE4 5AT

Founder of Urban Apothecary

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Leicester has an abundance of amazing restaurants and I have many favourites across a broad spectrum of cuisines. These include ones that I have visited since a child with my family such as the 4 Seasons Chaat House on Belgrave Road which is great for simple street food such as Pani Puri and Mixed Chaat. 4 Seasons Chaat House offers a stimulating range of Gujrati and IndoChinese dishes with a creative twist to appeal to the western palate. The menu has been influenced by thousands of years of Asian culture and has been carefully prepared to present an interesting and exciting representation of one of the world’s

disappointed with taste, presentation and portion sizes. Unpretentious, modest and traditional, it specialises in simple, quality food that is served quickly and is extremely good value for money. Breakfast is always a good call at Newman’s – you almost certainly cannot have a bad day if this is your first stop. The courteous staff are friendly and attentive making it a very popular place and can be quite busy at times but is always extremely well presented. With tables on the ground floor and al fresco dining available upstairs, there is an easy-going atmosphere that always provides a highlight to the day.

most popular cuisines. Detail to taste is the key, which is the reason why their sauces, samosas and of course, all of our dishes are freshly prepared. The restaurant often becomes extremely busy during pre-theatre service. They’ve listened to the needs of their guest and created something to suit them. They run a two-course pre-theatre package to ensure all our customers receive an excellent service and are able to finish their two courses recommend leaving at least an hour and a half before your show. It’s a lively place that always provides excellent service and we will of course be visiting again.

KERRY SMITH Editor of Niche at Cross Productions

NINDER JOHAL CEO at Nachural Group

BARRY LEE Director Lee Business Advisory Limited

LEEJA PALACE 0116 271 0482 13 THE PARADE OADBY, LEICESTERSHIRE, LE2 5BB Tucked away in an upstairs venue and overlooking the Oadby parade, the restaurant is a hidden hive of sizzling activity. Its sleek, modern décor manages to be sophisticated yet relaxed and comforting. And with a friendly face to greet you upon arrival, it’s impossible not to feel right at home. I’m not the most adventurous when it comes to dinner time, but I know what I like, and I like to stick to it and Leeja Palace has served the best paneer tikka masala and pilau rice so far! The menu is extensive and the bar well stocked. With the staff’s flexible approach, they’re always willing to adapt the dishes for you and happy for a chat about ingredients and popular

choices. The food arrives steadily due to its freshness and presentation making for an exceptional mouthwatering experience. The last time I visited was with a big group of 14 – and on Valentine’s Day meaning the kitchen was very busy. But it was handled with complete professionalism. We were one of the last to leave, and it was lovely to see the staff as they came into the restaurant with a big cheer and applause for having successfully managed a heaving restaurant all whilst solving a technical issue in the kitchen which went completely unnoticed. Leeja Palace is a true hidden gem. Order online or call the very friendly team to book.


chutneyivy.com 0116 251 1889 41 HALFORD STREET, LEICESTER, LE1 1TR As I approached the restaurant, I was met with a big smile and an outstretched welcoming handshake by its owner Shaf Islam. In hospitality, and those familiar with service industries, understand that a customer’s experience is dictated by the first person that they meet from the business. I was directed to my table. I could hear the soft relaxing sound of a live saxophone positioned in the corner – not too loud to be disturbing but enough to add some ambience to the eating experience. The restaurant was well laid out and modern with a distinct corporate feel to it. I opted for the Vegetarian menu: The Bombay Aloo consisting of diced

potatoes cooked in garlic, onions and roasted spices. I had it accompanied by Bhindi Achaari, which is a wonderful dish of yellow lentils temped with a sprinkling of coriander, dry red chillies and garlic and cumin seeds. There was a good selection of wines and beers but as someone who prefers soft drinks, I settled for an orange juice. The restaurant has a private room downstairs complete with bar (which I subsequently visited on a couple of occasions) and is available for private functions. Its website is fantastic, and its owner understands the role of social media and the importance of Instagram and how this can impact their business positively.


casaromana.co.uk 0116 254 1174 5 ALBION STREET LEICESTER LE1 6GD Some things should never change. I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy some superb lunches in Leicester, but whenever the restaurant choice is down to me, it has to be Casa Romana. The restaurant boasts that ‘beyond its dark green door lies a vibrant restaurant serving some of the best traditional Italian Food in the Midlands’– this I have found to be true. There was never a need to peruse the menu for longer than 10 seconds. Filetto Roberto with a bowl of authentic, thinly cut fries and a suggestion (small!) of a side salad, is usually the choice for all carnivorous guests. All other expected Italian cuisine staples are present, cooked and served

to the highest standard. Situated on the quiet Albion Street, you’ll find a wonderfully friendly, vibrant restaurant serving some of the best traditional Italian food in the Midlands. It’s reasonably close to the offices and professions which comprise its lunchtime trade, it has a comfortably traditional feel. Casa’s founder Roberto set the bench high back in the 1980s. It’s about simplicity at Casa Romana, using the best ingredients they can lay their hands on, they follow time honoured, Italian traditions and serve up the type of food you’ll come back for. In a time where outdated values are being replaced, some things should never change. NICHE | 91



With so many outstanding eateries, themed restaurants and stylish street food vendors in Leicestershire, we’ve put together a directory of just some of the fantastic places to eat in the county. Why not make it your mission to visit them this year!

Opening Hours Monday to Saturday: 8am - 6pm Sunday & Bank Holidays: 10am - 4pm

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Farndon Fields Farm, Farndon Road, Market Harborough LE16 9NP Tel: 01858 464838


WYVERN restaurant free functbiolen to room availtae any celebra n occasio

open 6

days a week

party booking now being takes n

come and enjoy authentic veg & Non-Veg indian cuisine here follow us @wyvernrestaurantbar Kerrysdale Avenue, (Corner of Barkby Road), Rushey Mead, Leicester LE4 7GJ

0116 319 1380

Ink-redible Giggling Squid is now open This vibrant Thai restaurant has brought a ‘Bangkok feel’ to Leicester’s St Martins Square


Featuring Giggling Squid’s unique, bright and bold floral interiors with its nod to the ingredients from the sea and the land, the restaurant’s décor even includes flowers picked and pressed for wall features by the restaurant’s co-founder, Thai-born Pranee Laurillard. Stylish and comfortable banquets will be featured to encourage the ethos

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of Thai mealtimes – plentiful dishes to share and enjoy with friends and family. Pranee comments: “For me, what was missing from the food scene was that Bangkok feel – energetic, informal, adventurous, where food is celebrated, and you don’t have to dress up to enjoy it. It’s relaxed, no standing on ceremony – just having a good time, over something tasty. “I want people to feel like they’re in my home. Every Giggling Squid has my own personal touch to it. A lot of love, and sometimes sweat and tears, goes into each one!!” A true labour of love, and taking

inspiration from Thai traditions and legends, as well as Pranee’s own food memories, the Giggling Squid menu features vibrant, fresh and flavoursome dishes celebrating the abundance of exciting and exotic ingredients found across Thailand, all cooked by expert Thai chefs. Giggling Squid is at 3-5 St Martin’s Square and is open Monday-Thursday 12pm-10pm, Friday-Saturday 12pm10.30pm, Sunday 12pm-9.30pm. 0116 251 9999 leicester@gigglingsquid.com

The real Italy

here in Enderby Italian, experiential dining restaurant Cini introduces its new menu WORDS BY EMILY KIRTON


Andrea Paduano brought his passion for top-quality authentic Italian food from his birthplace in Naples to the UK – and through his restaurant, Cini’s in Enderby, he has remained true to his roots since it opened in 2002. “I have always wanted to create dishes and a dining environment which felt true to Italy,” Andrea tells me as I dive with gusto his food – a delightful prawn and Thai rice affair, followed by a second starter of pasta, courgette, mint and ricotta cheese. I’ll admit I’m slightly distracted from what he is telling me due to the delicious food in front of me, but what he is saying rings absolutely true. The fresh and vibrant flavours coming through the new addition to the spring/summer menu produce a beautiful concoction of summer in flavour form where each ingredient gets its chance to shine. With that dish polished off, I start to anticipate my main course as Andrea tells me about the new menu. “The new menu will be sectioned into vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian and meat-eating options. There will be more than the typical couple of vegetarian options which are very limiting

for a lot of people. We wanted to provide a menu that was appealing for all, whatever their dietary requirements.” Curating menus is a real joy for Andrea, who draws on his love of the great Florien Bar of Venice as well as his years of experience in the industry all over the world. It’s still the flavours of Italy which he won’t stray from, however, no matter the trends in the industry. “We always have been true to our roots; I know we won’t change the ethos of how and why we started. I want Cini diners to experience the authentic taste of Italy here in the UK with ingredients which I am proud to cook with.” The pride that Andrea and his team take in creating exceptional, innovative dishes can be experienced through more than just the dishes served – a good seat in the open yet intimate restaurant gets you a front row seat to the open kitchen where you can see the bustle of the chefs creating the food. An open kitchen is a bold move, but it’s one that guests at Cini have come to enjoy. My main course arrives and at this point it’s eagerly anticipated. Veal cooked to perfection served


with seasonal vegetables in an exotic mushroom sauce. Andrea doesn’t hold back on flavours nor portion sizes, but with dishes like this there’s no way I am leaving any. Dessert comes with a story. Andrea explains that this “isn’t just any Tiramisu”, its birthplace was in the aforementioned Florien Bar of Venice. It’s packed with delicate flavours and a beautifully chocolatey outer layer that’s perfectly balanced with the dish’s traditional taste of coffee – not overpowering as some Tiramisu can be. It’s delightful and a suitable way to finish a lunch of five courses. As I sip my espresso, myself and Andrea comment on the wonderful social experience that dining can be, and that so many of us appear to miss out on the joy of dining with friends and family over a number of hours due to our busy lives. Thankfully, places like Cini remind us of that joy. 0116 286 3009 cinirestaurant.co.uk NICHE | 95

Indian Indo-Chinese Italian Mexican ●

GREAT food, buzzing atmosphere and friendly service is what you get at Mirch Masala, one of the most popular restaurants along Leicester’s Golden Mile. Sharing dishes, trying new flavours and tastes all add to the appeal of multi-cultural influences that have led to fusion dining. Mirch Masala was the first world street food restaurant in Leicester serving Indian, Indo-Chinese, Mexican and Italian food alongside a choice of pizza, burgers, sandwiches and different flavored chips. Served with a range of fresh juices, smoothies, milkshakes, lassis, mock-tails and cocktails. There’s an exciting choice of all good things vegetarian and vegan too, all served in a bright, trendy venue extending a warm welcome to meet and eat.

Whether you want a take out or eat in Mirch Masala is the place

0116 261 0888


Mon-Sun: 11am - 10.30pm

THE GOOD FOOD DIRECTORY Baked by Neelu info@bakedbyneelu.com 07854 442 880 bakedbyneelu.com We specialise in made to order gluten, dairy, soya free and vegan brownies and brownie mixes. We believe everyone should be able to enjoy a naughty treat whether they suffer from allergies/intolerances or are vegan/vegetarian.

200 Degrees Coffee Shop 10-12 Market St, Leicester LE1 6DP 0116 319 2770 200degs.com We are unashamed coffee geeks. Our distinctively independent coffee shop is served by a team of highly skilled baristas. Relaxed and homely, with coffee from our own Roast House and food made fresh every day.

Newhams 33 Market St, Leicester LE1 6DN 0116 254 2090 Newman’s has made it’s name on tasty food, cooked to order and served in a cheerful atmosphere close to the market and historic quarter. It’s fully licensed and the menu includes all day breakfasts, light lunches and roast dinners. 96 | NICHE




B O O K N O W A T W W W. L E I C E S T E R - R A C E C O U R S E . C O M

Become a Curve Business Associate and enjoy a range of benefits... Engage and entertain clients through our bespoke hospitality service, preferential rates on venue hire, corporate booking service and regular B2B networking events. Our Business Associates also benefit from added marketing value through various branding opportunities year round. CONTACT Alex Bliss Sponsorship and Projects Manager a.bliss@curvetheatre.co.uk 0116 242 3580



V I S I T O U R W E B S I T E F O R T I M I N G S - W W W. L E I C E S T E R - R A C E C O U R S E . C O M


Best of British?


The 92nd Academy Awards Oscar nominations came hot on the heels of the Golden Globe Awards – and immediately following, the ‘woke’ 2020 #BaftasSoWhite scandal. This systemic discrimination was fiercely called out by BAFTA’s Best Actor winner for Joker, Joaquin Phoenix, to a rapt audience. Once again, female directors were cheerfully overlooked and, as ever BAFTAs wise, British films – especially First World War epic 1917 – reigned supreme. But in a post-Brexit age, what actually constitutes a British film and how does it compete in a global market? Writing this early in February, we’ll all know when you read this in print how well we’ve actually done at the Oscars. Of course, most movies are

TRACEY MILLER Partner of The Miller Partnership

truly international when one takes into account casting, creating and marketing the films we watch, but 1917 is recognisably a British film. Directed by Sam Mendes, 1917 has the look of a ‘one shot wonder’ but is actually significantly more complex and interesting than that from a cinematography perspective thanks to the genius of Coen brothers alumnus, and 2020 BAFTAs winner, Roger Deakins. It’s a personal tale of bravery in extremis, of going it alone, inspired by Mendes’ grandfather, and for those who loathe war films it was almost as tough a watch as 2016’s awards-laden The Revenant. Will 1917 become as internationally lauded after its wins for Best Drama Film and Best Director at the Golden Globes? Do any of these films become those

we’ll purchase to watch again? If a film is a chore to be endured in the name of cultural relevance or education, rather than a joy to watch, it’s unlikely to make it into your home library. There are a significant number of important films I’m glad I’ve seen but wouldn’t want to see again. British films can offer a diversity of attitude, a quirkiness and grittiness not always found across the pond. Our shared language helps find an audience. Those EU counterparts who enjoy both demand and supply on home soil don’t always fare as well in the worldwide marketplace, so there’s definitively room for all.

traceyannmiller@hotmail.com themillerpartnership.com



01664 88 25 25





55 Asfordby Road, Melton Mowbray, LE13 0HR | T: 01664 88 25 25 | E. info@theamwellcare.com 100 | NICHE

needs YOU! Leicestershire charity Hope Against Cancer is setting a challenge for those who are tough enough to take on a walk on the wild side


Feeling like you want to set yourself a challenge? Want to raise money for a good cause whilst practising survival skills in the great outdoors? Hope Against Cancer has announced an amazing opportunity to enjoy a wide range of activities all in the name of raising funds with its Survive the Wild challenge. The adventure of a lifetime will take place on June 24-26, 2020 in the heart of the Lake District. Team members will be abseiling, river crossing, scrambling up gorges and riverbeds, climbing crags, swimming in open water, enjoying an array of survival activities, camping under the stars, and being self-sufficient cooking their own meals in the mountains. Plus, for those who want to up the challenge (and with a strong stomach) the I’m a Celeb Eating Challenge is on the cards too! Travelling by coach, the daring crew will set out to enjoy the great outdoors and all the fun it has to offer. Hope’s Corporate and Events fundraiser Tracey Hallam said: “Our ‘Survive the Wild’ event this year builds on the tremendous success of last year’s ‘Challenge the Wild’ event. Representatives of local businesses who attended have come back for more. We’d love to invite and involve more adventurous individuals to join us and challenge themselves

We’d love to invite and involve more adventurous individuals to join us and challenge themselves and in doing so, help us to stand up to the challenge of fighting cancer through local cancer research.” Hope Against Cancer is raising funds to strive for a future in which more people survive cancer. It’s funding innovative research that leads to improved treatments and achieves the greatest impact in the fight against cancer. Since it was founded in 2003, the charity has funded over 60 research projects that have helped improve treatments and outcomes for local cancer patients and helped to make Leicester a national cancer research centre of excellence. So, if you’re up to the challenge book your place by contacting tracey@hfcr.org. 0116 270 0101 hopeagainstcancer.org.uk

£250 min ship sponsor al on and pers £150 tion of contribu nt plans e (paym ble) availa

Corpora te sponsor ship availabl e

24th - 26th June 2020 Take on an amazing challenge for Hope Against Cancer in 2020 as you Survive The Wild in some of the most rugged and remote places in the UK. • • • •

Trek 20km over rugged terrain. River Crossings Abseil over waterfalls Scramble up gorges and river beds

• • • • •

Climb Crags Swim in the open water Be self sufficient. Cook your own meals in the mountains. Survival Activities Camp under the stars

For more information or to book your place contact Tracey on 0116 2700 101 tracey@hfcr.org All money raised goes to Hope Against Cancer to fund cancer research in Leicestershire & Rutland. Charity number 1091480.

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FULFILL YOUR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY Calling all businesses to join together and help us to house the homeless £100 to join and a monthly Direct Debit of £30 Bi-monthly email/newsletter reporting on the impact your business’s contributions make as a member of the 2020 club Two networking events where you can meet other 2020 members






Former Girl Guiding leader is the ‘perfect fit’ at Melton care home A Melton Mowbray care home has appointed a former Girl Guiding leader as its new activities co-ordinator. She aims to apply her experience of working with children to older people


Sophie Hermes has joined The Amwell, a residential, nursing, dementia and respite care home in Asfordby Road, to oversee and manage their lively and varied events programme. Sophie, 29, worked as a volunteer with Girl Guiding for 15 years before moving to Melton Mowbray last year. Originally from Cambridgeshire, she studied Textile Design at Manchester University and Garden Design at Inchbald School of Design, and is looking forward to bringing her creative skills to residents at The Amwell. Sophie said: “Taking on the position of activities coordinator is really exciting for me as I have been working with young people for years and I know there are so many things that The Amwell residents will enjoy too. “I’ve only recently moved to the area so I thought this would be good 102 | NICHE

way of becoming a part of the local community and applying some of what I did for Girl Guiding to this new role. “I’m looking forward to keeping the activities fresh and varied, with something new every day. In the spring I can’t wait to get outdoors with the residents, and use my gardening knowledge to help them do some raised beds planting whilst enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. Those things are universally enriching, especially for our residents in wheelchairs. “I’m definitely looking forward to incorporating some new creative activities into the programme, and getting out and about into the community with residents too.” Sophie’s pet dog Charlie, a chocolate Labrador, is also proving a big hit with residents when she brings him in once a week. “I’ve got to know

some of the residents quite well already and they absolutely love Charlie! He’s really popular.” Among Sophie’s first activities are clay pot making and decorating, plus Easter events, as well as a visit from a popular local entertainer.

01664 882 525 theamwellcare.com info@theamwellcare.com


In Focus with:


FOCUS is a youth charity with a vision of a society in which young people feel inspired and empowered to have a positive impact in their communities. Focus supports young people aged 13-25 years to develop the skills, confidence and aspirations to lead fulfilling lives and to make a positive contribution through volunteering. We meet Nathan to find out what it means to be a Focus mentor Why did you want to become a mentor? I first decided to become a mentor whilst volunteering on the Inspire project with Focus. Mentoring was an important part of the project as it allowed you to build a good rapport and understanding with individuals which meant they were more comfortable with opening up to you about any issue they may be

facing and needed help with. Mentoring also meant that you could spend time working with individual young people and therefore provide a more tailored and personal approach towards their own personal goals. What is most rewarding about being a mentor? For me, the most rewarding things about being a mentor is


knowing that you have helped someone who may be going through difficult times and have shown them ways in which they can help themselves and others along the way. Seeing someone grow and improve over the space of one to two years and having them thank you for the help and support you have given them is an overwhelming feeling. Having someone who feels like they can confide in you shows how much of an impact you have had on that person’s life and how much your support may mean to them. All these things are truly rewarding and make mentoring all the more worth doing. What skills have you developed as a mentor? It has given me a much greater understanding of people and their individual needs, helped with learning how to manage my time more effectively, how to solve problems, communication skills, management skills, planning, patience and more. But, more than that, it has taught me how to help others. 0116 251 0369 Focus-charity.co.uk NICHE | 103


Shama: Creating community Recognised by royalty, the charity aims to bring diverse groups of people together


Founded in 1985 by a group of Leicester women whose mission was, and continues to be, to empower local women from different backgrounds to become socially, educationally and economically active, Shama Women’s Centre is now a vital backbone of Leicestershire’s community. In February, Shama representatives met with HRH the Duchess of Cornwall in recognition of the work they do with vulnerable women. Through social, educational and employment support, the centre has helped thousands of women to gain confidence, qualifications and valuable friendships and connections. Local women who might otherwise experience isolation and loneliness have become

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active and valued members of the community through the work that the centre does in bringing people together. In 2015, the charity’s chairwoman Yasmin Nathani was awarded an MBE in recognition of her service to the empowerment of women in Leicester and the centre is extremely proud (and rightly so) of the work that they do within the community. A place for the women of Leicester to make friends, learn and reach their full potential, the charity has for over 30 years helped women from diverse communities to overcome cultural, economic and language barriers to achieve wonderful things and feel connected to their community. Centre visitors can experience workshops, mental health


support, receive advice and use the fantastic facilities to build confidence, gain qualifications, experience and find employment as well as improving mental and physical health. Complete with a women-only sauna and gym facilities, the centre also provides childcare and multi-lingual staff allowing their doors to be open for all. About Shama Women’s Centre, a beneficiary said: “Shama Women’s Centre is very good for all ladies, but it is very helpful for ladies who come from overseas and whose first language is not English. It has provided a great deal for me in my life.” 0116 251 4747 Shamawomenscentre.co.uk


The Big Chill : No Woman No Laughs The fifth year of the terrific comedy dining show, The Big Chill/i, in aid of Soft Touch Arts organised by Tracey Miller of The Miller Partnership took place on Tuesday, February 11. Chutney Ivy hosted the Leicester Comedy Festival Community Award winner which raised a whopping £4200. The entirety of the funds raised will support Soft Touch Arts’ work with vulnerable young people. Media Sponsors Cross Productions want to thank the fabulous Glynis Wright & Co Family Solicitors & Mediators in the company’s third year as headline sponsors, and the incredible ER Recruitment which joined 2020s all woman lineup as sound and staging sponsors. The Miller Partnership’s ‘Chilli’ Pete Miller worked the crowd of local Leicestershire businesses including: ECY Chartered Surveyors, Nelsons Solicitors, Kazzoo IT Solutions, Cambridge & Counties Bank, Juice Creative, Ian Guyler Consulting, All About Soft Skills, e-bate Limited, Howes Percival, and Pattersons Commercial Law. On stage, the Divine Dominique sang her heart out and comedy goddesses Mrs Barbara Nice, a perennial Leicester Comedy Festival favourite, and Mock The Week’s fantastically talented Olga Koch absolutely owned that stage. Shout outs went to Winstanley House, Curve, Burleighs and Remy Beauty for their Fab Four Big Prizes, to North Bar & Kitchen, Practical Printer, Everards, ASDA Oadby’s Community Team, and to Katherine West of Big Difference Company, the terrific charity who make Leicester Comedy Festival happen.

NICHE NICHE| 105 | 67


Suits and Vinyl Charity and Networking Evening This annual event always attracts a large crowd. It’s a popular one on the business scene with a broad range of companies coming together to raise money for charity. Each business puts forward an album cover to represent itself and the event organisers have it designed branded with the company’s logo, which were put together by creative company Juice. Over 100 people were in attendance. The crowd included lawyers, marketers, designers, and consultants. A huge thank you went out to all the corporate sponsors and everyone who attended the Suits and Vinyl night at Queen of Bradgate on Thursday, January 23. It was a night packed with great music, special guest DJs, local businesses and most importantly, an incredible amount of generosity from all attendees to help raise money for Hope Against Cancer and Bodie Hodges Foundation. Guest heard all the hits, including the ones the event’s corporate partners had chosen! They were also invited to bring along their favourite records for the special guest DJs to play.

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Alternative Business Awards As part of Leicester Comedy Festival, the Alternative Business Awards celebrates the serious men and women who drive the region’s economy with a series of unique categories. Event organisers sent out a huge thank you to Patrick Monahan (winner of ITV’s Show Me the Funny), for hosting, and BBC Football Commentator Ian Stringer hosted an auction in aid of charity Big Difference Company. This year’s winners were: New Kid on the Block Vicki Standing – Hope Against Cancer The Team with the L Factor Cross Productions Culture Vulture Leanne Bonner-Cooke MBE – e-bate Ryder Cup Claudia Hamilton Glass Half Full Byron Dixon OBE – Mircro-Fresh Alternative Business Person Nicol Nightingale-Spear – Fothergill Wyatt Top Table Favourite Kevin Routledge CBE – Leicester Riders Biggest Twit Scarlett Tinsley – ER Recruitment In at 9 gone by 5 Claire Herbert – Gateley Plc Fun where you least expect it Leicestershire Law Society Saving the world one skip at a time Smallman & Son Too hot to handle! David Simms, Champions (UK) plc Eternal Student Guy Thompson – S&G Business Development & Leicester Tigers player Bubble Trouble! Chris Rees & Adam Jolley Contribution to the community Jenny Cross NICHE NICHE| |107 67


Get in touch


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Profile for Niche Magazine

Niche Magazine Issue 37  

Niche Magazine is a bimonthly independent business and lifestyle magazine that supports local businesses

Niche Magazine Issue 37  

Niche Magazine is a bimonthly independent business and lifestyle magazine that supports local businesses