__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1

The widest-read business publication in the South East

ISSUE 9 . 2015

ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE

PLATINUM The radical change to the way we work

DIAMOND AWARDS

All the finalists named inside

PLATINUM Plus: Business Funding Guide International Trade Legal Issues Accountancy Wealth Management Business Travel Chamber News Business Style Editorial Opinion Networking Motoring

THE BUSINESS OF CHARITY Should charity be a business?

THE BIG STORY

WARREN BUFFETT

-THE SAGE OF OMAHA

$62 BILLION AND COUNTING READ ALL PAST ISSUES AT WWW.PLATINUMBUSINESSMAGAZINE.COM


The world awaits International solutions for you Trading overseas is an exciting proposition for any business, but there’s a lot to think about. It can be challenging, especially if it means venturing into a new territory where the language, the laws and the business culture are different. But it can also bring benefits – such as helping you win new customers, increase economies of scale and reduce your reliance on the domestic market. We have a range of resources and partnerships that could help your business fulfil its global potential. Gary Chown ACIB MCIBS - Chartered Banker Director Commercial Banking NatWest Bank Email: Gary.Chown@natwest.com 153 Preston Road, Brighton, BN1 6BE. Tel +44 (0) 1273 545145


Be More Successful DMH Stallard has been working in partnership with businesses for over 40 years, helping them become more successful. We focus on your business critical success factors and deliver commercial solutions to effectively manage your: • • •

Customer and supplier agreements Property and employees Finance, borrowing and insurance

Having the right strategic approach to effectively manage these factors can positively impact your bottom line. Don’t leave this to chance.

• • •

Intellectual property Shareholders and Directors Environmental issues

Contact us now for your completely free business self assessment pack. Email: dani.bennett@dmhstallard.com

DMH Stallard Corporate Law Firm of the Year 2014

London | Gatwick | Guildford | Brighton | Farnham | www.dmhstallard.com


WELCOME The New Year arrived with a bang and a feeling of great positivity from companies across the region. We hear news every day of mergers, expansion and growth, which is all indicative of UKPLC being in rude health. The general election in May might put the cat amongst the pigeons, but without a crystal ball, none of us have the faintest idea what the result will be, so “heads down and carry on!” seems to be the mantra. Congratulations to all the finalists in the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards, announced exclusively in this issue; we eagerly await the final in March to see who will carry home these prestigious trophies. We also announce the launch of the new Platinum Club (Gatwick), and a steady slew of high-profile companies is joining the most dynamic networking forum in Sussex. With all the concern over public money being invested in a private tourist venture, we break bread with Brighton’s i360 Managing Director, Eleanor Harris, to find out what all the fuss is about. Next month we look at the budget, with immediate analysis by the leading team at Kreston Reeves, who will bring all the news and views of the Chancellors statement.

ISSUE 9. 2015

46 KRESTON REEVES - THE GLOBAL NETWORK Executive Chairman Clive Stevens has a new company name and plush new offices in Crawley. Ian sits down with him to find out what the future holds... See page 46.

BRIGHTON i360 - REACH FOR THE SKY Eleanor Harris, MD of the i360, explains plans for the tallest observation tower in the country and why we shouldn’t worry that taxpayers’ money is involved... See page 40.

We have some great interviews and editorial features lined up for the coming issues, and the steady, dominant march of this publication into every corner of South East England continues unabated.

40

GATWICK DIAMOND BUSINESS AWARDS We announce the finalists in all categories and look

Ian & Maarten

4

forward to the event of the

32

year... See page 32.


THE TEAM Maarten Hoffmann – Director maarten@platinumbusinessmagazine.com 07966 244046

81

Ian Trevett – Director ian@platinumbusinessmagazine.com 07989 970804

MAARTEN GOES TO MUMBAI Not quite Herbie Goes Bananas, but we think he quite likes the BMW M6, and the current police manhunt is a result of him refusing to give it back!... See page 81.

AT A GLANCE 6 15 16 24 28 30 32

News Institute of Directors Warren Buffett Capital Management International Trade Sexy Pensions Gatwick Diamond Business Awards 36 Empowering Local Growth 38 Funding Escalator 40 Brighton i360 44 Investments

16

46 The Global Network 50 DMH Stallard 54 Rob Fawcett Interview 58 Travel 61 Charity News 68 Working Environment 81 Motoring 88 Anger Management 90 Education 101 Chamber News 110 Platinum Style 112 Secret Sussex 114 Wise words

Lynne Edwards - Commercial Property lynne@portfoliopublications.co.uk Tel: 07931 537588

Sally Wynn - Senior Designer

Julia Trevett – Accounts Manager All rights reserved. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions relating to advertising or editorial. The publisher reserves the right to change or amend any competitions or prizes offered. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent from the publisher. No responsibility is taken for unsolicited materials or the return of these materials whilst in transit. Platinum Business Magazine is published and owned by Platinum Business Publications Limited. Directors: Maarten Hoffmann and Ian Trevett

THE BIG STORY WARREN BUFFETT

Warren Buffett is one of the richest men in the world, yet most would brush past him in the street without ever noticing. A man of great financial wisdom and, at 84, still in demand by world leaders, he still lives in the house he purchased three decades ago for $31,000 and drives a 20-year-old car. Maarten Hoffmann investigates The Oracle.… See page 16.

5


{ NEWS }

LOCAL NEWS COLLEGE IN TROUBLE Students have been left high and dry because a college has no money to pay for their exams. Bosses at City College Brighton revealed they have been struggling to pay the bodies responsible for awarding its students qualifications. The latest revelation comes as the Government’s Further Education Commissioner is set to visit the college this week to monitor their financial recovery plan. A student at the college said: “The college has become a farce over the past 18 months. Exams are postponed because the college hasn’t the money to pay the exam board. My lecturer went to the shops to buy paper to be used for an assignment out of his own pocket because they had run out.” Commenting on the exam cancellations, a spokesman for City College said: “Among several thousand students who sit exams at City College each year, unfortunately, in some instances, exams have been delayed while payment issues were being resolved with awarding bodies. The college can give absolute assurance that no exam has been cancelled without a replacement date being scheduled” The news comes a day after principal and chief executive Lynn Thackway stepped down because of a family illness.

NEW LANDLORDS Hastings Borough Council has taken the surprising decision to lease 100 homes in the town from property owners in an attempt to beat the housing crisis for local people. Council leader Jeremy Birch said: “Many low-income households have said how difficult it is to get suitable accommodation because of the level of fees and deposits.” He said there was a reluctance by some landlords to let to people on housing benefits. The scheme would see the council become the landlord and responsible for paying a leasing fee to the owner and would also manage the property. Council Leader Jeremy Birch said the scheme would start in April and added: “If the scheme is as successful as we hope and think it will be, we will look at increasing the number of properties we let in future years.” Am I the only one thinking that we would not be in this predicament if the government hadn’t done away with their council housing stock in the first place?

“Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and it annoys the pig”

6

2015 SEAHAVEN BUSINESS AWARDS Nominations are now open for the 2015 Seahaven Business Awards. Categories include Business of the Year, Business Person of the Year, Best Environmental Business of the Year, Best Customer Service, Best Retailer and the President’s Award which this year will be for the Best New Business (under 2 year’s old). The Seahaven Business Awards recognise businesses which have shown tremendous commitment, innovation, success, commitment to staff and businesses which take pride in being part of the community and which drive to succeed in the current economic climate. Newhaven Chamber President Annie Lorys said ‘After the success of last year’s event, we are delighted to announce that we have 6 fabulous new trophies, designed and made by Newhaven Chamber member, goldsmith Mike Shorer. There are six awards for companies and individuals who either work in or are based around the BN9, BN25, of BN10 postcode areas. Businesses can even nominate themselves  in one or more of the categories or nominate any other business. Companies and individuals can be entered into more than one category and entry is free.  Closing date for nominations is  Friday 10th April 2015  and the winners will be announced at the Chamber President’s Gala Dinner on Friday 8th May 2015.


{ NEWS }

“Nothing is illegal if a hundred businessmen decide to do it”

THE FIGHT IS ON Come May 7th, the political landscape will change, and there is not a soul that can predict the outcome. The South East will be a major battleground, with many existing MPs facing a determined fight for their jobs. Crawley is a constituency that will be hotly contested. It’s a key Labour target seat, but the Conservative MP Henry Smith will be very keen to hold on to it. At the local and European elections Crawley was targeted by big hitters, including Labour’s Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, and the then Conservative foreign secretary William Hague. Hastings and Rye is held by the energy minister and Tory MP Amber Rudd, with a majority of less than 2,000. She faces a tough challenge from the Labour candidate Sarah Owen. The Brighton Kemptown seat held by the Conservative Simon Kirby also looks vulnerable - he has a majority of just 1,328. Brighton Pavilion is also held with a slim majority of just 1,252 by the UK’s only Green MP Caroline Lucas. She now faces a determined challenge from Tory Clarence Mitchell, who recently hosted Michael Gove to the City. The Hove and Portslade MP Mike Weatherley, who also has a majority of under 2,000, has announced that he will be standing down at the next election. Norman Baker knows he’ll have to fight to keep his Lewes seat for the Lib Dems as it is a prime target for the Conservatives, and as for the Liberal Democrats, many are predicting an election wipe-out. They currently have two seats in the South East. In Eastbourne, Stephen Lloyd beat the incumbent Tory candidate Nigel Waterson to take the seat with a majority of 3,435. He knows he will have a battle on his hands to retain the seat. No sooner had Eastbourne Pier been burnt down than the Prime Minister, David Cameron, and Chancellor George Osborne made a joint visit to the town pledging financial support. Given how tight this election promises to be, I think that this time every vote will matter.

START-UP TALENT WINNER This year the Brighton Racecourse played host to the 10th Young Start-up Talent (YST) showcase revealing the Brighton and Hove 2015 winner, Jodie Deakin, with her luxury leather pet accessory company, ‘Hounds and Hides.’ When asked how she felt about her recent victory, a tongue-tied Jodie simply said “I just didn’t expect it all. I’m so shocked!” Dan Simpson of Hartley Fowler commented that “Jodie is absolutely a worthy winner. She has drive, she knew what she wanted to do and I think she’s going to be a very successful businesswoman.” He later went on to describe the evening as “very inspiring.” Jodie has walked away with £50,000 worth of business products and services donated by local sponsors to support the start-up of a successful business. One of their sponsors, Abby Moreton, from Brighton Chambers of Commerce reflected on the initiative saying “It has direction, it has talent for sure and it encourages creativity, entrepreneurship, forward thinking and a sense of responsibility which is important.” After another successful Young Start-up Talent Showcase we can’t wait to see how rapidly these new businesses can grow. To find out more about Young Start-up Talent visit: www.youngstartuptalent.co.uk.

THE TIME IS UP If Sussex businesses and residents didn’t voice their opinion about the county’s future airport expansion, it is now too late. The Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, have listened to all sides and closed the consultation with a decision expected sometime in the summer. Congratulations to the Gatwick team who put up a sterling fight, and Sussex should now cross fingers and toes in the hope it goes our way as with 208,000 homes mandated for Sussex over the next 20 years, we are going to need the jobs.

7


{ NEWS }

LOCAL NEWS FIVE IN A ROW Skerritt Consultants have won the Citywire New Model Adviser® award for South East England for the fifth consecutive year. Richard Skerritt was surprised but pleased to win the New Model Adviser® award this year and planned to let people know about the achievement over the next 12 months. “I was amazed when we received it”, he said. “I had been thinking that having won it four years in a row, there was little chance of winning again. It’s a reflection that we are doing things the right way and recognition from Citywire is fantastic to have and is a credit to the entire Skerritts team”. Citywire provides news, information and insight for professional advisers and investors around the world, and publishes New Model Adviser - the magazine for professional financial planners.

OU MBA The Open University is among the top 1% of business schools in the world to achieve triple accredited status from AMBA (UK), EQUIS (Europe) and AACSB (US). So their MBA will be recognised anywhere in the world. The Open University MBA has been designed to integrate with the demands of a career and is backed by their cutting edge online teaching technology, so students are able to study in their own time, wherever they are. Their unique method of work-based action learning brings the MBA immediately to life in the workplace: What students learn today, they apply tomorrow. Unlike many traditional MBAs, the OU MBA module fees are only paid at the time of study. The module fees include all the costs of tuition and assessment, residential schools and most of the study materials. 40% of their MBA students are sponsored by their organisation and 80% of FTSE 100 companies have sponsored students on OU programmes. Self-funding students can spread the cost of study.

“Success in almost any field depends more on energy and drive than it does on intelligence. This explains why we have so many stupid leaders” 8

MP RESIGNS Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has announced he is to stand down at the next election, 32 years after entering parliament. The MP for Horsham said it was “time to make way for a younger candidate”. Mr Maude held ministerial positions in the cabinets of Margaret Thatcher, John Major and David Cameron. He won his seat in the 2010 general election, defeating the Liberal Democrats, with a majority of 11,460. In a letter to the Horsham Conservative Association, he said: “I was first elected to the House of Commons in 1983 just before I was 30, and will be nearly 67 by the time of the election in 2020. However, 27 years is a long time to serve as a Member of Parliament, and I believe now is the right time to make way for a younger candidate to carry the Conservative flag in Horsham.” Mr Maude was elected to the House of Commons in 1983 as MP for North Warwickshire, where he served until 1992. After five years out of office he returned as MP for Horsham in 1997, which he has represented since.


{ NEWS }

“If work is so terrific, why do they have to pay you to do it?”

NEW APPOINTMENTS FOR THE MDHUB Phil Green, Director of the MDHUB, the South East’s premier peer to peer business growth network, has announced new appointments in the company’s structure. From January 2015 Fiona Shafer, will become Managing Director, Kerry Kyriacou becomes Associate Group Development Manager and Ruth Maddison takes on a new role as Marketing Coordinator. Phil said: “These appointments herald an exciting new phase for MDHUB and I am thrilled that we have been able to strengthen our team to reflect our ongoing commitment to provide a quality service and expand the membership. Fiona has worked as a Director of the Hub for the past six years and I am confident that her talent and vision, together with help from the rest of the team, will ensure that it goes from strength to strength.” Following an 18 year career in business management in the recruitment industry and latterly as a senior adviser with the Business Link network, Fiona established her own consultancy Omega Blue in 2002. As winner of the DTI’s Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative for Business Advice for England in 2002, Fiona has continued to work as an adviser accredited to SFEDI and the Institute of Leadership and Management. She joined MDHUB as a facilitator in 2004 and has been a Director for the past 7 years. Said Fiona: “I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to lead an organisation with such extraordinary value to offer to the Sussex business community and economy. Working with the members of the MDHUB continues to be an on-going source of inspiration for me and so I consider myself to be extremely lucky to work with such talented people in a job that I love.”

DIAMOND GROWTH Businesses in the Gatwick Diamond are gearing up for growth, according to the latest survey from the area’s business-led partnership. The Gatwick Diamond Initiative has published the results of its Autumn/ Winter Business Barometer survey, which is used to assess the mood of the business community in the area. In addition to general questions about economic confidence and access to finance, the survey focused on recruitment and skills issues in the region and implications for growth. Confidence among businesses is generally high, with 70% of businesses expecting to grow business turnover over the next six months. Nevertheless, the costs associated with that growth are cause for concern, and 40% of businesses expect to have to consolidate or reduce their costs. Businesses are also starting to feel nervous about the implications of a General Election in 2015 and the effect that might have on economic stability. Rosemary French OBE, Gatwick Diamond Initiative Executive Director, said: “This survey shows Gatwick Diamond businesses are ‘going for growth’, but there is no room for complacency, and access to skilled people with the right attitude to work is going to be vital to fuel and sustain that growth. The Gatwick Diamond remains an attractive proposition for companies to invest or relocate to the area, and we are fortunate to have access to one of the most educated and skilled labour markets in the country. However, for employers, it’s not just about qualifications, but overall employability.”

NEW SITE FOR UNIVERSITY A University of Brighton higher education campus could be created at Novartis’ former Horsham site as part of exciting new plans recently announced. The pharmaceutical company is currently negotiating the sale of the site with the Sussex-based university after its operations ceased in the town last year. If agreed, a high-quality centre for higher education could create an estimated 2,250 new jobs, bring £1.7bn of investment into the region over 10 years, and provide around 3,500 places for students. Initial proposals would see the retention of many buildings on-site, including the Art Deco structure, office space, and the laboratories, alongside a new student village in the south east corner of the site to accommodate up to 2,000 students. Julian Crampton, vice-chancellor of the University of Brighton, said: “We are pleased to confirm that we have entered into negotiations to acquire the former Novartis site in Horsham. “These discussions are at an early stage, but if the sale goes ahead, we plan to open an innovative, high-quality centre for higher education that will give a major boost to jobs, skills and business opportunities in the Gatwick Diamond area. “We will be working closely with Horsham District Council and the Coast to Capital Local Economic Partnership, as well as local business, schools and colleges, to ensure our plans develop in a way that benefits the local economy and the local community.”

9


{ NEWS }

NATIONAL NEWS THE BUSINESS SECRET WEAPON WhatsApp, the social messaging service acquired by Facebook for $19bn last year, is arguably the world’s fastest-growing communication app. It has more than 700m monthly active users and carries 30bn messages per day, double Facebook’s daily message traffic. The question company bosses are now asking is: how can I use the channel for business? As a communication tool, WhatsApp has all the bells and whistles. It allows users to chat in real-time, supports multimedia, including video and voice messages, and can transmit to groups of up to 50 people. Unlike the social platform Twitter, it allows for messages longer than 140 characters. Direct advertising and soliciting business via WhatsApp is a violation of its terms of service but sharing images, blog posts, and engaging with customers (without going for the hard sell) is deemed above board. Nickolay Piriankov, 27, co-founder of bespoke diamond ring maker Rare Pink, uses the app to build rapport with his customers. “WhatsApp wasn’t something we planned to use,” he says. “Customers asked for it. Now every design consultant has WhatsApp on their work phone.” Rare Pink offers online consultations to customers who are looking for unique rings. “Every customer has a personal consultant, which helps us to decommoditise our offering,” says Piriankov. “We make sure they can reach their consultant, 24 hours a day, through any medium they choose.” The start-up, which launched in October 2013, also offers “live chat” through its website for more old-fashioned clients. “But that’s so ‘90s,” says Piriankov.

A STRONG START British businesses enjoyed an unexpectedly strong start to the year, marked by faster hiring and rising new orders that bode well for economic growth in early 2015. A monthly survey by Markit/ CIPS of businesses in the dominant services sector suggested the economy as a whole is growing at a rate slightly above the 0.5 percent recorded in the final three months of 2014. This is good news for Prime Minister David Cameron, who hopes Britain’s economic recovery will persuade voters to return him to power in the general election on May 7th.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it” 10

KEEP OUT OF POLITICS Chuka Umunna, the Shadow Business Secretary, has told business leaders to keep their noses out of politics following the detrimental comments made recently by several business tycoons. Companies across the country will be furious to be told to voice no comment on something that deeply affects our everyday lives, our families, our staff and our future prosperity. Labour denies it is anti-business and then comes out with insulting claptrap like this. Business runs this country, employs everyone in this country and provides the vast majority of its tax receipts, and the sooner all politicians realise they are there to ‘serve’ business and not ‘dictate’ to business, the better off we will all be.


{ NEWS }

“Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them more”

ESSENTIAL SUPPLIES GUARANTEED Business Minister Jo Swinson has announced that the Government is proceeding with plans to secure continuation of essential IT and utility supplies to failing but viable businesses while they are being rescued, following consultation. Under proposals put to Parliament recently, essential suppliers of IT, water, gas, electricity and communications services will be prevented from cutting off supply or charging premium rates while insolvency practitioners seek a viable solution to rescue a business. Suppliers will be guaranteed payment ahead of others owed money for services supplied during the rescue period and can ask for guarantees of payment from the insolvency practitioner. Business Minister Jo Swinson said: “Rescuing struggling but viable businesses out of insolvency helps save jobs and improves the likelihood of payment to those owed money. Continued IT and energy supplies are needed for businesses to continue trading while options are sought about their future. “These changes will help struggling businesses during rescue while providing confidence for the suppliers that they will be paid for the essential services they provide. The changes will be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny before coming into force in October 2015

LED BACK TO THE FOLD New Greek PM Alexis Tsipras has been doing the rounds in Europe, with Brussels somewhat terrified that he will either pull Greece out of the EU or default on debt repayments. It seems unlikely that they will pull out, but there is little chance that they will continue on the austerity path that is causing such pain. Of course, the pain is much worse in Greece – a country that has long been used to 6 hour working days, 3 hour Grappa-fuelled lunch breaks and rampant corruption. UK Economist Jim O’Neill argues “it’s just stupid that Greece could repay a debt that equals 175% of its GDP and it makes no sense to imagine that Germany will allow a bank run in Greece, or the break-up of the European Monetary Union”. Quite why Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is holding his hand is anyone’s guess.

HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN The grocery industry watchdog (GCA) has launched an investigation into Tesco amid allegations that it delayed payments to suppliers and demanded payments for prime shelf space in its stores. This comes hard on the heels of Tesco’s debacle over their first half profit statement, which was overstated by a mere £263 million. The GCA could impose a fine of 1% of Tesco’s annual turnover, which would amount to £400 million. Terry Leahy must be beside himself with fury over what they have done to ‘his’ company.

11


{ NEWS }

NATIONAL NEWS BT BUYS EE It looks like BT have finally made the move into the cellular phone market with their purchase of telecoms giant EE for £12.5 billion – this being coincidentally, the profit that Apple makes in a single quarter. The existing shareholders in EE, Deutsche Telecom and Orange will sell 100% of their shares, with EE receiving back a 4% stake and approx. £3.4bn in cash. BT Chief Executive Gavin Patterson said: “This is a major milestone for BT as it will allow us to accelerate our mobility plans and increase our investment in them.” With EE’s 7.7 million subscribers one can see the attraction, but there is a bigger picture here. It will now be able to distribute its content and services via TV, desktop and mobile so that customers can access what they want, when and however they want it. Add those three services to BT fixed-line operation, and the company now becomes a big player in what is called “quad-play”. As our smartphone screens get bigger, we’re watching more video and TV on the move, and these big files need fast download speeds. So EE’s lead in the high-speed 4G mobile space gives BT a big boost. And they are not alone. Sky has just announced their own mobile service in a deal with 02, and Hutchinson Whampoa, which owns rival Three, is said to be in talks to buy Vodaphone.

LOOK AWAY NOW If big debt numbers scare you, look away now. The McKinsey Global Institute state that since the crash of 2009, global debt has risen to £199 trillion, which represents 286% of global GDP. This makes Greece’s debt of 175% of their GDP look positively manageable.

“Money can’t buy friends, but you can get a better class of enemy”

12

HANDELSBANKEN ON A HIGH The Swedish Bank, Handelsbanken, with almost 200 branches across the UK, have just announced record profits and appointed a new CEO. Frank Vang-Jensen will be only the 16th boss in the banks 143-year history and takes over at a time when profits have risen by 6% to a record-breaking £1.53 billion. With the UK now the bank’s secondbiggest market with $14 billion on loan, their boast of taking banking back to basics, that of a manager you can actually speak to and all decisions made in-branch, seems to be working.


{ NEWS }

“A company is known by the people it keeps”

NEW WASTE APP A new web app promises to make recycling more financially rewarding for businesses, according to its developers, Element Green Recycling. The innovative new Green Alchemist provides the latest material prices enabling businesses to find out how much their sorted recycling is worth on the waste stock market for as little as £9.99 a month. Businesses can input their postcode and the weight of their recyclable materials to find out how much they are worth and either auction this material to waste couriers nearby or receive quotes for it to be collected. In turn, waste couriers can access the app for free for the first year to find businesses with sorted recyclable waste in their area and bid to buy or collect this material. The app’s auction facility can also be used to sell office furniture and electronic goods as well as recyclable materials. Element Green Recycling’s CEO Ayo Isinkaye said: “Due to the high demand for uncontaminated recyclables from the reprocessing industry we have identified a market opportunity for businesses to make money from their sorted recyclable waste. We are confident the app will empower businesses to ensure they realise the best possible value for their waste.” www.greenalchemist.co.uk

BUSINESS CLASS ON THE CHEAP New French airline La Compagnie has launched a business class flight from Luton to New York at half the price of its competitors. From April 24th, they will fly business class passengers to NY for £649 if booked before June, rising to £1,549 thereafter. With the major airlines charging north of £2,500, this is quite some discount. The service will offer six flights a week with 74 flat beds, wireless 12” tablets and in-flight catering provided by top French Chef Christophe Lengree. The airline’s CEO, Frantz Yvelin, said “The other airlines’ charges are the price of a car. It’s insane. Come on, wake up”. His point is well taken, although l am not sure what sort of car you could buy for that price.

FREQUENT FLYER APPS Here are the must have apps for frequent flyers: GATEGURU – This app guides you through any airport, from gate numbers, info desks and can even estimate waiting times at the gate. MAPLETS – When you lose your data connection in a strange city, this app comes in handy as it contains 10,000 worldwide maps of subways, airports and city streets. MILEBLASTER – The trouble with flyer mile schemes is keeping track of them. This app calculates multiple accounts and gives you a warning when they are about to expire. JETRADAR – When flying on a budget, the best price is the key. This clever little app will search 700 airlines and always gives you the best available price - and it’s commission free. SEAT ALERTS – If you are fussy about where you sit in the plane, this is a must have. It will search the seat allocation for your next flight and let you know the best seat available.

13


Award winning accountancy, tax and financial advice For a complimentary initial discussion please contact Shirley Smith on: T: +44 (0)1293 776152 E: shirley.smith@krestonreeves.com

krestonreeves.com


{ INSTITUTE OF DIRECTORS }

TECHNOLOGY RULES ?

By Dean Orgill Chairman of Mayo Wynne Baxter www.mayowynnebaxter.co.uk • www.iod.com

I

recently came across some interesting comments attributed to John Cleese, speaking at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, on the topic of the impact of technology on creativity. In his view “The absolute killer of creativity is interruptions”, and accordingly iPhones and open-plan offices need to be removed from a working environment. Personally, I am not convinced that those would be good steps to take. But then lawyers are not, on the whole, renowned for their creativity, and Cleese has been a master of his craft for decades, so perhaps I should defer. However, he also went on to quote the 19th century US writer Henry David Thoreau, who said that “technology is an improved means to an unimproved end”. Cleese added his concern that people start out thinking that they are going to use technology, but end up being used by it. It is impossible to imagine that when he made his comments Thoreau could possibly have imagined the advances in communication technology that virtually all of us carry with us everywhere today. (Those of us who grew up before the birth of the internet would probably have to admit that we could not have imagined

it then either). I nevertheless believe that his comments still hold true. The fact that I can produce this column on an iPhone and then email it in to Platinum Towers does not make it any better (though hopefully it makes it no worse). The technology, though, does mean that I can work on it whenever I like, wherever I like, without being tied to a typewriter, without ripping up countless pages because of typos, and without then having to walk it round to the offices for submission. On a “properly creative” note, I am sure that the animators at Pixar relish not having to reproduce every frame by hand to create their terrific films. However, I would readily agree that hand-drawn animation has, by the same token, produced many classics too. So, to my mind, Thoreau has a valid point. The “means” have improved beyond his recognition, but the “ends” still have to stand up on their own merit. Cleese’s point, though, should serve as a warning. The methods of communication and service delivery to our customers and clients can assist us hugely in providing a good service to

them. I absolutely would not advocate taking any steps backwards in terms of the developments we have seen. For, so long as we control the technology to improve the “means” aspect for ourselves, then the advances are positive. However, I also believe that none of us should forget that creative side we all have in some form, and that we should ensure that we sometimes switch off the technological tools (and that is what they are) and recharge our own batteries.

Just a thought A recent survey by Board Intelligence posed the question “If you could rip up the rule book, what would good governance look like?” What would your suggestions be?

15


WARREN BUFFETT

THE SAGE OF OMAHA By Maarten Hoffmann


{ THE BIG STORY }

W

arren Buffett carries many a title around with him - The Wizard of Omaha, the Oracle and the Sage of Omaha, to name just a few - and one wonders if this is great PR or adulatory terms laid at his door by his peers. As he is one of the richest men on the planet, we have to incline towards the latter, and it is therefore not surprising that he has the ear of Presidents, world leaders and blue-chip CEO’s from every corner of the globe. The surprising thing is that, even with the ever-changing market conditions, the march of technology and the incredible pace of world change, Warren Buffett at 84 is no less respected, admired and sought after than when he started. Buffett is a business magnate, philanthropist and the most successful (serial) investor of the 20th century. He is the Chairman and majority shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway and is currently ranked as the third wealthiest person in the world. Yet, despite his vast wealth, he lives a remarkably frugal life and has vowed to give away 99% of his wealth to philanthropic causes before he shuffles off this mortal coil. He has joined with Bill Gates and many others to donate their cash to the Gates Foundation in his will, and one can only imagine what his children think of this, despite the remaining 1% being

more than most of us mere mortals will ever see in a lifetime. Born in 1930 to US Congressman Howard Buffett, it was remarked at a very young age that Warren seemed adept and unusually interested in money. His 1947 yearbook entry noted that he “likes math; a future stockbroker”.

“I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute” Like so many self-made men of his generation, he demonstrated remarkable savvy at a young age. At school, he sold chewing gum at a 15% markup; he went door to door selling magazines, purchased a £25 pinball machine which he then rented to a diner, and within a few

months he had eight of them at various locations around the town paying him rent. He also showed a great deal of honesty and adherence to the rules: on his first income tax return in 1944, for instance, he took a $35 reduction for the use of his bicycle on his paper round. I would think that Harvard Business School might be kicking themselves for having rejected him, as he subsequently attended Columbia Business School, his second choice and the alma mater of his personal hero, Benjamin Graham, a British investor whose remark ‘Look at stocks as business, use the market fluctuations to your advantage and always seek a margin of safety‘ became Warren’s life-long mantra. The Berkshire Hathaway name was originally that of a textile firm Buffett took over in 1962, which he claimed had been his worst-ever deal. For anyone else to name a company after one they thought so little of would be anarchic, but to Buffett it represented one his very few bad deals and was therefore to be marked out as special. Once he had sold off all the parts of the whole, he retained the name and trades with it to this day. A partial list of his many notable holdings would include stock in the Washington Post, ABC, General Re, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, IBM and Proctor & Gamble. In 1988 he

17


“I’m going to be the Osama bin Laden of capitalism. I’m on my way to an unknown destination in Asia where I’m going to look for a cave. If the U.S. Armed forces couldn’t find Osama bin Laden in 10 years, let Goldman Sachs try to find me” started buying up Coca-Cola stock, eventually owning 7% of the company, at a cost of $1bn, and this was to prove one of Berkshire’s most lucrative investments. So what marks out this man as so different to 99.99% of the human population? A sound education at the knee of his stockbroker-and-politician father, of course, but many an heir to a successful father ended up as a wastrel and spendthrift. The key is to be located in his lifestyle: he still lives in the very average house in Omaha he purchased in 1958 for $31,000, does not carry a mobile phone, does not have a computer at his desk, has sent one email in his entire life, and drives a 20-yearold Cadillac. The key is that he didn’t aspire to the lifestyle of the rich and famous, nor did he desire power or influence. Rather, he did it

because he loved it, was exceptionally intuitive and held a deep-rooted passion for the subject. Surely, the mark of all long-term success is passion. Warren’s intuition and passion were to be tested in the 2009 crash as Berkshire suffered a 77% drop in earnings, but with such a strong and robust balance sheet, this was also the year that saw him become the richest person on the planet, with a personal wealth of $62 billion, despite having declared a loss of £25 billion due to the financial crash, taking over from Bill Gates, who had held the post for 13 years. In 2009, Buffett divested his failed investment in ConocoPhillips, the world’s largest oil exploration and drilling company, saying to his Berkshire investors: “I bought a large amount of ConocoPhillips stock when oil and gas prices

were near their peak. I in no way anticipated the dramatic fall in energy prices that occurred in the last half of the year. I still believe the odds are good that oil sells far higher in the future than the current $40–$50 price. But so far I have been dead wrong. Even if prices should rise, moreover, the terrible timing of my purchase has cost Berkshire several billion dollars. Very, very few people could appreciate the bubble. That’s the nature of bubbles – they’re mass delusions”. Pleased as he was with his purchase of Goldman Sachs, they were given Federal Reserve permission to buy their stock back. He was reluctant to let it go as it produced dividends of $1.4m per day, and his response was typically bullish: “I’m going to be the Osama bin Laden of capitalism. I’m on my way to an


{ THE BIG STORY }

unknown destination in Asia where I’m going to look for a cave. If the U.S. Armed forces couldn’t find Osama bin Laden in 10 years, let Goldman Sachs try to find me” Buffett is a great story-teller, as borne out by his personally written annual report to shareholders. Buffett’s speeches are known for mixing business discussions with attempts at humour. Each year, Buffett presides over Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting in the Qwest Centre in Omaha, Nebraska, an event drawing over 20,000 visitors from the US and abroad, giving it the nickname ‘Woodstock of Capitalism’. Berkshire’s annual reports and letters to shareholders frequently receive coverage by the financial media, and Buffett’s writings are known for containing quotations from sources as varied as the Bible and Mae West, as well as for advice in a folksy Midwestern style and countless jokes. Asked about his vast wealth and the good he could do with it whilst still alive, he stated: “We have learned to turn out lots of goods and services, but we haven’t learned as well how to have everybody share in the bounty. The obligation of a society as prosperous as ours is to figure out how nobody gets left too far behind.

The arithmetic makes it plain that inflation is a far more devastating tax than anything that has been enacted by our legislatures. The inflation tax has a fantastic ability to simply consume capital. It makes no difference to a widow with her savings in a 5% passbook account whether

“Rule #1: Never lose money. Rule #2: Never forget rule #1” she pays 100% income tax on her interest income during a period of zero inflation, or pays no income taxes during years of 5 percent inflation. I don’t have a problem with guilt about money. The way I see it is that my money

represents an enormous number of claim checks on society. It’s like I have these little pieces of paper that I can turn into consumption. If I wanted to, I could hire 10,000 people to do nothing but paint my picture every day for the rest of my life. And the GDP would go up. But the utility of the product would be zilch, and I would be keeping those 10,000 people from doing AIDS research, or teaching, or nursing. I don’t do that though. I don’t use very many of those claim checks. There’s nothing material I want very much. And I’m going to give virtually all of those claim checks to charity when my wife and I die”. “I don’t believe in dynastic wealth”, he said, calling those who grow up in wealthy circumstances “members of the lucky sperm club”. Buffett has written several times of his belief that, in a market economy, the rich earn outsized rewards for their talents. “A market economy creates some lopsided payoffs to participants. The right endowment of vocal chords, anatomical structure, physical strength, or mental powers can produce enormous piles of claim checks (stocks, bonds, and other forms of capital) on future national output. Proper selection of ancestors similarly can result in lifetime supplies of such tickets

19


www.uniglobepreferred.co.uk

0845 180 7817

sales@uniglobepreferred.co.uk

For All Your Business Travel Needs UNIGLOBE Preferred Travel is part of the largest single brand Travel Management affiliation in the world. Our unique structure allows for entrepreneurial leadership in each of our locations, ensuring a committed local ownership at the point of sale.

We are where you are

6103


{ THE BIG STORY }

upon birth. If zero real investment returns diverted a bit greater portion of the national output from such stockholders to equally worthy and hardworking citizens lacking jackpotproducing talents, it would seem unlikely to pose such an insult to an equitable world as to risk Divine Intervention” His children will not inherit a significant proportion of his wealth. This is consistent with statements he has made in the past indicating his opposition to the transfer of great fortunes from one generation to the next. Buffett once commented, “I want to give my kids just enough so that they would feel that they could do anything, but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing”. In June 2006, he announced a plan to give

away his fortune to charity, with 83% of it going to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He pledged about the equivalent of 10 million Berkshire Class B shares to the Foundation (worth approximately US$30.7 billion), making it the largest charitable donation in history. The foundation will receive 5% of the total each July, beginning in 2006. However, the pledge is conditional upon the foundation giving away each year an amount that is at least equal to the value of the entire previous year’s gift from Buffett, in addition to 5% of the foundation’s net assets. On December 9, 2010, Buffett, Bill Gates and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg signed a promise they called the “Gates-Buffett Giving Pledge”, in which they promised to donate to charity at least half of their wealth over time and

invited others among the wealthy to follow suit. This is a significant shift from Buffett’s previous statements to the effect that most of his fortune would pass to his Buffett Foundation. He also pledged $50million to the Nuclear Threat Initiative in Washington, where he began serving as an adviser in 2002. He is a great advocate for fiscal responsibility, believing that it should be taught to children as young as five years old. Asked about his 2014 Fast Company article, he replied: “People should first create a list of the top 25 accomplishments that they would like to complete over the next few years of their life, and to then pick the five most-important list items. You need to ‘avoid at all cost’ the initial, longer list, as it would hinder the achievement of the top five.”

“Derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction”

21


MARK US FOR YOUR NEXT BUSINESS MEETING. From corporate events to presentations, our unrivalled hospitality, catering and modern space will make your event a success. Book your next meeting with us and take advantage of our amazing 24HR Delegate Rates from just £122.00 per person inc VAT. Offer includes: • Main Meeting Room Hire • 3 Course Lunch • 3 Servings of Refreshment Breaks • Flip Chart • Free Wi-Fi in Meeting Room • 3 Course Dinner in Garden Restaurant • 1 Night Accommodation with Breakfast Book now and get Double Hilton HHonors Points! To book please call +44(0) 1293 610 809 or email events.gatwick@hilton.com and quote promotional code DHHP2015

South Terminal, Gatwick Airport | West Sussex | RH6 0LL ©2014 Hilton Worldwide

facebook.com/HiltonGatwick | twitter.com/HiltonGatwick


{ THE BIG STORY }

In a letter to Fortune Magazine in 2010 Buffett remarked: “My luck was accentuated by my living in a market system that sometimes produces distorted results, though overall it serves our country well. I’ve worked in an economy that rewards someone who saves the lives of others on a battlefield with a medal, rewards a great teacher with thank-you notes from parents, but rewards those who can detect the mispricing of securities with sums reaching into the billions. In short, fate’s distribution of long straws is wildly capricious”. Buffett has some interesting views on many subjects, and, when asked about the hated inheritance tax, he stated: “I favour inheritance tax, as repealing it would be like choosing the 2020 Olympic team by picking the eldest sons of the gold-medal winners in the 2000 Olympics”. In 2007, Buffett testified before the Senate and urged them to preserve the estate tax so as to avoid a plutocracy. Some critics argued that Buffett (through Berkshire Hathaway) has a personal interest in the continuation of the estate tax, since Berkshire Hathaway benefited from this same tax in past business dealings, and had developed and marketed insurance policies to protect policy holders against future estate tax payments. He also believes government should not be in the business of gambling, or legalizing casinos, calling it a tax on ignorance.

What does the Sage of Omaha do to relax, given his statements about his disregard for material things? “I play bridge. I am addicted to bridge, as is Bill (Gates), and l probably play 12 hours a week. Bridge is such a sensational game that I wouldn’t mind being in jail if I had three cellmates who were decent players

“I want to give my kids just enough so that they would feel that they could do anything, but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing” and who were willing to keep the game going twenty-four hours a day”. He also plays on-line under the name ‘T-Bone’, whilst Gates plays as ‘Chalengr’. In 2006, he sponsored a bridge match for the Buffett Cup. Modelled on the Ryder Cup in golf,

the match is held immediately before it in the same city. The teams are chosen by invitation, with a female team and five male teams provided by each country. It is indeed a trick of fate that certain individuals are gifted such talents, but a credit to the man who uses them wisely, responsibly and with such verve. It is easy to say he will gift his money to charity when he dies, but he also recognises the responsibility to do something with it whilst still alive and kicking. In 2006, he auctioned his 2001 Lincoln Town Car on eBay to raise money for Girls, Inc. In 2007, he auctioned a luncheon with himself that raised a final bid of $650,100 for the Glide Foundation. Later auctions raised over $6 million. The winners traditionally dine with Buffett at New York’s Smith and Wollensky steakhouse. The restaurant donates at least $10,000 to Glide each year to host the meal. I must admit that Buffett is a quite remarkable man, and there are few horror stories to be found, few people with an axe to grind over their treatment, and very few investors who don’t adore him and hang on his every word. Why he has not been made Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the World Bank is beyond me. And if you play on-line bridge and a player called T-Bone or Chalengr comes on-line, you might want to sit that one out and make the tea.

23


{ FINANCE }

WORKING CAPITAL MANAGEMENT By Gary Chown ACIB MCIBS - Chartered Banker Director Commercial Banking NatWest Bank Gary.Chown@natwest.com Finding a way to manage working capital efficiently is one of the most important tasks facing SMEs today. Here, we take a look at the difference it can make for your company, and how you can come up with the right formula.

F

or many SMEs, maintaining cashflow is a huge issue. In a recent survey conducted by payments company BACS, they estimated that more than a million UK SMEs were struggling with late payments, with the average amount owed being £36,000 But the other side of this coin, and one that tends to be much less remarked upon, is how late payment and poor credit control or cashflow management can affect an organisation’s ability to manage its working capital. This, in turn, is something that can colour not

24

only whether a firm is able to survive but, just as importantly, whether it can take advantage of new opportunities when they arise. It is this ability that will help drive companies – and the country – out of the tough times. What do we actually mean by working capital? Working capital is closely related to cashflow – a factor that influences a company’s ability to access funds immediately – but the two terms shouldn’t be confused. Working capital is a balance sheet concept, and is what is left once you subtract what you owe to others (your creditors)

from what’s tied up in what you own (your stock) and what’s owed to you (your debtors). So is it a good idea to have a lot of working capital sloshing around in your business? Yes and no. Inevitably, companies have different needs and requirements. For some it may be imperative to maintain a “buffer” to ensure creditors can always be paid on the nail or to cover late payment (as above); others (perhaps those requiring large initial upfront or ongoing R&D investment) may need to operate a more debt-centred model.


{ FINANCE }

“You can have very strong working capital, but if it is all tied up in unpaid debts and you do not have the cash to pay your bills that can cause a problem”

“You can have very strong working capital, but if it is all tied up in unpaid debts and you do not have the cash to pay your bills that can cause a problem,” concedes Philip King, chief executive of the Institute of Credit Management. Robert Downes, policy adviser at the Forum of Private Business, agrees that, in the current climate, businesses can ill afford to take their eye off the ball when it comes to cashflow management. “Supplier payment times are getting longer too, and while this usually starts at the top of the supply chain, it washes right down to the bottom and affects the smallest firms – the ones most affected by late or slow payment,” he says. “These days, firms who don’t have good credit control are unlikely to make it past the first year of trading, it’s as simple as that,” he adds. Therefore it is important to retain a block of cash to cover “transactional demand” (paying bills or wages), “precautionary demand” (sudden one-offs or unexpected costs) and “speculative demand” (or money put aside but available for an investment or purchase), advises Clive Lewis, head of SME issues at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). Yet, just sitting on a pile of cash can also be problematic, not least because, while it may protect your business, it doesn’t help it to grow. Good working capital management also allows you to gauge whether you have a funding surplus or gap and, from there, what size or sort of financial facilities (such as an overdraft) you are likely to need from your bank and, crucially, what

such facilities should therefore cost you. Moreover, while maintaining positive working capital has traditionally been seen as a good idea, many big firms, especially the big supermarkets, nowadays work to a negative working capital model, points out Prof Bob Berry, Boots professor of accounting and finance at Nottingham University Business School.

“Just sitting on a pile of cash can also be problematic, not least because, while it may protect your business, it doesn’t help it to grow” “In effect they take a loan from people they have bought goods from – their suppliers – in that they say ‘we will pay you in a bit’. So they are then able to use that cash for other things and keep on moving this money around and rolling it over.” Of course, not every company will have the clout to tell its suppliers that it will pay them “in a bit”, but Berry’s observation does illustrate an interesting point. There are a number of ways

to manage working capital efficiently – the key, then, is not to aim for a particular paradigm, but to alight on a solution that best suits a company’s particular circumstances. So, how can you manage your working capital more effectively? The ICAEW’s Lewis advises: “If you are managing your cashflow well you should be keeping your debtors and stock down. But if you let them grow in an uncontrolled fashion it will almost certainly create cashflow problems. “Put in place, and discuss and explain, payment terms (especially with a new customer), ensure invoices are submitted correctly, and to the right people, and that they are followed up soon after submission rather than at their due date so any problems or glitches can be sorted out early”, he adds. Who can help? Your NatWest relationship manager can not only draw on a wealth of experience, but will also be able to point you in the direction of useful day-to-day management tools. For example, NatWest has developed a new online tool called the ‘Working Capital Optimiser’ designed to help you run your business as efficiently as possible. The tool can be used to identify how making small changes to your business can impact on the cash you need to run it. Whether you want to gauge the effects of altered payment terms, work out whether your business has a funding gap or plan for longerterm growth, the Working Capital Optimiser can help plot the best course of action.

25


PC

THE P L AT I N U M CLUB BRIGHTON

We believe that effective networking is all about relationship building in a relaxed and informal environment and The Platinum Club provides the ideal platform for companies both large and small, to come together for an enjoyable evening in luxurious surroundings.

“ ”

Don’t just take our word for it, here is what some of our members have to say

Let me tell you that the Platinum Club “ is no ordinary networking club. For anyone The Platinum Club is all that networking should be, but so “ rarely is. If you attend only one networking event, make sure it’s the Platinum Club!” Sophia Lee-Spencer, CEO, Callisto Associates The platinum club has proved an excellent forum to network “ with good calibre business contacts. It’s always an enjoyable and high quality event which is down to the rigour with which it is managed, run and hosted. It’s one of the highlights of my business calendar Amanda Menahem - Hastings Direct

I would highly recommend The Platinum Club if you are “ looking to meet countless new businesses, in a relaxed and friendly environment.” Becky Sharp – Harvey John Recruitment

who is tired of run-of-the-mill networking events I would suggest you try the Platinum Club. John Healy – Healy’s LLP

I would recommend the Platinum Club “ as a fantastic way to meet new contacts in a relaxed evening of networking. Good spread of Companies and they make you feel at Tony Rice – Coulsdon Audi home!

The Platinum Club is undoubtedly one “ of the most prestigious networking groups I have attended.” Denise Buchan – Classic Consulting Platinum events are always so well “ organised and attended by the right people.” Keith Jackman – Mercedes-Benz

Call: 07966 244046 • e-mail: info@theplatinumclubbrighton.co.uk • web: www.theplatinumclubbrighton.co.uk


PC

THE P L AT I N U M CLUB GATWICK

AN EXCITING PLATINUM CLUB ANNOUNCEMENT The Platinum Club is the foremost networking group in Sussex, and with the original Brighton location at the Grand Hotel now into its fifth year, and somewhat oversubscribed, we are delighted to announce the launch of a new Platinum Club location within the Gatwick Diamond. The Platinum Club (Gatwick) will launch in April 2015 at the splendid Gatwick Hilton Hotel right in the heart of the airport and membership applications are now open. We can only accept four members per business sector to ensure

that we are never top heavy with any one particular industry and meet monthly for a fully hosted Champagne and Canapé networking event. We believe that effective networking is all about building long-term relationships in a relaxed and enjoyable environment, and this is the platform that Platinum provides. We host every event to help take the ‘work’ out of networking and ensure that, whilst members sip fine champagnes, we facilitate relevant introductions throughout the evening.

Platinum events are effectively social cocktail parties where every person in the room just happens to be a local business leader - from multi-national PLCs to SMEs with a niche product or service. It is a fascinating, eclectic group of individuals who rapidly become friends as well as potential trading partners. There are limited memberships available, so for an application form, please e-mail: maarten@platinumbusinessmagazine.com or call 07966 244046

Call: 07966 244046 • e-mail: maarten@platinumbusinessmagazine.com • web: www.theplatinumclubbrighton.co.uk


{ FINANCE }

INTERNATIONAL TRADE OPPORTUNITIES By Jez Hockley, Senior Manager Manufacturing, South East, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking 07764 287473 |   jez.hockley@lloydsbanking.com

T

he manufacturing sector is crucial to the ongoing resurgence and rebalancing of the UK economy. It is the confidence and growth of SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) that will underpin a sustainable economic recovery as it continues during 2015 and, hopefully, builds momentum in 2016. Our nation is home to a wealth of world-

28

class, successful manufacturing and specialist engineering businesses that are leading the charge. It is for this reason that we at Lloyds Bank have further strengthened our 13 dedicated local manufacturing teams across the country, who offer support and guidance to these SMEs as they work towards their growth ambitions.

Our network of more than 100 Relationship Directors and Managers have each gained a formal accreditation with the Warwick Manufacturing Group - an academic department at Warwick University - to build upon their knowledge and understanding of the sector. They are committed to helping local manufacturers achieve success, whether they need to make a


{ FINANCE }

“Our nation is home to a wealth of world-class, successful manufacturing and specialist engineering businesses that are leading the charge” strategic acquisition, move to new premises or experiencing a growing demand to invest in new machinery in order to further accelerate the economic recovery across Britain. SKILL SHORTAGE We recognise that the UK manufacturing industry still has challenges ahead if it is to maintain its position in the global marketplace, and the projected skills shortage of engineers is a major obstacle that needs to be overcome. To help fill this skills gap, we have launched a £1 million-a-year partnership with the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry for the new Lloyds Bank Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre. The site is designed to help nurture young talent and develop more than 1,000 engineering apprentices and trainees over the next five years. ALTERNATIVE LENDING AND TRADE FINANCE Alongside gaining the necessary employees to support growth, we know that many of our customers are increasingly looking beyond just servicing domestic markets and are targeting emerging economies for growth opportunities. Our teams work closely with our own dedicated international business managers, as well as UK Trade and Investment and UK Export Finance, to support these businesses and help them gain a foothold in new foreign markets to achieve exporting success. Furthermore, there are a number of trade and supply-chain finance options available to

support growth, where suppliers can get early payment of their invoices, giving them greater control of invaluable cashflow. Alternative options like pre-shipment finance can provide manufacturers with the working capital needed to produce and ship goods once an order has been confirmed from a quality buyer, backed by documentary credit. This gives firms reassurance of being able to take on new contracts and grow their business. Lloyds Bank may even be able to advance payment when goods have been shipped to a customer, so manufacturers and exporters alike don’t have to wait for a customer to pay, thus immediately generating cash to fund further operations.

Manufacturers Association, helping them move into new markets both at home and overseas. By investing in growth and fulfilling ambitions, manufacturers can secure new contracts, increase turnover and create new jobs, building on the 2.6 million people already employed by the manufacturing industry. I am excited about the opportunities for British manufacturers. We at Lloyds Bank aim to anticipate and respond to their needs to ensure that the sector continues to grow and develop, building on its world-class reputation. There is a huge amount of ambition and talent in the industry, and we are optimistic that with the right support and focus, manufacturing in the UK will continue to thrive.

SECTOR SUPPORT

Any property given as security, which may include your home, may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage or other debts secured on it. All lending is subject to a satisfactory credit assessment.

We also understand that traditional funding isn’t the only option. Our Relationship Directors can discuss a number of discounted schemes, as well as help from the Government, which aim to double exports to £1 trillion by 2020. To further support these aims and drive growth in the sector, Lloyds Bank has committed to deploying £1bn of new lending to the sector each year by the end of 2017, through our manufacturing pledge. I am delighted to say that to date we are ahead of our plans to deliver this. LOOKING AHEAD Businesses should seize the support that is readily available, both from our bank and also from support services, such as EEF, The

29


{ PENSIONS }

HAVE PENSIONS SUDDENLY BECOME SEXY?

By Richard Skerritt Managing Director of Skerritts Wealth Management www.skerritts.co.uk

“This government believes in the principle of freedom. Individuals who have worked hard and saved responsibly throughout their adult life should be trusted to make their own decisions with their pension savings” – George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, January, 2015 30

P

ensions have traditionally been seen as necessary, but, let’s face it, a bit boring. They have often been seen as restrictive, poor value and poorly performing. What pensions really needed, was a bit of a makeover. In reality, what they needed was a radical make-over. To be fair, even as pensions advisers, we did not see it coming when George Osborne announced the biggest changes to pensions seen in our lifetimes. It took a few reads to appreciate just how radical the changes were. Initial reaction to the changes was mixed. Some saw it as a fantastic new era in the pensions world, and others thought it was irresponsible electioneering and dangerous. We think the changes are fantastic news for anyone who has a pension or who is thinking of investing into a pension. Yes, some people

may take all of their pension benefits and spend them, but we think it will be a small minority, and these will tend to be the smaller pension pots. Talk of buying Lamborghinis is wide of the mark, in our opinion. The biggest change to pensions legislation is that most pension holders who are at least 55 years old will be able to take all of their fund as a lump sum if they wish. Alternatively, they may take smaller lump sums whenever they want (until they have exhausted their whole fund). Whilst this freedom to take up to their whole fund as a lump sum may sound very appealing, there are a number of reasons why this is probably not a good idea: • Whereas 25% of the fund is tax-free, the remainder is classed as taxable income and will be taxed at your marginal rate. What this means is that if the residual fund


{ PENSIONS }

“We did not see it coming when George Osborne announced the biggest changes to pensions seen in our lifetimes. It took a few reads to appreciate just how radical the changes were” (after the tax free cash) exceeds the basic rate tax band (just under £42,000) when added to your income in a given tax year, people will find themselves paying higher rate tax at 40%, or even 45% for larger funds. • If you take all or a large part of your pension fund now, there will be less to provide you with future pension income or lump sums; in other words, you can outlive your pension; • If you take a lump sum and invest it elsewhere or put it in a bank account, you are moving from a tax-efficient environment (pension fund) to an investment where growth may be taxed; • If you die before reaching 75 years of age, the whole of your pension fund can be passed on to your beneficiaries tax free. If you have withdrawn it from the pension, then it is likely to be liable to inheritance tax at 40%; • Taking your pension fund may affect any state benefits you receive. So, whereas many people may take advantage of the new-found pensions freedoms, we think that few people will look to take all of their pensions out as lump sums. The changes mean that pension holders will have a lot more flexibility in terms of how they take their pension benefits, and this can only be a good thing in terms of encouraging people to invest in pensions. The fact that their money was tied up was probably the main factor stopping people investing in pensions. The fact that pensions are now a much more attractive proposition means that the government is concerned that people will look to use pensions as tax-avoidance vehicles. Anyone over the age of 55 can pay into a pension, get full tax relief on the contribution (up to the annual allowance, currently £40,000) and then immediately take the pension fund as a lump sum. Although part of the fund is then taxable, part is tax free, giving an immediate tax saving. The government were also worried about employers paying some workers purely in pension contributions to save on tax and National Insurance contributions. To tackle this, new legislation coming in means that once a person takes income from their Defined Contribution pension, the annual

contribution limit may fall from £40,000 to £10,000. Other changes are coming in, such as a rise in the age at which a person can take their pension (rising to age 57 in 2028, and 10 years below the state pension age thereafter) and access to guidance when taking their pension. We mentioned earlier that pensions were seen as restrictive. From April most of these restrictions will have been lifted. In terms of pensions being seen as poor value and poorly performing, advances in the pensions industry

“We think the changes are fantastic news for anyone who has a pension or who is thinking of investing into a pension”

have been massive in recent years. Pensions have moved on from being full of hidden charges and poor fund ranges. Modern pensions offer access to thousands of funds and other asset classes, full online functionality and active investment management to help people get the most from their pension investments. Have pensions become sexy? I think they probably have….

Skerritts are holding two Seminars at the Amex Stadium in Brighton on 19th March to cover the pensions changes in more detail. One starts at 08.45 (breakfast included) and the other at 12.30 (buffet lunch included). For a complimentary invitation, please email sophie@skerritts.co.uk

The information contained within this document is for guidance only and is not a recommendation of any investment or a financial promotion.

Skerritt Consultants, Skerritt House, 23 Coleridge Street, Hove, BN3 5AB. Tel: 01273 204 999.

31


AND THE FINALISTS ARE... THE AWARD FOR CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY Sponsor: Southern Water Finalists: Biwater Dorking Cleankill Environmental Services Kenley, Surrey ILG Crawley & Burgess Hill

EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR Sponsor: Search Consultancy Finalists: 1ST CENTRAL Haywards Heath RocketMill Crawley Roffey Park Institute Horsham

NEW BUSINESS OF THE YEAR Sponsor: Kreston Reeves Finalists: Hampton by Hilton London Gatwick Airport Gatwick Kingscote Estate East Grinstead Target in 1 Limited Horley

32


{ BUSINESS AWARD FINALISTS }

THE AWARD FOR CUSTOMER DELIGHT Sponsor: Storm Creative Finalists: B&CE Crawley BLOC Hotels Gatwick Mayo Wynne Baxter Crawley

THE AWARD FOR DEVELOPING PEOPLE FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS Sponsor: Central Sussex College Finalists: 1ST CENTRAL Haywards Heath Harvey John Limited Brighton Virgin Holidays Gatwick

THE AWARD FOR SUPPLY CHAIN EXCELLENCE Sponsor: Hays Recruitment Finalists: Opus Innovations Limited Crawley Varian Medical Systems Crawley Volution Group plc Crawley

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR Sponsor: Gatwick Diamond Initiative Finalists: Acro Aircraft Seating Redhill Optima-Systems Limited Crawley Pixel Projects Limited Leatherhead

DIGITAL MARKETING BUSINESS OF THE YEAR Sponsor: Chichester College Finalists: Cobb Digital Hove Dotsquares Limited Albourne RocketMill Crawley

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES FIRM OF THE YEAR Sponsor: Lloyds Bank Plc Finalists: Carpenter Box Crawley DMH Stallard LLP Crawley Juno Wealth Management Haywards Heath

33


{ BUSINESS AWARD FINALISTS }

THE FINALISTS CONTINUED... THE AWARD FOR PLACE TO MEET Sponsor: PVL Finalists: Hilton London Gatwick Airport Gatwick Lingfield Park Resort Lingfield Southcoast Conferences University of Brighton Brighton

BUSINESS OF THE YEAR Sponsor: Natwest Finalists: 1ST CENTRAL Haywards Heath B&CE Crawley ILG Crawley & Burgess Hill

GREEN BUSINESS OF THE YEAR Sponsor: Crawley Borough Council Green Business Programme Finalists: Cleankill Environmental Services Kenley, Surrey Old Chapel Forge Chichester Sony DADC UK Limited Southwater

THE AWARD FOR INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY Sponsor: Rawlison Butler LLP Finalists: Avtura Limited Crawley Jumpstart interactive Limited Horsham Mosen Limited Forest Row

BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR Sponsor: Acumen Business Law Finalists: Joanne Rogers of Prowse & Co Limited Leatherhead Keith Pordum of Pordum Food Limited t/a BON APPETIT Crawley Matt Turner of Creative Pod Limited Crawley

34


READY TO CelebratE?

JOIN US AT THE REGIONS PREMIER BUSINESS AWARDS Join us in the Millennium Suite of the Copthorne Effingham Park for a pre-dinner reception followed by a glittering evening of entertainment and fine dining. This Black Tie event will see the very best of the Gatwick Diamond Business community come together to celebrate the achievements of World-Class businesses in this World-Class region. Our presenter for the evening will be writer, actor and comedian Hugh Dennis. Be sure to secure your place, and prepare to dance the night away at our fantastic After-Show Party.

www.gatwickdiamondbusinessawards.com

THE GATWICK DIAMOND BUSINESS AWARDS THURSDAY 19TH MARCH 2015 COPTHORNE EFFINGHAM PARK HOTEL To book your place call: 01293 813888 or email: info@gatwickdiamondbusinessawards.com

@gdbizawards


{ FINANCE }

Picture L to R: Henry Smith MP; Guy Stephenson (Gatwick Airport); Penny Mordaunt MP with Coast to Capital Board Directors Steve Allen, Ron Crank,(Adam Love, Network Rail), Prof. Clive Behagg and Garry Wall.

EMPOWERING LOCAL GROWTH By Ron Crank CEO, COAST TO CAPITAL LEP www.coast2capital.org.uk Ron Crank, Chief Executive of Coast to Capital LEP reflects on the power of local decision-making to bring about a new period of investment and growth across its region.

A

s I look back on the achievements of Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership during the past year, I cannot help but feel a strong sense of pride. As many readers will be aware, each of the 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) across the UK was tasked by Government to develop a longterm growth plan to improve its local economy. Importantly, the growth plan provided a platform for each LEP to bid for funding from Whitehall.

36

Personally, I always believed this plan should be locally led and therefore my Board and team have worked very closely with local councils, businesses and community stakeholders to produce a strategy to ensure our economy continues to grow. Throughout the process, we sought to undertake an open consultation which was proportional in scope and scale to the potential impacts of the decisions being taken. Collaboration with our local partners led to

improved decisions. Having submitted the plan to Whitehall last spring, we were delighted when Government announced our allocation of funding, a ÂŁ202m Growth Deal, in July last year. Fast forward six months and, following a period of further negotiations and the development of complex delivery plans, these projects are set to make a significant difference to the lives of local people and businesses. The projects will be at the


{ FINANCE }

“I am not only proud of the efforts of my Board, team and contractors, but also those of our valued partners” centre of a transformational renaissance for our region, providing current and future generations with homes, skills and jobs in a resilient and fitfor-purpose environment. However, the work and our ambitions continue. Recently, we welcomed Penny Mordaunt MP (Local Growth Minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government) to Gatwick Railway Station as we agreed an expansion to our initial Growth Deal, which will see an additional £35.8m invested in West Sussex, Mid Sussex and East Surrey between 2016 and 2021. Over the lifetime of the extended Growth Deal (2015-2021), we estimate this investment overall should generate up to 21,000 new jobs, 9,000 new homes and the potential for £390m in public and private investment.

“This investment overall should generate up to 21,000 new jobs, 9,000 new homes and the potential for £390m in public and private investment” Reviewing the list of projects for which Coast to Capital LEP has secured Government investment is extremely satisfying. I am not only proud of the efforts of my Board, team and contractors, but also those of our valued partners. Their deep insights, persistence and commitment to our region is immeasurable and often unsung. Whilst challenging and demanding, the time taken to identify deliverable projects and develop robust business cases has clearly been worthwhile, and I am looking forward to the impact and momentum that will result as these projects come to fruition. Our region is about to begin a new chapter of local empowerment whereby the funding is ready, the business cases agreed and it’s now the time for action. That said, my team and I are always listening and ready to discuss new projects, and your feedback is forever welcomed.

A wide variety of important projects will benefit from the Coast to Capital Growth Deal: •

Digital Growth – We will provide key business locations with the digital connections needed to compete internationally and we will pioneer new mobile 5G technology research with neighbouring LEPs. We will support small firms to gain e-commerce skills and complete the superfast broadband roll-out.

A new Engineering and Digital Technology Park at the University of Chichester site in Bognor Regis, providing cutting edge skills to 500 students per year.

Advanced Engineering Centre – A collaboration between the University of Brighton and Ricardo Ltd in a new Centre of Excellence to deliver leading automotive and environmental engineering training and research.

Preston Barracks Central Research Laboratory, Brighton - A joint venture between University of Brighton, Cathedral and Brighton Council to create a new innovation hub to commercialise academic research and incubate high growth businesses with new housing.

City College Brighton and Hove and Chichester College - Refurbishment of dilapidated buildings and facilities to allow an increase in trainees, apprentices, disabled learners and new links to local businesses.

Circus Street, Brighton - A city centre mixed use regeneration project, to deliver new homes, office buildings, student accommodation, a library and academic buildings.

Securing the redevelopment of Gatwick Airport Railway Station - A strategic local, national and international transport hub.

Improvements to the A2300 Burgess Hill Link Road relieving congestion and unlocking up to 3,000 new homes and 5,000 new jobs.

Crawley Area Transport Package - Includes junction improvements, bus priority schemes, modal interchange and improvements to walking and cycling routes.

Bognor Regis A29 re-alignment between the new Bognor Regis Relief Road and the A27, which will bridge the West Coastway railway line, avoiding congestion points and current delay points at a level crossing. It will include four to five new junctions, plus cycle and pedestrian facilities. The realignment will allow new development of business and employment opportunities in Bognor Regis.

Sustainable Transport Packages – A range of projects will tackle congestion and improve sustainable transport in local areas across the Coast to Capital region, including improvements to walking and cycling links, junctions, traffic management systems and public transport.

Resilience Schemes - Intelligent Transport System traffic management, strategic road maintenance and flood and critical incident alleviation, mainly in East Surrey.

Flood Defences Newhaven and Shoreham - In Newhaven, this will open up major brownfield sites for housing and employment land, plus new harbour facilities. In Shoreham, the flood defences and transport access improvements will allow land to be used for housing and businesses.

Wood Fuel initiative with the Forestry Commission - Sustainable use of primary natural resource to produce wood fuel as a renewable energy source and local building materials.

Redevelopment projects in Oxted, Caterham, Leatherhead and Epsom.

37


{ FINANCE }

FUNDING ESCALATOR

By Martin Coomber, Senior Fund Manager E: martin.coomber@thefsegroup.com | Tel: 01276 608525 Web: www.thefsegroup.com

T

he Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership has committed £5 million of capital to create the Funding Escalator comprising a loan scheme and an equity fund managed by The FSE Group. Through the Coast to Capital Funding Escalator, The FSE Group are able to provide up to £200,000 by way of a loan to established SMEs (small and medium enterprises) requiring finance to implement expansion activities that will deliver substantial growth; alternatively, equity investment can, in some cases, be provided.

38

Funding is available to businesses based in the Coast to Capital area, which includes: Croydon, Tandridge, Epsom & Ewell, Mole Valley, Reigate and Banstead, Brighton & Hove, Lewes & West Sussex. The FSE Group Funding Escalators have been used by SMEs to: • •

Support marketing and sales activities Cover the salaries of new staff positions until they pay for themselves

• • • • • •

Transformative Funding

Pursue overseas contract opportunities Develop additional products Support larger office running costs Bring key operations in-house Drive export growth Pay for the cost of new equipment

Furthermore, businesses operating in ecologically driven markets or contributing to a reduction in the region’s ecological footprint may be able to double this amount through the South East Sustainability Loan Fund, providing access


{ FINANCE }

“At The FSE Group we are able to provide funding for growing businesses that have been unable to obtain conventional finance”

to £400,000 of finance. The Sustainability Loan Fund is part of the current European Regional Development Fund Programme, and loans must be taken by June this year. Martin Coomber, Senior Fund Manager at the FSE Group, said, “SMEs are facing uncertain times financially. At The FSE Group we are able to provide funding for growing businesses that have been unable to obtain conventional finance. We are keen to help businesses secure the right finance so they can reach their potential, growing sales and profits” MOBILE GAMING BUSINESS TO RACE AHEAD WITH EXTRA FUNDING A Brighton business which produces games for mobile phones and other devices is set to grow with help from the Coast to Capital Funding Escalator. Big Bit Ltd has been designing and developing high quality games from its base at Sussex Innovation Centre (SINC) since 2011. It has been doing this on behalf of some of the world’s largest games companies, including Disney, Nintendo

and Activision, producer of games such as Call of Duty and the Tony Hawks skateboarding series. On the back of its extensive experience and the success gained over the past three years, Big Bit has now shifted its focus towards producing and distributing its own titles directly to gamers. This huge market, currently consisting of over 1 billion gamers worldwide, continues to grow at a rapid pace, and mobile gaming alone is expected to be worth around $60 billion by 2017. To fully maximise its growth and accelerate the distribution of its first title, Race Team Manager, Big Bit has been successful in securing a £200,000 Expansion Loan from the Coast to Capital Funding Escalator. This will see the company more than double in size over the next two years, from its current 15 staff to 37 by the end of 2016. NIGHTCLUB TICKETING GOES MOBILE WITH FIRST INVESTMENT FROM COAST TO CAPITAL GROWTH EQUITY FUND A company providing a platform which enables people to buy nightclub and event tickets via their

smartphones is the first to receive investment from a fund set up to support businesses that have the potential to bring job creation and economic prosperity. The cornerstone investment from the Coast to Capital Growth Equity Fund is part of a larger funding round – the company’s third round to date – which also includes monies from The FSE Group’s South East Seed Fund and Angel Club, as well as other investors. Launched in October, 2013 in response to the founders’ own frustrations surrounding nightclub entry, FIXR offers a paperless and cashless system for purchasing tickets, both in advance and last- minute. The real-time updates available through the platform mean that nightclub staff and event organisers can see live ticket sales information and manage capacity more easily. Since launching FIXR just over a year ago, the company has gained momentum and has worked with some major brands, including Ministry of Sound, GetTaxi and LG. It is now operating in four cities and rolling out its services across the UK, with plans to launch internationally in the future.

39


REACH FOR THE SKY Brighton’s seafront will never be the same again. This year the i360 will start to rise up above the West Pier and dominate the skyline. Opening next year, it could become the most iconic landmark in the South East. How has it been financed and how will it make a profit? Eleanor Harris, Chief Executive of Brighton i360, explains all to Ian Trevett

T

he proposal to build the i360 tower has not been without controversy. It came in for a fair bit of local criticism, with many fearing it would be a white elephant, wasting hardearned public money. Not only was the soaring viewing platform placed on the site of the muchloved West Pier, it was also regarded as a folly of the Council, who showed little regard for the burden placed on the city’s council tax payers. During this time, the team behind i360 kept a low profile, verging on silence, which gave rise to many people jumping to false conclusions. How could an ascending viewing platform possibly raise enough money to repay the immense building costs? The answer was that it was never expected to.

40

The business plan was to generate the income from a wide variety of sources, not just the viewing platform. These included the brasserie, hospitality rooms, exhibition space, gift shop and bars, as well as the actual rides on the tower. And no council money was being spent. So why was there such controversy surrounding a development which will become an icon for an ambitious global destination? “We had to go through a democratic process with the councillors and give them time to understand the business plan without being influenced by the media,” explains Eleanor. “We had to go through the legal due diligence, and during that phase, we were asked not to go out making public statements.


{ INTERVIEW }

“We wanted the councillors to hear from the horse’s mouth, look at all of it, not have their information filtered through the media. And I think that’s the right thing. It’s a very serious, big decision to make. They had to have time to look through it. And in fairness to the Greens and the Conservatives, who voted in favour, they spent an inordinate amount of time scrutinising the documents, having follow-up meetings, going through all the detail, and they really took their time to make the right decision. “In a way it helped us because we were so busy trying to get to the finances closed. A hundred different contracts had to be signed, and I’m not sure that we really, honestly had the capacity to be going out doing PR.” Of course, the downside was that a lot of negativity wasn’t being challenged. “That’s true, but the more we get out and talk to people, the more we are finding a complete, total change in the tide of opinion. I’ve done loads of presentations, met lots of people in the community and we now have a lot of support locally. I think the critics are dying down. We monitor social media and there’s barely a negative tweet on the i360. There hasn’t been, now, for months. So I think we just needed to engage in the conversation, which, since we’ve had our funding, we’ve been able to do.”

One of the big criticisms has been the Council’s involvement in the funding. Can you clarify how the funding works? “The Council is effectively a middleman. They borrowed money from the Public Works Loans Board at a very, very low rate, and then they lent it to the project at a commercial rate, so we don’t get any special treatment in terms of the rates we pay. The Council has generated £36 million pounds of funding through this arrangement. “If we achieve our business plan, their margin should be £1 million a year. If we don’t meet our business plan, obviously that would eat into their margin. The point at which the public would need to dip into their pockets is if our business plan fails by nearly 60 percent. There’s a really big buffer in there. “There is a level of risk. But I think, having looked through the numbers, the councillors felt reassured that the level of risk was outweighed by the level of benefit the project could bring. “We originally got all of the funding through traditional channels. We had a private equity firm on board and we also had a bank on board; in fact, we had two banks. One was going to be the lead and the other would provide mezzanine finance. Then the financial crash happened. The particular bank we were working with was one of the many banks that went under, so we obviously lost the funding there, even though we were incredibly well-progressed with that particular fund. “We lost approximately £20 million of our funding. The bank that was prepared to do the junior debt wasn’t prepared to take the lead as they didn’t do projects of that scale. So we had to go back to the drawing board. “The first thing we did as we went back out to market was to speak to the banks again. But we were then faced with a completely different landscape and a completely different perception of risk. The feedback we had was that if the development was for mixed use, with some flats, then we could have been funded. But pure leisure was seen as high risk, although we were very experienced and literally brought together the entire team that did the London Eye, from engineers to architects. “The world had changed form a funding point of view, so we began talking to the Council, and their view has always been incredibly supportive. For them, tourism is one of the biggest employers in the city – not just people in direct employment in tourism, but also all the businesses which will benefit from the tourist being in town. So for them it’s massively important that Brighton can remain competitive and keep bringing in the tourists. Also, we had an independent economic impact study done, which showed the level of job creation the project could bring. So they’ve always felt that, strategically, for the future economic success of the city, the i360 is a really

vital ingredient. “I think there was generally a feeling that Brighton couldn’t rest on its laurels. I think Brighton is quite ambitious. It doesn’t want to be one of the many failing seaside cities in this country. There have been so many towns that have had their heyday and have spiralled down. I think Brighton has always been different because of its proximity to London, because of the digital economy. It has found new ways to grow and be a very dynamic city. But you have to keep moving yourself forward. The Council see their competitors in cities like Barcelona rather than run-down seaside towns. But to do that and to win that business, we have to keep moving things forward. “I think there’s a lot going on in the city at the moment, and there’s definitely more of a feeling of people wanting to invest in Brighton. You see Circus Street, Preston Barracks… I do think success breeds success. There’s an upbeat positivity in Brighton at the moment which I don’t think was necessarily here three or four years ago.

“We’ve always had a really good relationship with the Metropole, The Grand and Brighton Centre. We’re talking about going to trade shows together, presenting Brighton together as a great place to come and do business” “I think we all just need to pull together now to make this a success. Ultimately, I’m now really working for the city. I will work tirelessly to make sure that we hit all of our targets and create an amazing business. And the way I see it, we need to make every aspect of the business really successful, from the dining to the attraction to the play, the conferencing, and, hopefully, Brightonians will get behind that, because ultimately any money they spend in there essentially flows back to the city for the next 20 years.” “I believe really strongly in paying decently and getting good staff, so we’re doing living wage, no zero hours. We’re having lots of part-timers and

41


have already had some really talented part-time mums join the team. I’ve been really impressed with the calibre of applicants for all the jobs we’ve advertised. We will also have a large influx of seasonal staff. There’s a natural work force here in Brighton, people who are looking for summer work, and they want the jobs exactly when we need them. If it wasn’t a university town, I think we would really struggle.” On the actual construction, will the local economy benefit? “It is difficult as it is very bespoke, very specialist. It’s about managing risk. We’re doing something that is quite complex in terms of engineering. For the pod and the drive mechanism we’re using a specialist cable car manufacturer, Poma, who also did the London Eye. It’s not a core expertise in the UK. We don’t build cable cars, we don’t have snow, we don’t have the Alps. There are very few companies in the world that could actually have done that. And we have a huge amount of confidence in the one we’re working with because we’ve done another project with them before. There probably would have been a handful of two or three others in the world that we could have gone to.” When all the misinformed flak was flying around, Eleanor remained admirably calm, and a read through her CV gives an indication as to how she was able to maintain her focus. “My background is tourism and visitor attractions. My career started at British Airways as a management trainee in 1994. It was a really exciting time at BA, a time of great innovation. We

42

launched the first flat beds into First Class, then into Club World and launched the World Traveller Plus premium economy brand.” “I did a stint over in LA as the Airport Operations Manager, dealing with everything thrown at me, from diverted flights to technical problems and highly-strung celebrities. It was very unionised,

“The Council see their competitors in cities like Barcelona rather than run-down seaside towns. But to do that and to win that business, we have to keep moving things forward” so there were people-management challenges. I was there for 18 months. It was a great baptism of fire into front-line operations. “Since then, when I’ve had anything operational, or anything that requires planning or dealing with challenging customers, I’m pretty fearless. “I went on secondment to the London Eye,

which had opened only about two weeks before, and we had quite a few operational challenges. British Airways had basically sponsored it, and they put in most of the funding. So they had a very strong vested interest to protect their reputation and ensure that the customer service was outstanding. “The biggest issue was dealing with the sheer volume of people arriving on site. The London Eye was a great success from the beginning, but success brought its own challenges. The business plan anticipated a maximum of two million visitors. In fact, the London Eye has always got around four million, and that volume of people wasn’t planned for. “We were working with an amazing team. I think we all fell in love with the London Eye, so people just really worked their socks off. You just had to prioritise, deal with the really big issues first, get them out of the way, then deal with the smaller ones. I think my experience at BA gave me good training for the early days when we’d have wheel stoppages. You can imagine, you’d have another 800 people arriving on the site every half hour. You had to have amazing operational procedures to deal with disruption, whether due to bad weather or technical problems. Half of it is communication, because people want know where they stand, what they can do, how they get their refund, how they re-book, when to come back. You’re just dealing with masses of people, and you have to get that communication message out to them. And back then we didn’t use the internet or smart phones.


{ INTERVIEW } “My role changed to Commercial Director, responsible for making sure that we had our business plan, making sure we achieved our revenue targets. London Eye at that time turned over about £40 million as a business. We had the visitor volumes, so it was more about making sure that we had a range of experiences for people of different price points. “We introduced fast-track tickets, champagne flights, weddings... I even set up a river cruise from our pier, and it all added to the income we earned. We were able to increase our yield by one third, yet keep the bottom ticket price at a reasonable level. It was our saving grace in 2005 when the bombs exploded in London. It happened at the worst possible time, just before the peak summer season. It was the busiest month for school visits, and they all cancelled overnight. We saw a drop in visitor numbers, but we were able to prop our business up. “British Airways sold their share in 2006, and at that point I obviously had a decision to make about what I wanted to do. I decided to set up a visitor attraction consulting business, I-Xperience. The first project I worked on was the Brighton i360 with the London Eye architects (and directors), David Marks and Julia Barfield. I knew them very well, and we sat down and had one those conversations that changed the rest of my life. “They had already come up with the basic design and vision for the i360. They had already found a site in Brighton, so when I started working with them, we set about doing the planning application. I came in at a fairly evolved stage, and my role was to develop the whole visitor offering. “Brighton is incredibly seasonal. On the one hand, you get really good visitor numbers every weekend, year-round, although the volume of visitors in the winter is lower. At mid-week there is a significant drop. “What we saw was the opportunity: the location is fantastic, it’s right next to the conference venues. So the question was, ‘How can we have a fantastic offering that appeals to corporate as well as tourist visitors?’ “One of the first things I did was to sit down with the Hilton, the Grand and the Brighton Centre and have a really good conversations with them. I asked, What do you need for your visitors? What sort of volumes do you get? Would it be helpful for us to be there? How could we work together? The universal answer was that they were all working really hard to bring conference business in and they were competing with other cities. Having a fantastic place to go in the evening would really help them sell their space as a conference facility. “They’ve been some of our biggest allies throughout the process. We’ve always had a really good relationship. We’re talking about

going to trade shows together, presenting Brighton together as a great place to come and do business. We just see so many close synergies. “I’ve always seen our main USP to be around receptions. I think it’s an exciting and unique venue for a party, so a great place to start your conference and come for breakfast, or a great place to finish the day. You’re on the beach, you’ve got all the lovely views, it’s really different and unique to go up on the i360. There are lots of high-quality meeting rooms in the city. We don’t necessarily need or want to compete directly with that; we want to be the add-on with a working partnership.” The ground-level venue is the key to the success. How will it look? “It’s a beach building with a private deck space. There will be wonderful windows looking out onto the beach, the sea, the West Pier. There’s nothing comparable on Brighton beach. We’re trying to create something quite aspirational, quite highend, somewhere you’d actually like to go for an event. It’s 1500 square metres, so it’s absolutely huge. I think this is an aspect that people haven’t quite got their heads around in terms of what we’re building. “The brasserie can seat approximately 225 people inside, and then we have a sitting-out area for about another 300. We have an exhibition space here, which is 100 square metres. We will have a children’s soft-play area so when the pod comes down, you see the children playing and the children will see the pod coming down, which I think is really fun. What you need on a wet day is somewhere to take the children to let off steam whilst their parents can watch them whilst enjoying a good cup of coffee. It’s about bringing the building alive. “On the Kings Road we will have the two beautiful 1866 toll booths from the West Pier. One will be an original restored booth, the other a complete replica. One will be our ticket office and we plan for the other one to be our tea rooms. The tea rooms will be open to the public, so you don’t have to be a ticketed visitor in order to experience a slice of the West Pier with its own sitting-out area overlooking the beach, which should be lovely. “We’ll get our beach rooms and the pod itself licensed for weddings. My feeling is that we’ll probably start doing weddings from 2017 - in the building and in the pod.” Having shed some light on a number of the controversies, we can now look forward to the most dramatic tourist attraction since the piers of Victorian times. On a clear day, people will be able to see over 26 miles from Bexhill-onSea in the East to Chichester in the West, taking in views of the South Downs National Park and the chalk cliffs, of the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head. In the evenings, the Brighton i360 will be

transformed into the Sky Bar, an opportunity to enjoy a drink with the best view in the UK. We’ll raise a glass to that.

www.brightoni360.co.uk

I360 IN NUMBERS The pod can hold 200 people The area of ground level venue is 1500 square metres Ascent and descent time 20-30 minutes The height is 162 metres the highest moving observation tower in the world. Opening in 2016

BREAKING NEWS Eleanor has bravely agreed to perform a live dance at the Rockinghorse mid-Summer Ball, on June 20th at the Brighton Hilton, in aid of a great cause. We will have photographers there in force! Tables are still available for the highlight of the summer balls. www.rockinghorse.org.uk

43


{ INVESTMENTS }

KEY TO SUCCESS Top tips to help you protect and grow key accounts by Chris White, Marketing & Business Development Consultant, EMC

M

ost companies have a group of accounts that are considerably more important than others. They’re the ones that generate the lion’s share of revenue…and, hopefully, profit. They need to be given special attention, have their risks managed and opportunities optimized – a proper dose of TLC. This often means developing a Key Account Management programme. According to a Strategic Account Management Association (SAMA) survey, companies with well-developed KAM programmes have a 43% higher customer satisfaction score than those without. The research also showed that many KAM programmes are based around clients where the supplier’s share of wallet is as low as 10-25% - so there’s a lot to aim for.

44

Also… • Generally speaking, 80% of future income is likely to come from just 20% of existing clients. • Selling is easier to key accounts. The probability of selling to an existing client is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20%. • Using a key account strategy to reduce client churn by a mere 5% will increase profits by around 25%. • Typically a sale to a new client is eight times more costly than making the same sale to an existing client. With so much at stake, it’s not surprising that many companies are keen to, and do, implement KAM. However it is also true that many

programmes fail or are abandoned. In other cases, companies find they have to make big changes to get them to function properly. Here are 13 things to consider that might help you develop and implement a successful KAM programme. 1. Be clear about your objectives. Remember we are talking about key existing accounts here, not potential ones. This is about nurturing, protecting and growing major clients. Non-clients fit into a careful targeting programme – they are not key accounts. 2. What resources can you commit to the accounts and what levels of support will you see a return on? Scale your programme accordingly. Do you have a


{ INVESTMENTS }

“Sometimes the importance of the programme can be more widely understood when the CEO and other board members are seen as its sponsors”

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

client satisfaction monitoring process? If so feedback should be conducted face to face with key stakeholders across the client organisation. CEO to CEO can be useful here. Despite the clients being existing accounts, what level of stretch do they contain? Do you know your ‘share of wallet’ and what you should expect it to grow to? Is your key account list like a league table? Will accounts fall in and out of the list? And on what basis? How will this be decided? And how will it be seen to be an equitable process within the business? What are the implications of the programme for the account managers and directors? What are your desired behaviours, and how will your strategy drive those behaviours? Can you incentivise your account managers to nurture and deliver against KA revenue targets? What are the implications for everyone else in the business? A successful KAM strategy isn’t a sales strategy, it’s a business strategy with everyone playing their part. All divisions, not just sales, have to treat the key accounts as a priority. Sometimes the importance of the programme can be more widely understood when the CEO and other board members are seen as its sponsors. An ‘Executive Engagement plan,’ where senior members of your board are lined up to meet their equivalent client side, can be a useful way of demonstrating how valuable the client is to you. A critical role of a KAM/Director is to sell the KA management programme internally and to evangelise about its concept. They will need to travel. They will not always be selling chargeable time. Marketing is part of their role. What is the budget for the programme? What investment are you willing to make in marketing, travel, relationship building? How will its effectiveness be measured… a) Improved client satisfaction or Net Promotor (NP) scores? b) Increased number of regions billing from X to Y? c) % up-shift in revenues or profits? d) New product lines sold in?

e) Increased number of stakeholder relationships? 10. Appoint and train your Key Account Managers. Define and agree a detailed job role and ensure they receive support and training. Incentivise the correct behaviours while having an eye on the law of unintended consequences.

“With so much at stake, it’s not surprising that many companies are keen to, and do, implement KAM. However it is also true that many programmes fail or are abandoned”

11. Direct your business to support the KAM programme: a) Business Development/research team should be providing the KAM with a constant intelligence stream about the client, opportunities and issues that it is facing. b) Business development and marketing should be supporting a strategic communications campaign into the client. This means using intelligence to carefully target information about products or services to individual influencers and stakeholders in the business. Be aware of anniversary dates and be sure to offer a review of progress with the client. c) Support the KAM through soft skill training, technical product training or training in the use and exploitation of market research.

12. Structure your business to support the programme. It’s no use only incentivising geographical business unit growth (regardless of client) as they will ignore the KA programme in order to achieve short term revenue growth. 13. In many organisations the title Key Account Manager is a position to aspire to. Not only should it provide access to bonus and reward, but it is a pivotal role safeguarding the company’s most important assets – its best clients. People should want to hold the position as a route to an even more senior role. Typically there is a cost curve associated with the development of an account. Year one with any major account is likely to be the least profitable and there are often economies that can be discovered with an account over time. Familiarity can actually breed margin. I have had considerable experience in establishing both domestic and international key account programmes. I have also developed a Key Account Review service that can provide a quick assessment of your business’s practices in this area. The review will compare and contrast with commonly accepted best practice and furnish you with a brief report highlighting changes that you could make to strengthen your business’s approach to KAM. So if you would like to discuss any issues you are facing relating to key accounts and their management, do call or drop me an email. There’s a lot to be gained by getting it right.

CONTACT: EMC Management Consultants Ltd, Rochester House, 48 Rochester Gardens, Hove BN3 3AW Chris White Tel: 07970 710543 Email: chris.white@emcltd.co.uk Web: www.emcltd.co.uk

45


{ INTERVIEW }

THE GLOBAL NETWORK It seems hard to believe that the accountancy firm, Reeves, have only had an office in the Gatwick Diamond for just over seven years. They have worked hard on raising a strong local profile, cemented by their recent office move into the centre of Crawley. Now they have announced a new company name, Kreston Reeves, which will improve their exposure internationally. Executive Chairman, Clive Stevens explains the reasons behind the change. Interview by Ian Trevett.

R

eeves is a firm with ambition. The paint is barely dry in their plush new offices in Crawley High Street, and already they are changing all their signage. Reeves is no more. Say hello to Kreston Reeves. I am sitting with the Chairman, Clive Stevens, and the Partner for International Services, Shirley Smith, and the obvious questions are: ‘Why?’ and ‘Who exactly is Kreston?’ Clive is very happy to answer both questions. “About 25 to 30 years ago, we joined a network called Kreston, which is now the 13th largest industry network in the world, with 200

46

firms around the world. We are one of the major members, we attract a lot of work from Kreston, and we give a lot of work to it. “I was the Chairman of Kreston for seven years until last year. I’ve been a member of the Kreston International Board for about 15 years now. It’s been something that’s been quite close to our hearts. “I think we’re the largest firm that is branded as Kreston. So, we like to think we are taking a lead.” At the heart of the move is the realisation that business is increasingly a global concern.

Business clients deal more and more with other countries or foreign companies looking to work in the UK. Being part of a global network offers huge advantages. The company already has a sizeable client base outside of the UK, approximately a tenth of their business. It is good to hear that ten per cent of your business is in exporting, I tell Clive. “Well, I suppose you could put it as exporting. Maybe we should get an award for exporting! “In the South East, we do have people from the States wanting to use England as a base


{ INTERVIEW }

“It’s about translating cultural differences and being able to understand how different cultures do business”

for European operations. Equally, we get a lot of people from the Low Countries or France who are either buying businesses here now or escaping high tax rates, and we’ve benefitted from that.” Shirley specialises in the international market, and she stresses the importance of local knowledge. “I’m talking to a company that is looking to take over an operation in Gatwick very shortly. They are based in Germany and know very little about doing business in the UK. We are having a meeting with them and it’s not just doing their accountancy, audit, taxes and their company’s secretarial; we will be offering them advice about all aspects of doing business in the UK. “It’s about translating cultural differences and being able to understand how different cultures do business. “A recent example was one of my clients, who was looking to tender for a rather large contract abroad and we were able to put them in contact with Kreston members. They got all the advice about bringing in staff from the UK, how they would be taxed, and just, really, how to structure it over there. And they were then able to have a better understanding as to what costs were

involved for them so that they could put in their tender with the information they needed.” Clive adds, “I think owner-managed businesses are increasingly going abroad for export markets and investing abroad, and we have international investors coming here. This is something we are going to focus on over the next couple of years alongside our traditional client base. It means we have to understand our clients’ industries. We had a client who wanted to invest in Australia in sheep farming, and we were able to make introductions. It doesn’t matter whether you are buying a flat in Spain or setting up a business in Hong Kong, we cover the whole game out there.” There are about a dozen Kreston members throughout the UK, with one other firm, James Cooper Kreston, also taking on the branding. Only two firms in the UK have re-branded, but a third of the network worldwide has taken the Kreston name. “We’re on a persuasive mission (rather than on a forced one) to encourage companies to take on the brand name as we share common values,” says Clive. “All are independent firms, but we all work together to ensure we maintain the same standards. We want people to be very explicit about fees, for example. We don’t want any shocks. We want to make sure work is done on time. If you’re an individual firm you set your own standards, but once you are branded in a network, you are representing everyone within it. We raise standards all the time. “There are £2 billion worth of fees, 4,000 partners, 200 firms – that’s a big organisation.” Kreston Reeves themselves are getting fairly big, and Clive has seen the growth first-hand. “I joined as a work experience student, became a partner in my early 30s and have been Managing Partner for the last 20 years until last year, when I became Executive Chairman. When I first joined the firm, there were seven partners and there were about 70 people in Kent. And now it’s 300 people and nearly 40 partners across the South East. It has definitely grown out of Kent to being more a regional company. “In 2007 we moved into Horley, taking over a small firm called Sterling Milne, including two new partners, Paul Roe and Allan Pinner. That was the base. Shirley Smith joined the office in

2008. We have now moved into Crawley as the Gatwick Diamond area is a hub for the area. “We also have an Eastbourne office for insolvency and restructuring work, run by our Director of Restructuring and Recovery, Maxine Reid. It is a very small office, so we use the Crawley office as our hub for the area.” “The new management team is continuing the tradition as a regional firm, which is what we are. We deal with owner-managed businesses, small businesses of all types and private clients. The firm has grown rapidly, certainly in the last decade. A lot of the growth has come from abroad. One of the reasons we’re in Gatwick is because of the exposure to the airport and about ten per cent of our work now comes from overseas.”

“Firms will always have the issue of finding succession. Our baby boomers are now coming into an age where they will have to retire, and consolidation will continue” Does that mean you’ve got more time on your hands? “It doesn’t seem like it. I’m still involved in the management of the firm. I’m 59 this year and my objective was to make sure that there was succession in place. “I no longer get involved in the detail of management decisions. In the past I might do partner appraisals, pay reviews and set salaries. Now that all gets done without me and that’s excellent! I think the role is more one of counselling, maybe dealing with partner issues and being a front to the firm, although there are lots of fronts to the firm.”

47


Shirley joined just after the expansion into Gatwick. “Historically, my first trip into accountancy was when I ran my own business at the age of 21 - a restaurant in Newhaven. I did all the book-keeping and accounts. I then took the long route to getting trained by firstly doing my AAT exams, and then I went on to be the financial controller for The Grand in Brighton. It was just after the bombing, when Richard Baker was the GM. I completed my training in an accountancy firm in Brighton, before joining Reeves in 2008. “The firm moved into Crawley with a view to growing the presence in Sussex. Since we’ve been in this office, we’ve been involved with more things within the community as well. We have a local charity, the Crawley Open House, which we support. We sponsor the Sussex Super Growth Awards, which is celebrating growth of companies throughout the county, the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards, and we also support various initiatives with Crawley Town FC. “ The company has certainly grown considerably, notably through mergers and acquisitions. Is this the trend in the industry? “I think that’s true,” answers Clive. “The professional service world is consolidating. The world is increasingly complex, so people need more access to a wider range of services. And I think there are two models: Either you become

48

very niche at something and get known to be, let’s say, the experts in farming, or you grow and provide a wide range of services to a particular

“We’ve always wanted to be an independent firm. We didn’t particularly want to be swallowed up by one of the major nationals. I think all our partners are capable of working in a major national, but we prefer our own environment” market segment. Ours is definitely ownermanaged businesses and private clients. “Also firms will always have the issue of

finding succession. Our baby boomers are now coming into an age where they will have to retire, and consolidation will continue. “Regulation is an expensive burden on firms as well. To afford all those costs profitably, there will be different models, probably bigger regional firms or niche services. However, there is always going to be a need for the one-manband for doing certain types of work for a lower budget. “All mergers or acquisitions bring their own challenges. It’s very difficult. We are more interested in culture and behaviour than we are in money. You’ve got to be in business with people you like, fundamentally. So, we’re not going to merge with every single firm out there, and nor would every single firm want to merge with us.” Having grown so quickly, I asked Clive just how big does he want to get? “We’ve always wanted to be an independent firm. We didn’t particularly want to be swallowed up by one of the major nationals. I think all our partners are capable of working in a major national but we prefer our own environment. We aren’t a public company auditor. We’re doing plenty of work for public companies, tax and consultancy, but not their audit work. “We have grown. We are now in the top 30 firms in the country for our size. We’d like to


{ INTERVIEW } maintain that and I think we are quite close to our traditional base. We know that we are a regional firm rather than a national firm. We don’t have the infrastructure to be a national firm, but we can offer a dedicated service where we balance the needs of a business against the needs of the owner or manager, helping them achieve their aims but maintaining a life balance. “There are always new opportunities. We’ve seen a growth in work with schools and charities. Government money is going to reduce for schools or for charitable ends. I understand the pressure on the public purse, which is going to affect academies. I’m sure there will be this quasi-transfer to the private sector, and I hope we will be in the best place to pick up that sort of work, whether it’s charities or academies, or any area. “We have seen the growing importance of regional growth funds in Sussex and Kent now to support business, particularly in the tech sector. Each sector – and we have partners specialising in most industry sectors – brings its own challenges. “The trend is to have more industry knowledge rather than just the technical expertise in tax or auditing. I think clients want to know that you have some understanding of their business and some empathy with their opportunities and challenges. “Quite a lot of our events are now industry specific. Twice a year we do training sessions called Finance Focus for finance directors and financial controllers of businesses. All Platinum Business readers are welcome to these. It is effectively a morning’s training on a variety of topics, but what we found is that they are particularly well-supported when they are industry-specific. For instance, we did one last week to an agricultural audience in Maidstone which was very successful.” One event which Kreston Reeves have become well known for is their budget breakfast, the day after the Chancellor’s speech, where they offer in-depth analysis of what the proposals actually mean for business. They also gather a group of their experts to provide live comment on social media as the big speech unfolds. Next issue we will be joining the firm on budget day, reporting on how they respond to the coalition’s final financial proposals. For now, I wondered what Clive predicts will happen in the budget, and indeed, the election. “I don’t think we’ll end up with a single party government; a coalition is much more likely. I know whatever will happen, life won’t be any simpler. In our world regulation is increasing. I spend a lot of my time at the Institute of Chartered Accountants fighting the increasing raft of legislation.

“It’s a consequence of European perceptions of weaknesses in auditing, particularly. In fact, there hasn’t really been an audit scandal in the UK such as Enron in America. I think we have a principle-based approach that has worked, but there is always more that any industry can do to improve standards. “However, there is a danger of ‘gold plating’ European legislation; in other words, the tendency to bring in more than is actually necessary. It does have a cost, which ultimately has to be passed on to customers. I don’t think life will get simpler for people in business. The other side of that is, I think the UK is a very good place in Europe to do business. We’re not suffering in the same way that the French are. So there is a balance.” I believe you are very keen for more investment in infrastructure and more investment in housing. “I think Sussex has similar problems as Kent. The motorway network we’ve got is generally okay but it’s not taking the weight of traffic. Away from the M23/M25, the rest of Sussex and Kent seems quite hard to get to. If one is going to expand the airports, Gatwick or Heathrow, that would demand better infrastructure, whether it’s trains or roads. There is a lot more they should be doing in terms of planning.” “We are coming out of a recession. I think most people would have experienced flat economic growth for three or four years. It has increased this year, but how do you sustain that? It’s been driven by consumers, and the fear is that too much is being added to credit card debts. I think government could have a role in pushing through some infrastructure projects. Obviously, that’s what the Gatwick - Heathrow debate is about. It just takes so long. I would be keen for Gatwick to expand. I know you’ve got the debate between Gatwick and Heathrow, but I don’t really understand why it can’t be both. “One thing we will see is a greater emphasis on local decision-making, whether it’s big city mayors or county councils, which, in terms of infrastructure, might be a good thing. In America, infrastructure decision-making has come at a city level rather than a federal level.” With an office move and re-branding, there is plenty to keep Clive occupied, but there is another occasion worthy of note. For a keen philatelist, 2015 is big year: the 175th anniversary of the Penny Black. So, I ask Clive, are stamps a decent investment? “It was meant to be a hobby, something noncompetitive. In fact, it’s very competitive! But would I advise someone to invest their money in stamps? I wouldn’t recommend it!”

www.krestonreeves.com

49


ON THE ACQUISITION TRAIL WHY MORE AND MORE BUSINESSES ARE CONSIDERING M&A In July 2014 DMH Stallard’s Corporate Group advised Horley-based MOD procurement specialist Marlborough Communications Limited (MCL) on its sale to AIM-listed Cohort PLC. The deal was shortlisted for the Deal of the Year at the 2015 South East Insider Dealmaker Awards in February. Jonathan Grant, was named Corporate Lawyer of the Year at the same awards.

I

n 2014 DMH Stallard Corporate concluded a series of high-value M&A and financing transactions, together with 13 Capital Market deals, with a combined deal value of over £165 million. The team also advised Coast to Capital LEP on their investment in Brighton’s £40 million i360 project and helped magazine publisher Kelsey, acquire seven new automotive magazine titles and an events business from Future plc, Bauer and Rutland.

“The award highlights the firm’s reputation for having people who are not only great technical lawyers but also influential business people who can help organisations to grow and succeed” “We started the year on a high and since then both our regional and City teams have been flat out,” says Jonathan Grant.

To consistently deliver top quality deals been a surge in Mergers and Acquisitions. The requires partners with experience and ‘M&A 2015 Outlook’ supplement, published complimentary skills. DMH Stallard have a by Raconteur (distributed with The Times), specialist media and technology team led by reported that “global M&A volumes in the first John Yates, a banking team led by Gwen Godfrey, half of 2014 were 41 per cent higher than the and Jonathan Grant and Abigail Owen running an same period last year, and the highest firstM&A team. The Team’s success was recognised half volume since before the financial crisis. when they received a host of nominations at the Volumes were highest in the healthcare sector, recent South East Insider Dealmaker Awards which represented 17 per cent of M&A, followed with Jonathan Grant winning Corporate Lawyer by telecoms and real estate.” of the Year. DMH Stallard Managing Partner, Despite the recession, over the last three Richard Pollins commented, “There’s no greater years DMH Stallard have seen high prices praise than direct recognition from the business paid for quality businesses, with the sales of community. Jonathan Grant’s award highlights Pyroban to Caterpillar, Hillcrest to Sovereign, the firm’s reputation for having people who and Kineo to City & Guilds. The split sale of MCL are not only great technical lawyers but also demonstrates the need to matching the needs influential business people who can help of buyers wanting to avoid mistakes, and sellers organisations to grow and succeed.” needing to maximize value. Over the last 12 This view is shared by Philip Cunliffe, months there has been a pick up in deal volume, Regional Business Editor for South East Insider and more recently a return of some debt based Dealmaker Awards, who says, “The dealmaker acquisition finance,which suggests the market awards provide us all with an opportunity will continue to grow. to recognise and reward the people doing all this hard work – those whose professionalism, skill and sheer tenacity has got deals through to completion.” Such recognition within the industry is most welcome for the firm, especially at a time when every indicator suggests that confidence from right to left, DMH Stallard Partners, Jonathan Grant, Abigail Owen has returned, and there has and John Yates

Tel: 01293 60 5000 Email: enquiries@dmhstallard.com | Web: www.dmhstallard.com 50


{ MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS }

MCL & COHORT PLC - THE DEAL THE COMPANY BY DARREN ALLERY, MD, MCL “Marlborough Communications Limited (MCL) is a small company which packs a big punch. We supply advanced electronic and surveillance technology supporting military operations in the Middle East, and now we’re well placed to sustain that business by winning and supporting contracts in the Ministry of Defence’s longterm programme and with security and law enforcement agencies. “MCL’s equipment is deployed at sea, in Afghanistan and in the UK, giving the technology edge to demanding customers doing vital work for the nation’s security “Two examples from 2011, show how a small company like Marlborough can have a big impact. “The Royal Navy required complex electronic surveillance systems to equip the new Astute Class submarines. Our excellent relationships with the customer and our supplier, and our clear and professional approach to the competition and its processes helped us to win the contract. We are now set to support the submarine fleet’s eyes and ears for years to come. “The MOD had a requirement for a very small unmanned aerial vehicle to support operations in Afghanistan. Prox Dynamics SA of Norway had developed an astonishingly small surveillance aircraft, the Black Hornet, which at 16 grammes was right at the leading edge of technology worldwide. MCL’s reputation for excellence allowed the company to form a strong relationship with Prox to compete for the £20m programme. The Black Hornet was brought in

on time and has been a resounding success in Afghanistan. “MCL has also been heavily involved in work to reduce the threat of the improvised explosive devices which have cost so many lives on recent operations. Hundreds of our advanced electronic systems are deployed across Afghanistan and will continue to play a part in protecting British troops.” THE DEAL DMH Stallard played a major role in negotiating and completing the sale of Horley-based MOD procurement specialist MCL to Cohort Plc, with a sale of 50.1% of equity on completion and a put and call option for 49.9%, exercisable in 2016. MCL was a sought-after target, having received a number of offers from both trade and private equity over 24 months. Time spent with the team and a trusted advisory team, which included Baker Tilly’s Corporate Finance team led by Kirsty Sandwell, helped identify the right deal. A strong trading and reputational connection between the sellers and buyer was key and the MCL management team were determined to continue running their business after closing the deal which has been achieved. THE VERDICT On completion of the deal, MCL Managing Director Darren Allery, said, “Jonathan Grant and his team steered us through a complex legal process with skill and determination. We didn’t anticipate some of the issues that arose but were glad of DMH Stallard’s energy and expertise to see us through to completion.”

“MCL’s equipment is deployed at sea, in Afghanistan and in the UK, giving the technology edge to demanding customers doing vital work for the nation’s security ”


Stag House, Upper Bedford Street, Brighton BN2 1GW


{ MOTIVATIONAL THINKING }

By Sarah Hopwood Business Consultant, International Speaker, TV Presenter, Voiceover Artist and Cruise Lecturer. www.sarahhopwood.com

YOUNG ENTERPRISE

I

recently visited an exhibition by enterprise students from state and independent schools at the Holmbush Centre in Shoreham. The youth are our future. This thought reminds me of advice sometimes given to parents: “Make sure you look after your children because they will be choosing your nursing home.” The Young Enterprise Progamme does just that – it looks after our students and encourages them to aim high. They set up a business for a year with investors, with a bank account and business plan. Both my children have been through this programme, and a few years ago I

spent two years as Company Business Advisor for Lancing College, winning Best Branding in 2011. Luna Jewellry from Brighton and Hove High School were selling adjustable, customised necklaces. They had profits above £700, had set up a working rota, making sure the work was equally shared. I was most impressed with their packaging and profit margin, and also the receipt found in each package enabling them to capture details of each purchaser and empowering the team to market to them again. These girls had great energy and business acumen.

Nearby were Gift Tastic from Peacehaven Community School. They had already won Best Trading Stand in Brighton the previous week and were a delight to listen to. What really caught my eye were the glasses at the front on their display. With further probing I found out they were made from recycled glass and designed by Robbie, an incredibly enthusiastic student entrepreneur. Also, the teacher behind the scenes was clearly very supportive, rooting for her students. She really was a fine example of how to set students up and then watch them fly. I then met up with John Walters from Begbies Traynor.

THE ETHICAL BUSINESS INTERVIEW - JOHN WALTERS FROM BEGBIES TRAYNOR. When employing new staff, are they given headlines or an induction into office ethics or culture? We always employ people with a positive attitude, bringing them up from the bottom and training them through, rather than bringing staff in at the top. They don’t go through any induction training on ethics. However, in an interview l do say that if they make a mistake I want them to come forward and tell me. If they suggest how that mistake may be fixed, that’s better still. We never want a culture where people are too frightened to own up. Could you give me an example of a core value? Normal recovery policies mean I can take my

fee out first. There are other options where that policy isn’t applicable, but I could sell the inappropriate procedure and get a fee. I ethically cannot do this and believe that in the long term this would be bad for a referral-based business like mine. Our first meeting, which we provide free, is not to get people through the door, as some may think; there are other reasons, such as the costs associated with carrying out the appropriate money laundering checks. I also need to understand if I am advising you as a Director, shareholder, creditor or landlord, all positions which may have conflicts. So it could compromise you? Yes, completely. So I need the free assessment to avoid this. There needs to be a full assessment, not just for the Director, but also for all the other roles he/she may have within the company.

What you are expressing here, then, is your need to treat your clients the way you would want to be treated. Exactly! I have been doing this job for 20-plus years and wish to continue doing it for a further 20 years. Do you use networking in your business? Absolutely. I remember when I first went to Chamber/networking events and worried about being the person standing in the corner on my own. Now, because of the time I have been in Brighton, I will always know someone. There is nothing better than to be open and inviting new people to come and join us so they can get out of that position of being on their own. You never know who might be in their network and where the next job will come from.

53


{ INTERVIEW }

ENERGY AND DRIVE The new generation of partners at Bennett Griffin, the Worthing-based law firm, have a determination to create a new regional powerhouse. Ian Trevett interviews the Head of Property, Rob Fawcett.

S

tereotypes are made to be broken. If you wanted the definition of a young, lively, dynamic and ambitious company, it is unlikely that a provincial law firm in Worthing would immediately spring to mind. However, not everything is what it appears. In fact, Worthing has a vibrant business scene and law firms are becoming less formal than they once were, especially in a firm where Rob Fawcett is an equity partner. With his infectious enthusiasm and down-to-earth approach, Rob is out to prove that the legal profession has firmly embraced the 21st century. “There is a new generation of businesspeople who are very different from their predecessors and have a less formal approach,” says Rob. “I had a new client phone up the other day and she said, ‘I was expecting you to be boring, very miserable and staid.’ I said, ‘Well, that’s not how we are.’ Because you can’t do business like that anymore.

54

“It’s about appealing to different people. I always like it when people say to me, “What do you do for a living?” and then they look at me as if to say, ‘Really?’ Because that’s how it should be, the sterotypes should be broken. The legal market has got to be accessible to businesses and individuals. Clients have got to be able to relate to you, and you’ve got to be able to relate to your clients. It’s not about having that stiff upper lip anymore, because it doesn’t work, its about building relationships and understanding our clients needs. “At the firm we have a team of people who have the drive to make the firm work and be the best around and that is what’s going to make us succeed and grow.” “Bennett Griffin is made up of seven partners and 60 staff and we are ripe for growth. We’re looking at new, modern, headquarters in central Worthing whlist also retaining our Ferring office. We have very exciting plans for 2015, its

going to be a big year for us and the start of a growth that will see us grow into a regional firm that people will buy into.” Bennett Griffin is a law firm on a mission, and Rob is clearly itching to say more about the plans for this year, but for now they will have to stay under wraps. So where does this motivation for growth and success come from and how did Bennett Griffin gain such a youthful edge? The answer lies in the firm’s successful process of succession. On the previous day I had coincidentally been chatting to the Executive Chairman at Kreston Reeves about the importance of getting succession right. Bennett Griffin shows just what can be achieved when the partners plan ahead. Like others at Bennett Griffin, Rob was taken under the wing of one of the original partners and given the guidance needed to take the firm forward. The firm was created in 1990 with the merger of Bennett & Quelch and


{ INTERVIEW }

“I can say that 2015 is a big year for us. We will make our first announcement in the next issue of Platinum Business Magazine!”

Bellamy-Knights & Griffin. After two decades it was time to think ahead. Rob concurs: “The senior partners, Terry Griffin, Peter Bennett and Peter Laverick, had seen that you needed to have succession planning in place for two reasons: one for the firm to grow and two in order for them to get their money out when they wanted to retire! I came to the company when I was 27 and worked with Terry Griffin for two or three years. He then retired, and at 31 I became a Salary Partner. Then, last April, I was made an Equity Partner in the firm and headed up the property department. “Our Managing Partner is Steve Hollamby, 52, and most of our partners are in their 30s or 40s. So, we are a ‘youthful’ firm and the succession is there. Succession is important as there can be a tendency in solicitors’ practices for partners to get to a stage where they want to release their money from the business and pass on the control to a new generation. You don’t want to get to the stage where senior partners start to lose their drive and enthusiasm. Enthusiasm and drive have never been an issue at Bennett Griffin but I think there was a recognition that forward planning was necessary for the future, and future progression of the firm.” The challenge for Steve, Rob and their fellow partners is to retain the existing business and to look for new markets. “The general rule that I have found is that a client will stay with their solicitor until something goes wrong and/or if something happens that the client is not particularly happy about. Otherwise, the relationship between a client and their solicitor tends to be a long-term arrangement. This principle still applies and building relationships is key, and it always has

been, but it’s also about doing more, going over and above, not just doing one piece of work but asking a client ‘What else can we do? How can we work together on a journey?’ “Let’s face facts: you’re only as good as your last result, and if you maintain those good results, and build on them then you’re going to succeed.

“The clients have got to be able to relate to you, and you’ve got to be able to relate to your clients. It’s not about having that stiff upper lip anymore, because it doesn’t work” “We have a very good client base already, acting for some big clients locally and regionally, but it’s also about picking up the next generation. “We are looking to expand, and feel there is room in the Brighton market as some of the larger companies no longer have a base there. There’s an untapped legal market and we are keen to show what Bennett Griffin has to offer. “We offer a full complement of legal and advisory services. There is the corporate side, which deals with matters such as sales and acquisitions, terms and conditions, essentially

everything you need for your business. Then there is commercial property and residential property. We have a family team, and a personal injury team as well as our private client department which deals with a range of issues including wills, probate, powers of attorney, tax planning etc. ”We’ve identified that the corporate and the commercial sides are where the growth is, but we know the importance of offering a quality service in all sectors.” Although the trend for professional services is to grow and expand regionally, the firm is proud of its Worthing roots. “We’re based in Worthing and we’ve got clients all over the South East and London. The market has changed as there used to be loads of little solicitors’ practices serving the community around them. Now, because of the technology, it doesn’t matter where you are. “Worthing has always had a staid image, but the business community it is vibrant and there is always lots going on. It’s certainly underestimated and maybe misunderstood in some respects. There are some large influential companies here, such as Ricardo, and there are plenty of successful firms on the Lancing Business Park. “It’s a good business community, and I’d like to see the Brighton and Worthing businesses come together more. A lot of people from Brighton are coming over to Worthing now, and I think in time we will start to see the two areas merge. The Greater Brighton concept is being developed, and if it can be branded as a region, it has got to be done. It can’t be just to get the bigger grants because that doesn’t work. Like a business, if you’re going to grow, you have to have a common identity and belief. If you’re just doing it to get bits of money in, it’s never going

55


to last. It’ll work for a few years and then it will gradually fall apart.” Is it really feasible to build common identity, as they are very distinct places? “It’s how you sell it, it’s how you put it together. You’ve got Brighton as the energetic, young heart and then you’ve got the different regions – Worthing, Shoreham – that complement it. It really depends whether people have got the drive and the desire to do it. “Worthing likes its independence,. but you also get to a stage where you say, ‘Okay, we want our independence. But if we want the ability to grow and take the benefit of all these links we’ve got, then you have to move forward.’” An excellent example of this outward-looking attitude is the Sussex Property Alliance, a networking and discussion group formed by Rob and three other Worthing-based businesses, Carpenter Box, Jelf and Michael Jones. They may all have their roots in Worthing, but the Alliance is most certainly county-wide. “It’s been brilliant. We got together as we all want to grow something that has a wider reach. The founders have specialist expertise in law, accountancy, insurance and commercial property. We’ve set out the next three meetings for the year, and a couple of them are going to be quite controversial. We have attracted a sizeable Brighton membership by holding our events at the Amex and also at the Cricket Ground. Now we are planning to move events around the county to keep things fresh and interesting and

56

attract a wider group of people from round the region. “Another way we reach out is through our Employment Club, which is run by partner Elaine Smith and meets four times a year. We invite clients and guests for breakfast and we discuss employment issues. Employment law is ever changing and can be really controversial, not having the right knowledge can have massive

“Worthing is underestimated and maybe misunderstood in some respects”

consequences for your business so the people who attend the Club find it invaluable. “We have also been getting involved with local schools, offering advice on legal careers and we have enjoyed working with Lancing Academy helping the students, especially those who want to become lawyers, and doing workshops with them. These students are part of the next generation and although they might need to go

away to study, if there is something we can do to keep them in the region, then that is positive. They’ve got ability, and it’s making them want to be proud of where they are from and wanting to come back and put their roots down here rather than going off somewhere else. For me, it is vital to be able to put something back into the community.” Rob also has a new specialty, as he explains: “I specialise in anything to do with commercial property development work, but I have become a bit of an expert on garden centres! It wasn’t a sector I had expected to be in, but it’s something that I actually enjoy. You have to think outside the box when you’re dealing with them, because what garden centres will offer tenants and concessions is completely different to what the textbook law says. It’s about being able to adapt to new business needs and working in a different modern environment.” And outside of work? “I am trying to get the work/life balance right at the moment. When I am out of the office I love running, cars, and travelling. My next destination is Canada, which I am looking forward to, though sometimes it is nice to just relax on a beach and unwind.”

www.bennettgriffin.co.uk


{ TRAVEL }

A NEW WAY TO STOP THE GRIDLOCK AT HEATHROW By John Burroughes Managing Director of UNIGLOBE Preferred Travel T: 0845 180 7817 • E: sales@uniglobepreferred.co.uk • W: www.uniglobepreferred.co.uk

B

ritish air traffic controllers have invented a new system that could eventually cut flight delays all over the world. The principle is simple enough: planes coming in to land will be spaced out by time rather than by distance. It has taken a team at NATS (formerly National Air Traffic Control Services) four years of scientific study to make sure the system is safe, and Heathrow is about to become the first airport on the planet to trial it. It all comes down to wind. Wind is the

58

biggest single cause of landing delays at London’s Heathrow airport, messing up flights on around 65 days each year. If airliners are fighting against a headwind, even if they maintain the same speed through the air, they take longer to reach the runway. And that creates delays. Think of it like this. If you’re walking the wrong way down an escalator, and the escalator speeds up while you keep walking at the same speed, it takes you longer to reach the bottom. A strong wind has exactly the same effect on flight.

The new Time-Based Separation (TBS) system simply moves the aircraft closer together, thus cutting those delays. WHY HEATHROW? Heathrow is full. They are not legally allowed to process any more flights per year, having reached their government imposed cap of 480,000 takeoffs and landings. It’s the main reason they argue that they need a new runway. What it means, though, is that there is very little wiggle room during the day to squeeze in more flights if they have delays early on. At Gatwick, or


{ TRAVEL }

“It all comes down to wind. Wind is the biggest single cause of landing delays at London’s Heathrow airport, messing up flights on around 65 days each year” By their estimate, it could save an airline £67m per annum in prevention of delays.

any of the other big UK airports, things get quieter after the morning rush hour, which allows them some space to catch up following any problems. Heathrow doesn’t have that kind of slack, which means they are more likely to cancel flights if, for example, the wind picks up and their hourly landing rate drops off. Despite the four years of scientific testing, some people, possibly even including pilots, might be nervous if they hear that aircraft are flying closer together. To make sure the system was safe, it was exhaustively tested. That meant firing a laser into the air above Heathrow as thousands of aircraft came in to land. The equipment measured the size of the vortex and how long it took to lose its sting. Engineers checked 150,000 different flights and that was enough to convince the regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, to approve the new system. NATS is introducing time-based landings at Heathrow from March this year.

QATAR BUYS 10% STAKE IN BRITISH AIRWAYS OWNER Last month I reported on the prospect of the IAG group (parent company of British Airways) having their bid for Aer Lingus approved. As we go to press the board of Aer Lingus has recommended the deal and the Irish government are currently considering their response. On the other side of the world we find Qatar Airways has emerged as the owner of a 10% stake in International Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of British Airways (BA) and Iberia. The Gulf airline is already a member of the Oneworld alliance. Willie Walsh, IAG’s Chief Executive, said he was delighted Qatar had become a “long-term supportive shareholder”. The stake, worth about £1.15bn, gives Qatar closer links with a group that has two major European hubs and strong transatlantic networks. Mr Walsh said his company would explore what “opportunities exist to work more closely together and further IAG’s ambitions as the leading global airline group”. Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of Qatar, said: “IAG represents an excellent opportunity to further develop our westwards strategy.”

“Four years of scientific study to make sure the system is safe, and Heathrow is about to become the first airport on the planet to trial it” QATAR Qatar Airways were also in the news this month when they took delivery of the world’s first

Airbus A350 which was built to rival Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. At a development cost of £10bilion, currently Airbus have orders for over 800 A350’s and it went into service on January 15th between Doha and the German financial centre, the flight was sold out. UK passengers will need to fly via Frankfurt to experience the aircraft. Qatar’s second A350 will also go into service between Frankfurt and Doha. UK passengers will get an option to experience the aircraft if flying to Singapore when Qatar takes delivery of the third A350, which will operate between Doha and Singapore. The carrier currently has no plans to operate the A350 from Britain; however, Qatar have a further 80 A350s on order, so I’m sure we won’t have to wait long to experience this groundbreaking piece of technology. And speaking of groundbreaking technology: SOLAR IMPULSE 2 SET FOR ROUND-THE-WORLD FLIGHT With the wingspan of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet - 72m (236ft) - but only the weight of a family -sized car, the Solar Impulse 2 is about to embark on an around the world trip. I am sure you will see plenty of news coverage as it stops at various points around the world. Plans have been set for the solar-powered plane, Solar Impulse 2, to take off from Abu Dhabi and then fly around the globe using only the sun’s energy. Its predecessor, Solar Impulse 1, has already been flown across America and stored sufficient power in its batteries to fly all night. And lastly if any of you require assistance navigating the crazy world of business travel please feel free to give me a call on: 0845 180 7800 or drop me an email at: John@Uniglobepreferred.co.uk

59


Direct Debit Processing Donor Development Campaign Planning Marketing Resources

www.charityline.org.uk

Call us on: 0800 368 9701 or email: info@charityline.org.uk


{ CHARITY & BUSINESS }

TOP FIVE FINANCIAL ISSUES FACING CHARITIES Eileen Houghton, head of the Not for Profit group at Carpenter Box, highlights the top challenges facing third sector organisations in the south east.

A

usterity remains a fact of life for many local charities, but the likelihood of further reductions in public spending means that the burden being borne by the third sector will almost certainly increase in the future. However, by recognising where the key challenges lie, it will be possible for them to prioritise actions and optimise available resources.

The top issues for charities highlighted in a recent report by the MHA (an association of independent accountants) include:

1) Operating

that resources are being stockpiled rather than being applied for the charitable purposes for which they were received. However, to operate with nothing in reserve might be considered reckless, so charities must pursue a thoughtthrough reserves policy that supports the development of the organisation and its

“Further reductions in public spending means that the burden being borne by the third sector will almost certainly increase in the future”

a charity trading subsidiary: Commercial trading activities of charities need careful consideration to avoid potential difficulties. Generally, it is better to undertake these activities within the charity itself, taking advantage of exemptions available under charity and tax law. Where things go beyond the exemption limits, it may be more appropriate for activities to be undertaken through a wholly owned trading subsidiary. Although this is a tried and trusted structure that has long been accepted by the Charity Commission and HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs), there are some potential challenges to overcome.

activities, assists in the overall strategy, provides a buffer to manage unforeseen financial difficulties and demonstrates good management to supporters and other funders.

2) Determining

3) Fraud:

the appropriate level of reserves: Significant reserves can suggest

There are a number of reasons why charities can be susceptible to fraud.

These include the fact that a high level of confidence in the sector means people think it very unlikely; there can be a lack of adequate controls either because of limited resource or over reliance on goodwill of employees or volunteers, together with a reliance on a large number of volunteers. It is essential that trustees understand the risks to which the charity is exposed and where it might be vulnerable to fraud. They must then work to ensure that controls are designed accordingly and that proper training is given to trustees and staff.

4) Gift

Aid: This can “gross-up” donations by 25%, so the charity must ensure that all opportunities are taken, the system is correctly administered and does not fall foul of HMRC’s rules.

5) VAT:

This can present a series of challenges involving some complex issues. Charities must keep on top of matters such as exemptions and obtaining the relief available in order to be VAT efficient. If you would like a copy of the full report, or to discuss any of the issues raised above, contact Eileen Houghton or Fiona Ede on 01903 234094. www.carpenterbox.com

61


{ CHARITY & BUSINESS }

HELPING CHARITIES SERVE THEIR COMMUNITIES Imogen Lucas talks to Andy Fry of CharityLine

C

harityLine is the brainchild of Chief Executive, Andy Fry, who wanted to make it easier and more cost-effective for charities to grow their donations through proactive marketing, utilising properly sourced data and cleansing existing data, enabling charities to make more of an impact on their donors. Andy said “After talking to many of our clients who are charities, I wanted to offer charities the opportunity to access professional services supplied by a company who understands how charities operate and need to grow” Andrew Fry has 30 years in the marketing industry and has created and operates several successful businesses within this area, latterly, Nova Group, which he formed in 1991 and now works over many marketing disciplines, including advertising, direct marketing, strategic communications, CRM support and global sourcing and fulfillment. “We are an organisation dedicated to helping charities grow.” Andy says “With our partners we have developed a range of specialist services designed to meet the increasing needs of charities in an ever-changing world. “ CharityLine is able to collect funds from donors in a variety of ways including online fundraising.  They provide advice and can set up donation processing, including direct debit for your charity. They also provide marketing support in the form of campaign planning to

ER D REAFFER O

execution to maximise your charity’s donor potential, even building online donation portals, either as an integral part or through a link from your web site.

is applied to their campaign. They will analyse your current media activity or start from scratch to create a media campaign that works for your individual charity and your donors.

DONOR DEVELOPMENT Having worked with charities for many years, CharityLine understand that finding new supporters is key to growth. Using their experience they are able to analyse the demographic of your supporter base, and design and execute campaigns to drive growth. They want to work with you to help your charity grow through awareness, donations and supporters.

DATA AUDIT In a nutshell, CharityLine will compare your supporter data against 35m deceased records, 344m gone-away records and 96m people who have moved house. They will then report back to you the number of records that fall into each category. They will only ever use the very strictest of matching criteria to ensure that the risk of excluding valid records is minimised. You can then make an informed decision about what action, if any, needs to be taken. Once you know the size of your valid records, you can use this information to make campaigns more efficient, only investing vital funds in contacting people you know will receive your message. CharityLine will even let you understand the underlying demographics so that you can tailor the message.

DONATION PROCESSING Within CharityLine, they have developed operational support to handle regular donations via direct debit. Within their range of services, they are able to offer a range of solutions to meet all budgetary needs. They also have the skills and resources available to meet the cash and cheque processing needs following a campaign or event. Backed by BACS and their Partners Harlands Group, they can offer you safe and secure answers to collecting your donations via direct debit. MEDIA SOLUTIONS In practice, Nova Media Solutions look at each individual client’s needs and analyse their target market to ensure that the correct marketing mix

CASE STUDIES CharityLine audited the data for two well-known charities, and when they compared their data to deceased, gone-away and reconnect records, those charities found that they had saved circa 10% on their next mailing campaigns, and equally importantly, their future campaigns were more targeted for their donors.

CharityLine is offering readers of Business Platinum Magazine • Free audit of database • Free marketing review • Free direct debit set up for donation processing

To take up this offer, contact: Stuart Sutherland, Commercial Director, CharityLine on T: 0800 368 9701 or email stuart@CharityLine.org.uk and quote PLATINUM

63


Chestnut Tree House

BuSInESS AwArdS 2015 Thursday 12 March 2015 South Lodge Hotel, Horsham 6pm Drinks Reception, Dinner and Awards Ceremony

Hosted by Ambrose Harcourt Broadcaster and Patron of Chestnut Tree House

The Chestnut Tree House Business Awards are to recognise businesses and individual employees who are outstanding in their communities and to thank them for supporting Chestnut Tree House. The awards categories are: • Outstanding Individual Fundraiser • Fundraising Team Of The Year • Most Innovative Fundraising Idea • Outstanding Voluntary Project • Outstanding Long Term Supporter • Outstanding SME Supporter • Outstanding Corporate Supporter

FINAL Deadline for nominations 12 March 2 February 2015 2015

To nominate a business, book a place or find out more visit: www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk email: corporate@chestnut-tree-house.org.uk Or telephone: 01903 871837 Registered charity number: 256789

Chestnut Tree House Business Awards 2015 are kindly supported by:

www.becreative.co.uk

www.crawleytownfc.com

www.hiykon.co.uk

www.creativepod.net

www.southlodgehotel.co.uk


{ BUSINESS AWARDS }

CHESTNUT TREE HOUSE AWARDS - THE FINALISTS Platinum Business Magazine is proud to be a media partner for the awards

L

ocal businesses will be in the spotlight when children’s hospice Chestnut Tree House hosts their second business awards on 12th March, 2015 at South Lodge Hotel, Horsham. The awards were launched in 2013 as part of the charity’s tenth anniversary celebrations, aiming to reward and recognise the businesses which had supported them. The first ever Chestnut Tree House Business Awards were so successful, with companies from all across Sussex entering, that they have decided to do it again. Sarah Arnold, Corporate Fundraising Manager for Chestnut Tree House, said, “Hundreds of businesses have raised thousands of pounds to help us run the only children’s hospice in the county over the last 11 years and we want to thank them and give something back. “We invited businesses to nominate themselves or name individuals in their organisations who have put in extraordinary effort to raise funds to help us. It costs a staggering £6,850 per day to provide all our care services – both at the hospice and out in the community - for children with life-limiting illnesses and their families. “We are caring for more children than ever before – over 300 – and care costs are increasing, yet we receive less than 8% of our funding from central government and so are almost entirely dependent on the generosity of local businesses and individuals to support us and help cover our costs.” The awards will be judged by an expert panel comprising Hugh Lowson, Chief Executive of Chestnut Tree House, Gary Shipton, Editor In Chief of Sussex Newspapers, Poppy Szkiler, Founder and Managing Director of Quiet Mark, and Lisa Bradley, Founder and Managing Director of Pegasus.

FINALISTS: OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUAL FUNDRAISER Paul Jones – Celebrity Golf Day – Chichester Chris Dell – Gallagher Heath – Horsham Mike Stephenson – ILG – Gatwick - Burgess Hill FUNDRAISING TEAM OF THE YEAR ILG – Gatwick – Burgess Hill Gatwick Airport – Gatwick Basepoint - Shoreham MOST INNOVATIVE FUNDRAISING IDEA Willmott Dixon – Cobham Surrey Great Sussex Bath Race – Chichester G W & W Bridges – Pease Pottage OUTSTANDING VOLUNTARY PROJECT HSBC – Regional Gatwick Airport – Gatwick Teddy Bear Run – Regional OUTSTANDING LONG-TERM SUPPORT Technetix – Burgess Hill Camilla Botnor – Cowfold Focus Group – Southwick OUTSTANDING SME SUPPORTER Green People – West Grinstead ILG – Gatwick – Burgess Hill South Lodge – Horsham

The Awards Dinner is at South Lodge Hotel in Lower Beeding on Thursday, 12th March, 2015. The winner of each category will be announced at the Awards Dinner. This exciting evening will kick off with a drinks reception at 6.00pm, followed by a three-course meal prepared by South Lodge’s awardwinning chefs, and finishing with the awards presentation by Juice FM’s “Mr Love” himself, Ambrose Harcourt, and Sally Gunnell OBE DL. Tickets can be purchased by credit or debit card by contacting 01903 871838. You may buy individual tickets at £65 each or book a table for ten at £600. Please note that tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis and the demand is expected to be high, so do book early to avoid disappointment.

OUTSTANDING CORPORATE SUPPORTER Goodwood Festival of Speed – Goodwood

www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk

Travel Places – Worthing Willmott Dixon – Cobham Surrey

65


Doing business in China? Chinese Language and Culture for Business

The University of Brighton is launching a beginner’s course in Chinese Language and Culture for Business to give you the language skills and cultural knowledge you will need to operate effectively in the largest trading nation in the world.

Taught by experienced native Chinese teachers, the course has been tailored to focus on business situations you will encounter when operating in China and includes: • Mandarin Chinese language: grammar, pronunciation, Chinese characters, Chinese sound system, pinyin/tones • Doing business in China, including useful words, phrases and greetings • Planning and participating in meetings with Chinese business partners • Social business situations • Chinese visas • Gift-giving etiquette

Your classes will also include real business case studies to support your learning of Chinese, and understanding of how companies work and interact in China, and small class sizes will ensure you receive the best possible teaching support. By the end of the course, you will have the confidence and knowledge to conduct yourself professionally in meetings and business situations in China. This is a ten week course running from April 22 to June 27. Classes are held weekly on a Wednesday from 6pm–8pm.

For more information, contact the Business Helpdesk on +44(0)1273 643098, email businesshelpdesk@brighton.ac.uk or visit www.brighton.ac.uk/business/chinese


{ MARKETING }

BEING IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME By Craig Walden Director of Big Beach Marketing

P

eople often say success is about being in the right place at the right time. That can happen with luck, but we prefer to make it happen by design. For our clients we follow some basic marketing principles. Even if you are selling to other businesses, the buying decisions are ultimately made by an individual. We always ask clients to think about the following: WHAT NEED ARE YOU SATISFYING? People buy from you because they need or want what you are offering, solving a problem, saving them money; basically, delivering a benefit. You need to be really clear about what your product or service provides for any potential customer. It may seem like a no-brainer to you, but how do you articulate it? Marketing makes sure that this is translated in a way that’s easy to understand. And remember, the benefits could be different for different customers. WHO IS LIKELY TO HAVE THAT NEED? Once we have understood the proposition, we need to identify who needs what you are offering. Who are your customers are likely to be? This breaks down into two camps: your existing customers and your prospects. Existing customers are easier to communicate with and sell to, as you should already have a good

relationship with them. They may need more of what they bought previously or additional products/services that you offer - you need to make them aware. Completely new customers need to be convinced not only that the product is sound, but also that you are the right company to deliver that service. WHEN ARE THEY LIKELY TO HAVE THAT NEED? Can we predict when your product/service could be needed? Yes, because there are always assumptions to be made about the ‘trigger points’: buying cycle, product life, budget availability, buying seasons, to name a few. Your expertise in your industry will mean that you will have a good understanding of this. We ask clients to consider where potential customers are likely to go to find a solution: online, tradeshows, business directory, buying group or buying framework. Armed with these three pieces of information, we can go about putting a communication strategy in place to keep existing customers informed and help you find the attention of potential new customers. BEING IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME? If predicting demand is difficult, then it’s quite simple; being in the right place at the right time involves ALWAYS being around.

Big Beach Marketing Tel: 01273 434552 Web: www.bigbeach.co.uk So how do we do that? By being relentless and creative. We use different forms of communication: email, direct mail, social media, telephone calls and event marketing throughout the year, so that when a need does arise your business comes to mind. IT’S A MARATHON… Unless you have a limitless budget, marketing is usually a marathon, not a sprint, and potential customers are thought to need between 5 and 12 ‘touches’ before buying. We recommend using smart software on your website that can identify companies visiting your site. You’ll be able to see which pages they are looking at, which means you can proactively contact a prospective customer before they speak to other suppliers. MAINTAIN YOUR DATA Maintaining accurate data on existing and potential customers is essential. If people aren’t buying right now or have recently renewed a contract, make sure you keep in communication with them and contact them when the time is right. MAKE YOU OWN LUCK So being in the right place at the right time is easy. Just don’t leave it to chance…Need help? Contact Big Beach Marketing.

67


{ WORKING ENVIRONMENT }

JUST ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE? Ricky Gervais may have made The Office infamous as a drab and dreary, morale-sapping white collar wilderness, but business is rapidly catching on to the impact a happy, healthy work environment can have on employee well-being and productivity. Graham White is Chief Executive at Chiswick Park Enjoy-Work, the business community in West London where keeping staff motivated and inspired is all in a day’s work.

W

e spend more time in the office with our colleagues than we do at home with our family and friends. Creating a work environment where staff feel happy and motivated to perform would, on the surface, seem a no-brainer for any ambitious employer who values his team as a fundamental part of the company’s success.   A recent survey from a leading national developer of office space revealed that the workspace was a major contributing factor when deciding to move jobs.   However, in today’s ultra-competitive environment, where companies are constantly seeking a commercial edge over their contemporaries - and the recruitment battle for talent has never been more intense – the quality of the work environment is often overlooked and given inadequate consideration.  Perhaps a reason for this complacency is a lingering scepticism of the actual impact the physical environment has on job satisfaction,

68

motivation, and, crucially, performance. This might be understandable; after all, how can you scientifically measure whether one person’s work environment is enabling them to perform better than the next person? At Chiswick Park Enjoy-Work (the clue’s in the name!), we are firm believers, some might say pioneers, in the philosophy that if people enjoy work, they do better work, and if they do better work, you have a better business.  But how can we prove, or at least substantiate this?   The proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes, and over the last ten years we have attracted some of the biggest brands in the world, who have bought into the Enjoy-Work ethos to provide their employees – over 8,000 in total -  with an environment which inspires, stimulates and enables them to reach their maximum potential.  We’ve been able to establish a tangible link between a great working environment and commercial success,


{ WORKING ENVIRONMENT }

driving creativity, stronger brands and a faster return on investment. How do we do this?  By looking beyond the physical environment (which in itself is a series of buildings, beautifully designed by Richard Roger, in a parkland setting, with landscaped gardens, lake and waterfall and central plaza), and creating a community of like-minded,

“We are firm believers, some might say pioneers, in the philosophy that if people enjoy work, they do better work, and if they do better work, you have a better business”

progressive companies who recognise the value of the workplace in recruiting and retaining the best staff. Our dedicated estate management team is responsible for creating and maintaining an innovative work environment and delivering a programme of events and services aimed at improving productivity.

Here office workers (or “guests” as they are referred to because of our commitment to hospitality and customer service) can get all their dry cleaning, shoe repairs, prescriptions delivered, car and bike maintenance taken care of by the dedicated onsite team. They can learn to play the guitar or join a sports league in their lunch hour, learn a language in one of the many evening classes, or listen to an inspiring speech from Sir David Attenborough, a recent special guest to the park.      How do we know this is making a positive difference to Pernod Ricard, Disney, Discovery, PepsiCo, Starbucks, Tullow Oil and the myriad of other companies who call Chiswick Park home?  We ask them. We conduct an annual survey among all our companies, which reveals that 95% of Chiswick Park employees agree that the Enjoy-Work environment & ethos enhances their productivity and adds significant value to their work life.   Positive feedback and attracting new companies, while retaining existing businesses, is the barometer in demonstrating the major influence the workplace has on employees’ wellbeing, and consequently levels of performance.  Of course, replicating the Enjoy-Work concept wholesale across all work environments is neither appropriate nor practical.  However, I believe the principle of instilling a feel-good factor and elevating the workplace as a key contributor to employee performance, and ultimately company performance, is one which is relevant to all.

69


Do you want to be part of a winning team? Hastings Direct is a multi-award winning business and one of the UK’s fastest growing insurance providers with over 1.5 million customers. We have ambitious plans and we’re seeking talented professionals to join our winning team based in Bexhill-on Sea. As a company that’s going places and yet still small enough to feel like you can make a difference, we can offer genuine development and career progression. We have many exciting career opportunities;

Customer Facing /Contact Centre roles available;

Claims Personal Injury Manager - To design and implement the Claims Personal Injury Strategy and drive strategic initiatives to develop business area, empowering management of best practices.

Customer Representatives Customer Representatives earn up to £18,000 (including basic salary and bonus)

IT Development Manager - To provide leadership and supervision to technical teams who are responsible for developing information technology initiatives that support the strategic objectives of the Corporation.

We provide our customers with a refreshingly straightforward service and we’d like to hear from you if you enjoy talking to customers and love working in a fast paced, busy office.

Risk Manager - The purpose of the role is to manage the risk function, whilst providing strategic oversight on emerging risks as the business undertakes significant growth plans and co-ordinating risk activity which takes account of regulatory change. Project Managers - Establish and maintain portfolio projects to support our PMO office implementation of major business, tactical and strategic change in operational areas. Call Centre Manager - Successfully lead and develop the contact centre to deliver excellent customer service to Hastings Direct customers. Information Security Manager - Provide leadership and strategic direction to Hastings Insurance Group, to bring the group IS risks under control via the design and implementation of policy standards.

As a customer representative you will be talking to our customers over the phone, providing straightforward service, whilst working in a supportive team that recognises and rewards hard work. We provide first class training in order for you to succeed in your role. Are you: • Self motivated? • Adaptable? • Dedicated to delivering great customer service? • Flexible to working 37.5 hours per week within the hours below? Mon – Fri 8am to 9pm, Sat 9am to 5.30pm & Sun 10am to 5pm.

Retention Manager - Define and implement a market leading renewals and in-life customer journey to drive business performance.

To learn more about each of the above vacancies please contact us:

recruitmentteam@hastingsdirect.com

01424 735735 ext 8924.

2013 and 2014 Car Insurance Provider of the Year, Consumer Moneyfacts Awards 2013 Insurance Times Awards, Personal Lines Broker of the Year 2013 UK Broker Awards, Personal Lines Broker of the Year.


AN ALTERNATIVE DAY AT THE OFFICE By Amanda Menahem, HR Director, Hastings Direct Insurance www.hastingsdirect.com

H

aving just read ‘Just another day at the office’ I was forced to smile as I reflected on the day at the office I had just had. I had just finished a staff listening group; this is where I get a random group of employees together to tell me how it really is, what’s really going on and what the issues are that make them anything less than completely joyous about coming to work. It’s something the Senior Leadership team at Hastings Direct do regularly. It’s vitally important to us that we remain ‘in touch’ with our valued front-line. After all, it is they, not us, who serve our customers. They are the ones who make or break our business and hold the answers to most business challenges. And, of course, as HR Director I’m often afforded a level of candour that my colleagues don’t always get. So what did I learn on this particular day in the office? Our brilliant front-line are passionate about what they do. If you recruit the right people, this tends to be the case. So it’s crucial that you don’t stifle or kill that passion; more on that in a moment. Our front-line love working for us because of the people they work with. And isn’t that true for most of us? When I think of my happiest times at work, it usually involved a team achievement, a sense of camaraderie, an ‘in it together’ feeling and having, frankly, a good laugh and regular banter. This also includes the boss. In fact, the boss is the most important element in making sure you have a happy and productive workforce. This isn’t simply some trite and obvious statement. This is a deeply important and very specific ‘blueprint’ for anyone leading a workforce. And it comes down to some very simple steps. So simple it

makes me crazy when leaders don’t do it. It’s about creating the environment that encourages that sense of team, community, and belonging to flourish. Yes, to an extent this means a physical environment, but it’s so much more than that. It’s about recruiting people for personality and ‘fit’ as well as technical competence. It’s about being clear about goals, tasks and direction and then letting people have the freedom to deliver.

“Our front-line love working for us because of the people they work with. And isn’t that true for most of us?” Dan Pink, in his famous book ‘Drive,’ cites three key factors for creating employee motivation: 1. Autonomy: don’t micro-manage; let people have freedom, ideally, in each of the three “T”s: Task (what they do to achieve the task), Time (when they do it) and Technique (how they do it). Otherwise, you stifle that passion and talent you recruited them for in the first place. This is about flexibility and trust. 2. Mastery: this is about providing them the opportunity to get better at their job, to learn new skills or take on more responsibility. Human beings like to feel that they are making progress, that such purpose is recognised, and this can take many forms.

3. Purpose: having a clear goal, understanding how they contribute to the greater good knowing that what they do is important. This is the floor sweeper, to use a Nasa analogy, feeling ‘I’m helping put a man on the moon’. So what has all this got to do with the boss? The boss has the power to make all three happen by simply being clear about the business goal, how the efforts of their workforce contribute to that, writing down clear goals for their people and verbally showing the link between those and the success of the company. Finding ways to push decision-making and responsibility down to their employees rather than holding onto it themselves, involving employees in business challenges, finding ways to expand responsibilities, and then letting them get on with it, making sure there’s lots of recognition (and I don’t mean a bonus) for a job well done. At a more basic level, I’m astounded by how some bosses don’t seem to get the basics right: • Communicate changes that are coming up – make sure the team know the plan; • Explain the reasons behind decisions; • Solicit views, ideas, and areas for improvement, and then follow up; • Show genuine interest and care for individuals. Just those four things, if lacking, will result in a disengaged and unhappy team who are more likely to leave and less likely to perform well. By all means, paint the walls nice colours, create spaces that encourage workforce social interaction, a chance to have fun and even ‘play’ at work – these are all important. But without the factors mentioned above that create motivation, and frankly, without a good boss, it won’t make a blind bit of difference. 71


DEALMAKER OF THE YEAR

NIK ASKAROFF NAMED DEALMAKER OF THE YEAR Nik Askaroff of EMC Corporate Finance has been named the region's top dealmaker at Insider's South East Dealmakers Awards. Askaroff was one of the big winners on a glittering night which celebrated the achievements of a resurgent industry. Insider's regional business editor Philip Cunliffe praised the winners and shortlisted businesses for "the hard work, dedication and – no doubt – long nights that you have all put in" to be nominated by their peers. He said: “The South East Dealmakers Awards provides us all with an opportunity to recognise and reward the people doing all this hard work - those whose professionalism, skill and sheer tenacity has got deals through to completion.”

THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE WHO VOTED ACROSS THE SOUTH EAST Offices at:

Brighton | Eastbourne | Maidstone | Crawley | London EMC Management Consultants Ltd | Rochester House | 48 Rochester Gardens | Hove BN3 3AW T: 01273 945984 | E: contact@emcltd.co.uk | www.emcltd.co.uk


Hastings & Rye: Infrastructure Investment Amber Rudd MP Member of Parliament for Hastings and Rye

F

ive years ago residents complained to me that there were no jobs in Hastings. Now, the biggest complaints I get are from businesses who can’t get the people they need.  We’ve gone from a lack of opportunities to a skills shortage.  The solution is the same as the strategy that has been used to boost job opportunities: infrastructure investment and support to develop skills. Hastings and Rye needs better transport links.   We need investment in our roads and ambitious improvements to our rail.   This year we will see the opening of the Link Road, connecting Bexhill to Hastings, and opening up space for new businesses.  The dualling of the A21, shamefully cancelled by Labour in 1997, has started around Pembury.  Businesses need to have better transport links for deliveries and goods, but also to reach further for their skilled employees.    The same is true for rail.   Visiting a local school recently, they lamented  not being able to attract staff from further afield due to the paucity of services arriving in Hastings by 8.00am.   I will be changing that when we deliver our HS1 for Hastings and Rye.   

So businesses locally will continue to see more infrastructure investment with a Conservative Government going forward. That will help with their basic logistics, but also with

“Whilst Government provided the financial incentive for businesses to take on apprentices, it is the organisations themselves that made it happen” recruitment. That means in terms of having a wider geographical reach, but also in terms of our colleges and schools being able to attract high quality staff and therefore start to tackle the “skills gap”. 

Young people access the skills they need in different ways. One of the successes of the past 5 years has been the climate created by the Government for businesses to offer apprenticeships.   This has been a great partnership.   Whilst Government provided the financial incentive for businesses to take on apprentices, it is the organisations themselves that made it happen.   There were 430 people who started apprenticeships in Hastings and Rye in 2010.  Since then there have been around 1000 per year. I want that to increase even further.   That will be good for the community and good for local businesses.  The evidence of local investment under this Government shows what can be done with determined campaigning and focused investment.  With the numbers on JSA having been halved between 2010 and 2015 in Hastings and Rye, despite cuts to the numbers in the public sector, it’s clear that businesses have already been creating huge numbers of opportunities locally.   Our commitment is to continue to build on that - with investment to support infrastructure and a climate to enhance skills. 

Amber Rudd MP Tel: 020 7219 5591 | www.amberrudd.co.uk 73


The New Pension Fund Freedoms and how this may benefit/affect you Skerritts are holding 2 Seminars at the Amex Stadium in Brighton on Thursday 19th March covering Pensions and the changes being brought in from April of this year. The Seminar is being presented by Steve Bee, a leading industry figure who is also very entertaining (yes, even on the subject of pensions!). The Seminar will cover: • Should I access my pension fund and what are the advantages/disadvantages or doing so? • How to ensure that my pension fund is passed to my beneficiaries tax-free on my death? • Can my pension provider give me the new freedoms in my existing plan • How can I increase my investment returns or reduce my investment risk • Should I pay more money into my pension fund

Pensions are the hot topic at the moment, so we are holding the Seminars in response to demand from our clients and have opened them up to a wider audience. The Seminars are free of both cost and obligation and we are holding 2: Seminar 1 – 8.30 start – breakfast provided (bacon rolls, pastries, coffee, juice) Seminar 2 – 12.30 start – buffet lunch/drinks provided The Seminars will last for one hour and attendees will then have the option of an Amex Stadium tour if they wish. The Seminars are aimed at: • People who have a pension fund and are interested in their options from April • People who have a pension fund and want to ensure it is invested in the right areas • People who have a pension and want to ensure that it will receive tax free death benefits • People who are considering investing in or investing further into a pension

Who are Skerritts? Skerritts is a Hove based firm of Chartered Financial Planners and Wealth Managers. We are ranked in the top 100 firms in the Country (Citywire) and have been awarded the Citywire NMA Award for the fifth consecutive year. We offer professional and impartial advice on all types of pension. To book your invitation, please email sophie@skerritts.co.uk or contact Sophie on (01273) 204999.


{ BUSINESS SCENE }

1.

4.

PC

THE P L AT I N U M CLUB

2.

5.

3. 1. Andy Percival (PSG Southern), Hannah Bennett and Rob Fawcett (Bennett Griffin). 2. Chris Lind (Shore Events), Fiona Anderson (NatWest Bank). 3. Clarence Mitchell (The Conservative Party), Ebonie Allard (The Entrepreneur Enabler). 4. Dominic Travers (Rix & Kay), Mark Tully (Gemini Print), Nick Jenner (Square One Financial). 5. John Burroughes (Uniglobe Travel), Hannah Staunton (Gatwick Airport), Maarten Hoffmann (The Platinum Club).

The Platinum Business Club, The Grand Hotel, Brighton The first Platinum Club event of 2015 got off to a rambunctious start at the Grand Hotel in Brighton with over 60 business leaders in attendance and ‘dry January’ was cancelled due to a total lack of interest and copious amounts of fine Champagne. Members and guests also heard details of the exciting plans for the new Platinum Club Gatwick to be held at the London Gatwick Hilton Hotel, launching in April. The new Club has already had significant interest from an array of high profile members – and further details can be found in this issue on page 27.

6. Kathy Taylor (Sodexo), Maarten Hoffmann (The Platinum Club). 7. Michael Wilkins (Allied Irish Bank), Val Kaye (Castle Fine Art), John Burroughes (Uniglobe Travel). 8. Richard Pollins (DMH Stallard), Heidi Skerritt (Skerritt Wealth Management). 9. Richard Pollins (DMH Stallard), Sophia Lee-Spencer (Callisto Associates), Geoff Goodman (Lloyds Bank). 10. Richard Zinzan (ZSTa Architects), Val Kaye (Castle Art Gallery), Kerry McKeown (KPMG).

8.

6.

7.

9.

10.

For more information on joining the most dynamic networking group in Sussex, contact info@theplatinumclubbrighton.co.uk or call 07966 244046

75


MARCH 2015

Fit for a King

The City’s millionaire buyers

Kevin McCloud Up close and personal

SOCIAL MEDIA Necessity or nuisance + THE CITY NEWS

OUT 2nd MARCH

&

Conservatories Garden rooms The region’s largest property publication

FREE


THE CAMPAIGN GOES ON

The deadline for submissions to the Airport Commission Consultation has passed, but the lobbying goes on. Update by Ian Trevett

T

he time has passed to make a submission to the Airport Commission Consultation, and it is now down to Sir Howard Davies and his team to decide whether the next runway will go to Heathrow or Gatwick. So... just a case of waiting? The answer is emphatically no! Sir Howard doesn’t work in a vacuum, and the opportunities to have influence continue. One thing is for sure: the protestors against a runway being built in their locality, whether it is Heathrow or Gatwick, will be lobbying, demonstrating and shouting loudly until the end. On 3rd March campaigners will be out in force at the House of Parliament to protest against the third runway at Heathrow. The campaign group HACAN vow that, “In what promises to be the biggest rally of the year, cabinet ministers and party leaders will link up with top environmentalists, key trade union leaders and business people to speak out against a third runway at Heathrow.” Speakers include politicians from all five major English parties, including the Greens and UKIP. At Platinum Business Magazine, we support a second runway at Gatwick, as we believe the benefits for the local economy and for local businesses are considerable. A voice for airport expansion is rare as the groups arguing against this issue dominate at both airports. It’s not that people, and businesspeople, aren’t in favour; it’s just that they don’t shout as loudly. The team at Gatwick Airport, including Hannah Staunton and Melanie Wrightson, have done an admirable job in campaigning for runway two, but it has to be quite dispiriting

at times as the local anti-runway groups are so vocal and determined. We attended the public consultation event in Crawley, and the room was dominated by village conservation societies and environmental groups, who were hostile to Gatwick’s proposals. Of course, when the equivalent event took place near Heathrow, the voices were just as vociferous against their plans.

“No ifs, no buts, no third runway at Heathrow” David Cameron, Conservative election leaflet for the May 2010 election. District, town and county councils have been having their say in recent weeks and, unsurprisingly, the closer to the respective airports, the fewer votes there are in support. I’m sure the way councillors vote is influenced by avoiding the prospect of angry residents banging at their door. So for Gatwick, this meant a vote against from West Sussex and Kent, and a no from Surrey, unless the infrastructure is improved first. These weren’t

unexpected results. What was a surprise was the vote of support from East Sussex. Surely there can have been no such support from the counties bordering Heathrow. Further from the flightpaths there has been enthusiastic support from Croydon. Unfortunately, the Greens in Brighton view all flying objects as the work of the devil and are (allegedly) currently working on plans for a cycle path to China. And what of the MP’s? Where is the support from our elected representatives? With notable exceptions, such as current Hove MP, Mike Weatherley and the new Conservative candidate, Graham Cox, few have spoken out in favour. One political insider told me this was because the word in Westminster was that Heathrow was the favourite, and no-one wanted to back the losing bid. The outcome of Sir Howard’s enquiry has not been settled, but by backing the supposed winner, they will simply help fulfill the prophecy. The only solution is for supporters of Gatwick to put pressure on their MP’s. Ask them: ‘Will Gatwick be good for the Sussex and Surrey economy? If so, why aren’t you supporting the bid?’ Business support is vital, so hats off to the 19 entrepreneurs who wrote an open letter to the commission in support of the bid. In their own words: “As any entrepreneur would agree, promoting choice for consumers is paramount, and only Gatwick can deliver that, along with a positive effect on fares, service levels and innovation.” It is Gatwick, obviously!

77


LIVE THE LIFE YOU HAVE ALWAYS IMAGINED


Godfrey Living are a boutique property ser vices company in Brighton. We are the first choice partner for the property investor.

Property sourcing, research and evaluation.

Our aim is to design and deliver an outstanding experience for all our customers and investors. Whether we are evaluating, advising, sourcing, marketing or managing properties we will always focus on our customers needs.

Bespoke property management ser vices

At Godfrey Living our property experts will share your vision and support you throughout your adventure.

— +4 4 (0)1273 623003 info@godfreyliving.com godfreyliving.com

Godfrey Investments godfreyinv.com

Sourcing outstanding property oppertunities.

Godfrey Design & Build godfreydesignbuild.com

Creating and developing unique buildings.

Godfrey Living godfreyliving.com

A boutique property ser vices company.

Property acquisitions and sales

Portfolio development and maximisation Investments and developments

Stag House Upper Bedford Street Kemp Town Brighton BN2 1GW


Mergers and Acquisitions Commercial Property and Development Planning advice Commercial Landlord and Tennant Employment Law Intellectual Property Litigation Charities Debt Collection


{ MOTORING NEWS }

MOTORING NEWS NEW CAR BONANZA Manufacturers are celebrating their busiest 12 months for a decade, having shifted almost 2.5 million models, an increase of 9.3%. For the sixth year in a row, the Ford Fiesta topped the list with more than 130,000 sold. The number of plug-in cars rose four-fold to 14,518. The boom was driven in part by soaring numbers of cars purchased with finance deals, with a total of 75.9% of all privately bought vehicles being financed.

EYE-WATERING BARN FIND Imagine being the first person for 30 years to swing open a creaking old door to be confronted with a veritable smorgasbord of motoring icons. The dream just came true when a hoard of 60 classic cars was discovered on a farm in the west of France. They include a Ferrari 260 GT California Spyder, one of only 37 ever built, owned by French screen legend, Alain Delon and valued at £9.4 million. This gem was buried under decades of dust along with Bugattis, Hispano-Suiza, Talbot-Lago, PanhardLevassor, Maserati, Ferrari, Delahaye and Delage models. They were collected, mostly between 1955 and 1965, by a French transport tycoon, Roger Baillon, who set out to create a private automobile museum. When his business ran into trouble in 1977, Mr Baillon sold 50 of his cars. It was assumed at the time that the whole fleet had been disposed of. Detective work by two auctioneers located the cars last month after they had been lost for more than 30 years in a series of ramshackle farm shelters. Matthieu Lamoure, the managing director of Artcurial Motorcars, said that the discovery was the mother of all barn finds. “We found ourselves overcome with emotion,” he added. “Probably much like Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter on being the first people for centuries to enter Tutankhamun’s tomb. It really was a case of waking up Sleeping Beauty.”

THE BENTAYGA I am not sure why Bentley has named their new SUV after a rock in the middle of the Canaries, but possibly it is to detract from its looks. “I promise this will be the fastest, the most luxurious and the most exclusive SUV in the world,” said Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bentley chief executive. Notice he didn’t say the best looking. We have yet to see the finished version, but if the design images are anything to go by, it will scare young children and make your dog bark.

STEALTH CAMERAS Over the past two months, more than 500 motorists around the country have received letters informing them that they’ve been caught by a speed camera. Not so unusual, one might think. However, this was not for zooming through a sleepy village or suburb, but for exceeding the 70mph limit on a motorway, an offence that up till now has been ignored by cameras. Soon, all motorways will be bristling with new ‘smart’ Hadecs3 cameras and you’ll not be seeing the usual warning signs either. Now there is talk of reducing the national speed limit to 60mph, despite Philip Hammonds promise that it would be increased to 80mph. I despair.

HUMAN NOT REQUIRED An Audi Q7 laden with radar, laser sensors and bristling with cameras recently drove itself from San Francisco to Las Vegas to attend the Consumer Electronic Show. Driverless cars are here, whether we like it or not. Google are busy with theirs and Bristol, Coventry, Greenwich and Milton Keynes have geared up to start trials. The government has committed £19 million to the trials, but the biggest hurdle is insurance companies, as they cannot resolve who will pay in the event of an accident. I say blame the computer.

MR BEAN SELLS UP

THE RETURN OF THE NSX Honda’s original NSX 25 years ago was pretty and broke new ground with its all-aluminium construction, but it never really got off the ground. After a decade of false starts, Honda has unveiled a new version which looks gobsmackingly gorgeous. Built in the US, and to be launched there first, badged as an Acura, it will be available in the UK next year. Expect a queue and a £100,000 price tag. Rowan Atkinson is a renowned petrol head, with a particular love of McLarens. After submitting the largest car insurance claim in history at £900,000 to repair his 17 year-old McLaren F1, having ripped it apart in an argument with a lamppost, he has decided to sell it. Funnily enough, with nearly 20 years and 41,000 miles on the clock, it is now worth more than an identical car with only1000 miles on the clock as McLaren took a year to totally rebuild the car, and it’s regarded as almost new. Yours for £10 million. One not-so-careful owner.

81


{ MOTORING REVIEW }

Motoring Editor: Maarten Hoffmann

BMW M6 CONVERTIBLE

MUMBAI HERE l COME

TECHNICAL STUFF: 4.4 Twin Turbo V8 petrol engine Prices from £ 99,020.00 Seven speed double clutch transmission 3 year unlimited mileage warranty 0-60 mph 4.3 seconds. Top Speed 155 (limited)

82

I

am struggling with the words to describe the BMW M6 Convertible – bonkers is a word that readily comes to mind, but in truth it’s much more than that. It’s sexy, it’s sleek and it’s very, very fast. This flagship of the famous M series is a stunning piece of automotive engineering, and I would need five pages to list the technological gadgets that lie beneath its beautiful skin. But to mention a few, the head-up display that projects your speed and the speed limit onto the windscreen is something that should be fitted to every car immediately; the i-Drive computer with a 10.2 inch screen is now much more user-friendly, and you no longer need a 2.1 from Oxbridge to use it; the optional carbon-ceramic brakes that stop this behemoth on a dime, and oh, the noise. The exhaust note from this 4.4 litre twin turbo-charged engine, that produces 560 bhp and takes you from 0-60 in 4.3 seconds, made me grin like a 5-year-old, and whilst belting through the Cuilfail Tunnel in Lewes, I actually turned around at the A27 and did it again – believe me, it’s totally addictive when the roof’s down. The only time you might not want to repeat said manoeuvre is when you foolishly glance down at the fuel gauge – a fixed grin, but this time for totally different reasons. It boasts a combined consumption of 27.4 mpg, but to get that I think you would have to drive like my granny. If you drive it as it is


designed to be driven, and believe me the temptation is irresistible, I think you could half that, but, as they say, if you have to ask what it does to the gallon, you can’t afford it in the first place, and at £99,020.00 for the standard model, never a truer word was spoken. And before you ask, I don’t know what the £20 is for either, but I bet if you turned up with cash, they would reduce it to ‘only’ £99,000! The car BMW kindly loaned me had over £12,000.00 worth of options, such as Merino Leather (£5635), M Sport seats (£1865) and 20-inch alloys (£1650) – you get where I am going with this. The car and the extras are all rather expensive, but, and it is a huge but, it is a gob-smacking car cum fighter jet that accelerates fast enough to detach your retinas, corners on rails and gives you a little buzz of excitement when you climb aboard. Is any car really worth the price of a small flat? Well, no, of course not, but then again, yes. Would I rather have a bedsit in Crawley or an amazing M6? All I can say is that you can sleep in an M6 but you can’t drive a flat, no one will gawp at you in the window of your flat, and neither will it make you smile like a manic child on Ritalin! I can’t afford £99,020.00, but having just searched the web, I found a transplant clinic in Mumbai offering £100,000 for healthy western kidneys. You have two kidneys, but there is only one M6. Mumbai here l come…..


FORD B MAX

N

o doubt you will of seen the clever TV commercial that shows a guy performing a high dive through the sliding door of a small Ford car – this is the B Max, but what’s so special about it? I hear you ask. In short it is the first car that has managed to do away with the B pillar. This is the part of the car that the rear doors normally connect to and affords cars the structural integrity that prevents the occupants from being crushed in a roll over. Big deal, I hear you say. What you get from this mini design revolution is space. Both rear doors slide back against the car and, if you are so inclined, you can leap straight through the car. In real life situations, this means that when parking in a tight spot in a car park, you can always open the doors and when trying to get the nippers out of their car seats, you will find that it is easier in this car than almost any other. It also helps enormously when you are loading large objects into the car and the clever sliding doors also stop the little terrors from taking out passing pedestrians when they fling the door open.

The B Max is a small car without doubt but certainly feels like a big car – delusions of grandeur that are not deluded at all. It feels large but in fact is about the size of a Citroen C3 Picasso or Vauxhall Meriva but the door design makes it feel much bigger and if you flatten the back seats and open the hatchback, you get the

space feel of a mini transit van. Then we have the new 1.0 litre Eco boost engine that sounds about as powerful as a hairdryer but in fact flies along at quite a lick needing fuel about once every two years and was voted Engine of the Year in 2012. The breadth of operational

range is remarkable and it is very flexible and blissfully straightforward. Everything is designed well and works as it should and you get neat little features such as cruise control, rain sensitive wipers, quick clear windscreen and 16” alloy wheels. This sector of the market is crowded to say the least but the cracking little engine, the cool sliding doors and the ultimate load space firmly place this car close to the top of the tree. And what is it about kids and sliding doors – they seem to love them and I have become quite a fan too.

TECHNICAL STUFF Engines: 1.0 Eco boost Prices: As tested £13,095 Fuel consumption: 57.7 Performance: 0-62 mph 11.2 seconds Top speed: 117 mph

“The clever sliding doors also stop the little terrors from taking out passing pedestrians when they fling the door open”


FUEL FOR THOUGHT Ian Hopping, Auditel UK Tel: 01825 791128 E: ian.hopping@auditel.co.uk | W: www.auditel.co.uk

D

espite the recent drop in fuel prices, the cost of filling your company car or transit van has still risen by 50% over the last decade. 10 years ago a litre of diesel cost as little as 78p per litre. Now it’s closer to 116p per litre. This means that the fuel costs of driving a vehicle 25,000 miles a year, the average mileage of a company car driver, has increased by £1500. Multiply this by the size of your fleet and it can become a very substantial sum. There are ways, however, to reduce your fuel costs, even if you are not yet ready to embrace hybrid or electric vehicles. The first step is to review your fuel card prices and provider and establish if they are giving you value for money. Benchmark your prices against published fuel prices from bodies such as the AA and The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). After a few months, you should be able to work out how much above or below the national average pump price you are paying. Once you have this figure, start shopping around to find a better deal. Different providers have different costs and benefits. Some charge a transaction fee, which means that if your drivers are in the habit of topping up regularly with a small amount of fuel, the real price per litre is significantly higher. Others offer online management tools that allow their customers to

set up cost centres, track purchases, run MPG reports and order or cancel cards. Be aware that some major supermarkets charge a surplus of up to 3p per litre for certain fuel cards. Your drivers may be keen to use these forecourts to top up their loyalty cards. Track your drivers’ habits and match them to the card you choose. Premium fuel can often be up to 8p per litre more expensive than standard fuel. Unless there is a business reason for using premium fuel, eradicate it from your usage. Some providers offer a fixed weekly price, which can be a real help in cash flow planning, credit terms of up to 28 days and one monthly invoice for all transactions, which can be a real time-saving benefit for your accounts department. Most importantly, keep monitoring prices and driver behaviour to ensure you don’t incur price creep. Use the online reports your fuel card provider generates for you. This can easily save you thousands of pounds in the long term. Once you’ve understood your fuel consumption, look at your broader fleet needs. Analyse your vehicle procurement, rental and insurance, driver work wear, mobile phone usage and driver training as part of an ongoing cost management strategy that can deliver massive benefits.

“Unless there is a business reason for using premium fuel, eradicate it from your usage”

85


The new smart range arrives at the double.

Good news comes in twos at Lookers smart with the arrival of the sensational new smart fortwo and forfour. Offering more equipment, greater comfort, enhanced agility and performance, this dynamic double act certainly warrants closer inspection.

smart fortwo 71hp passion manual with metallic paint

Book your new smart test drive today by calling 0844 659 6408.

Contract Hire

£139

per month* Payment Profile

Annual Mileage

6+35

7,000

smart forFOUR 71hp passion manual

£149

per month*

Lookers Mercedes-Benz Fleet Sales 0844 659 6408 www.leaseamercedesbenz.co.uk Member of the Platinum Business Club

Contract Hire

Payment Profile

Annual Mileage

6+35

7,000

smart – a Daimler brand

Official government fuel consumption figures in mpg (litres per 100km) for the new smart range: urban 55.4(5.1)-58.9(4.8), extra urban 72.4(3.9)-76.4(3.7), combined 65.7(4.3)-68.9(4.1). CO2 emissions 99-93 g/km. Official EU-regulated test data are provided for comparison purposes and actual performance will depend on driving style, road conditions and other non-technical factors. *Business Users only. Full terms and conditions apply. Advance payment applies. All payments subject to VAT: Finance based on Contract Hire, 7,000 miles per annum. Excess mileage charges may apply. Rental includes Road Fund Licence for the contract duration. Guarantees and indemnities may be required. Orders/Credit approved between 1 January 2015 and 31 March 2015, registered by 30 June 2015. Subject to availability, offers cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Some combinations of features/options may not be available. Credit provided is subject to status by Mercedes-Benz Financial Services UK Limited, MK15 8BA.


“This is a new generation of City car that totally changes the game”

SMART MOVE W

e all know the original Smart car, if not for the scenes of it zipping around town, then for the fact that it is the only car that can be parked boot-in to any parking space. If there was a drawback, it was the fact that it was a strict two-seater, but no more. The Smart ForFour has been re-launched after an eight-year absence to take, as the name might suggest, four people and somehow, through wizardry and cunning design, its length is still only 3.4 metres, which is less than a VW Up! How on earth they have done this is beyond imagination. The original ForTwo is available in its new guise and is selling like hotcakes, and at only 2.6 metres, that’s a miracle of design too. The Smart audio system and climate control are both standard, and it comes in funky colour variants, a cool interior, and with its 67.3mpg, it’ll be a rare sight at petrol stations. The engine of the ForFour sits beneath the boot floor and drives the rear wheels. This rear engine set-up makes it highly manoeuvrable as it darts around town like a scalded cat with a turning circle that rivals a black cab. They also managed to squeeze a 185 litre boot in there

Mercedes-Benz of Gatwick

Mercedes-Benz of Eastbourne

By Maarten Hoffmann

somehow, which expands to 975 with the rear seats flat. This is a new generation of City car that totally changes the game, and with an electric version and a performance Brabus model coming soon, the range will be complete. Mercedes-Benz own the company, which bodes well for reliability and build quality, and the whole is pinned on the Renault Twingo running gear, which is a very good platform. Engine options are a 1.0 litre with 71bhp or a 0.9 litre turbo with 90 bhp, aligned to either a 5-speed manual or a twin clutch automatic transmission. Performance will see 67.3mpg and 15.9 seconds 0-60mph, which is none too shabby. In a car this size, safety will always be paramount, and with the Smart ‘tridion cell’, comprising ultra-high-strength hot-formed steel, they seem to have cracked it. Certainly, when they did front collision tests with large Mercedes C-Class and S-Class models, it performed remarkably well and better than most in its sector. The Smart is still the funky choice and a way to stand out from the run-of-the-mill euro boxes that overpopulate our roads. A job well done.

Mercedes-Benz of Brighton

Mercedes-Benz of Tonbridge

Mercedes-Benz of Ashford

Mercedes-Benz of Maidstone

CONTACT: MERCEDES-BENZ OF GATWICK, EASTBOURNE, BRIGHTON, TONBRIDGE, ASHFORD AND MAIDSTONE ON 0844 659 7503


{ ANGER MANAGEMENT }

ANGER MANAGEMENT By Maarten Hoffmann

IT’S WAR J

ust a few weeks after the coalition came to power, the then Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond announced that Labour’s war on the motorist was finally over. He trumpeted from the rooftops that thousands of speed cameras were to be decommissioned and the motorway limit would be raised to 80mph. Then he left and went to Defence. The cynical amongst us, or the wise, as we might otherwise be called, saw the smoke and the mirrors. Far too much revenue is raised from fines and the ‘war’ to be simply removed from the balance sheet of UKPLC, and as sure as eggs is eggs, they will find a way to renege on their promise (Politicians? Surely not! I hear you say) or introduce a raft of new ways to steal our money. This has been steadily done over the past few years, and lo and behold, not only did the 80mph limit never materialise, but sections of Yorkshire’s motorway system have been reduced to 60mph, permanently. Councils the length and breadth of the country have quietly reduced the number of parking bays, increased the charges at council-run car parks, and ramped up fines. Recently, certain NCP car parks are issuing fines as the machine ticket was not placed in the correct position, although they are not bothering to tell anyone what the correct position is! London is about to increase the congestion charge to £25 per day for diesel cars. Those very same diesel cars

88

that we were enthusiastically encouraged to buy. New 20mph zones have been brought in by car-hating councils – the very same councils that vehemently stated that they would never camera these zones. Now we hear that this was only because the technology was not there for such mass spy cameras linked to the DVLA. About to appear on a street near you is the next generation of

“The cynical amongst us, or the wise, as we might otherwise be called, saw the smoke and the mirrors. Far too much revenue is raised from speeding fines” cameras that are tiny, can be mounted almost anywhere and will fine you for exceeding 20mph. Even better, they will not be linked, so when you go ‘round a block looking for a parking spot and stray over 20mph, you will receive four speeding fines, four fixed penalty points and four months’ porridge for smashing the bloody things.

‘We will never camera the motorway network,’ they said. In the summer of 2015, some 40% of the UK motorway network will be covered by the new cameras, rising to 100% by 2020. This is despite the emphatic evidence produced by Swindon Council when they turned their entire camera network off and the accident rate fell. The reason for the deceitful and sneaky removal of parking bays is the amount of revenue produced from parking fines and relied on by councils that are so fiscally irresponsible that they have no other way of balancing their books. The year 2012/13 showed that councils across the country had net revenue of £594 million from parking, with the top ten being all London councils, bar one: Brighton & Hove at £16.25m, which comes in 6th. Yet, overall spending on local roads has fallen by 9% over the past three years and road safety expenditure is down by as much as 20%. The former Transport Minister, Norman Baker, said: “The law is quite clear. Councils should not be pricing their parking in order to make a profit. Any monies raised from parking, in excess of the cost of administration, has to go back to transport purposes, which can be dealing with potholes, improved road management or can be investing in public transport to encourage people to free up the roads”. Viewing that with all the disdain and sick humour it deserves, the pothole situation is beyond absurd, with 39,249 claims for damage


{ ANGER MANAGEMENT }

last year and an average pay-out of £2,264.00 per claim. It is cheaper for government to allow you to risk life and limb whilst paying the occasional claim than to cough up the £10.5 billion needed to fix them. Improved road management? Don’t make me laugh. And public transport? Anyone paying a king’s ransom for a season train ticket will no doubt be choking on their cold coffee reading this whilst standing all the way to their destination via a quick sightseeing tour by a replacement bus service because a squirrel was seen on the line a week ago last Tuesday. And if you drive like a saint, never speed, never park illegally or overstay your meter, never use your phone, never smoke with children in the car, never enter London and don’t own a diesel car, they will still nail you with a colossal indirect tax when you perform the simple task of putting fuel in your car. The Exchequer takes 71p for every £1 you put in your tank. I shall pause now to allow you to recover. Yes, 71% tax on every litre. That is £26.8 billion per year from fuel duty. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) data found the average UK household spent £677 on fuel duties in 2009/10. It found the richest 20% of households spent £1,062 on petrol taxes, compared with £365 for the poorest 20%. This means the poorest 20% of households are paying almost twice as much of their income in duties on fuel than the richest 20%. The poorest 20% paid 3.5 per cent of their

disposable income on duty, compared with only 1.8% for the top 20%. Overall, the average UK household spent 2.3% of its disposable income on duties on fuel. This shouldn’t be termed a ‘War on Motorists’ but rather ‘Please God, keep driving or this country will go bust’. However, the official line is that we should stop driving beastly cars as they are polluting the planet and causing an increase in respiratory diseases in children. But if this really is their stance, then why has the cost of public transport soared ever higher than the cost of motoring? The Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) argues that bus and rail passengers are being hit far harder than motorists because of the soaring cost of fares. Earlier this month, commuters were told that their rail fares will increase by up to 11.2 per cent, with the average rise being set at 6.2 per cent. The IPPR says that under Labour, which was accused of waging war on motorists, the cost of driving rose by 32.5 per cent, while the price of rail travel went up 66.2 per cent and bus fares by 76.1 per cent. So maybe this is not so much a war on motorists as a war on people travelling anywhere. An open return train ticket from London to Manchester now costs £329 on this least polluting method of transport, but I can fly to Manchester for £94 on a plane that many regard as one of the highest polluting methods of transport. At 60p per mile, I could drive there for £250.

Labour’s transport spokesman Michael Dugher said: ‘Rail passengers are being let down and ripped off. Things have got worse on our railways.’ And TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: ‘Passengers have paid a terrible price for this political folly. The private rail industry has taken all the gain while passengers have suffered all the pain. Passengers have paid a small fortune on fares while rail bosses are paid a fortune. ‘We want to end this persecution of passengers which started after privatisation.’ He added: ‘It is hardly surprising that satisfaction is falling when commuters are paying record fares for a worsening service. It is an absolute disgrace.’ AA president Edmund King said: ‘For the cost of my annual rail season ticket – a painful £4,028 – I could buy a second-hand car for £1000, tax and insure it and still have enough to pay for 20,000 miles of petrol, which is two years’ motoring for the average driver.’ There can only be one conclusion: Government doesn’t actually give a toss about climate change, pollution or our children dying. They care about one thing and one thing only, and that is getting as much of our cash as possible from duty and taxation on essential services that none of us can avoid. It wasn’t only the Vikings who raped and pillaged.

89


Hurstpierpoint College

Hurst Hurstpierpoint College

Pre-Prep | Prep | Senior School | Sixth Form

We invite you to find out what Hurst can offer your child 2015 Open Mornings 14th March & 9th May

Outstanding education for boys and girls aged 4 to 18 years Hurstpierpoint College Hurstpierpoint West Sussex BN6 9JS

www.hppc.co.uk

Admissions 01273 836936


{ STAFF DEVELOPMENT }

PRECISE SENSE OF STAFF DEVELOPMENT Solartron Metrology named as a finalist in national Employer of the Year Awards

S

olartron Metrology, a world leader in the innovation, design and manufacture of precision sensors for quality control, was among the top entries in the last round of VQ Day’s ‘Employer of the Year Award’. The company, based on the Southern Cross Industrial Estate, was included in the small and medium-sized enterprises category of the awards. It was one of five companies in with a chance of being chosen as the top organization. A company spokesman said: “We’re absolutely delighted that our investment in employees taking up vocational education has been recognized in the VQ Employer of the Year awards”. Jan Hodges CBE, the foundation’s chief executive, said Solartron Metrology was championing technical, practical and vocational skills within its workforce. “It’s very important for us to recognize companies, like Solartron Metrology, that have invested in their people and practical learning. In doing so, it sends a strong message about the value of vocational qualifications, training and the benefits they bring to both employers and the economy.” VQ Day is led by independent education charity, the Edge Foundation, with support from many of the leading players in the vocational education community. Vocational qualifications have never been more important to the economy

and the individual; they deliver the trained, talented employees businesses are crying out for and ensure young people have the skills needed to succeed in education and work. Kathryn Rogers, HR Manger at Solartron Metrology, explained, “Staff and Management at Solartron Metrology have been embracing the short courses offered by Northbrook College in Worthing. These courses have given staff the opportunity to gain qualifications in Business and Administration, Customer Service, Team Leading and Equality and Diversity. “A number of the staff are completing these for their own personal development rather than specifically to increase their knowledge for their current roles. It is heart-warming that so many staff want to develop their skill set, not only for the business but for their own personal development. “These courses are a great opportunity for staff to learn new skills. They require only short term commitment and minimal disruption, from a business perspective. These distance learning courses enable students to study in their own time. As a business supporting this learning, we have offered our staff an hour of work time

a week to contribute to their studies. This has proven beneficial and boosted the morale of our staff. “The assessors from Northbrook College do a great job, providing contact number and email address for the learners if and when they require any support or direction. The assessors are on site regularly to review the course work but this has very little impact on employees work time as the learners are only required for a very short space of time. “In this difficult economic environment, it is great to have the opportunity to offer our staff learning opportunities that hugely benefit the business, the morale of our workers and the workers themselves, with very little disruption to the working day.” Solartron Metrology’s training programs are growing in popularity with 30 per cent of their staff members in training with Northbrook after seeing their colleagues gain new jobs in the firm. Northbrook College has secured significant funding to support the training businesses need to grow and is relevant across all sectors. To find out how your business and staff can benefit too, talk to one of Northbrook’s Business Training Advisors on 01903 273101, m.green@nbcol.ac.uk www.northbrook.ac.uk/BusinessSolutions

91


GROW YOUR

TEAM IN Up-skilling your existing employees is an effective way to:

Improve your business image Attract new customers Increase staff morale Our Level 2 Qualifications in Business and Administration and Customer Service, with the added value of English and Maths, if required, are available immediately. Financial incentives and funding available*

* Terms and Conditions apply. These qualifications follow the L2 framework for Apprenticeships.

Contact our Customer Service Team today on 01903 273 114 or at business.solutions@nbcol.ac.uk for more information! Business Development 17 Liverpool Gardens Worthing, West Sussex BN11 1RY www.northbrook.ac.uk/BusinessSolutions


{ EDUCATION }

MASTERING RESILIENCE Marie Corner

M

arie Corner, Medical Device Advisor for Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust in Southampton, is studying part-time for her MSc in Risk, Crisis and Resilience Management at Portsmouth Business School. “I live in Fareham and chose to study part-time so I could balance my full-time work commitments and still study to an advanced level to gain a recognised qualification. I chose Portsmouth because the course offered was exactly what I wanted and it’s well regarded for the quality of its

content and the expertise of the tutors. I wanted a course that would help me develop skills that would complement my professional role. “I love learning new things and being able to apply them, but one of the concerns I had before starting was whether I would be able to keep up, to study this level. I needn’t have worried. “I work as the Medical Device Adviser to Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. I really enjoy my job supporting clinical teams in delivering the best quality care in the safest, most efficient way we can. I am lucky that I work with everyone from service users and clinicians to those working in procurement and governance, and although there is no clear professional pathway or development structure in my role, the Trust is fully supporting me. “The MSc in Risk, Crisis and Resilience Management course developed the skills I use every day, and I now feel I’ve been given a box of tools I can use to improve the value of my work.

Studying helped me develop in other ways, too, and I’m now comfortable using evidence-based research in my work. I feel confident in my ability to drive improvements and support staff. “One of the challenges I faced when studying was that I needed to know well in advance the dates of lectures and course hand-ins in order to be able to plan my studies with my work, and the school wasn’t always able to firm up longterm dates. On the plus side, the lecturers and tutors were fantastic and really supported us and helped us. The support I received was brilliant and enabled me to not just grow in confidence but also to really enjoy my studies. Studying to an advanced level also opens up the possibility of promotion. “It’s not until you undertake a commitment like this that you realise the only barriers you face are the ones you construct yourself.” Portsmouth Business School holds regular postgraduate information evenings. To find out more visit: www.showyoumeanbusiness.com 

You’re a professional – so prove it Project Manager

HR Practitioner

Whether you are responsible for projects, HR, marketing, risk management or have ambitions for a top-level executive role, Portsmouth Business School offers part-time and professionally recognised postgraduate programmes for busy working people. A first degree may not be essential, as long as you have the right attitude and work experience which will have prepared you to succeed. You’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain, so come along to our next open evening – for details please visit www.showyoumeanbusiness.com.

Sales Manager

Head of Programme Transformation

We’ve got our credentials – have you got yours?

T: +44 (0)23 9284 2991 E: pbs-studentrecruitment@port.ac.uk W: www.port.ac.uk/pbscourses

93


{ EDUCATION }

CORE LEARNING Hurst pupils talk at Apple flagship conference

H

urstpierpoint College was one of three schools to hold a workshop at the flagship Apple Education Conference in London. The Education Leadership event was attended by 350 delegates each day and included school leaders, politicians and Government representatives.   Hurst College was the only independent school represented and showcased work on Key Stage 3 Literacy. Two teams of years 7 and 8 pupils assisted in the workshop. They were voted the best workshop by the delegates for their presentation entitled ‘Digital Literacy’.   In their presentation students showed how a range of multi-media on iPads could support the essential skill of ‘Point, Evidence, Analysis’ (PEA). This was demonstrated as part of a fictional crime scene investigation which they had staged at school.  Vickie Bacon, Director of Digital Learning at Hurst and creator of the workshop, commented, “The gathering of visual evidence in the workshop mirrors the pioneering work that is taking place in the Metropolitan Police as they increasingly utilise multi-media portfolios of evidence.  The workshop resources included social media to emphasise the inclusion and positive use of gathering information from a variety of sources.”

CCTV clips and a specific Twitter feed from the fictional police officer were used to provide information to those investigating; crime scene photographs had to be viewed and audio notes taken using the iPads; a police line-up was created in the workshop at the Apple conference using photofits of suspects, and the iBooks Author app was used to publish the findings of the investigation in a multi-media portfolio.

“At Hurst we are ambitious for our students and want to educate our pupils to be discerning with the information that bombards them” This is the fourth year Hurst has been invited to take part in the conference due to their cutting-edge use of mobile technology as a tool for learning throughout the college.  Mrs Bacon added, “At Hurst we are ambitious

for our students and want to educate our pupils to be discerning with the information that bombards them. As digital citizens we aim to teach the skills which will allow our pupils to distinguish between what is relevant and irrelevant in the digital world. Written work remains the focus, but it is important that we find opportunities to layer this with digital literacy skills so that pupils are engaging at every level.” Whilst the Summit was running in London, Hurst welcomed large groups of visitors who wanted to see the learning in action and to view the way iPads have been integrated into lessons. Visitors travelled from the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Portugal and Norway.   One Portuguese visitor said “The delegates were amazed with the school, with the learning and teaching that they had witnessed, and at how confident the student iPad ambassadors were.”   Headmaster Tim Manly commented, “I attended the conference and was hugely proud of the pupils and what they have achieved with their iPads. They are right at the forefront of educational innovation with this technology.” www.hppc.co.uk

95


EVEN THE DIRTY MARTINI IS SPOTLESS BAR & TERRACE

Relax in style in the Waterhouse Bar & Terrace, experience our hospitality and enjoy our ‘Perfect Pairings’. The menu features locally sourced items for a real taste of Sussex, with Hailsham Lamb burger ‘Perfectly Paired, with a Sussex Mule or our decadent Tea by the Sea ‘Seaside Delights’ Afternoon Tea taken on the terrace. With a car park on site, the Waterhouse Bar & Terrace is the perfect place to enjoy a family lunch with a difference, revel in a gathering of friends or savor any special occasion.

Open daily from 08:00am. For Afternoon Tea reservations please call 01273 775432 Hilton Brighton Metropole, Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 2FU


{ HOSPITALITY }

MODERN METROPOLE

Hilton Brighton Metropole launches its 125th anniversary year with a major renovation

W

ith the i360 ready to reach for the sky, the landmark Hilton Brighton Metropole has announced ambitious plans for a major £3.75 million renovation. The hotel will mark its 125th year with refurbished guest rooms, meeting rooms and a brand-new restaurant and spa. The hotel, which sits on Brighton’s seafront, is set to refurbish 185 of its 340 guest rooms (including four suites) to offer visitors Victorian elegance with modern convenience. The en suite rooms, along with some communal guest areas, will be transformed into comfortable, stylish spaces which effortlessly capture the Arts and Crafts movement, with historical styling alongside feature artwork paying homage to William Morris. From February, the rooms will be redesigned in calming, harmonious tones complemented by highly functional, beautiful lighting. Guests will be able to refresh and revitalise themselves in renovated bathrooms featuring a large walk-in shower and new tiling throughout. Sascha Koehler, the new General Manager (look out for an exclusive interview in PBM very soon) said, “We are thrilled not only to be unveiling our renovation plans for the guest rooms but also to be sharing our plans to open The Salt Room restaurant. The Salt Room will be a relaxed, informal, urban dining retreat with

covered terrace seating and ocean views. The contemporary dining experience is the perfect complement to its sister restaurant, The Coal Shed, and it will showcase the best of British food - with a particular focus on British fish and crustaceans cooked over a real charcoal oven. “Our spa has also undergone a radical transformation and has been rebranded as ‘Schmoo by the Sea’, with an emphasis on indulgence.” Schmoo by the Sea has a relaxed sociable feel where guests can enjoy a bespoke range of treatments. The spa includes six treatment rooms, a sociable manicure and pedicure zone, a relaxation zone and a welcoming reception and shop area, where guests can purchase their own organic Schmoo skincare products, developed from high-quality ingredients based around fruit extracts. In addition to the redesigned guest rooms, the new restaurant and spa, Hilton Brighton Metropole recently renovated several banqueting and meeting rooms, providing improved facilities for business events, meetings and weddings. Hilton Brighton Metropole will remain open to guests throughout the renovation work. To find out more, contact the hotel on telephone 01273 775432 or visit www.hilton.com/brightonmet.

97


GRAZE RESTAURANT Maarten Hoffmann relishes lunch at Graze Restaurant

I

n the Prince Regent’s day, Brighton, or Brighthelm as it was known, was always about culinary decadence. Dinner parties at the Royal Pavilion often lasted all night and the Prince’s personal chef, Antonin Careme, would be tasked with producing platter after platter of the world’s finest bounty. Graze in Hove is like Lilliput. I felt giant in this mini-Pavilion full of decadent and slightly camp objets d’art, grand mini-chandeliers, flock wallpaper and quirky paintings. I thought the wrought iron fireplace under the pass, converted to a wine rack, was a neat touch, and then my eyes drifted onto the kitchen, which is the reason we are here. Modern British cooking. Well, that conjures up a myriad of thoughts, and you feel that an establishment branding itself in this way is either hiding their fare under an anonymous catch-all, or have defined the term. I was dining with our Copy Editor, Dan, and we nervously peeked at the menu. They have three offerings: the short, the set and the Chef’s tasting menu – which presents seven courses for £55. If time had allowed, that’s where we would have ventured, but we plumped for the short menu. All three menus are a set price; therefore I cannot list prices per dish, but the short menu was only £20 for 3 courses. For starters, Dan ordered the braised oxtail,

98

ragout of girolles and crispy shallots and I chose pickled cherry tomatoes, ricotta, herbs and confit lemon. While waiting, we were served an amuse bouche that had all the hallmarks of a

“I shot a forkful into Dan’s mouth and his face lit up as if he’d stuck his finger in a socket. With approving grunts, he then polished off the oxtail and looked up in anticipation” pretentious little time-filler, until I tried it, and instantly regretted those sarcastic thoughts. A tiny roll of chicken ballontine, stuffed with charred leeks, courgettes, soft brie, chicken gel (I

don’t know either!), and a red pepper parfait that was absolutely gorgeous. I was tempted to order a large dish for the main course. Lovely presentation in deep wide bowls, and into the fray we ventured. I am not mad about ricotta, but this combo was excellent, and the pickled tomatoes were a revelation. I shot a forkful into Dan’s mouth and his face lit up as if he’d stuck his finger in a socket. With approving grunts, he then polished off the oxtail and looked up in anticipation. What an excellent start, and not long to wait for his main choice of roast hake, wild mushrooms, kale and red wine jus, and mine of slow roast pork belly, colcannon and quince. At this point Dan attempted to justify his editorial existence at Portfolio Towers by stating, with a contented smile, that his dish was unctuous. Now, I write for a living, and I won’t have some Yank springing a new ‘English’ word on me, so immediately looked it up: unctuous; unc.tu.ous – excessively flattering; ingratiating; oily. Therefore, I feel he was ‘being’ unctuous rather than the ‘dish’ being unctuous. Just thought I would point that out! Them folk from the Colonies ain’t what they used to be! I digress. We have established Dan’s thoughts – and onto my pork belly. Presentation was excellent, and the colcannon superb, but I would have liked more meat. Crispy top and beautifully cooked, but only the tiniest slither of pork – and to me it is the


{ WORKING LUNCH }

Graze Restaurant 43 Western Road Hove BN3 1JD 01273 823707 www.graze-restaurant.co.uk

combination of crispy top and fatty layer attached to a healthy seam of pork that makes the dish. But under the guise of reputable reporting, we also ordered fermented garlic Gnocchi on the side and the quite horrible-sounding ‘hand-cut fat dripping chips’ – tasted great but I think a new moniker might be in order. I knew I shouldn’t have turned to chat with the polite and knowledgeable waiter, Matthew, as when I looked back, Dan was demolishing the gnocchi as if he was going for the Wisconsin gnocchi-eating championship! I managed to rescue the remaining lonely morsel from his manic grasp, and what a delight it was, with the slightest hint of garlic. A sated calm descended over the table as we sat back – and, as I often do, marvelled at the dedication and obsessive nature of chefs who labour tirelessly over the intricacies of flavour. Most of us are obsessive about something, and thank heaven for talented chefs such as Adrian Hawkins, who presides in the Graze kitchen. And he wasn’t finished yet. Pudding was whisked to the table and we were presented with artichoke chiboust with vanilla ice cream and a pear tart that I couldn’t find on the menu anywhere. The chiboust had the faintest tone of artichoke, and, odd as it sounds, it really worked – but the pear tart was an absolute triumph, presented with delicately arranged strips of pickled pear and a scattering of tiny flowers and green leaves, with a dollop of rich ice cream mounted atop a mini Vesuvius of crumble. It was one of the best pear tarts I have ever tasted. Bravo Adrian. Graze carries two AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence and is listed in the Michelin and the Good Food Guides. I would suggest you pop along there tout de suite.

99


COMING NEXT ISSUE

3

THE BIG STORY

3

CROWDFUNDING

3

EUROPE – IN OR OUT

We uncover the real Philip Green – tax avoider or savvy billionaire – or both

What is this new sector all about and how does it actually work. NatWest Entrepreneur of the Year, Benita Matofska explains

We canvas business leaders across the region to learn their views

3

WHATS WRONG WITH BUSINESS SCHOOLS

3

THE BUDGET

3

BUSINESS LUNCH

Is the MBA worth the effort. Dr Ashish Jaiswal offers an opinion

March 18th is the date of this Governments last budget and we hold the presses so that the team at Kreston Reeves can work throughout the night to bring you all the breaking news

We partake of the fare at Ockenden Manor in Cuckfield to see what this beautiful Tudor Manor House has to offer

If you would like your company to be involved in any of our future editorial features, you have news you would like the entire county to hear about, or for information on how to advertise, please contact Maarten Hoffmann or Ian Trevett on maarten@platinumbusinessmagazine.com tel: 07966 244046 ian@platinumbusinessmagazine.com tel: 07989 970804 To view all previous issues, please go to our website

www.platinumbusinessmagazine.com


{ CHAMBER NEWS } WORTHING

INTRODUCTION TO WORTHING & ADUR CHAMBER By Sheryl Tipton, Executive Member, PR & Marketing, Worthing & Adur Chamber of Commerce

T

he Worthing and Adur Chamber of Commerce is a vibrant and friendly organisation attracting both large and small businesses wishing to network and share best practice. The Chamber actively represents the interests of local business on many committees, councils and business working groups across the region, and is committed to helping support, develop and promote local business across the coastal area. The Chamber is well-established, welcomes involvement from its members and represents a strong voice within Worthing and Adur and further afield. The membership is diverse, ranging from sole traders through to medium and large organisations which allow members to benefit from sharing information, knowledge and business opportunities with companies of all different sizes, sectors and industries, and enables members to become involved in their business community to ensure that their local economy thrives. All of the Chamber-hosted networking events across the region are very well attended and regularly attract both new and established businesses, with a choice of events to suit all schedules. These include free, open networking sessions, which focus on new connections and pure networking, to more formal breakfast and lunch gatherings, where speakers abound and important issues affecting the locality are discussed. Together with enjoyable social events, such as film evenings, race days and quiz nights, and involvement in community

events such as The Food Festival and the Adur River Fest, the Chamber events appeal to all with the option to attend as few or as many as you wish. Business support is always on hand and is the heartbeat of the Chamber. This support extends from peer-to-peer mentoring through to Wise Up training sessions, with more general guidance and support always available as well from key individuals on a variety of subjects. Peer-to-Peer groups consist of 12 like-minded business people, all keen to share expertise and varied skills sets and willing to learn from and support each other. Facilitated by the Chamber’s experienced team and run over 12 months, they require a monthly commitment, but the results are extremely worthwhile. Wise Up training opens the doors for members and non-members alike to ‘bite-sized ‘training across a plethora of subjects. The programme includes Sales and Marketing, Leadership & Management, Digital Technology, Lifestyle & Well-Being, as well as many other topics. These short courses are limited in size to ensure all delegates take away as much knowledge as possible, and the latest programme has just started. The Chamber also leads the latest Coast to Capital Navigator project, which reaches from Chichester to Brighton and up to Croydon, to signpost businesses to the best grants and funding options available. This could be signposting to the many Growth Grants available, such as Growth Accelerator or Growth

Vouchers, or to some of the less well-known funding options, such as the EU funding or Cycle to Work schemes.This service is completely free and, again, open to both members and nonmembers. The Chamber is extremely proud to be instrumental in this, as the whole project supports our ethos of business support and development for the area. CEO Tina Tilley says, ‘Life at the Chamber is never dull, and our wide and varied membership ensures that we continually strive to be the best we can be, and to provide the very best for our members’. For more information about the Chamber please visit their website at www.worthingandadurchamber.co.uk, or call 01903 203484.

101


{ CHAMBER NEWS } SUSSEX

A BUSINESS PLAN TO DELIVER PROSPERITY By Ana Christie, Chief Executive at Sussex Chamber of Commerce

“A Britain built for growth is a Britain where government decisions are relentlessly pro-growth”

A

t a recent conference in London, attended by 1000 business leaders, Chambers of Commerce and political leaders, the Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce delivered the business group’s manifesto, entitled A Business Plan for Britain. We represent just 3% of global GDP. Britain was once, but is no longer, the world’s leading political and commercial power. Whoever forms the next government must aim to nurture sustainable, long-term economic growth if people are to have the prosperous future they want, a future in which education equips children for work and prosperity, and where the health service satisfies the needs of the community. The British Chambers of Commerce have set out a “Business Plan for Britain” to boost business as the country navigates through a world full of turbulence, both economic and political. The goals of the Business Plan for Britain are shared by companies in every region and nation of the UK. A Britain built for growth is a Britain where government decisions are relentlessly progrowth; business policies are fit for the long term, local business communities are empowered, the machinery of national and local government works with and for business, and those held democratically accountable for outcomes are free to appoint those in charge of delivery. By implementing the Business Plan for Britain, and by maintaining a relentless focus

102

on policies that deliver prosperity, the next government can help to achieve the following aspirations: • Develop the talents of the next generation – because preparing young people for the world of work, investing in the skills of those already at work, and nurturing the business leaders of tomorrow are essential to the UK’s competitiveness;

“Businesses and government must work together to craft a better destiny for Britain” •

Support long-term business investment – because promoting access to finance, and backing investors in dynamic businesses will support the rebalancing the UK economy so badly needs and help drive up productivity; Grow Britain’s global trade potential – because building international networks, investing in our export skills base and removing barriers to trade will support UK businesses to take on the world;

Place business at the heart of local growth –because ensuring business growth takes centre stage in local decision-making and procurement will boost the economies of our cities, towns, and counties; Rebuild Britain’s business infrastructure –because a world-class economy needs world-class infrastructure, and businesses need certainty that crucial improvements are actually delivered; Drive down business costs and taxes – because simplifying the UK tax system, and reducing the taxes firms pay even before they generate a profit, will boost businesses’ competitiveness, investment and jobs; Deliver a new settlement for Britain in Europe –because making the economic opportunities of the European trading bloc work for business and ensuring clear safeguards for Britain against unwanted further integration will be critical for our future success.

Businesses and government must work together to craft a better destiny for Britain. The decisions taken during the term of the next Parliament will have a profound impact on our ability to grow businesses here at home and trade across the world. Please review our website for further information: www.sussexchamberofcommerce.co.uk


{ CHAMBER NEWS } BRIGHTON

GET OUT AND MAKE SOME NEW FRIENDS! By Jenny McLaren, Events Manager at Brighton Chamber

B

eing in business can be lonely. Business events can be boring. But neither of these things must always be true. Brighton Chamber offers Brighton’s business people the chance to make new friends and meet old ones, find new clients and suppliers, learn new skills and be inspired. Our events programme is designed to meet the needs of business owners and managers of every kind. From freelancers to multinationals, from charities to corporate firms,everyone is welcome. Everyone can find their place: we run a huge range of events designed to meet the needs of all kinds of businesses from across Brighton and Hove, and beyond. There are new people to meet at every event, and they’re all open to non-members: we only ask that you join the Chamber after you’ve been to two of our events. What’s On Offer We work to make sure our events programme is always as varied as possible, so whatever you’d like to do, and whoever you’d like to meet, we’re likely to have something that fits. And you might just find there’s something you’d never have thought of going to, that sparks ideas you’d never have imagined you’d have. I started as the Events Manager in October, and since then have organised over 20 events: Business Breakfasts, Business in the City lunches, Big Debates, Bite-sized Learning, Ride the Wave workshops, behind the scenes tours and more. They’re all very different, but they all have fascinating speakers, great venues,

tasty food and plenty of time for relaxed and productive networking. Here’s what you’ll find on our packed events programme: Business Breakfasts at Carluccio’s: A big favourite and always buzzy. The food is a big a talking point, and so are the inspirational speakers, all of whom have contributed something special to the city’s business scene. Book early to get one of the 75 places. Bite-sized learning sessions: Two-hour practical workshops, led by experienced practitioners, held at the start or end of the day at Sussex Cricket Ground. They’re great value and designed to address real business needs. Topics coming up include auto enrolment, Facebook marketing for business, copywriting, employment law updates, sales training, successful leader styles, managing your reputation on line…. Spotlight Suppers: A chance to network and unwind after the working day is done. The next one will be at Silo with our guest speaker, Gresham Blake. Business Brunches: A little later in the day than our breakfasts, our relaxed brunches are held at Moshimo. They include a delicious Japanese brunch, and, of course, always a great speaker. Big Debates: Open to all and free to attend. Expect interesting, informed, debate on issues that affect us all in Brighton and Hove. You’ll be part of a varied audience of 100 to 150 people. Behind the scenes: By the time you are reading this you’ll have missed going to Glyndebourne

on our specially commissioned Big Lemon bus. But we have other equally exciting events planned. Don’t miss out: keep an eye on our events calendar. Socials: An evening out with like-minded people. Talk, mingle and learn. Look out for the wine tasting social, coming up soon! Pop-ups: Events with a difference, that could be anywhere in the city. Charities and social enterprises will be interested in being at our next pop-up breakfast at Emmaus Brighton to hear how they have developed and grown their social business. Construction Voice: We know how important construction and property are to successful business in Brighton and Hove. Our focussed events for this sector continue in 2015. And look out for the Brighton Summit. This is our flagship annual event, attracting hundreds of businesses for a day of speakers, interactive activities and lots of fun. It’s much more than a conference. The best value way to take part is to join the Chamber and grab one of our membersonly early-bird tickets, out soon. Ready to get started? Join us… give me a call to talk through what are the best events for you and your business. Once you’ve booked, take a look at who else is coming. If there is anyone you’d especially like to meet, just let us know and we’ll make it happen. www.businessinbrighton.org.uk or telephone 01273 719097 Email Jenny McLaren at admin@businessinbrighton.org.uk

103


{ CHAMBER NEWS } ACES

ACES MEMBER NEWS To become a Member of ACES just join your local Chamber of Commerce in East Sussex. Full details at www.acesalliance.org

SILVER ACCREDITATION - A FIRST IN THE PEST CONTROL INDUSTRY Cleankill has become the first pest control company in the UK to gain the Investors in People (IIP) Silver Accreditation. No other pest control companies have achieved either Silver or Gold Investors in People. Three years ago Cleankill achieved the Bronze level – the first company it its sector to do so – and decided to build on that success by aiming for the next level. Cleankill is now among only 13 per cent of companies in the UK with either a Silver or Gold Investors in People accreditation. The assessor praised Cleankill staff for continuing with their aim of offering a ‘big company’ level of professionalism and quality while keeping a small-company ethos. Assessor Anne Hyde explains: “People across all levels of the business demonstrate a good understanding of the ethics that underpin the business. These range from honesty to customer excellence and from innovation to teamwork. We also liked the fact that the organisation’s role in the community is also a key aspect of how Cleankill operates and includes charitable fund-raising and giving practical support to local groups.” In the report Cleankill was praised for its open culture and the sharing of knowledge, information and expertise on an ongoing basis, with staff having high levels of autonomy. The report also highlighted the many

104

opportunities, including industry qualifications, that are used to both develop people in their current roles and, where appropriate, support people to progress within the organisation. Cleankill Managing Director Paul Bates said: “Achieving Silver is our proudest achievement since the company was launched 20 years ago. We firmly believe that being involved in Investors in People has helped us go from strength to strength, especially in the last few years. We are fast becoming an ‘employer of choice’ in the industry and have become a credible alternative to household-name companies such as Rentokil. “People across all levels of the business share in Cleankill’s success, including through the financial incentives and non-financial rewards, and have contributed to our success. As a result of their ongoing involvement in the business, people are both proud to work at Cleankill and are committed to the continued success of the organisation. “The latest assessment proves that our team is one of the most experienced and best trained in the country. Around a quarter of the UK workforce are employed by organisations that are accredited to Investors in People or working towards the standard. But only six per cent of organisations that are Investors in People accredited have achieved Silver. This means Cleankill belongs to a very select group.” Cleankill has also passed recent ISO 9001,

ISO 14001 and Achilles assessments with flying colours. In the past two years Cleankill has won many awards, including a Barclays Bank sponsored award for customer service, a South London award for the quality of its green business ethos and a Handelsbanken award for best medium-sized business. Cleankill is an award-winning, specialist provider of pest control services to retail, commercial and industrial properties throughout the UK. From offices in Kenley, South Croydon, and Seaford, East Sussex, the company deals with ‘distress’ pests such as wasps and fleas, as well as offering preventative maintenance against public health pests like mice, rats, cockroaches and flies. Cleankill can also clear and proof buildings against pest birds.

For further information go to www.cleankill. co.uk or call 0800 056 5477. You can follow Cleankill on Twitter or Facebook


{ CHAMBER NEWS } ACES

DITZY MEDIA “We found social media overwhelming until we spoke to Ditzy Media” Ditzy Media is a Social Media & Training Consultancy based in Eastbourne and run by Mina O’Brien. Mina started Ditzy Media in July, 2014 after a long career in Local Government Trading Standards. Social media has been her long-standing passion, and since 2011 Mina has been active on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook under the name Ditzyladym. Her passion turned into a new career, which is focused on helping SMEs and local charities to use social media effectively, and she is helping her local Chamber co-ordinate their LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook accounts to create more effective member communications.

ALMOST 100 SUSSEX BUSINESSES BENEFIT FROM FREE AND INDEPENDENT BUSINESS ADVICE Since summer last year, ACES and Edeal enterprise agency have been running fullyfunded business clinics, start-up workshops and one-to-one mentoring for business people in Wealden and Eastbourne. This independent support has been funded by Wealden District Council and Eastbourne Borough Council and

is delivered by experienced business people to existing businesses and start-ups. “Since July last year we have helped almost 100 local business people to make important decisions and develop their companies,” said Sandra Walker, who manages the programme. “It is really rewarding, and some very interesting

ideas have come forward from the people of East Sussex.” Business concepts have included pet coffins, garden planters, design and marketing, high- end travel and fruit farming, and the consultants have helped with business planning, financial controls, marketing, social media and legislation.

EDEAL BUSINESS SUPPORT Have you got a business idea that you’d like to turn into a reality? Do you need help creating or strengthening your business plan? Do you want help to identify the legal issues relating to your business? Do you want some marketing tips or help with social media? If you answer yes to any of these questions, book a workshop if you are starting a company, or a clinic to develop a business idea or discuss a business problem.

DATE

LOCATION

SUPPORT AVAILABLE

16th March

Hailsham

Workshop

30th March

Hailsham

Clinic

9th April

Hailsham

Clinic

16th April

Eastbourne

Workshop

5th May

Crowborough

Workshop

10th June

Uckfield

Clinic

13th July

Heathfield

Workshop

21st July

Eastbourne

Workshop

18th August

Heathfield

Clinic

8th September Uckfield

Workshop

105


{ CHAMBER NEWS } EASTBOURNE

START WITH THE END IN MIND Eastbourne Chamber member, Rachel Stone, on the secret ingredient to successful business planning.

W

here do you start with “Headline Business Planning”? What makes it so successful? Why is it so important? When working with business owners, I am often asked how to make things happen and move the business forward. The key is having absolute clarity about what you want your business to bring you; that is, knowing what you want. As Stephen Covey says, “Start with the end in mind”. From this point you can work backwards to what you need to do today. How you work this out and how you move towards what you want is based on many factors. To help with this I like to use the Directional Pyramid. I start by drawing a large triangle on an A4 page, then divide the triangle up by drawing 6 horizontal lines.

VISION MISSION PURPOSE VALUES OBJECTIVES ACTIVITIES EFFORT VS IMPACT

I explain that in order to get what we want from our businesses we must know what that is! Spending time identifying exactly what you want your business to bring you in the future is crucial. I often get people to describe where they want to be by a particular date. What will it look like, feel like, smell like and sound like? What will you be saying? What will others say about you and your business? Then I ask them to draw this as a picture. This uses a different part of the brain and releases more creativity. It’s about visualising the end point. When you can see it, you can move towards it. I’m asking for your VISION. The place in the future which is better than now. I don’t know anyone who deliberately plans to go somewhere in the future that is worse than the here and now! The clue is in the word ‘Vision’. You’ve got to be able to see it. Under the Vision is the Mission, the journey, the ‘How’ you will get there. It’s a short, sharp, punchy statement of the way you will get to this place. For instance, RyanAir does this by cutting costs. What will you do to reach your Vision? How will you get there? The Vision is the ‘place’ in the future and the Mission is the ‘how’ you will get there. Under this is the Purpose. Why does your business exist? If you were a stick of rock and I cut off your head, what would be running through the core of you as a statement? Back to RyanAir: they exist to make a profit by enabling as many people to travel as cheaply as possible. What’s running through your business core? Most importantly of all, at the heart of all this, are your Values. (This is the secret ingredient!!)

By living by your true Values you will have congruence (alignment). You will develop a set of behaviours by which you stand and define yourself. You must be true to your Values to offer sincerity, consistency, trust, and a code of conduct that your customers, staff and other stakeholders will align themselves with if they share the same values. Your Values define you and your business. They tell you how to make decisions. They guide you when making relationships. Building a Business is all about building relationships, after all. Your Values tell you what is a priority. From this you can identify your Objectives. At this point I must mention your brand. Your Values will form part of your own personal brand; additionally, this will be the foundation of how you develop your business identity in your market place. It is that important. From your Values you can work out your priorities, and this forms the basis of the Objectives you will set yourself. This drives your Purpose. Your Purpose drives your Mission, and by driving this forward you will reach your Vision. Having a clear and shared set of Values, you will be able to set the right Objectives. Once you know this you can identify the daily Activities you need to carry out to ensure that the Objectives are met. That’s the secret to successful business planning. If you want to work on this at one of my free Business Planning Focus days, please email Rachel@bespoketrainingeastbourne.com.

107


{ NETWORKING }

THE BUSINESS NETWORK By Emma Pearce Marketing Consultant, outsourced marketing services and social media training www.pearcemarketing.co.uk Emma Pearce interviews four Sussex businesses about how they utilise networking in their marketing plan and the benefits it brings. Here is part four with Alison Purves

MULTI-LEVEL MARKETING Alison Purves - Business Mentor with Forever Living Products www.alisonpurves.myflpbiz.com www.sendoutcards.com/alisonpurves

What networks do you attend? I attend two Athena Sussex Network meetings (Lewes and Crowborough) and a Speed Networking Event every month, plus at least one less formal meeting like Ladies Who Latte (Hastings). I network up to 20 miles from my home office, but I think a business professional should always be networking. You can network in the supermarket queue, on a train or plane – there may always be people your business can

help, or people who know people who can be helped by your business.

at relevant events, but I intend to utilise more opportunities!

How important is networking in your marketing? Networking is the cornerstone of my marketing. My objectives are to build relationships with people and then see how we might work together or support each other.  Relationship building is the key, so following up is vital. Sending a greeting card straight after an event and following up with a call or on social media works well for me.

How long did it take to get benefits from networking? 90% of my business volume has been created by networking; I started to see benefits after two to three months, but real momentum after trust had been built via relationships over a longer period of time.  It is important to be at the same events on a regular basis.

Do you utilise other marketing opportunities via the networks you attend? I have taken up the ‘member speaker slot’ at the events I attend and taken exhibition stands

Any other bonus benefits of networking? Great support and friendships from fellow business owners and learning from other members.

Our services include: • Accountancy & bookkeeping • Audit services • Tax returns • Tax planning

Passionate about business.

• Payroll services • Financial and investment services* • Wealth management We love to make your profits larger and tax payments smaller! Go to www.carpenterbox.com to see what our clients say or get in touch on 01903 234094

*Carpenter Box Wealth Management LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

www.carpenterbox.com 108


{ CHAMBER NEWS } CRAWLEY & GATWICK

A GREAT MONTH A Great Month for Members of Reeves Accountants and Rawlison Butler EASY MONEY, BY DAN SIBLEY, NATWEST

Clive Stephens and Shirley Smith from Kreston Reeves

R

eeves accountancy firm, domicile of our President, Paul Roe, has strengthened its international offering through a rename reflecting the firm’s 30-year membership of Kreston International, the global network of independent accounting firms. The change to Kreston Reeves took effect on 2 February, 2015. Paul said, “Our priorities are not being altered in the least; we remain focussed on excellent client service and helping our clients to achieve their goals. We’re the same people; we wanted to emphasise how far we can reach geograpahically to help our clients”. In a very good month for news at Kreston Reeves, and following several years of various award wins, they also recently heard, at a sparkling dinner at Chamber Members’ Copthorne Effingham Hotel, of their success at the Insider Media Dealmakers South East (corporate finance) Awards. Nominated for their work on two deals, they won the Deal of the Year for transactions under £10m. The winning deal was announced as the Acquisition of G.Burley & Sons (one of Paul’s clients) by Business Growth Fund-Backed TC Landscapes. John Cowie, Kreston Reeves’ Corporate Finance Partner, advised on the deal. Members of the Chamber, Tim Sadka and John Kirkwood of Rawlison Butler, also advised the Burley family on this exceptional deal. For more information please contact Paul or Khin Warber on 01293 776152.

Squeeze on the ease. There was good news on the UK’s wages front. Regular pay grew by 1.8% y/y in the three months to November, the fastest pace since September 2012. Coupled with the fall in inflation, it means real wages have been growing for the first time since before the financial crisis. But it’s still a low figure on an historical basis. Between 2001 and 2008 wage growth averaged 4% y/y. So there’s plenty of room for improvement. Whitewash: Since August, two of the nine Monetary Policy Committee members had been voting for a rate rise. That changed in January. The plummeting oil price lowered inflation and convinced the whole Committee that rates should stay at 0.5%. The Bank of England now expects inflation to reach zero in March of this year, which means there is a 50:50 chance of the UK seeing deflation. But the Committee also expects lower oil prices, higher incomes and falling mortgage rates to boost growth. daniel.sibley@natwest.com

Skills Workshop: On-line Marketing for Your Business: 1. The issues you need to consider 2. Where you need to pay for expertise, and why 3. A brief overview of PPC, SEO, Display, and Re-targeting 4. Hiring an agency or support work for your on-line marketing plan Free to members - £10 for non-Chamber members Wed, 11th March, 2015, 8am - 10am Civic Hall (Crawley Borough Council Town Hall) The Boulevard, Crawley, RH10 1UZ For further details, and to reserve your place, e-mail Jose Evans at: jose@crawleychamber.co.uk

WELCOME TO NEW MEMBER BRIAN JOHNSTONE OF THE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT CENTRE A cost effective solution for growing businesses The Financial Management Centre is one of the UK’s leading national bookkeeping and management accountancy services for SMEs. The services offered by the team includes all aspects of an in-house finance department, such as bookkeeping, management accounts, payroll and credit control. By utilising technology and best management practice, we are competent in working with a number of desktop and online accounting packages such as Xero, Quickbooks, Sage and Kashflow to assist businesses with their finances. “Having been recommended to Brian, we explained what our business required. By working closely with our administration team and accountants, Brian put together a bespoke book-keeping service which assists the financial management of the business, giving a cost-effective alternative to employing our own accounts staff” commented Lynn Newman of Redwood Financial Advisors. Brian established the local team in 2012 and has built up a reliable reputation including excellent relationships with local accountancy firms. The team has over 30 years of experience working with a variety of businesses, from start-ups to companies with 50+ employees, within many industry sectors, all with differing needs including payroll, in-house bookkeeping and management reports. To find out more about The Financial Management Centre and to contact Brian please visit www.tfmcentre.co.uk/horsham. Upcoming Chamber events • Thursday Mar 5th 2015 - Bowling Evening - Holywood Bowl • Wednesday March 11th 2015 – Skills Workshop – 8.00am – Civic Hall Crawley • Friday Mar 27th 2015 – Sandman Signature Hotel – Presentations from both Henry Smith and Chris Oxlade – pre election

109


LADIES DAY “A

ll a woman needs to be chic is a raincoat, two suits, a pair of trousers and a cashmere sweater.” So said the great Hubert de Givenchy, who clearly had his muse, Audrey Hepburn, in mind. Audrey obviously didn’t face the same daily wardrobe dilemmas we mere mortals do, particularly when it comes to dressing for work. With more options than ever before, dressing

for work can strike panic into the heart of even the most organised woman. We’ve all been there – stressing on a Monday morning, despairing that we ‘have nothing to wear’ while the pile of discarded outfits grows ever larger on the bed…. In this article I will focus on how to start building a professional wardrobe that works for you, saving you precious time (and ultimately, precious pennies…)

TAKE A ‘STRATEGIC’ APPROACH Building a coherent-yet-versatile working wardrobe requires taking a ‘strategic’ approach. By this I mean gathering the key pieces that suit you and building on them to create your personal ‘uniform’. Words such as ’strategic’ and ‘uniform’ may sound scary, but trust me: taking this approach will pay off. It will alleviate weekday morning stress and prevent impulse buying. Firstly, understand your existing clothing and identify the pieces that you repeatedly turn to. Are these suits, trousers, skirts or dresses? Do they have a dominant colour and shape? Identifying these key pieces will give you a foundation to build on.

110

“With more options than ever before, dressing for work can strike panic into the heart of even the most organised woman”

What basics (shirts, jumpers, blouses) can you add to create full outfits? Once you’ve got some outfits pulled together, you can add accessories to inject colour, texture and character. As you do this, you will find yourself creating a ’uniform’ that works for you. Stella Gibson in ‘The Fall’, played by Gillian Anderson, is a great example of a uniform in action. Stella always wore beautiful silk blouses in pale colours with neutral skirts or trousers, heels and very little jewellery - a look that was instantly recognisable as ‘hers’. Remember to consider your body shape, your commute and your working environment in this process. And if you have to dress conservatively for the office, use accessories to add your own personality to your look.


{ PLATINUM STYLE }

Samantha Wilding Tel: 07833 084864 Email: Samantha@styleandgrace.eu Website: www.styleandgrace.eu Twitter: @alwayschicUK

THE KEY PIECES The following are essential items in any stylish woman’s working wardrobe. Embrace (or disregard) them, depending on your own circumstances, to create your own ‘uniform’: A SUIT: the definition of a ‘suit’ has changed dramatically, and can be worn classically or as separates to create multiple outfits. The suit doesn’t have to mean conservative and dull; this spring there are some colourful options emerging, with slim neat jackets and cigarette trousers; A WHITE SHIRT: the quintessential classic. If white is too severe for you, or you don’t like shirts, choose softer fluid blouses in cream or pale colours; DRESSES (SHIFT, SHEATH OR SHIRT): the ultimate easy option - one piece and you’re done! The shift can be layered with a shirt, blouse, or fine polo neck. Dresses can be worn with heels, boots or flats, making them endlessly versatile; A PENCIL SKIRT: another classic that emerges each season in different textures (leather was a big trend this winter). It can be part of a ‘suit’ if worn with a jacket or cardigan, and is best worn with heels; TROUSERS: choose carefully, as trousers date quickly. Stick to slim cuts and neutral tones. Avoid wide, cuffed or cropped trousers above the ankle as they make everyone (except Audrey Hepburn) look shorter and wider; A GOOD TAILORED JACKET: preferably in navy, black or grey (depending on your palette) that goes with the pieces listed above. This can be part of your suit, of course; FINE KNIT OR CASHMERE JUMPERS OR CARDIGANS: choose colours that complement your key pieces and shapes that suit you. Again, keep your knits fine so that they don’t add bulk when layered with your dresses or jacket;

A STRUCTURED LEATHER BAG: for hauling all your essentials while still looking tidy. Buy the best you can afford. A bright colour is a fantastic way to add interest to a conservative working look. Oh, and one more thing. For the tricky transition into spring, your best investment is a smart trench coat in a colour that complements your existing wardrobe (whether that’s classic beige or bright red) and that will see you through March and beyond. TIPS TO MINIMISE OUTFIT STRESS Here are my three top tips to help you avoid weekday morning outfit stress: •

PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE: lay out your entire outfit, including jewellery, tights and shoes the night before. This is particularly vital if you have an important meeting or interview; you do not want to start the day in a panic. THINK FIT, NOT SIZE: please ignore the number on the label! If it fits you, and you feel great in it, wear it. Avoid anything too tight or too baggy. BE OFFICE APPROPRIATE: check your hemlines, as a few inches above the knee is the shortest you should go. And don’t reveal too much skin - you want to be taken seriously.

Wardrobe success means looking smart, feeling confident and being true to your individual style. Know what you like, what to avoid and don’t be distracted by passing trends. As I said to the men in last month’s column, building a polished working wardrobe takes time and investment it won’t happen overnight. Take pleasure in the process and the results will be sensational.

“All a woman needs to be chic is a raincoat, two suits, a pair of trousers and a cashmere sweater” 111


{ SECRET SUSSEX }

SECRET SUSSEX THE WORLD OF DRONES “Think of belting around a track in a supercar with the Tero rocketing alongside, whilst filming calmly through the window!”

Drone technology, or unmanned flight, has been around in one form or another since 1849, when the Austrians attacked Venice with unmanned balloons packed with high explosives. Again, just after WW1, pilotless aircraft using gyroscopes were pressed into service against Zeppelins. The word drone derived from the first radiocontrolled Tiger Moth biplane, which was

nicknamed the Queen Bee, leading to the use of the word drone. Drones really got into their stride with the US military over Afghanistan in 2001 as they removed the fear of losing pilots over hostile territory, and the terrifying Predator was born. Drones are now used by the military the world over and have finally seeped down to full commercial use with border protection, drugs

searches, surveying and for just plain fun. One company stretching the technology as far as it will go is Surface 2 Air Media in Sussex, who specialise in aerial filming and photography and have a very impressive client list, as diverse as golf clubs, festival organisers, estate agents and the National Trust. They have some impressive kit, with the Freefly Tero Car that performs camera tracking shots at ground level utilizing a unique gimbal that allows for tracking shots at up to 40mph. Think of belting around a track in a supercar with the Tero rocketing alongside, whilst filming calmly through the window! Then there’s the James Bond-sounding Octocopter, a heavy lift drone that will carry 7kg, which is a good sized HD video camera, that produces incredible shots as it zooms over buildings from eye level to 400ft in a jiffy, and, with the gimbal attached, the footage is totally stable. With their CAA licence, they can fly over congested areas such as towns, cities or outdoor events.

www.surface2airmedia.co.uk info@surface2airmedia.co.uk Tel: 0343 455 1066 112


{ SECRET SUSSEX }

The film and television world have embraced this technology with great fervour; aerial shots from a helicopter have been prohibitively expensive and associated with a nightmare of paperwork and restrictions. The drone comprises two operators on the ground, one flight control and one cameraman, and it can go places and get shots that have been hitherto

impossible. Watch the trailer on their website, as the shots of the guy parasailing and the sweeping aerials of the castle are beautiful. Turn the volume up to max. The company’s primary tasks to date have been television programmes, festivals and events, aerial surveys, construction sites and commercial and residential property. This last is particularly relevant with high-value homes, for example: a video of the home and grounds from the air, with sweeping shots of the estate, outbuildings and pool that, within a continuous shot, can then zoom in through the patio doors and continue with the interior. It’s quite mesmerising and is becoming de rigueur for homes north of £2 million. When viewing properties from afar, a home with an aerial

video will surely sell ten times faster than one without. Just to round off the service, Surface 2 Air have post-production facilities and edit and colour grade all their own material, thus holding the costs down and keeping it all in-house. Drones will very soon become a way of life for us all. Whether we watch their output on TV, spot them overhead or use them to track fraudulent benefit claimants, they are here to stay, and, used responsibly, they can be a great boon to society.

Each month we will unearth a company in Sussex that you didn’t know existed; a company with a niche product or service, hiding their light under a bushel... 113


{ WISE WORDS }

Words

Issue 9 Wise

By Ryan Heal, CEO of Rockinghorse Children’s Charity www.rockinghorse.org.uk

“IF YOU ALWAYS DO WHAT YOU ALWAYS DID, YOU’LL ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU ALWAYS GOT!” I first started using this mantra when advising businesses to perhaps re-consider their £30,000 annual spend in directories such as Yellow Pages after stating their reason for doing so as….”Well, that’s just what we’ve always done for the past 20 years!” Just because your business has always adopted a certain approach, especially a marketing strategy, it is no reason at all to continue with the same approach year after year. This quote taught me to constantly change, review, tweak and question your business strategy and never be afraid to challenge it and change it. It will keep your business fresh, innovative and always looking forward. “CONTROL THE CONTROLLABLE” Too often, too many people believe they have every answer to every question all of the time. As we are well aware, this is just not the day-to-day reality of everyday life, and it’s unlikely that I’m going to find the cure for Ebola and wipe out ISIS by Easter! I think it’s very important that, both in our professional and personal worlds, we control what is controllable and not look to take on too many battles over which we have zero control. It helps focus the mind on what is achievable and not what is impossible. “TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE” This is a daily mantra that works for me! I’m sure

114

it annoys some of our staff when I’m constantly repeating it to them on a daily basis! In life, as in business, you can’t change the past. That one piece of business that was lost yesterday, forget

“Just because your business has always adopted a certain approach, especially a marketing strategy, it is no reason at all to continue with the same approach year after year” it, it’s all about the next deal and don’t waste valuable time reflecting on any misfortune of the past. Everyday sets new challenges and offers new opportunities. It’s not solely about reflecting

on bad news either; reflecting on past glories for too long and living off the past can cause complacency to set in and your eye can easily be taken off the ball. Some of the most successful sports teams of all time enjoy and celebrate their victories heavily, but quickly, and then they move on to the next challenge and don’t dwell on the past. In business terms, you’re only as good as your last month; never think, “we’ve cracked it.” That’s when complacency can sink in and the market tends to bite you back. “TIME YOU ENJOYED WASTING WAS NOT WASTED.” JOHN LENNON My previous quotes have been very businesscentric; this one from the great John Lennon reminds us that relaxing, unwinding and enjoying ourselves is allowed and provides a welcome break from the commercial world. Yes, of course, the timing of your downtime is crucial, and you’re never going to miss critical dates within your professional responsibilities. BUT, when you’re off on holiday or out for the day, you should be genuinely off! I never would class myself as a workaholic; I don’t think that’s particularly healthy, but I would say that I work very, very hard to enable myself to have a proper break when it comes around so that I’m not checking work emails when on holiday with my family. Especially with young children, that time is so special. I didn’t want to say, “work hard, play hard” but I guess I am!


SUPPORTING UK BUSINESS

PROSPER HELPING YOU

IN THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR Lloyds Bank is dedicated to supporting UK manufacturers. With specially trained relationship managers for the manufacturing sector, an extensive range of products, and a proven commitment to lending, we’re here to help. To find out how we are supporting manufacturing businesses here in the South East, contact Jez Hockley, Senior Manager on 07764 287473. www.lloydsbank.com/manufacturing

Any property given as security which may include your home, may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage or other debts secured on it. All lending is subject to a satisfactory credit assessment. Lloyds Bank plc. Licensed under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 under licence number 0004685. We subscribe to The Lending Code; copies of the Code can be obtained from www.lendingstandardsboard.org.uk M60259_336 (01/15)


Profile for Platinum Business

Platinum Business Magazine Issue 9  

The widest-read business publication in the South East. Covering International Trade, Legal Issues, Accountancy, Wealth Management, Business...

Platinum Business Magazine Issue 9  

The widest-read business publication in the South East. Covering International Trade, Legal Issues, Accountancy, Wealth Management, Business...

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded