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The independent business magazine for the South East

ISSUE 6 . 2014

BENTLEY PLATINUM CONTINENTAL Died and gone to heaven

IS THERE A CRISIS IN CAREERS ADVICE? Plus: NatWest Funding Guide Personal Finance Guide International Trade Legal Issues Accountancy Marketing Commercial Property Business Travel Editorial Opinion Expert Panel Networking Motoring

PLATINUM

THE BIG STORY

LORD SUGAR

Sugar and Spice Feature interviews: Nik Askaroff of EMC Corporate Finance John Burroughes of Uniglobe

Exclusive media sponsor for the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards


Discover the gems of local business!

The 2015 Business Awards will be launched on 2nd October 2014

WELCOME TO THE REGION’S PREMIER BUSINESS AWARDS The Gatwick Diamond Business Awards celebrate people who have shown innovation and inspiration in their work, and have demonstrated a real commitment to the sub-region. Now in their Seventh year, the awards have become one of the regions premier business occasions - celebrating the best of the best across the Gatwick Diamond region.

THE GATWICK DIAMOND BUSINESS AWARDS THURSDAY 19TH MARCH 2015 COPTHORNE EFFINGHAM PARK HOTEL

The Awards will culminate in a spectacular Awards Dinner, presented by Hugh Dennis on the 19th March 2015, at the Copthorne Effingham Park Hotel. Be sure to put the date in your diary today, and prepare to dance the night away at our fantastic After-Show Party.

www.gatwickdiamondbusinessawards.com or call us: 01293 813888

www.gatwickdiamondbusinessawards.com

For full details and to download an entry form, visit

@gdbizawards


WELCOME What a very busy time it has been for us this month as we expand with a greatly increased print run, 30% more distribution points, lots of companies wanting to join us and a packed issue to put to bed. Some of us are working, of course, and some are swanning around in a Bentley Continental! We are absolutely delighted that the magazine has been so well received and we will continue with nose to the proverbial grindstone to bring you relevant, current and pithy reports and interviews from across the south east. As you might see from the cover, we are now the business magazine for the south east and not only Sussex, as our expansion takes us into Surrey, Kent and Hampshire. Today the south east, tomorrow the….. well, let’s not get too carried away. Enjoy.

Ian & Maarten Ian Trevett - Director Maarten Hoffmann - Director

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ISSUE 6 . 2014

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FEATURE INTERVIEWS This month we interview some of the region’s leading business leaders to see what makes their companies tick.... See page 30.

MITIGATION OF RISK Due diligence, Business intelligence, Background checks, Company profiling, Employee research – lots of different names for one essential business tool: Risk Investigation.... See page 44.

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

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Ian Trevett – Director ian@platinumbusinessmagazine.com 07989 970804

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

MOTORING

With a new sponsor for our motoring section, we talk to A1 Car Search, attempt suicide at Brands Hatch and discover the fascinating history of Mercedes-Benz. Oh, and there’s a Bentley Continental in there somewhere too... See page 76.

AT A GLANCE 6 15 16 25 30 34

News

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Airport Expansion

Institute of Directors Alan Sugar Finance Business Interviews

Gatwick Diamond Business Awards

39 Cost Management 63 Politics 64 Education 73 Round Table 76 Motoring 86 Networking 94 Chamber of Commerce 96 Women in Business Awards 98 Dining Review 102 Wise words

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 SUGAR AND SPICE

Baron Sugar of Clapton speaks his mind about Branson’s presenting skills, what he thinks about University and how he made £840 million. There is also a question about that £150m in cash.... See page 16.

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{ NEWS }

LOCAL NEWS BUSINESS CLUB CELEBRATES The Blanch House Business Supper Club, held at the boutique Hotel in Brighton, has celebrated its first anniversary. At their recent meeting, Nik Askaroff, CEO of EMC Corporate Finance spoke about his new book, The Mobile Boardroom, that was co-authored by Julian Clay. Nik spoke about his journey from working in the family textile company and offered fascinating insights on how to grow a sustainable business, and in this issue of PBM, we have an in-depth interview with Nik. The monthly Supper Club Events are for members of the Blanch House Business Club to enjoy an evening of fine dining and interesting talks from a high profile speaker from the Sussex business community on topical business subjects. The suppers are held at Blanch House Hotel, in their Belle Époque room, which is also used as a conference venue and meeting room. There is more information on the hotel’s Business Club and meeting facilities at www. blanchhouse.co.uk.

A NEW LEUMI CUSTOMER Leumi Invoice Finance (South East) has provided a £2m factoring facility to fast growing merchandising company, Keep Me Promotions. Now in its eleventh year of trading, Keep Me Promotions had been supported by one of the main clearing banks. The business enjoyed significant growth, now at ten times the level seen in 2011. There is a growing trend to use Keep Me as the agent for large, high value orders that need to be sourced and imported from the Far East. During the period of rapid growth Keep Me has supplied high value, large quantity orders via its sister company Keep Me Promotions (China) Limited, to clients who require much higher insured limits than those offered by the client’s previous funder. This was the trigger for the business to seek a more suitable finance partner who could better

support the funding needs of a larger company. Kevin Anderson, Director at Keep Me Promotions, commented: “The key reason for the switch was that Leumi were able to source superior credit insurance limits by working directly with the external insurers, and we were able to offer these higher limits to our clients. Furthermore, Leumi’s service fee and discounting charges were more competitive. In summary - a win / win move.” Rob Wakeford, South East Sales Manager at Leumi Invoice Finance added: “Leumi was able to offer a

facility tailored to the rapid growth needs of Keep Me Promotions and we look forward to supporting this successful business.”

“You must either modify your dreams or magnify your skills” 6


{ NEWS }

“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy” SUSSEX COMPANIES RACE FOR CHARITY The sun shone at Brighton Marina as teams gathered for Rockinghorse Children’s Charity’s Dragon Boat Race 2014 recently. 15 teams took part in the event to raise much-needed funds for the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital of which Rockinghorse is the official fundraising arm. Local businesses taking part included Brighton & Hove City Cabs, Priory Group, Dyn and Mishon Mackay. Scores of supporters headed along to Marina Square to cheer on competitors and soak up the late September sunshine. Following a three-way battle between The Unsinkables, Priory Pirates and Brighton RNLI, the RNLI Brighton Lifeboat team proved to be on winning form and were crowned 2014 Dragon Boat champions. The event raised £25,000 for Rockinghorse Children’s Charity, including match-funding from Lloyds and Santander, which will be

used towards providing counselling sessions throughout 2015 for parents who have children on the High Dependency Unit (HDU) at the Alex. Speaking after the event, Ryan Heal, CEO of Rockinghorse Children’s Charity, said: “We are so pleased with the fantastic support shown at our 2014 Dragon Boat Race at Brighton Marina. 15 teams took part on the day and helped us raise an amazing amount of money which really will make a difference to the lives of sick children and their families in Sussex. The Dragon Boat Race will return to Brighton Marina on Sunday 27 September 2015. www.rockinghorse.org.uk and all Sussex companies should consider entering to raise money for a worthy cause and to give staff a great, motivating day out.

UNIVERSITY JOY The University of Sussex has risen 10 places in an annual ranking of world universities and is recognised as one of the best educational institutions in the world for the fifth year running. Sussex is 14th in the UK, 43rd in Europe and 111th in the world, according to the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2014-15, published on October 1st. Sussex is also ranked among the world’s top 100 universities for studying physical sciences (89th) and social sciences (79th). The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Farthing, said: “It is good to see Sussex recognised once again as one of the very top institutions in the UK and the world. “We’ve shown remarkable adaptability in an increasingly competitive global environment. We’ve grown, innovated, and invested in our future. These rankings show that it’s vital we continue on this path.” The rankings are the most widely recognised and widely used among international students, research has found.

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LOCAL NEWS COAST TO CAPITAL GRANT A new skate park will open in Bognor Regis next month following an award of more than £36,000 in the latest round of grants from the new Coast to Capital Business Growth scheme. Five new jobs will be created as result of the skate park opening in the former Oldlands Way warehouse and the facility will, from Saturday 4 October, be a focal point for BMX riding, skateboarding and scooting as the only indoor skate park along the coast between Poole and Eastbourne. The indoor facility has cost almost £150,000 to design and build with £36,767 being provided from the Coast to Capital programme to The Base Skate Park Community Interest Company, which was given the green light by Arun District Council in July to turn empty commercial premises on the South Cross Industrial Estate into the indoor facility. The Business Growth Grants programme is managed by the Coast to Capital LEP, City Council and commercial partners and helps local small and medium-sized enterprises expand their businesses by supporting projects such as skills improvement, research and development, and investing in equipment or premises. In total, some 120 new jobs are set to be created in the latest round of grants awarded from the new Coast to Capital Business Growth Grant scheme with eight other companies also receiving a slice of almost £500,000. Ron Crank, chief executive of Coast to Capital, the local enterprise partnership for Brighton and Hove, Lewes, London Borough of Croydon, the Gatwick Diamond and West Sussex, said the latest round of grants showed how significant a role SME’s had to play in local economic regeneration.

“As a local enterprise partnership concerned with supporting and encouraging local businesses, we are pleased to be able to help companies and groups make a real difference,” he said. “These businesses are the drivers of our regional economy so we are more than happy to support them and I encourage others in a similar situation to get in touch with Coast to Capital to see if we can help to achieve their full potential.” To discover more about applying for a Business Growth Grant and the eligibility criteria, contact Hayley Shepherd on 01403 333840 or email rgf@coast2Capital.org.uk or visit www.coast2capital.org.uk/ helping-business-growth/regional-growth-fund

WINNERS OF THE JOHNSTON PRESS SOUTH BUSINESS AWARDS The Johnston Press South business awards brought together the winners of awards from newspapers across Sussex and Portsmouth, to find an overall winner in each category. Eastbourne jewellery firm W Bruford romped home with the Independent Retailer of the Year award, as it celebrates 125 years in business. Debbie Pugh collected the award and revealed the firm would be opening a Pandora concept store in Eastbourne to join its two stores in the town. The business personality award went to Worthing Chamber of Commerce chairman Tina Tilley, who has transformed the chamber since she took the helm in 2006. “I’m shocked,” she said. “It is amazing. I do it because I love it, I love the people I work with.” In East Sussex, Newhaven business Basepoint Business Centres Sussex took the green business gong, for its eco credentials.

“Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid altogether” 8


{ NEWS }

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it”

DIAMOND DEMOLITION A NEW runway at Gatwick Airport will mean demolishing nearly 300 commercial properties. The head of real estate at the airport admitted company bosses’ reactions were mixed to the news that their premises would have to make way for a new runway. Emma Rees was speaking at a meeting of the Sussex Property Alliance, where delegates indicated their unanimous support of expansion in Sussex. The meeting at the American Express Community Stadium heard how a new runway would create an economic benefit worth £90 billion. It will also create 22,000 direct jobs and 100,000 indirect jobs. Ms Rees said: “Expansion will require 9,300 new homes between 2025 and 2050 which “can be managed”, and there was “no real evidence” to claims by environmental groups that 40,000 new homes would be needed” Speaking about the loss of commercial space of Lowfield Heath, City

Place and the northern edge of Manor Royal industrial estate, Ms Rees said: “The reaction has been mixed. We’ve been talking to a number of companies including some family businesses that have been there for years and national companies that have more flexibility. It’s a mixed bag. Companies affected would include Nestle, Lloyds, Air Partner Travel Consultants and APV. The majority of businesses in the Gatwick area support expansion. Meanwhile 163 residential properties would have to make way if the government backs Gatwick. Speaking about the response Ms Rees said: “Some say they have begun to see an impact and they’re already becoming un-lettable. Others see it as an opportunity.” She also admitted the railway station at the airport was “a bit third world” and the airport hoped for a better design. Expansion would mean the creation of new office blocks, hotels and carparks.

Bang & Olufsen of Brighton wins the UK Dealer of the Year Award Bang & Olufsen of Brighton & Hove has been confirmed as the 2013/2014 winner of the prestigious ‘Dealer of the Year’ award for the UK & Ireland. Bang & Olufsen takes this opportunity each year to recognise performance excellence and reward outstanding commitment, so it is a great achievement for this local showroom. Announced at the annual partner meeting in Birmingham, this award was collected by the Dealer Principal Michael Sparkes (pictured) and brought back to Brighton & Hove to his team. The Flagship showroom at 56 Church Road in Hove displays the latest in home entertainment and home automation systems. Michael Sparkes, Dealer Principal of Bang & Olufsen of Brighton & Hove: “We are thrilled to have won this esteemed award, especially in the face of tough competition across the UK. I am delighted that we have been recognised for all of the dedication and hard work we have put into the business to make sure all of our customers get the very best advice and customer service. In order to win this award, we must maintain a high standard at all times and it is a credit to the team that we triumphed in 2013.” Andrew Macer, Head of Sales for UK & Ireland - Bang & Olufsen UK said, “We are incredibly proud of Brighton & Hove for winning this award that recognises excellence and integrity to the brand ideals, Michael Sparkes and his team are a credit to Bang & Olufsen, and have been instrumental in pushing the company forward in the UK. We like to thank them personally with this award and look forward to seeing who will scoop the award next year.”

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NATIONAL NEWS CHANCELLOR’S WARNING The UK economy has been growing strongly this year, with GDP rising by 0.9% between April and June, following a 0.7% rise in the previous quarter. We are now growing faster than any other country in the world. Chancellor George Osborne has warned that the UK economy will be affected by the slowdown in the eurozone economy. Talking to the BBC, he said this was a “critical moment for the British economy”, which was not “immune” from what was happening on the continent. The eurozone economy was stagnant between April and June, with the German economy - Europe’s biggest - shrinking by 0.2%. Mr Osborne said there were steps the UK could take to protect itself.

“The eurozone risks slipping back into crisis and Britain cannot be immune from that - it’s already having an impact on our manufacturing and exports,” he said. Official figures published earlier this week showed that growth in the UK manufacturing sector slowed to 0.1% in August. “We are not immune from what’s going on in the rest of the world, but we can take steps to protect ourselves,” the Chancellor said. “We must stick with our long-term economic plan, so delivering economic stability. We are cutting business taxes, making the UK a place to invest, and that will protect jobs right here.”

HMRC ARE AT IT AGAIN

‘IF LABOUR’S ELECTED, I’LL SELL UK BANKS’

Thousands of people will receive a second tax statement from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) after their first estimate was miscalculated. More than five million taxpayers received an initial estimate because they paid the wrong amount of tax in the year to April. But HMRC said errors had emerged in the process, mainly because it had received incomplete information from employers. Fewer than 100,000 people were affected, HMRC said. An accountancy body has accused the tax authority of double standards over accuracy and we should not forget that this is the same HMRC that are demanding powers to smash and grab your bank account if they think you have not paid enough. If they make a mistake, you will have to sue them for the return of the money and these powers will require no court oversight. I don’t know why they just don’t take all our money and just give us back what they think we should have.

Steven Davies, co-manager of the £1.1bn Jupiter UK Growth fund, has a third of his portfolio invested in financial services firms. But a Labour government would pose such a threat to their performance, he says he’d sell them if the party are elected in May. After the 2008 financial crisis most investors wouldn’t have touched British banks with a barge pole. But this is exactly why Steve Davies, co-manager of the Jupiter UK Growth fund is a fan of this “unloved” sector. Mr Davies is so keen on UK financial stocks that he has a third of his £1.1bn portfolio invested in them. However, he said that if Labour won the general election next May he’d sell his shares in the banks. “Labour coming to power is one of the biggest threats facing the fund. “If it got to Easter time next year and it looked like a real possibility, we would have to take action. “We’d raise cash levels in the fund and we’d strip back our allocation to other domestic companies such as Dixons, Carphone and ITV, as well as the big banks.” Mr Davies said he’d also start investing more in companies that would benefit from a weak pound, such as Compass, the catering company, British American Tobacco and Experian, the credit rating firm.

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake” 10


{ NEWS }

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” DEATH OF THE HIGH STREET National retail chains are quitting the high street at twice the rate of last year as pawnbrokers, building societies and women’s fashion stores close their doors. High street store closures were running at 16 a day in the first six months of this year. That was slightly down on the 18-a-day recorded in the first 6 months of 2013, but at the same time the rate of store openings plunged 15%, meaning the number of stores being left empty has nearly doubled. The new data is part of an analysis of the UK’s top 500 towns by the research firm Local Data Company (LDC) and accountants PwC. Just over 400 shops were left empty over the period, more than in the whole of last year. Only London and the east of England saw the number of empty shops fall with the East Midlands, the North West and West Midlands the hardest hit.

IS FRANCE CLOSED FOR BUSINESS? Bankers in France are increasingly looking to move to jobs in London, lifting the overall number of candidates for financial roles in the capital, according to new figures. White-collar recruitment firm Morgan McKinley said it had 8,837 people of all nationalities actively looking for new jobs on its books last month, a 25pc rise on September last year and up 19pc from the previous month. While burgeoning optimism about hiring throughout the City has played a part in this spike, the company also saw “an increase in the number of EU professionals wishing to relocate to the UK, particularly those from France”. “The general theme, certainly in the last couple of months, has been more European CVs coming through. In banking, all the way through the front, middle and back office, we’ve seen them,” said Hakan Enver, Operations Director at Morgan McKinley. “Particularly in France, we’ve got people saying taxes are too high and regulatory burdens on institutions are major factors. They are not looking for an easier life, but a more structured life in a London institution.”

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NATIONAL NEWS THE BIG APPLE The brand and logo of Apple has been named the most valuable in the world – worth nearly $119bn (£80bn), or more than the entire gross domestic product of Morocco, Ecuador or Oman. The Silicon Valley firm, already the world’s biggest company – with a stock market valuation of $591bn – saw its brand value increase by a 21% over the past 12 months, according to the closely followed Interbrand Best Global Brands’ annual report. Apple, which is recognised the world over by its simple “Apple with a bite missing” emblem, led a surge of technology companies in this year’s report, which has pushed more traditionally valuable brands – such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Gillette – down the table. Google’s brand value rose by 15% to $107bn to take second place, followed by Coca-Cola, up 3% to $81.5bn, IBM ($72.2bn) and Microsoft ($45.5bn). Facebook is the biggest riser in the chart, increasing its brand value by 86% to $14.3bn and taking 29th place in the table ahead of longstanding global corporate names such as Volkswagen, Kellogg’s and Ford.

TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGING In a graphic illustration of the new world order, Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading. In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar. Iran has also just announced that its foreign currency reserves will henceforth be held in euros rather than dollars. This comes on top of the news that China has now surpassed the US as the largest economy on the planet – a title the US have held since overtaking the British Empire 152 years ago. We are facing a new world order.

“The successful man is the one who finds out what is the matter with his business before his competitors do. ” 12


{ NEWS }

“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him”

MADE IN BRITAIN Boasting that products are “Made in Britain” could add more than £2bn to the UK economy, recent research from Barclays showed - but it’s not just the flag that’s valuable. It’s the flavours. Appetite for British branding is particularly strong in emerging markets, where buyers are significantly more willing to pay a premium for British products than people in developed nations. This trend matches ONS data showing that UK exports to non-EU countries are growing at a much faster rate than exports to EU countries. In July 2014, exports grew by £500m to non-EU markets, five times more than the increase to EU countries.

‘BITCOIN WILL BECOME THE NEW GOLD’ Virtual currency Bitcoin is approaching a tipping point, the Institute of Directors heard today at its annual convention Speaking at the Institute of Directors’ annual convention in the Royal Albert Hall, Jon Matonis, Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation claimed that “When it clicks, we’re going to reach an inflection point and Bitcoin will become the new gold.” The Bitcoin Foundation is a lobbying group founded in 2012 that is aiming to “standardise, protect and promote” the use of bitcoin, but Mr Matonis claimed that countries such as Argentina were already adopting virtual currencies widely as trust in government declined and inflation rates increased. “Half of the world’s population is unbanked,” said Mr Matonis. “They can’t even sign up for an online university course because they don’t have a credit card. When they try to better themselves they run into these payment barriers.” While Bitcoin has issued $6bn worth of currency since it launched five years ago, it has both struggled to attract mainstream adoption and also increasingly come to the attention of regulators. Mr Matonis said central banks could regulate people converting Bitcoin to other currencies, but could not currently regulate transactions conducted entirely in Bitcoin. He said users retained the choice to maintain privacy. “Money doesn’t do bad things, people do bad things,” he said, in

answer to a question about whether he felt guilt over what could be bought online with the currency. He described Bitcoin as “a non-political monetary unit that transcends borders.”

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{ BUSINESS SCENE }

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2. 1. Bola Lafe (Opus Innovations), Matt Saunders (Storm Creative), David Rawlance (Lloyds Bank), Ben Harvey (Storm Creative), Tim Sadka (Rawlinson Butler). 2. Lee-Ann Connor (GDB Awards), Russell Fernandes (NatWest). 3. GDB Awards Launch. 4. Aaron Butson and Donna Harfield (Chichester College).

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The Gatwick Diamond Business Awards The Gatwick Diamond Business Awards were launched at the Effingham Park Hotel in what is the starting pistol for the most prestigious business awards in the South East. CEO Jeremy Taylor got the proceedings off to a humorous start and outlined the dates to note for all companies that would like to be recognised by their peers for all the hard work throughout the year. Headline sponsors include RBS/NatWest, NestlĂŠ and Gatwick Airport with generous support from an array of high profile businesses in the region. It is important to get your entries in as early as possible before the closing date of November 20th 2014, so as to give the judges as much time as possible. Finalists will be announced on February 12th 2015 and the glittering award ceremony, hosted by comedian Hugh Dennis, will take place on March 19th 2015. PBM will be running a feature on the finalists in the February issue, so not only do those companies have the chance to win an award, they will receive invaluable publicity across Sussex and the South East.

5. GDB Awards Launch. 6. Geoff Goodman (Lloyds Bank), Ruby Dinsmore (Loch Associates). 7. Paul McConalogue (NatWest), Jeremy Taylor (gdb), Colin Crisp (RBS). 8. Paul Roe and Shirly Smith (Reeves), Maarten Hoffmann (PBM).

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6. www.gatwickdiamondbusinessawards.com • Information & Bookings 01293 813888

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{ INSTITUTE OF DIRECTORS }

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

A

t the start of October I was fortunate to be able to attend this year’s Institute of Directors Annual Convention. The theme was “game changers”, and the line-up of speakers was very impressive. Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, Travis Kalanick of Uber, Andy Bird of Disney International, Jon Matonis of Bitcoin and Will Hayward of Buzzfeed amongst others, spoke impressively about how their ideas and/or their businesses had evolved and had revolutionised their business space. Unfortunately we were deprived of the billed address from Alex Salmond, who had withdrawn late in the day, but “substitute” Peter Kellner of YouGov gave a fascinating assessment of the political climate ahead of next year’s General Election – the bad news apparently being that uncertainty (that scenario that no business wants to see) may well be the order of the day next May. As well as looking at how their own businesses have moved on with game changing ideas for their own benefit, many of the speakers looked at how their businesses could impact on the wider economies around them to the benefit of the community as a whole.

Wikipedia’s stated aim of making the sum of human knowledge available to everyone on Earth free of charge is probably an aim that is hard for most of us to match. Likewise, Mo Ibrahim’s Foundation financially rewarding good governance in order to improve the lot of the whole African continent is pretty hard for most of us to live up to. However, one speaker – Susan Sobbott from American Express Global Payments – did give an indication of what each business (and indeed individual) can do to support local business communities, and that is to support the emerging (in the UK) concept of Small Business Saturday. This has been going for a few years in the US and in the UK had its first attempt last year. This year it is on Saturday, 6th December. To quote from their web-site www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com: “Small Business Saturday UK is a grassroots, non-political, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities. The day itself takes place on the first shopping

Saturday in December each year, but the campaign aims to have a lasting impact on small businesses.” In Sussex we have any number of examples of terrific local businesses that we each know and often treasure. But if we want them to survive and thrive then we do need to remember to support them actively rather than admire them from afar and later lament their demise. May I suggest that we get behind this concept and use it as a catalyst to demonstrate our support for the great small businesses that surround us (and we do not have to do it just on that Saturday!).

Just a thought What is the purpose of your business? If your answer starts and ends with “profit” is that ultimately sustainable and/or satisfying for you or for your business?

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“I believe university is a waste of time�


{ THE BIG STORY }

SUGAR AND SPICE Baron Sugar of Clapton By Maarten Hoffmann

N

o one ever imagined that Alan Sugar made his millions by being a sweet poppet, but is he now in danger of becoming a caricature of himself with the gruff no-nonsense approach to just about everything? Sir Sugar’s style is purpose-built for the Apprentice, the BBC television programme that sees a crowd of dim-witted morons attempt a range of daft stunts to prove they are worthy of his benevolent employment. In general, these people aren’t up to asking if you would like fries with your burger, let alone a high flying job with a Knight of the Realm. Baron Sugar of Clapton in the London Borough of Hackney was knighted for his services to business in 2009, which is quite a fairy story ending for the boy who grew up in Hackney and who having left school at 16, started selling car aerials and electronic goods out of an old van he had picked up for £50. You would be forgiven for making the inevitable comparison to Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses and the catch phrase that one day he would be a millionaire. When you also consider Lord Sugar’s status as a property mogul, television star and Knight of the Realm, you can see how greatly his story differs from Derek’s illustrious dream. Having started the eponymous Amstrad in 1968-there can be few of us of a certain age who didn’t own an Amstrad computer at some stage and with a portfolio that includes Amscreen, Amsprop and Viglen, Sugar’s worth is estimated

at £840 million. Not bad for a boy with no education from the East End! He divides his time between his three main homes in Essex, Spain and Boca Raton in Florida. Although his sprawling Florida mansion has a large yacht mooring, there is no vessel to be found as his latest craze is flying. When asked why he took to flying, his standard response is “to get away from people like you”. Charm is not high on his list of attributes. His Lordship smokes throughout his interviews, but won’t let photographers shoot him with a cigar because it would set a bad example. He is very serious about being a role model, which is why he agreed to do The Apprentice, and offered to do it for free. The BBC said contracts wouldn’t allow him to do it for free, so he told them to pay the cheque straight to Great Ormond Street Hospital. Filming takes about 10 weeks but he had the BBC build him a little office on the film set so he could carry on ‘doing what I normally do, which is sitting at my computer dictating to the world’. Does he like seeing himself on television? ‘I don’t mind it. Yeah. I mean I’ve been on television a lot. That’s one of the reasons the BBC chose me, because it’s all very well finding a businessman, but someone like Richard [Branson], who I know and admire very much, is just useless in front of the camera. He can’t talk. That doesn’t mean he’s not a great businessman, but they needed someone who can talk. I’ve had years

of doing TV interviews, both for Amstrad and in football, so I’m used to cameras.’ So is this brutally short-tempered chap really an old softie? ‘That’s down to the editing really, isn’t it? Everybody knows that the boardroom sessions last for far longer than the 15 minutes shown on TV. So, what I would call the soft or sensitive side of me ends up on the cutting-room floor. It doesn’t put bums on seats. That’s my style you see on TV. I’m not an actor, that’s the way I do business. And the point I would make is that if you look into my companies you will find people who have worked for me for years - there is one bloke who has worked for me for 44 years’. Chatting about The Apprentice seems to cheer him up a bit; he is really proud of the programme. Viewing figures have been around the three million mark on Wednesdays and just under a million for the repeat on Saturdays. The current Sunday Times Rich List values him at £840 million, which is a long way down from his £l.2 billion peak in the ‘eighties when seemingly every home had an Amstrad computer. Today, most of his money is in property: offices, shops, warehouses and a residential development in Spain. According to the Sunday Times, he also has £150 million in cash. His reply when asked what this meant: ‘Well... cash. You know what cash is, don’t you?’ Yes, but I can’t picture £150 million. Does he keep it under the mattress? But jokes are wasted on Lord Sugar, and he just stares.

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{ CELEBRITY INTERVIEW }

“I don’t make enemies; it’s just I’m not afraid to speak my mind, which can sometimes mean people don’t like what I am saying. Tough”

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‘Well obviously it’s in the bank. Most companies have cash balances.’ But couldn’t he do something with it? At least give it to his children or to charity? ‘I give a lot to charity, but this is business. You’re not looking for a loan, are you?’ ‘More of a gift,’ I joked, but again had the feeling of diving head first into an empty swimming pool. He said in a recent interview that his father, who worked in a Hackney garment factory, would always go around turning lights off, worrying about saving pennies. Is he like that? Would he drive 10 minutes out of his way to buy cheaper petrol? ‘No, no, no, no. Definitely not. And nor would I work out which is the cheapest mobile phone operator and all that nonsense. Those kind of people wind me up terribly. If they applied their ingenuity to their businesses, they would be making far more money than what they think they’re saving. I couldn’t give a monkey’s. If I had to go to a foreign exchange kiosk, I’d just walk up and say I want £200 in dollars - I wouldn’t even look at the rate of exchange. But I’ve seen lots of other people from my sort of background who have become successful, but there’s still a stinginess about them, a stinginess that was needed when they were at their grass roots, but they can’t get it out of their system. I got it out of my system as soon as I could afford things.’ And he could afford things at a very early age; he was earning more money than his father while he was still at school, boiling beetroots for the local greengrocer and selling bits of this, bits of that. By the time he married at 21, he could afford a car and a house. But it meant there was a big culture gap between him and his parents and his three much older siblings (he was a late child, born when his mother was 41). ‘When I was 18, my parents were nearly 60 and they didn’t know what was going on in the real world. So there was no conversation really about the new Ford Cortina or something called VAT that had just been introduced, because my father wasn’t in business, so there was not much to talk about really.’ He says there is no such gap with his two sons and daughter because they are much closer in age, born when he was in his twenties, and also they work in his business. He says very proudly ‘they are really down-to-earth, nice people, don’t sling their weight around; they’ve never been the Ferrari-driving, cocaine-sniffing, party-going types. They’ve got the right values’. He said he always taught them that it was more important to be nice than to be clever. This is somewhat ironic given his perceived persona as Mr Nasty, which he puts down to his


{ THE BIG STORY }

“That’s one of the reasons the BBC chose me because it’s all very well finding a businessman but someone like Branson is just useless in front of the camera. He can’t talk” days as Chairman of Tottenham Hotspurs, and to football journalists, who ‘‘are just about able to do joined-up writing.” That was a nasty era in my life and it’s taken me time to come out of it again. I met some very horrible people in that industry and it made me very guarded and suspicious.’ He was the first person to expose the bung culture and believes it’s still going on, though in a different way: ‘It’s a bit more professional now. In the old days, it was cash in big envelopes; these days, they have Swiss bank accounts and do it all via others.’ I wonder what influence he thinks programmes such as Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice have had on our entrepreneurial culture? ‘Dragons’ Den is very inspiring and I think the BBC does a great job in promoting an entrepreneurial spirit in both programmes. And making it entertaining at the same time’. None of us is immune to business nightmares, and it is interesting to pursue this topic with a man who seems to have had his fair share and has come out the other side with just south of a billion, ‘I’ve made loads of mistakes, trust me it’s just that they have not been that publicised. I’ve made products that bombed. My big mistake was not recognising that the early successes were not representative of the way markets normally go.

‘When you make a word processor (Amstrad introduced their first mass-market home computer in 1984) and bring it into the market place, and you look at the statistics and the market says only 20,000 a year of these things are selling, and suddenly you start selling 25,000 a month, and you sell 300,000 pieces in a year, you go on to believe that every single product you sell is going to do the same. ‘When I brought out my equivalent of the iPad [the Amstrad PenPad, launched in 1993], we manufactured 200,000 of them straight away but the market was about 1,000. So that was it, get rid of it. Are we going to develop the next model? No. Ditch it. Out. That was a mistake. And look what happened: Apple, BlackBerry…’ What about the infamous Amstrad E-m@iler (a digital home telephone with email access)? ‘I think the mistake was that it was slightly too late - we’re going back maybe ten years or more. The explosion of the broadband market meant the demise of that product. We sold 450,000 but we subsidised them because I wanted to get into a business where I was no longer on the treadmill of expecting to make a profit on hardware. There was a cost each time a person sent an email and that was where our revenues were coming from. But they are still out there - I think there are 150,000 people still using them and someone told me Amstrad has finally

broken even and we have actually recovered all the costs’. I wondered if the 2008 recession had hit him; a glance at his portfolio might suggest a total wipe out. ‘We got into that mess because of greed started by our American cousins. It was total, absolute madness. Greed and madness. I’m annoyed that our stiff-collar, traditional banks, which we saw as the Rock of Gibraltar, forgot their basic principles. There’s a lesson to learn - don’t detract from your basic principles. They went out and played - and they shouldn’t have bloody played’. ‘I went through some bad times back in 1989/90, when we had too much inventory, too much stock and we owed the banks too much. That was something like the recent financial crisis. I was able to be mercenary and say, “That’s it. Cuts.” ‘Regretfully, we had to close down places, shut down things abroad, reduce inventory and reduce overheads and I turned the whole thing round. I’m realistic - cut, do it, get out of it’. ‘It is a bit difficult to apply that same thing as far as the country is concerned. It’s blatantly obvious that they employ God knows how many million civil servants, and if you spent the time that I spent in Whitehall, you do have to ask yourself sometimes what half of them are doing’.

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{ THE BIG STORY }

‘When I compare it to my commercial organisation, we have people who multi-task, and if you applied that multi-tasking philosophy within the civil service, you would cut the labour force by half, but then…’ By half? ‘Oh yes. Easy. The problem with that is that it’s out of the frying pan into the fire. Making that cut and hypothetically disposing of those people would mean large redundancy payments – and on top of that, many of them would go onto benefits. So I don’t know. It’s difficult. I know what I would do in government’. ‘What I would say is, “Look. We’ve got to cut some costs.” I would start first of all by accepting that the government is the biggest customer in this country. It spends God knows how many billions every year on everything from staples to nuclear missiles. They are the big punter. When you look at those in charge of procurement, with the greatest respect to them, they are not very streetwise’. ‘I would have the balls to take [ex-Tesco CEO] Terry Leahy or [former M&S boss] Stuart

Rose and say, “I’ll pay you £3 million a year of taxpayers’ money and you bring in another team beneath you of another 100 people and pay them £150,000 a year.” Nice headline for the Daily Mail: poor people on the dole up in Newcastle and Terry Leahy getting £3 million’. ‘But here’s the point, that little team could save £1 billion a year. Now, that is common business sense. Buying from the same people we are buying them from now, just doing better deals. If you look at Philip Green’s Efficiency Review, he uncovered things like one department paying £73 for a box of paper that you can go into a shop and pay £8 for’. Lord Sugar recently became a non-executive shareholder of YouView - a set-top box that will essentially integrate the television and the internet. Flash in the pan or the next big thing? ‘ You get everything you’ve got on Freeview, plus you connect it to the internet and streaming channels can come in. But the biggest thing is that you’ve got a seven-day go-back, so you can be sitting there with your remote control,

watching TV, then you go into iPlayer, go down the menu, find The Apprentice that you missed two days ago and play; very simple’. I seem to remember that this was going to be in the shops in 2010? ‘That’s not my problem. It’s another challenge and it’s another great product that is going to go down in the history of electronics. And the reason I’m excited about it is that I’ve spent more than 40 years in this business. If I don’t know what motivates and turns consumers on ,then I should give up and go away’. I can’t help wondering how much of his money came from those old core businesses and how much from property speculation. ‘Not speculation. What I do is I don’t trust anybody else with my money. I don’t give my money to some fund manager p***k who, if he knew what he was doing, would have his own private jet and his own yacht in the south of France, right? ‘And I learnt a very good lesson early in life. When I first floated my company back in 1981 and I had £2 million in my hand, I gave some feller from Nomura bank £200,000 because he’s the genius and he was going to play with it. He blew the lot. Great lesson. ‘So, from that day on, I said, “My business is about gambling. Gambling on products, ideas, innovation. Make a load of money doing that, but once I have made that money I need to stick it into something boring, like buying up half of Bond Street because that is never going to go wrong.” And you reckon most of your money has come out of real business? Because your profits on Amstrad were a few million a year, weren’t they? ‘About £160 million a year, I think. Back in 1986, that company was worth £1.2 billion. That’s when I sold a load of shares, and then we went on to make petty amounts like £20 million, £25 million in the last ten years, which I know is just small fry for many business owners. Then of course I sold the company, which I owned, to BSkyB for another £135 million, and I also sold Dancall Telecom that I bought for £6 million for another £90 million’. ‘Trouble in this country is we don’t manufacture anything anymore! ‘I’ve been saying that in the House of Lords, but it’s fallen on deaf ears. Why can’t we have a “Buy British” culture here? Even Gordon Brown never agreed with me on that - he had this globalisation thing in his head. But what annoys me tremendously are things like these contracts that are dished out for, say, wind farms. Britain gets about 11 per cent of the business for making that stuff. The rest is some Danish or German or Japanese firm - it’s a joke.


{ THE BIG STORY }

‘And it’s nothing to do with being cheaper. And even if it was cheaper, it’s nothing to do with cheaper. The fact of the matter is, apart from the turbine itself, the rest is metal-bashing. We’ve got metal works and shipyards up in the North East of England which are being mothballed. ‘By all means, if Siemens or someone is much more ahead on technology, what you say to them is, “Yes, you’ve got the £500 million deal to do that, but here’s the bad news: all the material you are going to need to do that is going to be made in England and you have to set up a factory and build a dock here.” Not ship the bloody thing over from Germany. Do it here. We’ve got workers up in the North East who could make all that metalwork with their eyes closed. You walk around every single office in Whitehall and the place is littered with Siemens Nixdorf computers, right? Now, I’ve got a small computer company in this country. We pitched for that business. We employ 250 people. ‘I tell the minister, “Give me an order for half a million computers and I’ve got to employ 1,000 people.” Why can’t they, say, give a British computer company a bit of business? We’re not the only one; there are a few of us around. We need a bit of nationalism. The French have got it built in them. It’s in their stomach. You walk around France and they all drive Citroens, Renaults and Peugeots.’ I have a little trouble with the vision of this Labour-supporting, self-made man who enjoys nothing more than pricking pomposity, sitting in the stuffy Lords Chamber, but he’s having none

of it. ‘I think it’s a great honour to be a member of the House of Lords. There are some very knowledgeable people in there, be under no illusion. I think of myself as the people’s peer, because it needs a rough diamond like me in there to ruffle a few feathers. When you sit and listen to some of the debates, the content of the speeches is very high-level overview material. I tend to be more detailed.’

“Trouble in this country is we don’t manufacture anything anymore!” Finally, l get on to the subject that PBM has been covering for a few issues now, that of universities and any perceived skills gap. As expected, Lord Sugar has quite a unique and insular view on the subject. ‘I believe university is a waste of time. I don’t think my life would have turned out any differently had l spent three

years in college. The thing is, I’ve been to the University of Life and you see these people who come out with their 2.1’s, or whatever, and that’s fine but they know nothing. They need to be out in a practical environment where they can begin to learn.’ The time is up and the door is opened, but the arm is chanced with one last question before departure. Has there ever been a time when he’s allowed fear to prevent him taking a course of action? ‘I take it you mean in business? There’s fear and there’s fear – like going to see Spurs and hoping they’d win the game. There is a fear in business that you’re going to gamble and risk and something’s going to go wrong. You’ve got to weigh up in your mind whether you’ve got the confidence to do what you’re going to do. ‘I can only talk about my experience. I’ve never been a consultant. I’ve always designed, innovated and made stuff. Fear is when you design a product and you don’t have confidence in it and you have lots of ‘yes’ men and women saying it’s marvellous. You can’t make one or two of them. You’ve got to make 100,000. You have to have the guts to go and spend that money. You have to have the confidence you might lose it. So, yeah, there’s fear there. ‘I don’t make enemies; it’s just I’m not afraid to speak my mind, which can sometimes mean people don’t like what I am saying. Tough.’ The new series of The Apprentice started on October 14th and continues at 9pm on Wednesday evenings on BBC 1.

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{ NATWEST FINANCE }

BACKING UK BUSINESS AND COMMUNITIES By Gary Chown ACIB MCIBS - Chartered Banker Director Commercial Banking NatWest Bank Gary.Chown@natwest.com

N

atWest is a bank with a long tradition of supporting local business events throughout the UK. Backing UK Business and Communities remains a major strategic focus for NatWest, and support for the various awards can take the form of actual sponsorship; the purchase of tickets to host customers at the award ceremonies, or simply championing the awards with customers. This supports our vision to be the relationship bank of choice for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the UK. Current examples of this include the sponsoring of the Venus Business Awards, with the Brighton Awards evening on the 17th October, and sponsorship of the Business of the

Year Award category for the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards 2015. It is tremendously rewarding for a banker to see a customer take part, especially if they go on to be shortlisted and win an award. They are a tremendous opportunity for businesses to showcase their talent and to be recognised for their contribution to the local economy. By way of example, NatWest has supported Sussex business Cheesmur Building Contractors through the significant challenges that the last few years have thrown up for the construction sector. It was a major highlight for the local NatWest team to have that support recognised by Cheesmur directors Steve Hayman and Terry Nitman in their acceptance speech when they

shared the award for the Company Director of the year at the 2014 Lewes Business Awards. It wasn’t the first or only award that Cheesmur Building Contractors have won, with a growing array proudly on display at the company’s Lewes office. Steve Hayman from Cheesmur commented: We enter both industry specific and general business awards for a number of reasons: • to highlight the work that we are doing; • to measure ourselves against other businesses; • to acknowledge the commitment and hard work of our staff; • to enable us to demonstrate to our Clients why we are better than our competitors!

Pictured, Steve Hayman and Terry Nitman with their Company Director of the Year Award at the 2014 Lewes Business Awards. NatWest is extremely proud to sponsor the Venus Business Awards with events throughout the UK. At the forthcoming Brighton event, NatWest have sponsored the Small Business Award and will be hosting a number of customers at the prestigious event at the Grand Hotel. Looking towards 2015, NatWest is sponsoring the Business of the Year Award at the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards. Paul McConalogue, NatWest Commercial Banking Director for the Gatwick area, commented that the level of interest in the awards continues to grow year on year and competition across the various categories will be even more intense this year.

“The relationship bank of choice for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the UK”

Brighton & Sussex 2014

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{ SKERRITTS }

A VERY Confusing Picture

By Andy Merricks Head of Investments www.skerritts.co.uk

W

e can’t remember a time when there has been such confusion amongst investors.Usually you have a clear majority of those who are optimistic, or a clear majority on the pessimists’ side of the fence, but at the moment there appear to be equal numbers of people who are deeply pessimistic and those who are hyper-bullish. We usually like a difference of opinion as it means that someone is more right than the other. However, with the polar opposites that exist today, one side is

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going to be as REALLY wrong as the other is REALLY right. If you get it really wrong as an optimist, you’ll be loaded up with equities at the very moment a crash occurs. Get it really wrong as a pessimist, you’ll be in cash as the market takes off out of the treacle that it has been wading through for most of this calendar year. Sit on the fence and you’ll end up going nowhere. Let’s put both sides of the argument to compare and contrast.

“We usually like a difference of opinion as it means that someone is more right than the other”


{ SKERRITTS }

“we have never seen such strong arguments on either side of the half full – half empty spectrum. It would be very easy to agree with everyone.” The Pessimists’ Case First and foremost – what goes up must come down. The pessimist will point to an extended run since March 2009 whereby stocks have generally more than doubled (with the odd hiccup) so, because they have returned to their 2000 levels before the tech bubble burst, they will crash again because the state of the world, and the economic situation within, it is far from being a happy one. They will point towards stock market valuations being elevated from where they’ve been and a potential slow down in Europe rivalling the set of circumstances that saw Japan go into a deflationary slump in 1989, from which it is yet to emerge. In the UK they will point to a General Election next year causing uncertainty and an inevitable interest rate rise on the horizon, the timing of which comes closer with each passing day that we don’t get one. Don’t even get the pessimists started on the rising geopolitical risks that are popping up almost on a weekly basis. The Israeli-Hamas conflict has subsided for now, but the airstrikes and escalation of the response towards the advance and growing global threat of the Islamic State has replaced it and seems to be a greater menace to a wider audience. The Russia-Ukraine crisis has quieted down marginally in recent days, yet the chance of further conflict remains extremely high, and the relations between Putin and the West have all but disintegrated. The subsequent sanctions have taken Russia into a recession of their own making, but they have hit German growth too at a time when the Eurozone needs exactly the opposite. And within the last few days we’ve seen possibly the biggest threat of all to global markets – the Hong Kong demonstrations. China have censored the broadcasting of the public action within their own country, but the spread of the Arab Spring was evidence of the power of social media in this day and age, and there is virtually no chance of keeping such actions a secret. In the aftermath of the terrorist attack within China this year in which 50 people died, civil unrest is the nightmare scenario for the Chinese authorities. History suggests that they will not be shy to use force if necessary, and if we see the Chinese military on the streets of Hong Kong, and they get over zealous in dealing

with the protestors, then markets could indeed crash on the prospect of sanctions and trade wars that may ensue with one of the major powers that oils global growth. If this happens, the pessimists will have been right.

that the 12 months after a mid-term election has provided an average 17% return while the average only increases in the 18 and 24 months following one. After a general election, the average 6 and 12 month returns are only 3% and 5% respectively.

The Optimists’ Case What Does Our Glass Look Like? Low interest rates, low bond yields, high profitability and corporate profits. The optimist will dismiss the geopolitical backdrop as one of those things that is always there, and which comes and goes with uncommon commonality. They will point towards interest rates rising, yes, but the level to which they will rise, will be historically low and so will not become a threat to continuing economic growth and corporate profitability. Inflation will not return with any vengeance, so bond yields won’t soar, leaving equities as the go-to option for anyone (institutional or private) who seeks a return on their capital. Any short term corrections will be seen as an opportunity to buy into the equity markets at a more favourable level than pre-correction. Europe will provide the greatest chance to bag the best returns as the ECB version of QE is only just beginning and the liquidity that it puts into the market will be reflected in more risk taking by investors picking up European stocks at depressed prices, particularly in the peripheral countries. Moreover, the stress tests that the European banks have been forced to conduct will end on October 31st, and the signs are there that any banks that were going to fail them would most likely have done so by now. Consequently, if they haven’t failed, they’ve passed, giving a confidence booster to the banking sector in Europe. Those markets that are top-heavy in banks (such as Italy, Spain and Greece) will subsequently re-rate upwards. In the US, there are mid-term elections on November 6th. This would normally create uncertainty, but BCA Research have plucked the little gem out of their archives: “during the past 16 midterm election cycles, dating back to 1950, in the six months after the election the S&P 500 generated a positive return in all 16 cases. The average return for those 16 post-election sixmonth intervals was a whopping 16%!” As if that wasn’t exciting enough, they go on to say

Tempting as it is to sit on the fence, we’re not paid to do that. As we said at the beginning of this piece, we have never seen such strong arguments on either side of the half full – half empty spectrum. It would be very easy to agree with everyone. If there is a crash, it would have been an easy one to predict, and failing to act would be followed by high levels of criticism. But if the forthcoming stress tests and mid-term elections play out as anticipated within the next month or so, and investors have become too defensive, there is every chance that they will miss out on the very burst of performance that has been lacking for nearly all of this year. For those who miss out, failing to remain invested would be followed by high levels of criticism. At this stage, caution appears ultimately sensible and the Hong Kong demos are in the early stages of what could turn into this year’s decisive event. But, like a wave to a surfer, it could quite easily peter out into just another figment of punctured potential. So, on balance, we’ll probably reduce some of our more volatile plays but keep a healthy dose of risk on the table, keeping a wary eye on events going on in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as anywhere else that flares up in the meantime.

Sources: BCA Research September 2014 and FE Analytics Data-23-09-2014. Please note that these are our opinions and for information only. The content should not be taken as a recommendation of any investment and does not constitute advice. The value of investments can fall as well as rise, and past performance is not a guide to the future. 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.

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EMC is the leading independent provider of corporate ďŹ nance, interim management and operational support to SMEs across all business sectors in the South East. We are the Regional experts in: Business valuation Management buy-outs Private equity and venture capital Business sales Business acquisitions Interim management support for sales, financial, property and IT departments

SME Advisory Firm of the Year

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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


{ BUSINESS SCENE }

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1.Trevor Beattie, Tim Wates, Ron Crank, Julie Kapsalis and David Marks. 2. Ian Parkes, Strategic Director, Coast to Capital LEP in deep conversation. 3. Julie Kapsalis. Board Member, Coast to Capital LEP. 4. Ron Crank, Chief Executive, Coast to Capital LEP.

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Coast to Capital hosts its largest growth forum More than 125 regional business leaders and policy makers met to focus on strategies for growth at the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership Forum held on 25 September at Worthing College. The Forum meets every six months and brings together policy-makers, business leaders and educationalists from West Sussex, Brighton and Lewes, Croydon, East Surrey and the Gatwick Diamond. With innovation being the key theme, the speaker line-up included renowned architect David Marks, joint founder of the London Eye company and i360 tower in Brighton and Trevor Beattie, Chief Executive of the South Downs National Park Authority. Both initiatives are strongly supported by Coast to Capital. Tim Wates, Coast to Capital chairman, said: “I am delighted to see there are so many innovative businesses in this room, whose achievements demonstrate our modern, expanding economy.” Ron Crank, chief executive, spoke about Coast to Capital’s progress: “Since we embarked on our journey in 2011, Coast to Capital has come a long way. This is highlighted by the Government’s decision to invest £202 million across our region for housing, flood defences, transport infrastructure and business support. Here we are today with a clear vision, road-map and funding.”

6. Tim Wates, Chairman, Coast to Capital LEP. 8. Trevor Beattie, Chief Executive, South Downs National Park. 9. Trevor Beattie. 10. David Marks, joint founder of the London Eye company and i360 tower.

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Discover more about Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership at http://www.coast2capital.org.uk • Photography credit: Jon Rigby

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{ EMC INTERVIEW }

The Mobile Author Nik Askaroff, chief executive of EMC, has years of experience in developing growth and exit strategies for company owners. Now he is also a published author. Interview by Ian Trevett. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WRITE A BOOK? Over the last 20 years we have written numerous articles for magazines and technical journals, and about 15 years ago we started to publish our ‘Directions’ leaflets, 10-point guides to specific aspects of business. We noticed that people tended to keep these leaflets, using them as reference points or aide memoires as they are nice and short, and not too complicated. We have said for years that we should be producing a book, and at long last we have. It’s a culmination of those 25 years of writing these Directions leaflets, all pulled together with some modern thought applied. It is a collaboration with Julian Clay, who is our Head of Sales Planning and Sales Management teams. He’s written two other books on The Secret of Sales and How to Manage Your Sales Team.

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WHO WOULD YOU SAY IT IS AIMED AT? It’s aimed at the young businessman – in fact, every businessman. Most businessmen are good at one thing or two things. It could be a guy who’s got a plumbing business, who started as a plumber, but not necessarily as a businessman. It’s for anybody who is growing a business and older business people who want to refresh their ideas. SO IT’S NOT REALLY FOR START-UPS? Start-ups could read it as a general ‘What is business like?’ book, but they’d probably get a bit confused. If you read it as a book, there’s probably too much in there. If you use it as a reference guide, it is useful. For instance, you may be boosting your sales team, or thinking about buying a company. You can use the book to help you decide what to do in these situations.

DOES THE BOOK ADVOCATE BRINGING IN A MOBILE BOARDROOM FROM EMC? No, it doesn’t, happily. But that is what’s applicable to smaller companies. Bigger companies have got their full boardroom. Often small businesses have two people running the business, trying their best, and occasionally having a bit of outside help come in. And that was the whole idea of a mobile boardroom. Suppose you need a sales director for a day; if he comes in and helps for a day or two, then you haven’t got the cost of him for a whole year. The tricky one is finance directors. Most businesses could do with a good finance director, but they don’t need to be paying for him all year because there is not enough for him to do. But having someone who comes in and puts you on the straight and narrow regarding your numbers is important.


{ EMC INTERVIEW }

“Those paying attention to the detail and the quality are making money” ON TO WIDER ISSUES, WE NOW KNOW THAT SCOTLAND IS STAYING IN THE UK. HOW DANGEROUS WAS THE PROSPECT OF INDEPENDENCE TO BUSINESS? I don’t think it was anywhere near as dangerous as people were implying. We sell to France, we sell to Somalia, we sell to America, we sell to Russia... The truth is business will always find a way. What people don’t want is uncertainty, and the referendum was causing a lot of uncertainty. For Sussex businesses, there were no massive ramifications. It would have increased distribution costs into Scotland, it would have meant dual pricing; it would have been a bit of an admin horror. But the bottom line reality is that for most businesses it wouldn’t have made a lot of difference. The Scottish economy itself has done a lot better. Gone are those days of massive unemployment and shipyards closing down. Scotland has reinvented itself, both from a tourist and a national pride point of view, and its economy is actually doing a lot better, especially when you add the oil industry. Like everything, you’ve got to have a decent manager. DOES IT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE TO BUSINESS IF THERE ARE MORE DEVOLVED POWERS TO ENGLAND? We are subsidising Scotland to a minimum of £1,600 a head. There are only two generating regions in the whole of the United Kingdom, and they are London and the South East. Everybody else is a deficit. If powers are devolved to England, we can start protecting our own, and that should give us much more balance. I think we will end up with a federal United States of the United Kingdom, where we’ve got the four states, they’ve all got their own powers and they come together for the defence and foreign policy. Each will have to pay their way – which from a leadership point of view is good... or it should be. IN TERMS OF THE ECONOMY IN GENERAL, ARE WE IN THE CLEAR NOW? The businesses that have been managed effectively are doing well. It’s not boom time yet, people are still having to work bloody hard for every penny they make. Those paying attention

to the detail and the quality are making money. We’ve got several companies that have grown by 20 or 25 per cent in a difficult market, and that’s knocking on in wage increases, which is good for everybody. Wages are starting to come through, not as quickly as I expected, but you’re seeing two to five per cent on average now in wage increases. This is good for consumerism, which is good for the economy as a whole. Now that the upheaval of Scotland is out of the way, we should have a pretty good run. UNTIL THE ELECTION? Well, until the election. That’s going to be the next big thing - unless Russia blows up or something stupid happens somewhere else in the world. The global economy is a real danger to us now, it’s as unstable as ever. When can we ever remember so many wars, or so many fairly serious things going on, in so many places? It’s a bit scary from that point of view.

“I don’t think it is efficient to have a highly paid MD sitting in an office dealing with HR issues” IS THERE A PROBLEM IN THAT THE UK IS GROWING BUT EUROPE IS STILL STRUGGLING? It is interesting because not only has the pound been strong, but we’re nearly the fastestgrowing economy in the world; we’re doing that well. I think we were quicker at turning it around. We took stronger action. The Americans came through it quickly. They made huge cuts and we followed suit pretty quickly. There were a lot of redundancies, people took the hard news very quickly and acted. And maybe Europe didn’t act as quickly. England is a pretty productive nation, and of course we now rely on a lot of services as opposed to products. Service sectors can easily

downsize and upsize very quickly. But we will have a problem with people. There is labour shortage already in certain sectors, and this could get worse. This is going to be our biggest challenge. Where will we get the skills at the right price to be able to run our businesses? It is a challenge, but it’s a good challenge. IN YOUR ROLE AS A MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU PERSONALLY NOTICED? The biggest thing is, people are talking about expansion rather than reduction. Five years ago people were saying: We need to get rid of costs, get rid of people, cut back, reduce advertising and so on. Now people are asking: ‘How am I going to grow my business? How am I going to cope with the demand? Where do I get new people? I’m going to need to increase the size of the factory and I need money to finance this.’ It’s doubled from five years ago. Normally we’d expect to have 20-25 projects on the go, and now we 57 - and they are good projects. Organic growth is difficult, so acquisition is a route forward. The difference is that the banks are back in the market place, not lending easily, but they are there. The private equity sector in London has got lots of money for growing businesses, and that’s another reason why I think we’ve grown faster than Europe. We should be grateful to our private equity sector, as they’ve supported business, they’ve kept investing all the way through. In Europe, a lot of their private equity is linked to their banking. So when the banking stopped, the private equity stopped as well, whereas we didn’t. So there’s been a bit more support for the new companies and the fast-growing companies. There’s never been a better time to buy or sell a business. ARE THE BANKS DEFINITELY BACK IN THE MARKET NOW? Yes, they are definitely in the market, though it’s not easy. They still can’t get their heads around taking risks, but they are trying. We did our first deal with HSBC last month, where the bank put financing to an acquisition. It was torturous, but they did it. It was our first deal in five years with bank support, where a bank has actually put up risk money.

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{ EMC INTERVIEW } we’ve been busy all the way through. So we’re happy with that.

ARE YOU IN FAVOUR OF THE SECOND RUNWAY AT GATWICK? Definitely. I lobbied in favour of a second runway when I was chairman of Sussex Enterprise. I was the chairman of Business Link, which was the arm of Seeda in the area, and back then we saw the need for an expanded Gatwick. We need that airport to be thriving because of the cascade down. People forget how important that is in terms of how much business is related to the airport. We should be developing Crawley, Burgess Hill, and those areas up and down the M23 corridor in exactly the same way as the M4. I’ve always had the view that the south coast towns should be residential, places where people live and play and come home for the weekend, while the airport should be our industrial heart. DO YOU THINK THE BID WILL SUCCEED? Not much will happen for a while as everybody is going to go into election mode. Labour will spend half its time trying not to give devolved powers before the election because that will be the end of Labour. So it’s going to be really interesting. Unfortunately, all the other development stuff comes to a stop. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO COPE WITH EXPANSION YOURSELVES? I’m a director of 15 companies that have got 2,000 employees, so within those companies there are different challenges for all the different companies, but we don’t take more than we can cope with. Consultancies aren’t growth companies. You depend on your people. You’re only as good as the individual skills and the relationships they have. There’s no intention particularly to try and grow massively, because

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IF YOU’RE ON THE BOARD OF 15 COMPANIES, ARE YOU NOT SPREADING YOURSELF THIN? No, it’s a matter of working on the process, not in the process. If I asked you how many key strategic decisions you make in a week, and how many times you get tied up in a whole load of mess you don’t need to be involved in, the answer would be quite revealing. Most MDs and Chief Execs are very part-time because the important thing is at the beginning of the week when they ask: ‘How did we do last week? What went right, what went wrong, what do we do to stop things going wrong again, what are we doing this week?’ That’s it. That’s a two hour meeting with your team. If you take that to the next level with the strategic boards that I’m sitting on, we are asking: ‘How are we going to grow the business, how do we improve this, where do we get that resource from?’ You do that on a monthly basis and with quality time to think about it. And then everybody goes on and gets on with their job.

“We should be grateful to our private equity sector, as they’ve supported business, they’ve kept investing all the way through” I don’t think it is efficient to have a highly paid MD sitting in an office dealing with HR issues, staff problems, issues where somebody hasn’t turned up or a product hasn’t arrived. He’s being overpaid for a menial job. My role is to get them out of that and think about how the business is going. So no, it’s not too much. I still have enough time off! I KNOW YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT HELPING SMALL COMPANIES GROW AND TAKING THE PLUNGE TO COMBINE RESOURCES TO ACCELERATE GROWTH. WHAT CAN BE DONE TO HELP THIS PROCESS? I think the Chambers of Commerce have a bigger role to play. If you go on the Continent, the official mouthpiece of government for filtering is always through the Chamber of Commerce. It

should be mandatory that all businesses should be part of a Chamber of Commerce which represents the lobbying in the area. I’M SURE THE CHAMBERS WILL BE VERY PLEASED TO HEAR THAT. Yes, but the Chambers need to be a bit better. In some of our Chambers you find part-retired bank managers running it on a part-time basis. If you go to France, they are very, very professional organisations, and it’s all filtered through them. The closest we have come to that is when Sussex Enterprise was at its peak. There needs to be a Sussex Chamber of Commerce. It was frustrating when I was there at Sussex Enterprise as there wasn’t a strong working relationship with the Town Chambers, and nothing has changed. There should be local Town Chambers that link into a County Chamber that links into a Regional Chamber. Instead they are territorial, and there is no cohesion. I know that there is a new Chief Executive at Sussex Enterprise, and her challenge has to be to bring the county’s chambers together. The British Chamber should be lobbying government, government Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), the Economic Partnerships. The LEPs should control regional strategy, the Chambers of Commerce should be about business relationships and integration. They have to have a defined role or people will ask why they should get involved. THANK YOU, NIK. ANY CLOSING THOUGHTS? I believe that business has a responsibility to the community. The businessman should be bringing a bit back in terms of trying to help the younger businesses. My message for the government is: We want continuity and stability. Whether it’s Scotland or Russia, if you keep everything stable on a national level, business will grow. England has always had a fantastically dynamic entrepreneurial culture of getting out there and doing it; Sussex and Brighton are great examples of this. What we don’t want is the currency rate suddenly fluctuating wildly. Or all of a sudden everything stopping because of an oil embargo or something similar. These are the issues that you can’t cope with by yourself. So, give us a stable platform and some consistency and business will manage. We’ll get on with the rest.

EMC Management Consultants LTD, Rochester House, 48 Rochester Gardens, Hove BN3 3AW Web: www.emcltd.couk


{ MOTIVATIONAL THINKING }

Is there a secret formula for... HAPPINESS AND SUCCESS? By Sarah Hopwood Business Consultant, International Speaker, TV Presenter, Voiceover Artist and Cruise Lecturer. www.sarahhopwppd.com

Do things on purpose, with purpose “How will you know, at the end of your life, whether you have been successful or not?” I was once asked this question unexpectedly and had to think on my feet before replying. What would your answer be today? Do you have a sense of fulfillment and peace, or do you feel that as hard as you try, the feeling of success eludes you? As humans our two greatest fears are that we are not good enough, or not loved. Some think the opposite to love is hate – it isn’t, it is indifference. I specialise in EQ, emotional intelligence which is managing the relationships we have with others and ourselves. The key word is ‘empathy’. So what could be stopping you from reaching your full potential and how could we be more empathic in our relationships? When I look at life purpose, I align it with a sense of ‘flow’. For me I feel in flow when I am being challenged whilst succeeding – sometimes almost feeling on another plain. My levels of competence and confidence are high. I feel happy. Many link true happiness with being in this state of flow.

How many times have we heard that success is not a destination but a journey? So what does your journey look like to date, and how can you relate that journey to success? The picture above shines a light on the merits of learning from the past – the good and the not so good. Usually our most powerful lessons come from perceived failures. A book supporting this thinking is Falling Upward by Richard Rohr - an amazing book! I use the Mindshop intellectual property supplied by an Australian company of the same name (my husband Paul is their top facilitator in the UK). They have an awesome core value, which I have adopted. It is VTO – value to others. Mindshop say the ‘Secret of Success’ is VTO. When we give value to other people we experience a warm sense of achievement and giving. These feelings then fill up our emotional bank account, topping up our sense of self worth. This in turn feeds our confidence. When

our self-esteem and confidence are high we will claim and take own our success. So here was my answer to the surprise question. “If at the end of my life the church is full, then maybe, just maybe, I have been successful.” I am sure your answer is different. The key assessment is actually more about whether you are happy about your definition of success, rather than the words you use. My answer feels right for me and is in alignment with my sense of life purpose. “Every moment you spend upset, in despair, in anguish, angry or hurt because of the behaviour of anybody else in your life is a moment in which you have given up control of your Life.” (Dr. Wayne Dyer) Perhaps now is the time to take stock, reassess and align. Tomorrow is a new day, and remember: keep doing things on purpose, with purpose!

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{ BUSINESS AWARDS }

CELEBRATING INNOVATION AND INSPIRATION IN BUSINESS

Sponsored by:

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{ BUSINESS AWARDS }

“We are proud to be the exclusive media sponsor of the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards 2015”

YOU’VE GOT TO BE IN IT TO WIN IT! Entries from: October 2nd, 2014 Closing date: November 20th, 2014 Awards Ceremony: March 19th, 2015

The Gatwick Diamond Business Awards are the premier business awards in the south east and offer the opportunity for recognition across the region as a leader within your field. Entries are pouring in, and with the closing date looming, download the entry form today. The only condition is that your company must be doing business in the Gatwick Diamond. The glittering gala event will be hosted by comedian Hugh Dennis at the Copthorne Effingham Park Hotel.

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{ BUSINESS AWARDS }

The full list of award categories is as follows: AWARD SPONSORS JUDGES Business of the Year NatWest Bank Daryl Gayler/Paul McConalogue/Colin Crisp Business Person of the Year Acumen Business Law Penina Shepherd New Business of the Year Reeves Paul Roe The Award for Corporate Responsibility Southern Water Bev Thompson/Geoff Loader Digital Marketing Business of the Year Chichester College Aaron Butson The Award for Customer Delight Storm Creative Matt Saunders/Ben Harvey The Award for Developing People for Business Success Central Sussex College Sarah Dodwell Employer of the Year Search Consultancy Trish Breach/Jenny Finch Green Business of the Year Crawley Borough Council Brett Hagen/Kay Wagland The Award for Innovation and Technology Rawlison Butler LLP Diane Belford International Business of the Year Gatwick Diamond Initiative Rosemary French OBE The Award for the Place to Meet for Business PVL UK Ltd Nick Broom/Emily Parnell Professional Services Firm of the Year Lloyds Bank David Rawlance The Award for Supply Chain Excellence Hays Helen Kirk-Brown

If anyone still questions the tremendous commercial benefits of prestigious awards such as the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards, take a look at what some of last year’s winners said about the significant effect winning had on their business and their staff morale: Dean Orgill, Chairman, Mayo Wynne Baxter “We were delighted to be recognised – and praised – for our culture of corporate responsibility at the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards. The award gave all of our staff a boost and generated extensive regional media coverage for the firm. We are also pleased that our visitors can see our award which takes pride of place in our reception area and acts as a regular reminder of our achievement.”

Bola Lafe, Opus Innovations Winning the award has unquestionably lifted our credibility as a company, and has made business partners and potential business partners take us more seriously.

Jane Middlemiss, ILG “Since winning we have attracted and recruited some fantastic people to work at ILG and I am sure that this has been, in the main, because of our success in the 2014 awards.”

Sam Garrity, Rocketmill “The award has acted as a real catalyst for our business. Internal pride, external profile and new business wins have all improved as a result. Our team are already asking about next year!”

Armand Roux, Saracen Date Store “My company manages paper records and media backup tapes from “cradle to grave,” and as we want more exposure to companies across the Diamond, we entered the GDB Awards 2015 as a way to reach every company in the region, and if we were fortunate enough to win, I am confident it would have a tremendous effect on our business.”

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{ AIRPORT EXPANSION }

AIRPORT EXPANSION

I

t would appear that Heathrow has yet again run into trouble with their proposed expansion plans. The National Air Traffic Service (Nats) prompted airports to test new flight paths for departing aircraft flying below 4,000ft. In their attempt to vary their flight paths, Heathrow has been flooded with over 500 complaints a day, the highest in its history, from furious residents who say the flights are drowning out conversations and disturbing sleep. Heathrow received 14,301 complaints last month, up from 3,357 in the same month last year. Boris Johnson said: “The colossal level of complaints in recent weeks showed that building a third runway at Heathrow will never be acceptable”. And let’s face it, these complaints came from the simple adjustment of the paths of the existing flights – if another runway were built, we would see huge, and very expensive, swathes of London rendered uninhabitable. Gatwick did the same flight path tests and received 200 complaints per day, and although one cannot ignore such complaints from people who are genuinely concerned about the noise, it has to be accepted that the runway expansion has to go somewhere, and it is far more acceptable in a non-urban location such as

Gatwick than in the centre of one of the largest and busiest Cities in the world. Then we were treated to a display of political suicide when the Liberal Democrats stated at their annual conference that they ruled out all

“The colossal level of complaints in recent weeks showed that building a third runway at Heathrow will never be acceptable” airport expansion. This flies in the face of every piece of research ever issued on the subject and goes to show just how out of touch this ‘party’

really are. The Director General of the CBI, John Cridland said: “Growing airport capacity in the South East is critical to the UK’s economic future. Business will be extremely disappointed that the Liberal Democrat delegates fail to recognise this” The CBI speak for 190,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors which together employ nearly 7 million people, which is about one third of the private sector workforce. Complaints about aircraft noise never deter those very people from flying and we should accept that airports are not going to go away ,and as long as we continue to fly there will be people living near airports. I would also say that only a miniscule number of homes predate the the airport, and therefore it is not totally surprising when having chosen to buy a house near an airport, one might suffer from some noise pollution. But the way forward has to be foisted upon the aircraft manufacturers to make planes quieter, more environmentally friendly and larger to cut down on the number of flights taken; but in the meantime, our airport capacity has to be expanded, and in the South East there is only one place that this can be done – Gatwick.

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Big ideas

Quality

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Big talent

Be heard

ideas

Make a difference

different

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ideas

somewhere

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Be heard

Big talent

Challenge convention

Big growth

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Make a differenCe

Want to shake things up? Visit rixandkay.co.uk/careers or follow us @RixandKayLaw #timetomakeyourmark


{ AUDITEL }

Are you getting the best out of your business? Ian Hopping from Auditel discusses the importance of an effective and sustainable cost management strategy within your organisation

W

hether UK Plc slips back into recession or the economic recovery continues, most businesses don’t need to be told that revenues have become harder to earn and profits harder to sustain under the challenge of ever-rising costs and hungry competitors. Back in the dark days of the recession many organisations carried out short-term costcutting, which often left them in a worse state than they had been in before. Some were attracted by eye-catching headline prices, but as contracts for those cheap introductory offers came up for renewal, many found themselves locked in as prices shot up. Many businesses stripped away layers of staff to reduce costs, with the result that experienced people with years of knowledge were lost, while others fell into the trap of focusing on the same business areas every year, even if they weren’t delivering the savings they once did. According to recent research by KPMG, more than 95% of cost reductions achieved during the recession are expected to return in the short term. That equates to more than £90bn of costs across UK firms. The major challenge now facing all organisations will be moving from a short term cost cutting exercise to a more coherent cost management policy that will

identify savings that should prove resilient in the face of growth, and deliver higher margins and greater competitive advantage. This means addressing not just the figure on your bill at the end of every month, but also the value and suitability of the products and services you are buying and the hidden, indirect costs of managing your overheads. A recent Auditel survey revealed that 70% of organisations do not have a cost management strategy in place, and of those that do, 73% undertake cost management measures inhouse. Diverting staff from their primary roles to carry out cost management exercises, despite a lack of understanding of the subject and the right analytical tools is, arguably, an inefficient use of resources. Outsourcing to specialist consultants can bring many benefits, such as a thorough understanding of the true cost of products and services backed up by detailed analysis and monthly reporting. Specialist consultants also have a wide-ranging and up-to-date knowledge of the supplier market and understand changes in technology. Auditel is able to assist organisations of all sizes to streamline working practices and achieve sustainable cost savings. On a smaller

scale, we recently worked with Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce to save them 45% on their electricity bills. At the other end of the spectrum, we helped Besana - the UK’s largest fruit and nut distribution company – to achieve an annual saving in excess of £76,000. As the firm relocated from Gloucestershire to Suffolk, we were drafted in to review their essential services, and by adopting what we call our Total Cost of Purchase model we were able to effectively examine every facet of the business from energy, through to telecoms, office supplies and waste. Over the past 20 years Auditel has worked with more than 5,000 businesses of all sizes and we can say with some certainty that strategic cost management, driven by the right people, with the right tools and knowledge can deliver improved efficiencies, accelerated performance and help companies gain a competitive advantage.

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

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{ UNIGLOBE INTERVIEW }

Keeping people moving Many companies worry about cashflow, interest rates or HR issues. For companies involved with corporate travel, they have bigger concerns, namely jihadists, ebola and Russian separatists. How does John Burroughes, MD of Uniglobe, sleep at night? Interview by Ian Trevett

Somebody said to me the other day: ‘What is the state of your industry?’ I replied, ‘It’s absolutely brilliant at the moment. We’ve got a volcano that keeps bubbling away over in Iceland, we’ve got Russia that is trying to expand its territory , we’ve got Ebola down in Africa that’s causing us an absolute nightmare because a lot of countries have actually closed their borders and then you’ve got the global terrorist threat.’ “I did a report on terrorism recently for the industry. And it is huge, absolutely huge. And the West can’t solve that; all the West can do is to support other nations. So I said, ‘If you take all that into account, it’s absolutely brilliant!’ But that’s my everyday life, and the travel industry’s everyday life.” I’m sitting with John Burroughes, MD of Uniglobe, with a pint of Harveys at the Chimney

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House pub, close to John’s Brighton office, and typically, John has a broad smile, even after spelling out his checklist of worries, that would send most to reach for the optics, rather than the beer. Then again, this has been John’s life for the last 18 years, and as he says, life’s too short to worry all the time. He’s seen it all before, of course, including the outrageous shock of 9/11. “It was both our biggest challenge and our greatest moment in the sense of how quickly we reacted. We have a procedure called Code Blue for global emergencies or for incidents that immediately impact our clients or our industry. But right then, we didn’t know what we didn’t know. Things were happening so fast that we had never experienced before and although we were prepared for the unknown, I don’t believe anyone could ever have

imagined what occurred that day, we had to react immediately. We had people scattered all over the world as planes were diverted and air space closed, no-one really knew what was happening, we had to think quickly to keep all our clients out of harm’s way whilst reassuring both them and indeed their families. The important thing is to have a robust process that takes account of the unknown, so once planes started to fly we could get people home quickly. It was like the ash cloud crisis which was also a huge logistical problem. But that’s when you come into your own. “You’d be amazed how many non clients rang us asking, ‘Can you we change our flights for us, we didn’t book them through you?’ What people don’t understand is that whoever books your flight has control of that booking. So if you booked


{ UNIGLOBE INTERVIEW }

“It’s about delivering the person to where they need to be in the best possible shape to do the best possible business for the company” it on a website that is not ours, there’s nothing we can do, as the control can’t be changed. “Most of our clients were back quickest in the ash crisis. Why? Because we knew what was going to happen. We knew when it was going to break and we knew where it was going to break. We’d already moved our clients back into the global air hub areas, so when the planes started flying again, our clients were the first home.” “Companies have a duty of care to make sure that their people don’t get in harm’s way, particularly today with precedents of corporate manslaughter. As a director of a company, you can be held responsible. If companies are booking travel themselves, they are taking a risk, as if anything goes wrong, one of the first

important relationships are reaping the benefits now.” John owns and runs a Uniglobe Preferred Travel, with offices in Brighton and London in Buckingham Gate in London (eight doors from the Palace), with 36 staff across the two sites, and is part of a worldwide network of more than 750 business travel management companies across 61 countries. Business is strong, testimony to the service and value that the business travellers receive. “We are now the second largest Uniglobe in the UK,” says John, “and it’s growing well.” So who travels with Uniglobe, and where do they go? “We’re transporting people all over the world: to Africa, the States, Canada, Asia Pacific region,

to Heathrow? They’re not going to build a bullet train because it would be a political minefield, and I’m told its been costed it at over £5 billion. So if you expand Gatwick, you’ve got to still transport that huge number of people between Gatwick to Heathrow. And that’s a problem that the review panel really must address. “London Heathrow has been losing ground for years to the hub airports on the continent. So what is a hub airport? It allows airlines to offer a comprehensive global network, transferring passengers so UK businesses have access to more direct destinations, at higher frequencies and lower prices. Due to the scarce capacity over the last 20 years Heathrow has fallen from number 1 in Europe to number 5 in terms

questions will be: ‘Did you use a professional to do this?’” “Perhaps in today’s slightly more risky world, businesses may well be asking themselves do we really need to travel in order to do business, couldn’t we just Skype our clients or use videoconferencing but the truth is it really isn’t the same as meeting your clients or prospective clients face-to-face, we have a saying “If you never meet face-to-face how will you ever see eye to eye?” It’s as simple as that. “If you don’t make the effort to meet your client, but your competitors do, who’s going to get the business? Similarly, if your competitor arrives ahead of you or arrives freshly pressed and awake after an overnight stay and you just get off the red eye plane, who is going to be in the best place to win the important contract? It’s about delivering the person to where they need to be in the best possible shape to do the best possible business for the company. A lot of people see travel as an expense or cost that has to be controlled. Of course you have to control costs. But it’s actually an investment. Travel is an investment. And there’s been a lot of research done, which supports this. During the recent recession those companies that continued to travel to meet their clients and strengthen those

the UK, Europe and anywhere I have missed out. There are all kind of reasons to travel. It can be for sales or marketing, it can be transporting groups of delegates to a conference or a big company meeting through our “Flights for Groups” specialist logistical offering, or it can be journeys of business necessity. For instance we transport engineers or drillers for the oil and gas industry, who have to go where the oil or gas is. At the moment that means a lot of journeys in and out of Africa.” As a magazine we believe that the only choice when it comes to airport expansion is Gatwick (obviously!). The land is there, the disruption and environmental cost is lower, and it would be an amazing boost for the region. John has mixed views. “It’s a double-edged one for me. I live and work in the South East and do business in London. My heart wants to say Gatwick because they’ve got the space to expand, it’s going to be less disruption and a boost for business in the southeast, plus it’s on your doorstep. It would service well the business in the south-east. “However, if look at it from an airline’s position, what we need is a very strong hub airport. The big hub is Heathrow. If you expand Gatwick, how are you going to transport people from Gatwick

of destinations served and the number of UK regional cities it serves has fallen from 21 to 6. Heathrow has fallen behind its rivals in serving the growing BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) economies. Adding capacity Heathrow would deliver more destinations, greater frequencies and fewer delays in the short term and make the UK a more competitive for investment particularly from emerging markets and enhance the productivity and connectivity in the longer term. “Currently Heathrow is running at 98.8 per cent capacity. If you ever circle over Heathrow on a clear day and you’re above the clouds, you can watch the airplanes popping one after the other above the clouds, it’s like a overcrowded motorway. Talking of crowded motorways, the M25 near Heathrow is hardly easy to navigate. “But without getting political the real problem is successive governments have not had an integrated coherent transport policy, from the sidelines it seems like the hot potato that nobody wants to grasp but without such a policy we will continue to muddle through, continue to lose ground to our European competitors and be laughed at by the rest of the civilised world. While we are on contentious issues, we are not far away from an election, which will be

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{ UNIGLOBE INTERVIEW }

fascinating, especially seeing as UKIP have just won their first seat. Can the election deflect the business recovery? “I think the answer is we’re not through the recession completely, but we’re seeing strong sustainable corporate growth. We’re seeing responsible business, we’re seeing businesses controlling their budgets and bringing their budgets in. That’s good because we all knew that the greed that we’ve all seen wasn’t sustainable and indeed damaging to business. Interestingly, if you look at the new generations coming into the workplace, they are much less material than the previous generation. This generation, I believe, is much more about fairness, about balance and about work-life balance, plus about using technology to enhance their lives. They don’t want to work all the hours God sends, and they don’t want everything. They want a nice balance, and that, I think, is good for the human race. “In terms of the politics, if you look at the economic stability and strength of the country, it’s all about the ability to balance the books – whether it’s a government, a business, or a household – you have to balance the books. If you’re not balancing, somebody has to pay. But, you’re not going to get me to nail my colours to any particular mast. We ran a business under Labour, we’ve run a business under the Conservative alliance and we’ll run a business under the next government. We’ll just adapt. One thing is sure, we won’t take our company offshore to save on taxes. “We’ve just been through a recession. It’s been the deepest recession in my lifetime, and yet we’ve navigated through that. We’ve not had to make anybody redundant, and our company has managed to pay wage increases year-on-year all the way through the recession. It’s about good management and people responding to do their bit to manage that business.” This sentiment is typical of John’s approach to business. He believes that as a company owner

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he has a responsibility to his employees, many of whom have been with him for double digit years. If the company fails, it is the people that lose their jobs who suffer, people with commitments and mortgages, and families to feed. Perhaps this sense of fairness and responsibility comes from his own trials and tribulations. John has to be the only person in the world who joined the travel industry immediately AFTER developing a thrombosis! “Eighteen years ago I was on a long-haul flight,

“If you never meet face to face, how will you ever see eye to eye?” coming back from America with my children, and I developed a pain in my leg a couple of days afterwards. I went to the doctor and they said it was muscular strain, so put me on painkillers. This was before any link between air travel and deep vein thrombosis. Eventually I thought, this is ridiculous, so I went back and I saw a locum, and I was in hospital within the hour. I was very lucky. Turns out, I’ve got a blood disorder, which is hereditary from my father. My father had various thromboses through his life, and so did his brothers. They were all butchers, and they used to call it ‘butchers disease’, because they stand at the cutting block a lot of the time. I was in retail (I had a hardware shop in Western Road) and was advised that all of the standing involved in retail would not be good for me long-term. “Then a friend of mine rang me, and said, ‘Have

you ever thought of getting into travel?’ There was a Uniglobe for sale in Brighton, with just two people. “Andrew, my oldest son joined me in the business on day one, it didn’t take us long to work out that the business was losing money, so started the hard work and long hours, but that was a long time ago now. “I am on Warfarin for the rest of my life, as are my children, because all my four children have the blood disorder. My next son, Adam, who was thirty recently is mentally and physically disabled, epileptic, he has no speech, can’t walk unaided etc. We were told to prepare for a short life expectancy, we never thought he’d live to 30, but he has, and he’s brilliant. “He lives in a home in Worthing with other young adults with similar challenges, he too has had thrombosis, but Adam’s quality of life is excellent, is out most days, goes swimming, loves music and recently went on holiday to the Isle of Wight, he has also just been on a birthday treat to see a musical in London. Adam has taught me (and many people he has come into contact with) a lot about facing adversity, his near constant smile, his zest for fun are all constant reminder of the potential of the human spirit. “My daughter Emma lives and works in London in musical theatre, and has just started a new show called “Sunny Afternoon” which is a musical story of Ray Davies and the Kinks, sadly I remembered most of the music from my youth, but it looks a great show. Leo my youngest son has recently graduated and started working in the financial industry, he is currently 3 months into his working life, commuting to London each day and by my calculations he only has 540 months to go, I will watch this space with interest. Despite the health issues, John is certainly not a man to brood on life’s difficulties. “I walked along the seafront this morning, and it is a glorious day. It’s funny, on the seafront in the morning, you get people who are smiling, who are happy, who say good morning to each other. Because those are the sort of people who are down there at that time, enjoying the morning. There is no point being miserable. “If you ask me one of the things in my life that made me smile, besides my immediate family, it was without a doubt during the closing ceremony of the Olympics (and I have to confess to being a Monty Python fan) with Eric idle accompanied by rollerskating nuns and a cast of equally bizarre participants singing that wonderful song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” I couldn’t help cast my mind back a few years to China, and just wondered what the population of China made of this bizarre spectacle. It made me smile anyway.” www.uniglobepreferred.co.uk


{ BUSINESS SCENE }

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2. 1. Andrew Cheesman and Justin Williams 2. Dean Orgill, Gemma King and Kirstie Prodger 3. Karen Miles and Clarence Mitchell 4. Julia Claxton and Justin Williams

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4.

The Brighton Visitor Magazine Launch Simon Maguire of Hotel du Vin hosted a great party for the re-launch of the Brighton Visitor Magazine recently. Now in the capable hands of Andy Cheesman and Justin Williams, the new look magazine contains everything visitors to Brighton could possibly need and with the print run of 50,000, there is sure to be no shortage of copies. We wish good luck to Andy and Justin in their exciting new venture. www.brightonvistor.com

5. Dean Orgill, Andy Cheesman, Maarten Hoffmann and Ian Trevett 6. Jessica Ramy, Steve Darby, Millie Lang and Olivia Asicen 7. Steve Darby, Sarah Hopwood and Maarten Hoffmann 8. Tim and Sue Cobb

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{ RISK INVESTIGATION }

THE MITIGATION OF RISK By Maarten Hoffmann CEO of The Platinum Club and Platinum Business Magazine

D

ue diligence, Business intelligence, Background checks, Company profiling, Employee research – lots of different names for one essential business tool – Risk Investigation. I recently came across a company that specialises in risk investigation and it is only upon further discussion, that one realises how imperative this type of company is. It is as important as insurance for theft, flood or fire.

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The mitigation of risk. Let’s face it, business by its very nature is full of risk and it is the responsibility of the Directors to mitigate risk wherever possible. I spoke to an acquaintance recently who had been hit for a £46,000 bad debt that almost sunk his company and his marriage and caused him countless sleepless nights. When l asked him why he had let the debt climb so high, he shrugged and said that he needed the work and it was

worth the risk. I beg to differ. It was certainly not worth the risk and yet one call to a such a risk investigation company would of avoided the entire unpleasant and painful episode as the client in question had a shocking track record and would have been avoided like the plague had he bothered to check. A couple of hundred pounds to check versus a lost £46,000 – we all know what we would of done but then hindsight is a very annoying friend.


{ RISK INVESTIGATION }

“Let’s face it, business by its very nature is full of risk and it is the Legal responsibility of every Director to mitigate risk wherever possible” I recently met Roy Whitehouse, a highly experienced ex-police officer who now runs WIS International in Sussex, and it was certainly an eye opener. WIS deals with ensuring that risk is avoided by researching the company or individual before one enters into a contract or agreement. It is only when you speak to Roy that you realise just how many areas of business are applicable. For example, 30% of all business insolvencies are caused by employee theft, yet a simple call to a RI company will tell the employer everything there is to know about new staff members before they are employed rather than after the fact. No matter the size of the offered contract and no matter how much it is needed to keep the business afloat, not agreeing the deal is far better than accepting the job and not getting paid. Over 40% of clients who do not pay have a record of not paying, and therefore why on earth would you do business with them? Simple – you didn’t have that knowledge before the contract was signed. The excitement for a fledgling company in gaining a large contract often clouds judgement, but surely it’s better not to sign that contract than accept it, work your backside off, incur countless third party costs and then not get paid for all that hard work. When business is slow or we are suffering through a recession, it is all too easy for smaller companies to take more risk and the cost of RI seems to be worth avoiding. So they ask around

their contacts and do a few spurious checks and think they are good to go. This person would not leave their keys in the car or their children alone is a playground so why on earth would they take this huge risk with their future, their staff and their children’s university fund for the sake of avoiding a little extra cost to ensure they are safe to contract and are not about to be ripped off?

“Closing the door after the horse has bolted comes to mind” Companies rarely fail to have insurance, an accountant, a solicitor, a marketing consultant all for the mitigation of recognised risk and yet fail to recognise the risk in so many other areas of their business. Risk Investigations cover just about every aspect of business: Is this person who they say they are; will l get paid for the work; what is their reputation; are my suppliers ripping me off; are my staff taking bribes; are my staff stealing from

me? And so it goes on. Large multi-nationals tend to have risk investigators on permanent contract, but as we go further down the food chain into SMEs, they are rarely used until it is too late. The vast majority of SMEs employing RI do so after they have been cheated, stolen from or not paid for a job. Closing the door after the horse has bolted comes to mind. We have asked Roy to write for the magazine in the coming issues so that he might fully explain the industry and offer some invaluable advice on the subject along with a few case studies that will make you hair stand on end. Roy’s company, WIS International, is a member of and regulated by the Association of British Risk Investigators, and it is advisable never to deal with a company that is not fully accredited, and the ABI is the only organisation endorsed by the Law Society. Don’t risk it, investigate it! Roy Whitehouse CFE. CII Roy has been in private practice for over 30 years and is a past President of the Council of International Investigators, was on the board of the British Portuguese Chamber of Commerce and is a Certified Fraud Examiner. His company WIS International have offices in London, Brighton and Portugal. WIS was awarded the Internationalisation Award in 2013 for their contribution to British Business.

Roy.whitehouse@wis-int.com +44 (0)1273 803430 or +44 (0) 7939 478571 www.wis-int.com

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HOTELS GET RENOVATIONS. HILTONS GET MAKEOVERS. Ascot Suite has been completely redesigned with improved sound-proofing, new carpeting and decorations, making it the perfect place for successful business meetings and social events. To celebrate these splendid improvements, every event booked by 31 December 2014 will receive complimentary bacon rolls and Wi-Fi. To book please call 01293 610809 or email events.gatwick@hilton.com and quote ASRO2014. (subject to availability, minimum numbers apply)

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Untitled - Page: 1

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{ MARKETING }

OUTSOURCED MARKETING;

All the benefit, without the cost By Louise Walden Director of Big Beach Marketing You can’t do everything What do you do if your office springs a leak? You call a plumber. How about when your computer/ network decides to crash? You talk to a techie. The lights go out… you get the idea. So what do you do when you think your business needs some marketing? You could, like many people, attempt it yourself, but do you have the time? Would you know where to start? Would you do it properly? You could employ a marketing resource; bear the cost of recruitment, a salary, national insurance, pension, equipment, training and so on, but how do you know you’ll always have the need for them? It can be a big risk and a big cost if you take on the wrong person. So why not outsource?

Outsourced marketing Whether your out-sourced expertise is an agency, contractor, consultant or service provider (out-sourced marketing comes in all shapes, sizes) there are many benefits: • Cost Saving. It’s simply cheaper to get some help without investing in salary and benefits. • Reduced Risk. It’s a low risk, try-before-buy strategy. A temporary contractor means no long-term commitment. • Flexibility. Your contractor isn’t an employee,

so the relationship can be shaped and budgeted in the way that works for both parties. • Perspective. Once trust has been built, you may find that a fresh pair of eyes on your business is invaluable. • Proficiency. Your external expert should be hugely knowledgeable, built on years of experience with up to date skills and ability. Should you choose an agency, this offers a combined knowledge base from the individuals in the team.

Unexpected benefits Getting the right individual or agency for your business can have unplanned benefits too. You may gain a well respected virtual team member, someone you can learn from and bounce ideas off, or they may be a stepping stone to recruiting somebody full time. A marketing agency works with multiple businesses, is exposed to different industries and ideas, which means you benefit from shared best practice and innovation. You also gain advantage from tried and tested marketing activities and the ability to hit the ground running. We find that carrying out a marketing audit for clients encourages them to have a considered look at their own business plans, in order for

Big Beach Marketing Tel: 01273 434552 Web: www.bigbeach.co.uk

us to provide marketing activity that supports their objectives. This often has the effect of identifying what is important to their business and re-focusing their activities in achieving those objectives. Talking to members of staff in different departments can uncover some great ideas that otherwise lay untapped and improving internal communications can have a very positive impact on external communication too. Our experience also means that we can help clients avoid spending money on marketing activities where there is little or no return.

Practicing what we preach When it come to outsourcing, we practice what we preach and outsource specialist design, technical website expertise and print work to people and businesses that specialise in those disciplines, giving us more time to focus on marketing. We believe our business and those of our clients are better for it; we have an extended family of specialists that help us deliver a more complete marketing service. So before you go ahead and hire a new marketing head, give a thought to outsourcing. Now, where’s my monkey wrench....?

“It can be a big risk and a big cost if you take on the wrong person. So why not outsource?” 47


{ RIX & KAY }

“Pinpointing when a company is irredeemably insolvent, rather than just experiencing short term cash flow problems, can be difficult”

by Eleanor Richards Partner, Dispute Resolution

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hose of you who are company directors will be aware that you are under a duty to act in the best interests of the company and its shareholders. You are required to do this by making the best decisions for the long term future of the company, taking into account the company’s employees, ensuring good business relationships with suppliers and customers and acting fairly when dealing with the needs of their shareholders. You also need to be concerned about the reputation of the company and the impact of its actions on the community and environment. Directors who seek to run profitable, efficient businesses with good reputations will fulfil their duties without much recourse to the law, but the challenges for them arise when for whatever reason the company is faced with financial problems. When businesses run into financial difficulties and directors realise that the company is irredeemably insolvent then the director’s duties change and their primary duty becomes

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to act in the best interests of its creditors. It is where directors fail to do this that they can become personally liable for the debts of the company. Pinpointing when a company is irredeemably insolvent, rather than just experiencing short term cash flow problems, can be difficult. It requires directors to be continually monitoring the financial state of the company with their accountants and their Financial Director. They need to consider: • If the company can pay its debts as they fall due and if not, whether or not there is a prospect of them doing so in the near future • analyse the net asset / net liability position on the balance sheet • if the company is likely to receive external funding • if any debts / liabilities can be restructured • if the business can be sold • if there are any events which are due to take place which will significantly change the

S O L I C I T O R S

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companies fortunes. If as a result of considering these factors directors conclude or are advised that their company is insolvent then they need to consult an Insolvency Practitioner as soon as possible and he will be able to advise them on the options open to the company with the aim of giving the best result and minimising the losses to creditors and shareholders. In circumstances where directors continue to trade companies that are insolvent or make decisions that are not in the interests of the company that lead to insolvency, they may become personally liable for the debts of the company if court proceedings are taken against them by a subsequent liquidator. Also any director who authorises funds to be taken out of a company when it is faced financial problems may find himself on the end of court proceedings taken by a liquidator.


{ RIX & KAY }

“There may be trouble ahead” Top tips for directors of companies which are facing severe financial difficulties

The types of court proceedings which a director could be subject to include wrongful trading, misfeasance or breach of fiduciary duty, transactions at undervalue / preference claims or claims under personal guarantees. Wrongful Trading claims against directors arise where a director continues to allow a company to trade when there is no reasonable prospect of it avoiding going into insolvent liquidation and he may be ordered to contribute to the company’s assets. Misfeasance proceedings arise where a director has misapplied, retained or become accountable for money belonging to the company. Transactions at undervalue proceedings may be taken by the Administrator or Liquidator of a company where it appears that the company has transferred assets for significantly less than their market value when the company was insolvent, or that the company became insolvent as a result of the transaction. A preference is where payments are made to or assets transferred to one creditor of the

company in preference to another creditor. Additionally, the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills can take proceedings under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 to disqualify directors for periods of between 2 and 15 years where they have acted in breach of their duties. These proceedings are aimed at preventing directors who have breached their duties from being involved again in other companies and hence safeguarding customers and creditors. One of the main reasons for commencing disqualification proceedings is where directors have continued to trade, whilst company debts owed to HMRC and trade creditors continue to rise. My experience of these cases is that often the directors convince themselves that they are acting honourably in keeping the business going and saving jobs of employees, who they may have worked with for many years. They often cite loyalty to colleagues and optimism (in thinking that the next big contract is just round

the corner) as reasons for omitting to bring matters to a conclusion when objectively they should be looking at the overall finances (which may indicate that the position is worsening), and then take steps to address those issues. Detailed knowledge and understanding of the company’s financial position and future prospects, coupled with taking professional advice from accountants and lawyers can make the difference between bringing a situation to an end efficiently and without personal liability and facing legal proceedings where the director has a Judgment made against him for the debts of the company.

www.rixandkay.co.uk/author/eleanor_richards/ Tel: 01273 766906 Mail: eleanorrichards@rixandkay.co.uk

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{ COMMERCIAL PROPERTY }

THE BREAK CLAUSE By Rob Fawcett Head of Property at Bennett Griffin LLP • RJF@bennett-griffin.co.uk

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{ COMMERCIAL PROPERTY }

“It is in the interests of the landlord to maintain the income they can get from property, whilst a tenant will want to avoid being locked in for too long”

R

ecent years have seen an increase in litigation when it comes to disputes over the validity of break clauses. Obtaining professional advice is therefore essential, whether you are a commercial landlord or leasing commercial premises.

What is a Break Clause? A break clause is an arrangement in a lease, which allows either the landlord or the tenant (or both) to end the lease early. The renting out of commercial property is often a substantial financial commitment – to both the landlord and the tenant. It is in the interests of the landlord to maintain the income they can get from property, whilst a tenant will want to avoid being locked in for too long as their business may change and they might look to downsize to save money. Alternatively, a landlord might need break clauses if he or she wishes to redevelop the property or sell it before the end of the term of the lease. It is, therefore, in the interests of both landlord and tenant to ensure that they understand break options when entering into new leases and what they must do to exercise those options, should the need arise.

Activating a Break Clause There is a variety of different issues with break clauses, and they all have implications which differ according to whether you are the landlord or tenant – serving a break notice, timing, break conditions and the exit agreement.

Serving a Break Notice A party that wishes to exercise its break option (“the serving party”) will need to ensure that the notice to be served on the other party (“the receiving party”) exercising the break option is properly served on the receiving party in accordance with the terms of the lease. The notice is often referred to as a Break Notice. The serving party will firstly need to ensure that the form of notice complies with the terms of the lease. Some leases will specify that a specific form of notice is used in which case the notice served must follow the same form,

otherwise it will be invalid. The serving party will need to ensure that the notice is served on the correct receiving party at the correct address. The serving party may need to carry out some research to ensure this point is complied with, such as checking the Land Registry title of the receiving party and/or Companies House records where the receiving party is a company to check their name and address for service. The serving party will also need to ensure that the notice is served by the correct method of service, such as post, personal delivery, recorded delivery, fax, etc. Please note that leases often preclude service by electronic means, including email.

Timing The serving party will need to give the right amount of notice. Leases often stipulate when a notice served by a particular method will be deemed to have been received by the receiving party. As such, it may be that the serving party will need to build in extra days’ notice for notice by, for example, the postal service.

landlord sufficiently far in advance of the break date if all the sums due have been demanded and ask for written confirmation of this. Unless the lease states otherwise, the tenant will not be entitled to any refund of rent which falls due before the break date but relates to a period after the break, such as where quarterly rent is paid in advance. As such, it is advisable for the tenant to ensure that there is a specific provision in the lease requiring the landlord to refund any advance payments on the break date. For vacant possession, tenants should be fully aware of the extent of their obligation. This typically means ensuring that no one remains in occupation of the premises on the break date, including any subtenants, and that all of the tenant’s fixtures and goods have been removed and the keys have been returned to the landlord (or someone acting on behalf of the landlord).

Exit agreements/settlement The parties should discuss a “without prejudice” exit agreement which takes into account the condition the premises is left in (which covers dilapidations), the settlement of any claims and the waiver of any conditions.

Break Conditions If the break option is stated in the lease as being conditional upon a certain event occurring or obligations having been complied with, then it is essential the conditions are met. A current run of case law indicates that the courts are of the view that, if a condition is not strictly complied with, no matter how minor the non-compliance, this will render a break notice invalid. Tenant break conditions usually include the provision that the tenant must have paid up all of the rents due under the lease and must give vacant possession of the premises back to the landlord on the break date. It is advisable for the tenant to ask the

Break clauses are complex; so if you do not want to end up involved in an expensive litigation case, do seek specialist legal advice where possible.

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{ NOVA INTERVIEW }

Direct to the point Direct mail is thriving in 2014 with intelligent data and market analysis Ian Trevett talks to Andy Fry, MD of Nova Direct.

R

emember those quaint old days when people used to try and sell their products by delivering bundles of leaflets through your letterbox? Who can forget the times when it seemed like half a rain forest had just been dumped on the welcome mat? Of course, the internet put paid to the painfully old-fashioned concept of paper marketing. Or did it? The Response Rate Report in 2012 by the Direct Mail Association in the US reports that the cost per lead for direct mail is lower than email, pay-per-click and just over a quarter of the price of tele-marketing. Well they would say that, of course, but the reality is that direct mail is not just alive and kicking, it is thriving in 2014, and the reason is that the industry has embraced modern technology and database capabilities. Andy Fry, MD of Nova Direct, has seen a dramatic resurgence in the direct mail industry, because he recognised a long time ago how valuable a strong database can be.

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“We can help people find out who their market actually is. We can profile their database, find the segments of the data that’s got the highest purchasing power or we can calculate which sectors spend the most. It is all about measuring and analysing your market. We can then target the key audience with email, direct mail or a combination of both.” Andy first became aware of the power of a database when he used to help out his father with his local newspaper distribution. “My father started a newspaper called The Sussex Post that had a weekly free readership of 80,000, and my brother Richard and I used go out on Saturday morning and take the papers to all the delivery people, all around Sussex. “Some of the advertisers in the newspaper started asking him about the distribution and if they could send out some leaflets. We had developed quite a database, so he started a company called DMS, which was based in Haywards Heath, with some women sitting in

offices stuffing envelopes for these advertisers. So he was one of the first direct mail companies in the UK. “I set up Nova back in 1991 with a partner who had space in a warehouse in Haywards Heath. It was a pretty tough market at the time, but it grew phenomenally. We would help our clients build up their database of people who had purchased from them and they were able to communicate with them with a personalised letter. We made it easy for customers to buy - they would just fill in the voucher (or maybe phone the number), and it would come back in the post. We even supplied the pen - we were one of the first companies to change the engineering so we could put pens in using a machine, and enclose it in the envelope.” As successful as it was, Andy soon realised that the strength was in the databases, which wasn’t the unanimous view within the company. “I wanted to grow it into more of a database company to hold customers’ data and build that up.


{ NOVA INTERVIEW }

“Adding fragrances to direct mail stimulates an increased response. I’m surprised more companies haven’t utilised it”

I bought him out ten years ago, and since then I’ve just been growing the business, moving it to Burgess Hill nine years ago.” It was the right decision as the traditional direct mail industry had to adapt to survive. The world changed very quickly with the growth of the internet, and mass mail-outs were becoming unfashionable, especially with complaints about junk mail. Andy agrees that times were challenging. “We were affected by rogue companies who gave the industry a bad name, such as bogus lottery scams. And it did become a bit intrusive as people were receiving a lot of direct mail. It was clear that we had to be more intelligent about the service we were offering. “The advances in digital technology have actually helped us, as there is so much more that you can do. You can create a lot more personalisation on the fly, and the software technology that we’ve got now can allow us to use the information in the data much more effectively. “The internet also creates opportunities. By driving customers to buy things online, they then need to have the products sent to them, which creates possibilities for direct mail marketing. “We did a job for eBay four years ago, which was their first use of direct mail, and they had an amazing response because people had never received anything physically from eBay before. The novelty of having something in the post with the eBay branding on it produced a really huge response rate.

“We sent out about 190,000 mail pieces; a third of them we just sent an email, a third had just a mail and a third had an email warm-up with a direct mail follow-up. The email hardly worked, the direct mail got about 3.5%, which was really good, actually. But the combination of the both actually doubled responses, so it went up to nearly 7% with combination of email and mail.”

“We can help people find out who their market actually is” Ironically, direct mail is enjoying a renaissance partly because email is now suffering from exactly the same problems once encountered by the mailing houses. Quite simply, we have become swamped by email. “I think there is definitely an overload of emails. I don’t know if you have the same but I just go through them very quickly, looking for the ones that I need, and the rest just get deleted.” The sector that has benefitted most from direct mail has been charities. Andy explains, “If you are doing a big mail-out for a charity, asking

for a direct debit donation of £10 a month then even a 1.5% take-up would result in a significant income.” The success in this sector prompted Andy to start a company specialising in marketing for non-profit organisations, called CharityLine. Andy will be contributing to an extended feature on the business of charities in a forthcoming issue of Platinum Business Magazine, as it is an area where direct marketing can make a huge impact. We approached Andy when we started the magazine as our business model relies on the magazine being delivered to the right people. Talking to Andy it soon became apparent that delivering periodicals is only a tiny aspect of the business services on offer. Becoming pigeonholed into a specific speciality is a common problem for businesses, who can often offer so much more. “It’s quite hard when you’re well known for being a direct mail specialist and you want to go beyond that,” agrees Andy. “For this reason, we launched Nova Ecommerce as a division of the Nova group. We exhibit at the eCommerce Expo at Olympia, and we get great response from people when we explain how we can help them grow the business. “Sometimes it takes education within the company as well. We have account managers who deal with regular customers, and we want them to say, ‘Have you thought about… Do you know that we do this…? Is there anybody that you deal with or someone in your company

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{ NOVA INTERVIEW }

that might actually use ecommerce fulfilment solutions or variable digital print?’ “We also offer a logistics service for companies selling online. Direct mail volumes have been going down, and we’ve got quite a big unit here with a pick and pack facility. We inherited a facility that has high capacity and capability. It’s ideal for SMEs that sell products who have outgrown their garage or the volumes are getting too big for them. We can link into their online shopping cart, and we then take the orders in, do the packing and distribution. So we handle the back-end for them.” One thing I had to ask Andy (unfortunately just after he had just mentioned the back-end) was about the idea of Smellymail. The idea is simple - if you are selling to people you should engage all their senses - an idea taken to its extreme by Heston Blumenthal, but also embraced by supermarkets who make damn sure that you can smell baking bread when you enter their premises. “Adding fragrances to direct mail stimulates an increased response,” confirms Andy. “I’m surprised more companies haven’t utilised it. “Konica Minolta were launching a whole new range of printers at a show in London and they came to us and asked if we could do the fragrances for a promotion. We developed a mail piece with three fragrances to be sent out, inviting people to their stand - as you pulled it out, there was the smell of chocolate, cinnamon

and coffee, on three sheets inside. The idea was that they would then go online, book their appointment at the show and go to the stand and get a muffin. They could choose a cinnamon, chocolate or coffee muffin. It worked so well that they ran out of all the muffins on day one and had to get more for day two.”

“Ironically, direct mail is enjoying a renaissance partly because email is now suffering from exactly the same problems once encountered by the mailing houses” Like most companies, there can be external threats (and opportunities) beyond their control. A massive upheaval is in the cards with the privatization of the Royal Mail. How might this affect Andy’s company?

“The great thing about the Royal Mail is that it costs you the same to post a letter to the Outer Hebrides as it does round the corner. So it’s good from that perspective. But what may happen in the future, if they get their act together, is that the competitors of Royal Mail, like TNT, will start to cherry pick the more densely populated areas and say: We’ll do them cheaper because it’s only a short delivery up the road.” It’s not going to cost them as much. So then that will probably signal to Royal Mail to charge more for rural services. “It may help us as we bulk mail, with everything sorted by post codes for them, so we will be an attractive proposition to any delivery company. The Royal Mail has probably been restricted in its commercial offerings by Ofcom. “My main hope is that it has now settled down with strikes. When you rely on the postal service, any disruption causes a big problem.” It is clear that Nova Direct is more versatile than many people might realise. I asked Andy for a summarising message. “Come and talk to us. We can help with marketing and sales as we can analyse and measure everything. So many business opportunities can be lost if you don’t monitor responses and really know your market.” Talk to Andy: 01444 231400 www.novadirectmail.co.uk

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Sussex-based Skerritts received the coveted Citywire award for a record fourth successive year from comedian Ed Byrne at the awards ceremony at the Park Plaza in Westminster.


{ BUSINESS SCENE }

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2.

3. 1. Natalie Page (Natalie Page Marketing), George Burden (Groundsure). 2. Mike Jones, Ian Vickers (FRP Advisory), Geoff Goodman (Lloyds Bank), Robert Dowling. 3. Lee Gibbs and Gary Evans 4. Adrian Foote and Eddi Zoratti (RGB Property Group). 5. Kris Mitra (Genesis Town Planning), Peter Reading, Charlie Eve, Munim Farid (Consult Build Ltd), John Christopher (NatWest Bank).

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The Sussex Property Alliance says, ‘Gatwick, Obviously!’at The Amex Stadium The Sussex Property Alliance has declared its support for the second runway at Gatwick. The September meeting, at the Amex Stadium, voting overwhelmingly in favour of the West Sussex airport. The delegates had listened to Alison Addy and Emma Rees from Gatwick Airport, who updated members on the bid and the strategy to deal with the displacement of an estimated 163 residential buildings and 286 business-related properties including offices and warehousing at Lowfield Heath, City Place and on the northern edge of Manor Royal. But any anticipated disruption didn’t deter the property-related professionals from supporting the expansion. The Sussex Property Alliance was founded by Carpenter Box, Bennett Griffin Solicitors, Michael Jones and JELF.

6. Chris Coopey (Carpenter Box), Emma Rees (Gatwick Airport). 7. Huw James (ECE Planning), Alison Addy (Gatwick Airport), Derek Blaney (Links Property Ltd). 8. Andy Clarke (Hays Construction & Property), Natalie Ferns, Robert Ford (Performance Foundations), Adam Gander (Performance Foundations). 9. Finn Scott-Delany (The Argus), Bob Overton-Hart (Crowther Overton-Hart).

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Macmillan Cancer Support is building an information and support centre for cancer patients and their family, friends and carers across Sussex. Can you help us raise ÂŁ1.27m to build the Sussex Macmillan Cancer Support Centre? Please call 0300 1000 200 or visit www.macmillan.org.uk/sussexsupportcentre. The Sussex Macmillan Cancer Support Centre is a partnership between Macmillan, Sussex Cancer Fund and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust. Designed by experts with people affected by cancer, the centre will be a relaxing, friendly place to find the support and information you need.


THE BRIGHTON AND HOVE HOTELIERS AWARDS 2014 Celebrating hospitality in the city 19th November 2014 The Hilton Brighton Metropole Drinks Reception from 7pm • 3 Course Dinner Awards Ceremony (you can bring a bottle too) Disco & cash bar Carriages - Midnight Entertainment from Singer/Songwriter, Becky Payne Guest Speaker: Neil Kirby - Author of Celebrity Hotel and former General Manager of Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane Ticket Price: £15 for BHHA members - £25 for non members To purchase single tickets or tables: email: brighton.awards@yahoo.co.uk

Category Best Breakfast Best Nights Sleep/Property of The Year Cleanliness Award Warmest Welcome Unsung Hero Ambassador for Customer Experience Best Initiative Outstanding Personality/Manager of The Year Charity and Community

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OCTOBER 2014


{ BUSINESS SCENE }

1.

2.

3. 1. Lynne Edwards, Eleanor Harris and Ruth Chapman. 2. Mike Rogers and Phoebe Oliver. 3. Jane Bourn and Fiona McTernan. 4. Philippa Atkinson and Steve Lowry-Smith. 5. Clive Bonny and Sharon Walker.

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5.

The Property Partnership lunch at Hotel du Vin, Brighton The Property Partnership lunch in October featured guest speaker, Eleanor Harris from i360. Eleanor told the guests about the current progress of the building of the world’s tallest observation tower which will soar above the Brighton seafront. The attraction, due to open in 2016, also features a beachside restaurant/conference venue which can cater for 800 people. The Property partnership events are organised by Lynne Edwards (Portfolio Magazine), Searches UK and Rockinghorse children’s charity.

6. Paula Lee and Jo White. 7. Becky Cheney, Lauren Varnfield, Chris Mansfield, Roger Kay and Jane Drew. 8. Richard Evans, Carrie Collis and Robin Marten. 9. Chris Lind and Gemma King. 10. The guest speaker: Eleanor Harris from i360.

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{ BOOK REVIEW }

Book Review

The Mobile Boardroom (Top Tips for Business Success) by Nik Askaroff and Julian Clay

W

ith 25 years of corporate experience and a team of over twenty experienced business directors, there can be few companies better placed to write a manual of how to run, grow and sell a business than EMC. A book was the natural progression for the company, who have produced a series of popular and informed thought-leadership leaflets called ‘Directions’ on specialised aspects of business growth. Is it useful? Undoubtedly. It has chapters on, amongst others, planning, raising capital, sales and marketing, management, mergers and acquisitions, and selling the company. It is an essential reference resource when looking at the particular challenge your business is facing. It is hard to critique the advice offered. With Nik Askaroff’s vast experience, it would be like

telling Alex Ferguson how to pick a football team or giving AP McCoy tips on how to ride a horse. But this isn’t the book I wanted. EMC have been involved in so many interesting and inspiring projects, helping companies achieve incredible growth. I would have loved to have read some of these stories; and I’m sure most companies would be delighted to have their stories told. And as for Nik Askaroff; his incredible family history sweeps across the major events of the 20th Century. It is the kind of tale that could be adapted for a six-part BBC blockbuster. I’ve even offered to help write it! These books can wait for now (and must be written!). But here we have an in-depth and intelligent manual for business success, and that can’t be a bad thing. Review: Ian Trevett

“It is an essential reference resource when looking at the particular challenge your business is facing”

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{ POLITICS }

If you are re-elected, what benefit will you bring to business in your area? Nancy Platts, Labour MP Candidate - Brighton Kemptown, and Peacehaven

T

he first thing I’ll be doing with business in mind, if I’m elected as part of a Labour government next year, will be making sure that we get the economy back on track. The past four years of double-dip recession followed by sluggish growth haven’t been good for anyone and I want to see a healthy, growing economy for starters. As someone who runs my own business, I know that it can be a struggle at times so I want to see a business strategy that puts small firms, home based enterprises, and start-ups at its core rather than favouring the bigger firms. Freelancers too are increasingly a vital part of the work economy.

Living and working in Brighton, it’s obvious that small businesses are the lifeblood of the city economy and significant employers too. That’s why it’s important that we shop locally as much as we can to support our region. I have already been out and about meeting small businesses in Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven so I know that we’ve got a staggering array of innovative and diverse small firms and producers around here.

Another issue I’ll be campaigning on, and this won’t be popular with all business owners, is the Living Wage. Ed Miliband has committed a Labour government to introducing an £8 minimum wage by 2020 (the over 21 rate rose to £6.50 at the start of October) but I’m impatient. Here in the South East, I hope businesses will strive to get to an £8 hourly wage sooner. Not least because so many people are really

But despite such variety, it’s too often just the big businesses and multinational companies that are getting the perks. I want to see some of the huge companies that aren’t paying their fair share of taxes putting a lot more into the pot. After all, they rely on our education system, NHS, road and rail infrastructure and its only right they pay to support all that. I’m also fed up with their excuses. Some multinationals may not be breaking the law, but the law is certainly broken. I’ll be calling for tighter tax regulations for tax avoiding big businesses. It’s the same with the banks. We bailed out the banks and recapitalised them with quantitative easing but it seems to me that they haven’t played fair with SMEs since. In particular, small businesses I speak to have been crying out for lending and financial support. It could be money to grow the business, invest in equipment, stock or staff, or it could be an overdraft to help keep on top of cash flow. The banks must be forced to lend again to viable and responsible businesses. I’ve had enough of their excuses and I expect a Labour government to crack the whip there too.

struggling to make ends meet as prices go up but wages don’t. I’m particularly concerned about younger people who are often working really hard but struggling to pay rocketing rents. Politicians and political parties certainly don’t have all the answers so I want to hear more from SMEs and business people (especially in the Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven constituency) In June, I brought Toby Perkins MP, our Shadow Minister for Small Business, down to Brighton. Local entrepreneurs and business owners from all industries took part in roundtable discussions about what they want to change in business and this has informed our policy. Please do keep in touch, because I want to understand exactly what the issues are that affect you. I’m looking forward to meeting you.

“It could be money to grow the business, invest in equipment, stock or staff” Nancy Platts Labour MP E: nancy@nancyplatts.org.uk

63


{ EDUCATION }

Back to School Mike Eaton, from the Sussex Education Business Partnership, on bridging the skills and employability gap between education and employment. Following on from last month’s Graduate Recruitment round table debate, I’ve been tasked with presenting a snapshot of the skills landscape in secondary and further education and the challenges we face in preparing young people for their post education, future employment journey. It has become an accepted part of the discourse surrounding the future of Sussex’s economic prospects that one of the main barriers to growth is the lack of sufficient skills required by many of our key industries. On this theme, surveys show many employers state the pool of young people available for them to employ do not possess the employability and life skills they need to enable confident recruitment. This applies to University graduates as much as to young people leaving school or college.


{ EDUCATION }

The Challenges Secondary schools are no longer mandated to provide all pupils with a practical work experience placement and the quality of Careers, Education, Information Advice and Guidance (CEIAG), if offered is excellent in some schools and sporadic in others. There is a particular inequality around the CEIAG offered on vocational skills programmes and apprenticeships. It sometimes seems some schools still progress as many students as possible towards University regardless of their suitability. Further education has the ongoing challenge of providing an ever-increasing number of students with periods of real work experience and ensuring the curriculum taught is industry current and fit for purpose. Any embedded preparation for work, employability, enterprise and life skills provision to enrich the core curriculum is an exception rather than the norm. Many secondary schools and further education colleges are doing well despite a lack of resource and demands on very dedicated teaching staff, but many schools are not able to offer sustainable programmes for a variety of (for many, financial) reasons. In my experience the teachers and lecturers we work with are professional, dedicated and aspire for every student they teach to fulfil their potential. With no cohesive and mandatory policy which offers and ensures all young people have equality of access to high quality CEIAG, work placements, and experience of the real world of work due to the huge decline in the availability of part time jobs and willingness to volunteer, many young people are denied the opportunity to gain the essential skills which employers demand of them. Social and economic factors also play a role in the post educational skills and future employment opportunities available for some young people across Sussex.

“It sometimes seems some schools still progress as many students as possible towards University regardless of their suitability”

image here

Solutions If Sussex employers wish to ensure there is the future talent pool to recruit from, the solution is simple: they should get involved, engage and develop sustainable partnerships with schools and colleges. They should support and actively participate in the delivery of employability and life skills, offer work experience, advise on curriculum development and provide teaching staff the opportunity to spend time back in the workplace to update their knowledge and skills. At Sussex EBP, our programmes involve the participation of Sussex employers and through our long term partnerships I know there is a huge amount of goodwill from employers to engage with secondary, further and higher education. An example of employers starting to engage with education is a pilot future work force development programme for the digital sector we have developed with a digital teaching partner, 20 small digital companies, a local high school and a FE college in East Sussex. Students studying a digital pathway are partnered with a company who act as their client and students develop a product for the client whilst being mentored by the digital employers. Many wish to take on the young people they mentor as apprentices. For SME companies, it’s a low risk recruitment strategy, as they get to mentor these young people and really invest their time in their potential apprentice. They get to see them in the working environment and young people are actually developing both technical and employability skills. Hastings Direct, Sussex’s largest employer, is leading on the skills debate and putting their

words into actions as evidenced by Amanda Menehem’s contribution to the skills debate in last month’s issue of this magazine. I know colleagues at Brighton University who are really inspired by their developing partnership with Amanda and Hastings Direct. Sussex EBP work with a number of large employers such as the NHS delivering tailored future work force development programmes which are already having an impact on young people’s skills development. Sussex EBP enables employers to become Educational Business Ambassadors and companies to develop sustainable partnerships with schools and colleges and help deliver preparation for work and skills programmes. These programmes also offer their existing staff exciting opportunities for both personal and professional development. The Conclusion There have been many changes in educational delivery with some schools becoming academies and the exciting emergence of studio schools, and business has a pivotal role to play in the future development of educational skills and the employment journey of young people, whether they are studying in secondary, further or higher education. The responsibility for developing their future workforce is in part down to Sussex employers. The challenge to all employers is to get involved in the skills debate and become part of the growing number of businesses who recognise that their business growth is in part dependent on a highly skilled and motivated pool of young people to recruit from. www.sussexebp.org

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{ INTERVIEW }

Is careers advice in crisis? When the summer exam results were announced, Katja Hall, CBI Deputy DirectorGeneral, was scathing on the effectiveness of careers advice in schools: “The shift of responsibility for careers advice to schools has been a failure. Schools, Government and businesses all have a role to play in fixing the problem; it cannot be shouldered by schools alone...” So what is the state of careers advice in 2014? Ian Trevett met with Karen O’Donoghue, the President of The Career Development Institute (CDI), which is the voice of the career development sector, to find out. 66


{ INTERVIEW }

“I would like to ensure that there was an all-age careers service that was free or subsidised to all those who needed it.” THE CBI HAS DECLARED THAT CAREERS ADVICE IS IN CRISIS. WHAT DO THEY MEAN BY THAT AND WHAT WOULD YOUR REACTION BE? I think there’s a common misunderstanding about what careers advice is, and it’s very often seen as a one-to-one interview and nothing else. I’d actually argue that career development and support, particularly for young people, is made up of three elements: • It’s made up of good careers education that’s planned into the curriculum, which is about individuals identifying what they’re good at, developing self-confidence and self-esteem. • The second part of that is about experience of work in all its forms. This includes work placements, employers coming in and talking on a first-hand basis about jobs. • And then the third part of that three-legged stool is around the careers guidance element. At the CDI we’re very concerned that current policy has emphasised the experience of work over and above the proper intervention of the careers professional. So I think the CBI is very much talking about that. There isn’t a strong intervention from a careers professional, and it isn’t in the context of a strong curriculum and experience of work. CAREERS ADVICE HAS FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED, WITH SCHOOLS OFTEN TAKING CARE OF THEIR OWN CAREERS ADVICE NOW. IS THAT CORRECT? Yes, that’s right. The statutory duty moved and I think that is widely acknowledged as a serious flaw in public policy. In moving the responsibility from local authorities, there has also been a loss of funding. There was a significant disappearance of millions of pounds, which was formerly invested through the Connexions Service. Connexions wasn’t just about offering careers advice, it was also working with young people who were unemployed, looking at removing the barriers, and improving employability skills. It wasn’t always about providing the best possible careers guidance. It was more around social skills and dealing with some very hard-toreach young people. And in that context it did an exceptionally good job, I think. With schools taking over, they’ve got no resources yet they’ve got a responsibility. They haven’t necessarily got the experience

of providing careers services and they haven’t got a local authority service to go to directly. There is very little in terms of regulation about what a qualified careers guidance advisor looks like. Many schools have done very well. But the OFSTED review last year identified that only one in five schools were actually delivering the new statutory duty. It isn’t a criticism of schools, it’s a criticism of policy. DO SCHOOLS HAVE TOO MUCH ON THEIR PLATE ALREADY? Schools will prioritise the other criteria that the government requires of them. So they are prioritising hitting five A* to Cs. Or they might be prioritising moving students into Sixth Form. So they might be able to generate extremely high standards but they’re not necessarily generating people who are either work ready or, more properly, career-resilient, by which I mean they’ve got the management skills that they need to make choices for themselves. DO YOU FIND THE CBI’S INTERVENTION QUITE HELPFUL IN THAT CASE? I think I would comment that a number of employer bodies are very helpful in promoting career development. The Federation of Small Businesses and The British Chambers of Commerce have also commented that young people are just not ready. Going back to my first point which was around the public understanding of what career development services is: I do worry because I represent a professional body for practitioners – I do worry that there is a suggestion that actually if you put employers in front of a classroom that young people will be inspired and they will suddenly realise all the world of opportunity that is available to them. I worry about the idea that this one interaction with an employer will change years of stereotyping and facilitate social mobility for all as well as economic prosperity. IT HAS OFTEN BEEN SAID THAT THE JOBS THAT PEOPLE HAVE IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN INVENTED YET. SO HOW CAN YOU OFFER ADVICE TO A YOUNG PERSON WHEN THE WORLD CHANGES SO FAST? At the CDI we are passionate about ensuring that everybody understands what being a careers

professional looks like. And for us there are lots of different people who are practising now who are really professional. But in order to give really strong guidance, they have to be graduate level and we believe that they should be a registered practitioner. That means that not only have they got a qualification, they’ve also got a code of ethics and they’ve also demonstrated an ongoing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) which you’d expect from any professional. A strong element of the qualification is that the practitioner understands labour market information, they understand what is going on in the world of work. They won’t understand every single job in every single sector throughout the whole of the UK. But they will understand labour market trends and they will most importantly understand where information can be gleaned to stay up-to-date. And that’s a critical part. It isn’t about counselling, it isn’t about having a cosy chat. It’s about bringing that dimension about the world of work. It is also about developing career management skills, it’s understanding strengths and weaknesses, it’s understanding personal motivation, it’s looking at how to find information and to be self-directed in sorting that information. It’s about looking at what the barriers might be as well. So it is around career management skills which are transferable. And I think that that’s what’s really important, that we’re talking about developing transferable skills in schools which will last a lifetime. It’s too much of a truism to say the world of work is changing rapidly and nobody has a job for life, all those things. So we’ve got to have those skills to make sure that if somebody wants to change their job, change their career, are made redundant, looking for a promotion – how do you do it? And those things should be embedded pre-16. THE POLICIES ON CAREER DEVELOPMENT VARY ACROSS THE FOUR HOME NATIONS. WHY IS THIS? In Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland there is a publically funded all-age career service and they do widely respect careers practitioners. They ensure that they’re all signed up and paid-for members of the CDI, because we’re a professional body and it’s reflective of their professional practice.

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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:

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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.


{ INTERVIEW } of their students and not outwards and what’s happening in work. And so they need to have that support. I would put back the statutory responsibility for work-related learning. I would strengthen the inspection regime to make sure that there was independent, impartial careers guidance that was going in from somebody who was CDI registered at Level 6 and make sure that that was properly inspected.

“At the CDI we’re very concerned that current policy has emphasised the experience of work over and above the proper intervention of the careers professional.” In England there is a view that schools should be almost wholly autonomous. Now I’m not making a point about that, I neither agree nor disagree. But I do think that schools need to be properly funded to make the choices that they want. They are funded in a number of different ways but

they are definitely not funded to deliver careers guidance. What there is, though, in England is a National Careers Service which is specifically for adults, and the National Careers Council for England has on a number of occasions now called for an extension of the responsibilities of the National Careers Service to work with young people. IF YOU WERE THE MINISTER, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? I would like to ensure that there was an all-age careers service that was free or subsidised to all those who needed it. And I think that’s an important point: It’s not for everybody, it’s for those who need it. SO DO YOU TAKE THE EMPHASIS AWAY FROM SCHOOLS? No, I think it should be a partnership with schools. The current mantra goes that schools know their students best and know what they need. And I agree with that. But schools equally are focussed largely inwards and on the needs

YOU SAY IT’S RECOGNISED THAT WAS PROBABLY A BAD MOVE. DO YOU THINK THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT RECOGNISES THIS OR DO THEY STILL STAND BY THE POLICY? A few years ago, the Minister, John Hayes, was very supportive and I think he understood the power, the social benefits and the economic impact of careers guidance, and it was he who drove the establishment of the National Careers Council for England. He started talking about the profession being a graduate profession, and there is a legacy from what he said. We’re positive that Nick Boles, the new Minister of State for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education, understands the agenda, and he has announced that he was accepting the National Careers Council recommendation to establish an employer-led advisory body which would talk directly to ministers. He’s committed that it’s going to be employer-led and that they’re looking for a high profile employer to chair that group. It will include representatives from the careers sector and from education, and I think that will be very powerful. And I think that’s a really positive step. There was never a golden age of the careers services, so it’s wrong to look back. But I think we need a champion who doesn’t say, ‘Well, my careers advice at school was awful, and therefore it must still be awful now 30 years later.’ I think that’s an inappropriate and inaccurate portrayal of what we did. Our responsibility in the CDI is to raise the public awareness of what actually career development is about, and that’s a very big challenge because it isn’t just about that careers intervention. Careers guidance intervention is about that whole raft of activities, and we in the sector have got a responsibility to make sure that people understand that and to help government make the right decisions. We can’t simply step back and criticise them for it. That’s why we’ve been developing links with the CBI, with the Chambers of Commerce, with CIPD and the Federation of Small Businesses because we know how important the voices of employers are to government but also are to young people and adults making choices.

www.thecdi.net

69


Want to expand into global markets? The University of Brighton is launching a new programme for companies with ambitions to operate internationally. This new strategic development programme, Business Beyond Borders, will help companies to develop their ideas into a tangible export plan for their business, and gain the knowledge and skills to deliver it. The five workshops will cover the identification of new overseas target markets, assessing the most appropriate market entry methods, adapting product and service offerings for international markets and managing export markets. They will be facilitated by experts with firsthand industrial experience of international business development and the expertise of UKTI and other partners. Starts December 2014. For more information contact the Business Helpdesk on +44 (0)1273 643098 or email businesshelpdesk@brighton.ac.uk

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{ UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON }

Meet our Graduates By Robbie Vella Marketing manager for business and community, University of Brighton In last month’s issue, the round table debate posed the question ‘is there a graduate skills gap?’ This gave us an excellent opportunity to explain the many ways that businesses can get involved with universities, our students and courses. With no need to add to the points so well made by Clare Griffiths and Linda Buckham, I would like to introduce you to some of our graduates and their local employers.

Chris Cragg, CEO of Immersive Album in Hastings, has recently employed five graduates through an internship scheme. The company creates interactive apps for artists in the music industry and Chris has found that graduate employees have brought new talent and vision to the company. Chris said: “Before we took on our graduates, I must admit that I had concerns about the idea. But I was basing that on my own experiences of being a new employee! My opinions have completely changed since I’ve seen the calibre of the work that our new employees have been producing.” The graduates came from courses including Music and Sound Arts BA(Hons) and Digital Games Production BSc(Hons). One employee, Hywel Rees, has been promoted to the position of Production Manager within a year of arriving at the company, and he now oversees all operations.

decided it was time to expand and planned to increase the business’ marketing activity. Lisa recruited University of Brighton graduate Zala Jamnik early in 2014 on a paid three-month internship as media and marketing assistant. Zala had graduated with a degree in English Studies and Media in 2012 and completed her

Energy technology company Power Diverter took on Marta Wrzesinska as an intern in Marketing and Sales. Power Diverter’s managing director Daniel Lawes said: “We were introduced to Marta through the University of Brighton’s Green Growth Platform which supports the environmental sector in Sussex. In her first week Marta had a positive impact on the business, and we have now employed her full-time.”

Video conferencing provider Eyenetwork enables meetings and conferences to take place globally, without the need for long distance flights. After almost two decades in the business, Managing Director Lisa Honan

MA in Creative Media in 2013. Lisa said: “Zala came to us with an impressive knowledge of social media marketing, which she is now using to raise our social media profile substantially.’’ Zala said: ‘’I have been able to take all the knowledge I gained at university and put it to practical use in a creative way across social media platforms, websites and blogs. With the wonderful team here at Eynetwork the role was a perfect fit for me, and the internship developed into a full-time position with the company.’’

The University of Brighton has placed many more graduates into internships locally, a significant proportion of which have turned into permanent positions. For more information, contact Rebecca Duffy, Employment Engagement Officer at the University of Brighton, 01273 642863 or email r.l.duffy@brighton.ac.uk

“There are many ways that businesses can get involved with universities, our students and courses”

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Platinum Business News!

Your future talent-pool of highly-skilled future employees The Careers and Employability Centre, at the University of Sussex, welcomes the opportunity to work with new and existing employers, our Sussex alumni and opportunity providers across all sectors. We want to make it easy for you, the business community, to engage with the University and your future talentpool of highly skilled students and graduates. We look forward to discussing ways in which we can work together.

Free vacancy advertising for employers We offer a free vacancy advertising service for opportunities which are suitable for our current students or recent graduates. Adverts appear at our online vacancy listing: www.sussex.ac.uk/careers/jobs/search and interested candidates will apply to you directly. One year professional placements A number of courses at Sussex involve a professional placement year. Subjects include Informatics, Business and Management and Product Design. We can help you to recruit a suitable student for your organisation. Work experience and Internships Work experience is a cost effective way of raising your profile and even trialling potential future graduate employees. We can target current students and recent graduates and have some special funded schemes. Sussex Santander internships The University of Sussex is a member of Santander Universities UK and we are able to offer a limited number of 12-week internships, with attached funding, for small to medium-size enterprises.

Recruitment fair Our flagship event, Careers Fair, is held each autumn at the American Express Community Stadium. It attracts over 100 exhibitors and up to 2,500 students and recent graduates. We’d love you to be there! Events Let us host your recruitment presentations or informal drop-in sessions to give you the opportunity to meet students on campus. This is an effective way to reach your target audience. We also welcome your support and expertise for some of our initiatives such as StartUp Sussex Enterprise, our programme for potential social and commercial entrepreneurs. Skills workshops and alumni talks Employers regularly visit Sussex to run skills development sessions for our students. Recent events have included presentation skills, social entrepreneurship, commercial awareness, networking and assessment centres. We also welcome Sussex alumni back to campus to take part in careers information

If you’d like to find out more please contact: Linda Buckham, Director, Careers and Employability Centre, Andrea Wall, Employer Engagement Manager, Careers and Employability Centre, The Library, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QL T: 01273 873384 or 01273 678429 E: andrea.wall@sussex.ac.uk W: www.sussex.ac.uk/careers/employers

Please mention Platinum Business Magazine when you contact us.


{ ROUND TABLE }

HASTINGS DIRECT STUDENT LEADERSHIP PROGRAMME In the last issue, we hosted a Round Table Debate on the subject of the Graduate Skills Gap, which certainly prompted much conversation across the region and we are delighted to announce that Hastings Direct Insurance, who took part in the debate alongside the University, are currently exploring a dynamic leadership programme with Brighton University. Debate Chairman Maarten Hoffmann brought up the subject, with considerable frustration, that too few leading companies in the region were working with the Universities in the development of their graduate courses, which he passionately felt would greatly expand the graduates’ opportunities of finding work post grad, and the partner company would greatly benefit from a graduate workforce that they had been mentoring. A discussion with Amanda Menahem, HR Director of our largest employer, Hastings Direct Insurance led to the creation of the Round Table and we are delighted that a union is being explored and we will monitor progress and follow the scheme throughout the year. Amanda canvassed a selection of her young graduate employees and the overwhelming result was that, in varying ways, they did not

feel ready for the workplace when they left University and voiced the opinion that mentoring and work placement with a company would have gone a long way to ease their transition. The same applies for the employer, of course, as they would receive graduate employees that were ready to go and fully up to speed with their company culture, ethos and sector. A genuine win/win proposition.

“This dynamic programme combines training and real world experience”

managers and the potential of a graduate-level role with Hastings Direct. Measuring the success of the programme will comprise the number of successful completers and resulting offers of employment from Hastings Direct in the immediate term. The medium to longer term outcomes can be measured by additional offers of employment from other employers within six months of graduation (taking the First Destination Returns model), qualitative feedback from participants and impact of the programme on successful placement offers for continuing students. The Universities work incredibly hard to fully round their student’s education and equally, the students work hard and pay a tidy sum for said education, therefore they deserve the best shot at a job the minute they graduate and Sussex employers have a responsibility to Sussex Universities to assist in this process. Hastings Direct are blazing the trail.

This dynamic programme combines training and real world experience, providing and developing the skills and knowledge to become effective leaders. Running over an academic year, the programme includes a short term placement, master class seminars, the opportunity to work on real life business projects and mentoring from practising senior

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We

Hurst Prep because...

Hurst Hurstpierpoint College Pre-Prep | Prep | Senior School | Sixth Form

”...art lessons are messy“ Hurstpierpoint College College Lane Hurstpierpoint West Sussex BN6 9JS 01273 836936 www.hppc.co.uk


{ EDUCATION }

NO ONE IS LEFT ON THE BENCH at Hurstpierpoint College By Tim Firth, Head of Sixth Form, Hurstpierpoint College

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longside the obvious educational benefits that independent schools offer their pupils, there is a wealth of extracurricular opportunities available for sporting and outdoor education activities. For children and young people with a particular talent or interest, an independent school can provide the coaching, time and facilities to enable them to achieve to the very highest levels. Hurstpierpoint College students have excelled in many areas over recent months: Over the summer, George Garton and Tom Haines, two very gifted cricketers, have added to their credentials by taking part in England tournaments representing the South East. Batsman and bowler George played in the Super 4s national competition hosted by Loughborough University and was selected for the England U17 squad for a 50 over match against Pakistan. Batsman Tom played in the younger age group 4 region Bunbury tournament, held at Oakham School in Rutland. He was voted Batsman, Most Valuable Player and Best Captain of the tournament, with a stand-out performance of a 70 run innings against the Midlands region team. Closer to home, both have also been regulars in the 2nd XI squad for Sussex County

Cricket Club with George named as 12th man in the 1st team on occasion. At the start of this term, three Upper Sixth form hockey players, Ben Cooke, Sam George and Courtney Hansford took part in an U17 Hockey tournament hosted at the University of Manchester. Ben and Sam played against each other in the final, contested by the two England teams in the competition and Courtney played in one of the girls’ England teams. All three are now well on their way in the U18 England squad selection process over the coming months. The 2014 rugby season is well under way and Lower Sixth former James Hadfield has just been selected for the Sussex division of the Harlequins Elite Player Development Group. James is currently the 1st XV hooker at Hurst and has high aspirations of playing the game professionally. He is proud to represent the school and appreciates greatly the coaching and support he receives from Hurst. At the recent British Independent Schools Ski (BISS) Racing Indoor Championships held at Hemel Hempstead, two Hurst teams acquitted themselves well, with one team awarded second place overall in the Mixed Schools category, missing out on first place by just

one point. Sixth Former Sam Todd-Saunders and John-Dean Mooney took first and second place respectively in the individual Under 21 men’s category. Hugo Mooney came 4th in the Under 18 boys’ category. Helen Todd-Saunders finished in 6th place in the individual Under 16 girls’ category, Elsa Powell was placed 11th and Holly Meyerratken finished in 14th. Pip Mooney took part in the Under 21 Ladies’ category and took 3rd place. Sam and younger sister Helen are involved with the England Alpine Ski Team; Sam has been selected for the third year running as a team member and Helen has joined the development squad, which is the youngest tier of the team. Both will compete in the English Championships to be held in Bormio, Italy in February 2015. The College is delighted to have so many gifted sportsmen and women in the school and it is wonderful to see such success, not only in the traditional sports of the school but also in the more specialist extra-curricular activities. Equestrianism is another growing area for Hurst, which has close links with Hickstead. Headmaster Tim Manly’s mantra that “no one is left on the bench” is certainly true to its word. www.hppc.co.uk

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{ MOTORING REVIEW }

Motoring Editor: Maarten Hoffmann

BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT V8 S

DIED AND GONE TO HEAVEN

TECHNICAL STUFF: Power: 4.0 litre twin turbo V8 Performance: 0-60mph 4.7 seconds Top Speed: 187mph Economy: 25.9mpg Price: £143,000 (Coupe £130,000) 76

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hen the call came from Simon Elkin of Harwood’s Bentley in Pulborough, with an offer to test the new Bentley Continental V8 convertible, l struggled to think of a better way to spend an afternoon. My wife was in labour at the Sussex County and my daughter had a ballet performance that she had been rehearsing for well over three months but l still thought driving a new Bentley was the most important task l had that afternoon. I don’t regret it. The Continental moniker has been around for quite some time and was originally used on any model that WO himself had taken for high-speed testing to mainland Europe. The first was the 1952 R-type coupe and it is still an evocative name that conjures up images of Roger Moore and Britt Eckland cruising around Casino Square in Monte Carlo. I was blown away by the sheer majesty of the car, and if you pluck up the courage to open the taps on this 500 hp twin turbo V8 you will quickly learn that it is actually feasible to merge a luxury GT with the sort of power you might expect from a Ferrari. It can be savage, unless you would like to take your Nan to church, in which case it is well behaved and almost docile, with a stately manner that made me feel quite regal. With a car weighing in at 2320kg, you would be forgiven thinking it a misprint when l tell you that the 0-62mph score is 4.8 seconds.


And this is not the fast one! The 6.0 litre W12 sits atop the tree, but the V8, with a slight reduction in power but a huge economy saving, the V8’s 29.7mpg compared to the W12’s 17.1, l don’t think you need to look much further than the V8. It also offers a cavernous boot with a low lip, ensuring that the heft of the golf bats is none too strenuous. Bentley’s design team, led by Dirk van Braeckel, have sculpted and carved the body with gorgeous pronounced creases and curves and although there is a nod to the past, this is contemporary 2014 styling with great visual muscularity. I fully expected to wallow around the bends but she will have none of it. Surface imperfections pass unnoticed, our glorious Sussex potholes don’t exist and when cornering in anger, it can hold 1.05g of lateral grip and that is vastly impressive. Touch the accelerator on a motorway slip road at 30mph and you will be doing 70mph in 4.2 seconds. Repeat the exercise at 50mph and

you will cruising at 70mph within 2.4 seconds. You get the idea – this is a hugely fast car with impeccable road manners. The interior leaves me slightly breathless. Acres of soft embroidered leather, yards of perfect polished walnut veneer, handmade aluminium fascia inserts and chrome-bevelled control dials all contribute to a rich and luxurious interior that very few manufacturers can pull off. You wonder how many hours went into designing the triple laminated acoustic glass that cuts out virtually all wind noise. Crewe’s master craftsmen have an uncanny attention to detail and are the envy of the industry. They have even designed the dash to resemble the wings of the Bentley badge. And the smell of leather, wood and deep pile is intoxicating. They have had to work hard to make this work for four people. The front seats have been cleverly slimmed down to offer an extra 46mm of rear legroom but in the back, anyone over six feet will be a tad tight. But then with the convertible, that problem dissipates into the

thrill of hair-in-the-wind motoring and a lovely roar from the thumping V8 when you hit the gas. The standard equipment is impressive, of course, and too long to list; and then there are those devilishly attractive extra items that would have my cheque book out in a jiffy. Take the optional carbon-ceramic brakes that will stop this beast from 60mph in 2.5 seconds. How could you not order that option? This is not a cheap car to buy or to run but then why should it be? It is the pinnacle of great British engineering, seamlessly drawing on a long and illustrious history and still showing the world what luxury is all about. I am obviously not alone. Figures just out show that Bentley are accelerating toward a record breaking year of sales with an increase of 19% in the first nine months of 2014. Recently unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, the new £252,200 Mulsanne Speed looks set to become another top seller. I previously had seven things to accomplish on my ‘to do before l die’ list, and now there are eight – to own a Bentley Continental.

“They have even designed the dash to resemble the wings of the Bentley badge. And the smell of leather, wood and deep pile is intoxicating”

Motoring powered by A1 CAR SEARCH


{ MERCEDES-BENZ }

THE LOOKERS GROUP PLC

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{ MERCEDES-BENZ }

A STAR IS BORN: The History of Mercedes-Benz

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h Lord, won’t you buy me a MercedesBenz?” That’s the opening line of “Mercedes-Benz,” a song most famously recorded by singer Janis Joplin in the early 1970s. The tune gently poked fun at materialism and our desire for the finer things in life. It’s fitting that the renowned German marque figures prominently in the lyric. Mercedes-Benz has long been known for crafting vehicles that emphasize luxury and refinement. For many, its vehicles are sleek symbols of status, success and achievement. In January of 1886, Karl Benz unveiled the world’s first automobile, a three-wheeled vehicle dubbed the Benz Patent Motor Car. A few months later, Gottlieb Daimler and his chief engineer Wilhelm Maybach rolled out a fourwheeled vehicle powered by his Daimler engine. The first Mercedes-Benz was crafted in 1901, shortly after Daimler’s death. Built by Maybach, the car was commissioned by Emil Jellinek, one of Daimler’s primary distributors, and was ultimately named after Jellinek’s daughter, Mercedes. In 1926, the companies founded by Daimler and Benz merged to form Daimler-Benz AG, and the Mercedes-Benz brand was born. The company’s insignia was a three-pointed star wreathed in a laurel; the star was dreamed up by Daimler years earlier, and its three points signified the fact that his engines were for use in vehicles that travelled by land, air and sea. Right from the start, the Mercedes-Benz name was synonymous with automotive excellence. One of the automaker’s earliest vehicles, the 1931 Mercedes-Benz 170, distinguished itself as the world’s first production car to offer a technology that was nothing short of extraordinary for the day: four-wheel independent suspension. They then went onto invent the first carburettor, the first passenger car with brakes, the first diesel engine, first traction control system, first ABS, first airbags,

first seven speed auto transmission and so it goes on. Mercedes-Benz have innovated without pause and continue to do so right up to the current day in their cars, trucks and vans. The ‘30s and ‘40s saw Mercedes-Benz establishing itself as the brand of choice for car buyers seeking the ultimate in luxury, thanks to coveted cruisers like the 380 and 540K. The 1950s witnessed the introduction of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing,” a sports car

“For many, its vehicles are sleek symbols of status, success and achievement” that has been described as being the world’s first supercar. With its dramatic styling and race-bred technology, the 300 SL reigns today as a classic coveted by collectors worldwide. The decade also saw Daimler-Benz making strides in the area of safety technology. The company’s Mercedes-Benz 220 sedans were the first vehicles to incorporate its patented “crumple zone” body design, created to absorb impact in the event of a crash. In 1963, the company cemented its reputation as the home of automotive luxury with the launch of the Mercedes-Benz 600. The elegant, luxurious sedan was also available as a limousine and featured an ahead-of-its-time air suspension system and a V8 engine that boasted 300 horsepower. The decade also saw the launch of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3. This full-size sedan went from zero to 60 in under seven seconds, distinguishing itself as the quickest luxury car of its day.

The 1970s saw the birth of the brand’s storied S-Class line of vehicles, opulent sedans and coupes that coddled passengers with powerful engines and a long list of luxury features. The decade also saw Mercedes-Benz continuing on the cutting edge of safety technology, by being the first to offer antilock brakes in its vehicles. Daimler-Benz’s safety advancements continued in the 1980s. Its cars were the first to offer airbags and traction control. The manufacturer also raised the bar in terms of ride comfort and handling when it introduced multilink rear suspension. The technology debuted on the compact Mercedes-Benz 190 E, and it remains a vital component of the company’s chassis engineering to this day. Mercedes-Benz vehicles got an extra dose of power and performance in the 1990s, thanks to the manufacturer’s partnership with AMG, a performance and tuning shop that was eventually purchased by the company to help produce high-performance versions of some of its vehicles. The first AMG model offered in the U.S. was the sporty C36 AMG in 1995; since then, Mercedes-Benz has gone on to offer an AMGtuned version of almost all of its vehicles. To prove a point, the company got involved in Formula 1 in 1954 with driver Juan Manuel Fangio, and swept the board. History repeats itself today, as the Mercedes-Benz team consisting of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are so far ahead in the 2014 championship that it often appears that the others cars are driving a different race. The company’s current line-up is the most comprehensive in its history. With a variety of sedans, coupes, SUVs and roadsters filling Mercedes-Benz showrooms, it seems like the only thing missing is a pickup truck. Surely, the fact that Janis Joplin’s song holds as much relevance today as it did more than three decades ago is a strong indicator that the brand’s premier status is still very much intact.

Contact: Mercedes-Benz of Gatwick, Eastbourne, Brighton and Tonbridge ON 0844 659 7503 79


{ MOTORING }

BESPOKE PERSONAL SHOPPING

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e are all quite aware of personal shoppers who pop to the shops to buy one’s pants and ties but what about a personal shopper for slightly bigger items, such as your next car? Personal shopping is not a frivolous service aimed just at getting the best from your nonessentials. It can also be used for some of the cornerstones of life – a good estate agent is essentially a personal shopper for property, a travel agent one for holidays so why not cars. I must say that one of the hurdles when you are buying a new car is, firstly, the hassle of having to take a day out and drive all over town, test driving the cars you think you would like to buy. Then, of course, we have the problem that the majority of salesmen are, rightfully, biased toward the marque they are selling and therefore might not be inclined to tell you that there is another model more suited to your needs, or a better car on the market.

That is all removed with the use of a car search company. Totally independent of any manufacturer with the sole aim of pleasing their customer, the independence of a personal shopper is just as important as their expertise, as it guarantees nothing but your best interests are at the heart of their actions and they can offer impartial advice on the model that suits your precise circumstances. Having been told numerous times about one particular company I thought I would do a little mystery shopping. I called A1 Car Search and gave them a very detailed specification of what I was looking

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“The customer is our focus. We are able to give completely independent advice”

for, and a false name, and replaced the phone having secretly worked out what three vehicles I knew met my spec. Low and behold, the MD Kevin Rowe called me within the hour and named exactly the three models that I had on my list. It was like a little Houdini act of magic as I looked around the office for a hidden camera. That was really quite impressive and I can see why so many people use such a service as it removes the hassle, offers unbiased advice and then delivers the car to your door without the customer having to lift a finger. The other thing that A1 seems to have got right is their


advice on finance. I must admit that even as a seasoned motoring journalist, I can get very confused when people in the trade start discussing finance rates – there seems to be an unending plethora of rates and the temptation to self-harm becomes appealing. When I asked A1 about this, l got no-nonsense advice based on the information l supplied and in plain English. Impressive. I then revealed myself to Kevin Rowe and sat down for a chat. “There is no reason why you cannot have both value and the right car,” says Rowe. “It’s completely false that value comes from the longevity of a car - value comes from the residual values and running costs of each vehicle. Owning a vehicle for a long period of time doesn’t automatically mean its good value for money.” Kevin

explains that this is too simplistic and the right car depends on much more which he gleans from detailed and carefully refined questions asked of each new customer. “The customer is our focus. We are able to give completely independent advice and will not sell certain vehicles because they do not come up to the standard we expect for our customers. We look at a customer as a long-term relationship and generally our customers come back to us again because of the trust we’ve built. As we also deal with pre-owned vehicles, we can remove and monetise the existing car or fleet

and supply the new model without our customer having left the office” A1 advises on the car a customer wants and include the cost of its service into the price of the car so you will pay no more than from any other dealer. They also have a fleet company, A1 Fleet Solutions, that must be an SME’s dream as they take all the hassle away, leaving the MD to concentrate on his core business. They already have 70 vehicles supplied to Posturite in East Sussex and fully maintain the entire fleet. Here is one of the biggest bonuses of investing in a personal shopper – it’s their job,

day in, day out, to source, examine and review the products you might only purchase a handful of times in your life. If you live by the idiom of time is money, then the time you save by using a personal shopper will already be money in the bank. But even if you feel you are time-rich, there are savings to be had by using the expertise of other people when buying everything from a new phone to a car. So impressed were we that we offered A1 the opportunity to sponsor our entire motoring section.

Tel: 01273 277037 Mobile: 07949 163 653 Mail: sales@a1carsearch.co.uk • sales@a1fs.co.uk • Web: www.a1carsearch.co.uk • www.a1fs.co.uk

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BRANDS HATCH HERO

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here are certain drawbacks to this job and having to find time in a busy diary to accept an invitation from Tony Rice at Coulsdon Audi, to travel to Brands Hatch to test all the latest high performance Audi RS cars is one of them. Really, the inconvenience of it all! The diary was cleared in about 2.4 seconds and off to Brands I went – at speed. I was welcomed by a smorgasbord of Audi engineering with almost the entire range of RS models available. Now if you don’t know the RS, it stands for Really Silly (not really) and is the equivalent of Mercedes AMG or BMW’s M Division– a great car then ‘breathed’ on or as we used to call it, souped up. I first took the RS7 Sportback for a squirt around the local roads to get a feel for the latest RS technology and with 560PS V8 twin-turbo, it’s certainly no slouch and then in for a quick change into the RS5 Coupe, which I have to say I highly rate in its calmer road going form, but this one is phenomenal with a 4.2 litre V8 engine and 7-speed S tronic transmission. You get an endearing little

exhaust pop every time you change gear in anger which might get annoying unless like me, you make frequent and totally unnecessary gear changes just to hear that pop and burble. When in comfort mode, it’s calm and docile but flip it to Dynamic and with 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds, this is a very fast car with a very satisfying noise. Or what about a family estate that that does 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds and will proceed north

of 155mph – ridiculous I hear you say. Well, get yourself into the driving seat of the RS6 Avant and that is exactly what you get – it’s totally bonkers but in a very good way. My track time arrives at last and I calmly (running at full chat) make my way to the pits to be presented with the new R8, the keys and green lights all over the iconic track. Well, mildly

excited does not quite do justice to the tingling in my fingers but I can assure you there was very little rubber remaining on those fat tyres when l had finished. Along Brabham Straight at a speed I have no awareness of as I was concentrating so hard, but I hit Paddock Hill Bend at about 140mph with a touch of brakes and then up the hill to Druids, where full ceramic anchors are applied to save a blood bath with the barrier. Oh what fun! The R8 is finely balanced with a 43:57 axle load distribution and a thumping great Perspex covered V10 power plant at your back. It can be really chucked around corners and with the Quattro working hard it makes the most imbecilic drivers feel like Nigel Mansell, which in the long term l would suggest can only lead to catastrophe. Suddenly my reverie is disturbed by some guy in the pits waving a finish flag at me but honestly, my vision in that eye is not at all good, and it took another 5 laps before he managed to get my attention!! That and an empty fuel tank. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it.

“My track time arrives at last and I calmly (running at full chat) make my way to the pits”

Motoring powered by A1 CAR SEARCH


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 the luxurious surroundings of The Grand Hotel Brighton. Don’t just take our word for it, here is what some of our club member’s have to say: Let me tell you that the Platinum Club is “ “The Platinum Club is all that I expect from a networking club, no ordinary networking club. For anyone who informal, full of interesting people and well run. I look forward to is tired of run-of-the-mill networking events I would suggest you try the Platinum Club. John Healy – Healy’s LLP

each meeting and have found that I have made new friends and met new clients. Richard Kendall Tobias - Blue Diamond Security

I would recommend the Platinum Club “ “We have recently become members of The Platinum Club where as a fantastic way to meet new contacts in we have met great people and even gained new clients already. I a relaxed evening of networking with a great location! Good spread of Companies and make you feel at home! Tony Rice – Coulsdon Audi

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

The Platinum Club is undoubtedly one “ of the most prestigious networking groups I have attended. The meetings are vibrant and positive and we leave the events with a spring in our step, pleased we made the commitment to attend. 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


{ BUSINESS SCENE }

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3. 1. Becky Madge Sharp (Sharp Insight), Daisy Fitzsimmons & Stacey Williams (Pier Recruitment). 2. Clarence Mitchell & Carol Ramsden (The Conservative Party), Gavin Whippy (Whippy Insurance). 3. Maarten Hoffmann (The Platinum Club), Abi Kolliari (American Express), Lisa Castledine (American Express), Nicola Gunstone (EcoTech). 4. Michael Wilkins (Allied Irish Bank), Roy Whitehouse (WSI International), Jeremy Woolwich (Independant Perspective). 5. Nick Jenner (Square One Financial), John Burroughes (Uniglobe Travel), Pieter Grobbelaar (Concordia Health).

The Platinum Club Networking Forum, held at The Grand Hotel Brighton The region’s leading networking forum, The Platinum Club, met at the Grand Hotel in Brighton recently and a jolly spiffing time was had by all and with a plethora of new members there were countless new introductions. The PC is different from many networking groups as they accept no speeches, no presentations, no sponsors, no seated meals and a limit of four members per business sector to avoid becoming top heavy with any particular industry. The PC events are highly enjoyable and attended by some of the leading business figures in the region and are fully hosted to ensure that introductions are made throughout the evening.

6. Rachel Hutchinson (The Grand Hotel), Paul Sheffield (Grandad Digital), Lynne Edwards (Portfolio Magazine). 7. Richard Skerritt (Skerritt Wealth Managment), Sarah Hopwood, John & Daisy Gilham-Hills (The Crabtree). 8. Richard Zinzan (ZSTa Architects) Sasha Davies (Godfrey Investments), Gemma King (Vivid Marketing), Mark Tully (Gemini Print). 9. Robert Hanna (Augusta Ventures), Neil Beglin (AVS), Sophia Lee-Spencer (Callisto Associates), Craig Walden (Big Beach Marketing). 10. Roy Whitehouse (WSI International), Amanda Menahem (Hastings Direct Insurance), Jeremy Woolwich (Independant Perspective).

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

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{ NETWORKING }

“Running a business without networking is a bit like winking at a girl in the dark. You know you are doing it but no one else does”

NETWORKING - Pain or Pleasure

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ome folk see networking as a chore that is not really required in business whilst others see it as a vital component to the health and wealth of their firm. If you are in the first camp, then l have to say that you are utterly wrong and will pay the price in the long term. Networking is as important as breathing to any business but even more so to young, startup firms that need all the friends they can get. A smart Alex once said that running a business without networking is a bit like winking at a girl in the dark. You know you are doing it but no one else does. There is little point in creating a great product or service if no one knows about it. Sure, you can do some marketing but that can be expensive and who knows if you are reaching the right audience. Choose the right networking group and you hit all the right people, every month, for a tenth of the cost and might well meet a marketing company that will propel you to glory. But the key here is choosing the right group. So many people become disillusioned by networking as they fail to do their homework to ensure that the group is right for their business and, just as importantly, ensure that they will enjoy the group. Of course, it’s business, but so many underestimate the importance of being personally comfortable in the group, as it is only

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then that people get to see the real you and you feel comfortable enough to tell your ‘business story’ to the best of your ability. Another major fault in many is the need to sell. Networking is most certainly not about selling. It is about meeting people, taking time to get to know each other socially and over time becoming a part of their business network whereby they might use or recommend your service. It is about long-term relationship building and enjoyment. We all have ridiculously busy lives these days and if you are going to carve out time in the evening to network make it enjoyable or it becomes a chore. And there’s another thing – timing. Personally, and l am fully aware that some will disagree, networking breakfasts are a nightmare and l will never attend. Who on earth is ready to relax and casually extol their company’s merits at 8 o’clock in the morning, before running off to the office to start the day. The most effective networking events take place in the evening, just after work, and are a joy to attend and meet up with old friends and relax after a busy day with a glass or two. My own story started with the frustration that l couldn’t find an existing group where l felt comfortable, for a myriad of reasons, and felt the only way forward was to create my own group.

The Platinum Club was born, in association with the Grand Hotel, four years ago and is still the premier networking group in the region and, with a 99.9% member renewal rate, it would appear that many agree. It is essentially a relaxed cocktail party attended by an eclectic array of diverse business leaders at a beautiful location, with superb canapés and fine Champagnes and a little live jazz thrown in for good measure. Over the years, members have become firm friends, conducted an extraordinary amount of business and we even have a few relationships that were born from PC events. There are countless networking events throughout the south east, so do your homework, commit to attending every meeting possible and don’t try to sell your business – you might be surprised at the results.

The Platinum Club Info@theplatinumclubbrighton.co.uk Tel: 07966 244046


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 Deadline for nominations 2 February 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 SCENE }

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3. 1. Linda Perry and Hugh Lowson with a Business Award trophy (Chestnut Tree House). 2. Lee-Ann Connor (Gatwick Diamond Business Association), Matt Turner (Creative Pod). 3. Liz Reschwamm (Mercedes-Benz), Katya Norman (British Airways), Stephanie George (Basepoint). 4. Ken Benham (Sussex County Football Association), Stephanie Smith (Chesnut Tree House), Tim Parker. 5. The award judges Hugh Lowson (Chestnut Tree House), Poppy Szkiler (Quiet Mark), Patron, broadcaster and host of the awards, Ambrose Harcourt (AHPR).

Launch of the Chestnut Tree House Business Awards at Crawley Town FC Around 80 representatives of Sussex businesses gathered for the launch of Chestnut Tree House biennial Business Awards. The children’s hospice wants to reward and recognise the many Sussex businesses which have supported the charity and the sterling efforts of employees of those companies. Sarah Arnold, Corporate Fundraising Manager, said, “Every year, hundreds of businesses raise thousands of pounds to help us continue providing care to children with life-shortening illnesses – and their families - and we want to thank them and give something back. “We are inviting businesses to nominate themselves or name individuals in their organisations who have put in extraordinary effort to raise funds to help us. We need to raise a staggering £6,850 per day to provide all our care services – both at the hospice and in families’ own homes throughout East and West Sussex.” To enter visit www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk

6. Trevor Harman (HSBC), Lee-Ann Connor (Gatwick Diamond Business Association), Anne Whatley and George Desilvo (Thomas Eggar Ltd). 7. Rob Morgan (Bloc Hotels), Sarah Arnold (Chestnut Tree House). 8. Terrina Barnes (Chestnut Tree House), Clare Baker (British Airways). 9. Melanie Wrightson (Gatwick Airport Ltd), Clare Baker and Lesley Brown (British Airways). 10. Gemma King (Vivid Marketing), Neil Laughton (Great British Bath Tub Race).

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Photos by Graham Franks • www.grahamfrankspics.co.uk

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{ EVENTS }

Invest in women The Mumpreneurs Networking Club (MNC) has declared its support for the ‘Manifesto’ #investinwomen, which urges politicians at the highest levels to put support and finance behind women’s businesses. The MNC was founded by two Sussex business women, Sara Guiel and Nicky Chisholm, to celebrate being a Mum in Business, with the purpose of providing inspiration and advice through an ever-growing network of like-minded people, in a friendly environment. It is passionate about supporting business mums and celebrating their entrepreneurial achievements. The meetings are designed to connect, engage and inspire business women and men alike. MNC embraces the latest technology and urges its members to push the boundaries and use modern technology in their business networking. Many business women have limited time with family life and building an enterprise, so networking with the Mumpreneurs Networking Club allows them to make beneficial connections and engage with other dynamic business women, and the club supports their use of modern technology solutions to run their businesses. MNC has an app which offers cutting-edge functionality and allows members to continue to network between meetings.

November meetings: 6th Nov Shoreham 7th Nov Brighton 11th Nov Emsworth 12th Nov Crawley 12th Nov Arundel 14th Nov Worthing

14th Nov Richmond 19th Nov Lewes 19th Nov Teddington 20th Nov Chichester 26th Nov Horsham

www.mumpreneursnetworkingclub.co.uk/articles/dates > for venues and times

Business Seminars in November Charity & Not for Profit Seminar: 9.00am, 4th November 2014 – South Lodge Hotel, Horsham Carpenter Box Accountants have teamed up with fellow charity experts Future Proof and SEA PR Consultancy for a free workshop. Topics will include the new SORP - this year has seen an end to the Charity SORP consultation and with it, a new structure for financial statements. This can appear complicated and over-technical so this session aims to explain the changes in a language you can understand! In the next session you will learn how to promote or sell what you do to a stranger in 30 seconds - so often we find it difficult to explain what we do and why, especially when using mediums like radio and twitter. We need to be able to explain this in a short sentence that sets us apart from the rest! The workshop will be interactive and provides a great opportunity to exchange ideas with other charities.

Contractor & Freelancers Seminar: 6.30pm, 26th November 2014 – myhotel, Brighton IPSE accredited accountants, Carpenter Box, have teamed up with Barclays Bank for this evening seminar which aims to help contractors, freelancers and consultants run their company more efficiently. The seminar will cover current areas of interest & examine challenges facing the contractor community - from VAT, IR35 and tax efficiency. We will also discuss how the latest cloud accountancy tools could help save your business time and money. It will be a great opportunity to meet up with the team here & connect with other freelancers and contractors.

www.carpenterbox.com 90


{ NETWORKING }

THE BUSINESS NETWORK Networking - The Reality Check with Sussex Businesses

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 one with Mandy Brook

Global Recruitment HOW IMPORTANT IS NETWORKING IN YOUR MARKETING? WHAT ARE YOUR OBJECTIVES FOR NETWORKING? Networking is hugely important, not only to make contacts, but for PR purposes. The more people know of us, the more likely they are to think of us when they need help.

Mandy Brook Recruitment South East & RSE Worldwide www.recruitmentsoutheast.co.uk WHAT NETWORKS DO YOU AND YOUR TEAM ATTEND? We regularly attend Business Cornerstones, Gatwick Diamond, Speed Networking, Chamber Events and 4networking. The events are across Alfriston, Eastbourne, Hastings, Uckfield and Gatwick areas predominantly.

people and give reciprocal business. Business is built on solid relationships after all. Speed networking is always fun and you get to talk to everyone in the room

DO YOU UTILISE OTHER MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES VIA THE NETWORKS YOU ATTEND? Always. We sponsor events and get involved in seminars. We also take our CSR very seriously. We love supporting and getting involved with charities, schools, employment projects, careers fairs and so on. We are even doing a firewalk in November – our whole team is walking over hot coals to support the animals at Raystede!

WHAT SUCCESS DO YOU HAVE WITH NETWORKING? HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO GET BENEFITS FROM IT? ANY TOP TIPS? Love networking! Used to hate it! You must remember to go into a room to give, not just take. It’s vital - it’s a two way process. It works incredibly well for us, but I am privileged to have great staff that do it well and are “people” people. Go up to someone and say “who are you?” and smile - it works every time. Aim to meet five people in the room, not everyone; follow up on those five and it should work by at least the fourth visit, or something is going wrong.

DO YOU PREFER A PARTICULAR FORMAT OF NETWORKING EVENT? (EG LOCK-OUTS AND STRUCTURED MEETINGS VS MINGLING AND CHATTING?) There are merits in both, but I prefer lock out as it gives you a chance to really get to know

ANY OTHER BONUS BENEFITS OF NETWORKING? It’s a great way to see what’s going on in your local area, learn new skills, realise that you aren’t alone, whether you are going through a great time or a trying time. The support it gives you is a fabulous benefit.

LIST OF BUSINESS NETWORKING EVENTS IN SUSSEX Check out www.pearcemarketing.co.uk/marketing/blog/business-networking/ 91


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LET’S dO BUSinESS HASTinGS MAKE SURE yOU’RE THERE

TwO FLOORS. 120 STAndS. OnE dAy. THOUSAndS OF OPPORTUniTiES. Let’s Do Business, the region’s most popular business-to-business show is back. A wide mix of businesses, high quality visitors and a vibrant atmosphere, give you the chance to promote your products and services to a highly targeted audience. Free seminars and speed networking make the day a worthwhile visit for seasoned businesses or start-ups alike.

FREE viSiTOR EnTRy FREE TASTER SEMinARS FREE SHOw GUidE Register to visit at  www.letsdobusiness.org

LET’SdO HASTinGS BUSinESS 30 OCT’14 SUSSEX COAST COLLEGE 10AM-4PM www.letsdobusiness.org


{ SUSSEX ENTERPRISE }

CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT

By Ana Christie Chief Executive at Sussex Enterprise Chamber of Commerce

C

ustomer service and engagement have never been more important to the success or failure of any business. As the CEO of Sussex Enterprise I often ask myself: Do we engage enough with our members, and how can I improve our services to you? The definition of customer service is “the engagement of customers with one another, with a company or a brand. The initiative for engagement can be either consumer-or company-led and the medium of engagement can be on-or offline.” That engagement can either make or break any understanding. So how can I ensure that Sussex Enterprise engages with businesses and provides you with the service you require? Firstly, I need

to look internally at my team, my employees. The team at Sussex Enterprise are my biggest advocates and communicate the benefits that our services can bring to you. Your first point of contact is through the employees. That’s why I have been spending a lot of time with the team reviewing our processes, how we interact with you, and looking at ways to enhance our service to you. By listening to your needs, improving our communication, having greater participation through our steering groups, we can bring you an improved offering. To ensure that you receive the right customer service from Sussex Enterprise, the team have all received training on the chamber support services. There are opportunities to save money

through these services, such as legal services, private medical insurance, legal & HR helpline, credit insurance and many others. Our team in international trade are all fully qualified to assist exporters throughout the complex process of completing documentation, therefore allowing you to export your products around the world. Exciting times lie ahead at the Sussex Chamber of Commerce as we continue to enhance our customer service and engagement by listening to you. I welcome any feedback and I look forward to welcoming you at our events and forums, where you can connect with businesses of all sizes and share knowledge and ideas.

“By listening to your needs, improving our communication, having greater participation through our steering groups, we can bring you an improved offering”

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FIND FUNDING AND SUPPORT To help your business to grow Just talk to Laura Says Jill Woolf of Chimera Communications

W

ith over 150 different funding and advisory initiatives around for businesses, just where do you start? The answer, in the words of the famous TV meerkat, is ‘Simples’! Just talk to Laura Evans, Brighton & Hove Chamber’s Business Navigator, whose new role was created specifically to help local businesses access the right grants, funding and support. Whether it’s a new business or social enterprise, growing or looking to become more sustainable, there are so many schemes available to empower business owners. Laura has already helped more than 100 Brighton & Hove businesses access funding and business support which they didn’t know existed. This one-year pilot project to help local businesses navigate the myriad growth schemes and providers sees Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce join Worthing & Adur and Chichester Chambers to offer a small dedicated team to help businesses access grants, funding and other practical support. The service is free to businesses in the Brighton & Hove area and Laura can be reached via the telephone or in person. She will guide each business to the right local and/or national schemes, advice and support to help the business develop and grow, saving time, money and stress by locating the best potential opportunities.

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The project is supported by the Regional Growth Fund and managed by Coast to Capital and Brighton & Hove City Council. Examples of some of the initiatives around at the moment: • Grants of between £5,000 & £250,000 for businesses to grow and increase employment (up to 25% of the expansion project) ; • Free workshops for start-up businesses; • Support for exporting products and services at any stage; • A talented intern in the creative, digital, media, technology and green sectors -a six-week grant-assisted programme to help reduce risks associated with taking on new talent. “Almost any business can benefit from the Business Navigator service. I’m delighted to have helped so many businesses in the Brighton & Hove area since starting in July. There are so many resources out there and I really enjoy finding out what’s right for them, so I can put them directly in touch.” How it’s worked for these businesses Louise Boxall from Cresco Communications went on the Hot Housing programme for new businesses run by Chichester University. She says, “I’ve just returned from the first business boot camp feeling motivated and excited to move my business to the next level. The whistle-stop tour through networking, business planning, market research and cash flow has given me

focus, and spending two days with like-minded entrepreneurs reassures me I’m not alone! I’m looking forward to the next session.” And Andy Brett of Liminal Consulting Ltd adds, “Laura has been a great help in connecting me with support and advice in getting my startup off the ground. I’m certain that I will feel the positive effect of her support for some time to come.” Having just opened a new office in Brighton, Anthony Probert from BioRegional was pleased to find a number of support initiatives to help green businesses grow.

You can contact Laura Evans at laura.evans@ c2cbusiness.org.uk or call 01403 333840 to be put in touch with a local Navigator for the Worthing & Adur or Chichester areas. So, you see, it really is ‘Simples’ after all! www.businessinbrighton.org.uk


{ CHAMBER OF COMMERCE }

Eastbourne UnLtd Chamber of Commerce By Christina Ewbank Chief Executive, Eastbourne unLtd Chamber of Commerce LANGUAGE SPECIALISTS CELEBRATING 15 YEARS SERVICE Eastbourne Chamber Member Vandu Language Services (VLS), based in Lewes, is set to celebrate its 15th year serving public sector organisations, charities, and assisting small and medium sized enterprises to achieve their export trading ambitions.

The company is planning a number of special events and promotions for clients and associates throughout the year, including a celebratory event in October with press coverage and exciting guest speakers.

For more information on Vandu Language Services please visit www.vlslanguages.com or call 01273 473986

FIND YOUR VOCATION Sussex Downs College’s Eastbourne campus is the ‘go to’ place for vocational learning, and a new report by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has highlighted the importance of reducing the stigma attached to vocational qualifications in FE.

Since setting up in 1999, VLS has evolved to help a broad spectrum of clients spanning everything from translation, face to face and telephone interpreting for UK and overseas companies. Working with more than 1,500 trained linguists has made the company one of the most trusted and experienced businesses of its kind within the region. VLS have formal contracts with the public sector across Sussex and are increasingly aiding new clients in the private sector. VLS’s highlights of the last 15 years include the cross cultural training delivered to all its customers who are working with people of different cultures and carrying out business overseas. VLS Managing Director Mebrak Ghebreweldi explained: “Avoiding cultural mistakes while demonstrating respect and understanding for another culture can pay dividends to those who manage successful intercultural and interpersonal relationships. “

“Evidence from employers also shows that a vocational qualification better equips students for the world of work”

The CBI’s publication of ‘People and prosperity: The business vision for a better Britain’ highlights the importance of vocational learning in building a stable economic future for Britain. Dr Lynne Sedgmore CBE, executive director of the 157 Group, the prestigious group of FE

colleges of which Sussex Downs College is a member, said, “The CBI is right to highlight the fact that the current focus on academic qualifications harms not only the education of young people but also the British economy more widely. Its recommendations support our own call for vocational routes to be given equal treatment and for a renewed focus on high-level vocational skills. As the CBI rightly notes, the vocational route ‘must not be seen as a secondrate option’.” Evidence from employers also shows that a vocational qualification better equips students for the world of work. Sussex Downs College runs vocational courses from its Eastbourne campus and strives to ensure learners gain the valuable skills needed to make the transition from education to employment. At Sussex Downs College, learners can combine a vocational qualification with A Levels if they wish. For the full list of courses available, pick up the new Sussex Downs College prospectus, out now.

Melanie Hunt CEO Sussex Downs College and Director Eastbourne UnLtd Chamber of Commerce For more information about your local Chamber visit www.acesalliance.org and www.eastbourneunltd.co.uk

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{ VENUS AWARDS }

Brighton & Sussex 2014

The Venus Awards, the Working Women’s Oscars, were formed in 2009 to recognise, reward and celebrate local working women in business. This year Platinum Business Magazine was proud to sponsor and judge the Inspirational Woman of the Year category. It was an incredibly difficult task as the quality of the entrants was incredible, with moving stories of overcoming adversity, compassion and leadership. The winner and finalists are celebrated on these pages. Details of the other winners from the ceremony at The Grand Hotel on October 17th will be published next issue.

WINNER Suzy Butler, Founder and MD, Kiya Survivors We chose Suzy as, like so many of our inspirational women, she has done so much to raise funds for a worthwhile and needy cause. But what made Suzy stand out was that she has also changed perceptions and the way people think, against all the odds. One moving story demonstrated just how much can be achieved. The special needs school in Peru that Suzy was helping was never invited to the Independence Day march, until the awareness was changed and the school led the march. The pride those children must have felt is something that can never be under-estimated.

Suzy’s Story “I founded a charity in Peru in 2001 for children with special needs, abused and abandoned children living in severe poverty. I direct five projects in Peru with 40 staff between the UK and onsite and travel regularly to support staff and projects. It can be incredibly hard living what is essentially a dual life; my safe, happy life surrounded by family and friends in Hove, to the raw, desperate world I surround myself with in Peru. It can be a real challenge to keep your head above water and keep smiling, reading Horrid Henry books at bed time to my son and not

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letting the anger of injustice take over from one world to the next and just enjoy, feel I am allowed to enjoy, the lovely world I was so fortunate to be born into. One of our worst cases recently was of a young woman who had been severely abused by her Grandfather and was living in a cave made of rubbish in the middle of a nowhere shanty. It is tough as the law isn’t as supportive or organised as here and trying to get cases like this brought to justice and ensure the victims are safe, is really tough. Especially as a woman in a macho world like Peru! I come home after these long, dirty days and feel so so lucky to have so much love, so much comfort, so much food. And I cry a little, before allowing myself the gift of gratitue and look at what we are changing, not what we can’t. The five projects we run in Peru provide education, therapy, support, love and family workshops in areas where people born with special needs are invisible, seen as a curse from God. It took ten years for the villages to recognise these wonderful individuals and the work we are trying to do. But when they did, it was a proud day! As a ‘special’ school in Urubamba, we were always rejected from the big Independance Day march every year... until one day... we were presented the flag and asked to lead! Our first Kiya kid, Gervasio, who has Downs, is now working as a PA for the local Mayor and I have learnt, anything really is possible!”

www.kiyasurvivors.org


{ VENUS AWARDS }

The Sussex Inspirational Woman of the Year FINALIST Lucy Dawe MD, Lawton & Dawe Properties & Property Fusion Lucy Dawe by Jill Woolf of Chimera Communications “Lucy Dawe is truly an inspirational young woman. Lawton & Dawe cover the whole of the UK as well as being a stalwart of the Sussex business community and the only ARLAregistered letting agent based in the Shoreham area. Lucy added a block management company, Property Fusion, this year. L&D won Letting Agent of the Year (South) 2014 against prestigious national competition.

FINALIST Petrina Mayson, CEO, Furniture Now Nicky McCrudden of McCrudden Training Ltd on Petrina Mayson “Trina was a former bid-writer who has raised in excess of £25m (supporting projects working mainly with disadvantaged young people). Despite living with ME, Trina works absolutely tirelessly as CEO of recycling charity Furniture Now. In just over 12 months as CEO she has taken the charity from relatively unknown to the county’s leading organisation focusing on recycling, supporting and empowering those living in deprivation. I can’t think of anyone more deserving.”

Petrina’s story “I work full time running a local charity which supported 35,000 local people in 2013 as well as supporting other charities and individuals in my own time.

Lucy works tirelessly to support Worthing Churches Homeless Projects, Dogs Trust, Lets with Pets, Cancer Research and others.”

Lucy’s story “I have an incredible family who have supported me through good and bad times. This is why I try to help others where I can. In the last 12 months I have climbed Kilimanjaro for the Worthing Churches Homeless Project and taken part in a skydive for the same charity. I am running the Brighton Marathon for the second time next year. I am on the fundraising committee amongst other things.”

www.lawtonanddawe.co.uk

I have suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome for over 10 years but do not allow this to prevent me from achieving what I need to. I work alongside numerous other charities of all sizes so we can ensure the maximum number of people can benefit from the services we offer. I have so far raised over £27.5 million by fundraising for a wide range of organisations in Sussex including some tiny charities and worked for small organisations free of charge. I personally provided the money to pay for an area of hardstanding to be built to help rescued donkeys at the ABC Animal Sanctuary in West Sussex. Whenever I meet someone new I try to make sure that I link them to others who could help or support them and this is especially the case with representatives from other charities who are not used to working in the business community. I mentor them and take them along as my guest until they feel confident enough to go alone. I will always go the extra mile to help others and act as a mentor for numerous other business people, staff and volunteers as well as other CEOs on a long term ongoing basis.”

www.furniturenow.org.uk

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FLOODS OF CHEERS The Box Hill Burford Bridge Hotel is back, but don’t mention the F word

Don’t mention the F word!” Didier, our effervescent and friendly maitre d’ at the Emlyn Restaurant in the Mercure Box Hill Burford Bridge Hotel, places a finger to his mouth to indicate silence. It wasn’t a profanity which inspired this response. The ‘F’ in question was ‘flood’. The hotel is yards away from the footpath at the base of Box Hill, with its glorious views across Surrey’s North Downs, but last Christmas it would have been much better placed at the hill’s summit.

On Christmas Eve 2013, the flood waters from the River Mole surged through the historic hotel, parts of which date back to the 13th century. With depth of a metre and rising, 36 people had to be evacuated and the chef looked on in despair as the food prepped for Christmas floated in the murky waters. A Mercure spokesperson declared, ‘Christmas is cancelled’. Trips to the hotel were also cancelled for a long time. The repairs and refurbishments closed it down for nine months. But a

disaster can be an opportunity. Rather than just pump out the water and add a lick of paint, the Mercure group decided to upgrade and improve the entire hotel, creating a new destination venue. So have they succeeded? The first obvious change is the new white-washed frontage, adding a distinctive allure that tells the visitor this an up-market hotel, rather than a traditional inn with rooms. Inside, pale blues and greys instill a calming influence, conducive to a relaxing stay. There are strategically-


{ MYSTERY DINER }

“It was an enjoyable dining experience in lovely surroundings with good quality, well-prepared food”

placed quotes from Keats and Jane Austen, who were both rather partial to the area. The check-in desk, well actually there isn’t a check-in desk. There is now a free-standing table, from which the front-of-house manager takes you to some comfy armchairs and completes your details on a tablet. Tony Tijhuis, the General Manager, explains: “We are one of the first hotels to introduce this policy of taking away the barrier between our receptionists and the guests. The idea is to make people feel welcome as soon as the enter the hotel.” It certainly beats queuing up with a heavy suitcase. Our room is across the gardens, which are adjacent to the oak-beamed Tithe Barn, populated at the time by a happy-looking wedding party. The contemporary room was as comfortable and welcoming as you’d expect from a freshly- designed, brand-spanking-new bedroom. No rough at the edges, faded glory here. The Emlyn restaurant was just as impressive, with a relaxed airy dining room and attentive staff. I started with the Peppered Tuna Nicoise with new season potatoes, French beans and black olive dressing (£8.95). It was a delicate dish comprising nicely seared tuna with a thin line of colour remaining in the middle, soft-centred quails’ eggs and crunchy fresh beans. A real treat. My dining partner chose the Mackerel, Fennel, Blood Orange and Endive Salad with a pomegranate glaze (£9.50). Again it was prepared with a pleasing light touch, and beautifully presented. Both starters were perfect appetisers and flavoursome, with fine attention to detail. The 10 oz Rib-eye Steak was my choice for mains, with crispy polenta, sprouting broccoli and watercress puree, with sides of Shoestring fries and seasonal market vegetables (£24.95). Not quite as rare as I’d like, but it was a tender cut of steak and it cut like butter, so I was in no mood to complain. The vegetables, with carrots, baby leeks and tenderstem broccoli were cooked al dente, and were very moreish. My partner’s selection of Steamed Fillet of Cod, with charred leek heart, truffle mash and shellfish veloute (£18.50) was demolished in record time, and she even had the appetite to swipe a big swathe of my fries.

To complete the meal we both chose the Raspberry and Lavender Creme Brulee (£7.50). The custard was sweet and enjoyable with a crust you’d expect from a decent creme brulee, with a splash of raspberry puree on top. To be honest I couldn’t detect the presence of any lavender, though my senses may have been dulled by the rate at which Didier was re-filling my glass. It was an enjoyable dining experience in lovely surroundings with good quality, wellprepared food. It probably needs a touch of flair and something extra to propel it towards being outstanding, but Tony Tijhuis has high ambitions to create a fine dining experience at the hotel. I’m sure he will succeed. I’d definitely dine here again anyway and I’d certainly recommend the restaurant. The Mercure group have invested heavily in the Box Hill Burford Bridge Hotel, and now is a great time to try it out before the word gets out that Dorking has an exceptional new hotel. It looks like in 2014, Christmas is most definitely back on again. www.mercure.com/gb/hotel-6635-mercurebox-hill-burford-bridge-hotel/

At the Foot of Box Hill Dorking RH5 6BX Tel :0207 660 0684

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{ SECRET SUSSEX }

SECRET SUSSEX Independent Perspective Challenging Thinking: Inspiring Change

Jeremy Woolwich Independent Perspective M: jeremyw@independentp.co.uk • W: www.independentperspective.co.uk

I

ndependent Perspective is the brain child of the fascinating Jeremy Woolwich. Born in London, Jeremy has been a Sussex resident since the age of five and now resides in Worthing. Jeremy started life with an advertising agency seeking help in thinking outside the box. Therefore, when it came to presenting a pitch to a particular client, the Royal Mail would not suffice, so he attached their pitch to a carrier pigeon and had it delivered to the client in a box. Much hilarity and employee bonding ensued as the entire client staff were present when they proceeded to the office roof to send the pigeon on its way with their response attached, and watched it fly away and back to Jeremy’s desk. Did they land the job? Of course they did. Did the client ever forget their approach? Of course they didn’t. After a year-long sabbatical in France to consider his future, ponder his navel and learn French, it is this out-of-the-box thinking that gave birth to Independent Perspective. IP specialises in going into companies and looking at the given problem from the outside and encouraging the Board to be open to alternative ways of thinking and doing things.

Jeremy looks at the soft stuff, an organisation’s culture, their reputation and communications, their brand strategy and suggests new ways forward. He has worked with train manufacturers, environmental hygiene companies, multi-national food companies, electricity companies and government agencies. One of Jeremy’s long-term clients is the Bank of Ireland, where he launched the first telephone bank in Ireland. He was asked to join their Mergers and Acquisitions team, despite knowing next to nothing about M&A. When he pointed this out to the Director, he replied that this was exactly why they wanted him on the team – a fresh point of view with an independent mind not laden down with the actuality of the detail but offering a creative overview of the opportunity. Jeremy has a long-term interest in Development Aid. He’s on the Board of the newly merged Gorta Self Help Africa, one of the largest agricultural development and enterprise INGO’s in Europe, as well as mentoring senior management at the UN Refugee Agency in Rome.

He is a man that likes nothing more than the phone to ring with a new client from a sector he has never before encountered and a new mission to get his teeth into. Management or business consultants often get a bad rap, but it doesn’t take more than thirty minutes in Jeremy’s company to understand the huge value that can be offered in changing perspectives, effecting change to a hard-wired company ethos and shining a light on the business from the outside. Jeremy looks at mission, vision and values, – a holistic approach to the world of corporate communications, and by the looks of his client list, there are many companies out there that have benefitted enormously from his tremendous insight and vision. As if that was not enough to keep him busy, Jeremy is also a composer, with a worldwide publishing deal. His first CD came from a chance meeting on a plane with Van Morrison’s producer. No wonder he believes strongly in synchronicity – or meaningful coincidence.

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... 100


COMING NEXT ISSUE THE BIG STORY

Boris Johnson – buffoon or PM in waiting?

THE ENVIRONMENTAL CON

The great con that is costing business billions

VENUS RISING

We reveal the winners of the Venus Business Awards

LUNCH WITH….

We take lunch with Coast to Capital CEO Ron Crank

WORLD SKILLS DAY

We report on the SEBP World Skills Day

COMMITTEE MEETING

We report on the inaugural PBM Steering Committee meeting

If you would like your company involved in any of our future editorial features or you have news that 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

WE ARE PROUD TO BE THE MEDIA SPONSORS FOR:

Brighton & Sussex 2014


{ WISE WORDS }

Words

October Wise

By Rosemary French OBE, Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative The Gatwick Diamond – at the heart of the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership www.coast2capital.org.uk The Gatwick Diamond Initiative, 55c Basepoint, Metcalf Way, Crawley RH11 7XX M: 07748 115411 | T: 01293 813950 | www.gatwickdiamond.co.uk

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me I’ll start in my childhood. My sister and I attended 6 different primary schools, in two different countries in seven years. As constant outsiders we were always teased. I remember in New Zealand having to run home from school every day to avoid the verbal bullying by the local Maori children, who could be really cruel to us ‘pommies’. But there was always a welcome at home, with Mum singing the above rhyme to us. It is a brave thing for a child to walk into a new class almost every year, but with our parents’ support we grew up to be confident and not to worry about name calling. It was very handy too when I grew to be six foot tall and the teenage school boys would call me ‘giraffe’, which was hardly pleasant. But then again, my height and my confidence have meant that I have succeeded in my career as a woman, which in itself was a challenge in the last century! Everybody Makes Mistakes and Try and Try Again I reckon that the UK has a culture of gloating when people make mistakes, especially in business. America has been built by entrepreneurs who have made mistakes in several ventures before finding the winner and going on to make their millions. But for some reason here we vilify failure. Does this come from school, I wonder? It was for me. I remember being belted for failing to spell ‘immediately’ correctly at seven years of

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age! - I really hope this is no longer the case. I had a catastrophic failure in business in 1994 when my company went into liquidation. My mistake was continuing to manufacture in the UK because I believed that the better quality would attract the higher prices. But I got that so wrong. My competitors were already outsourcing in the Far East, and my principal market, the national retail chains, wanted those same low prices on British products. I also totally misjudged the Trade Union. I had to release employees to provide the cash flow to enable me to source overseas, but the Trade Union stood in the way and stopped any redundancies. Time was running out, and down the company went, with 58 employees losing their jobs, and I lost my home and investment. But I relocated and found another job and started to build my career again. Within two years I was sent to New York to launch a business there for my boss. My employer was an enlightened family business who said that there is no better experience than losing your business ensure success with the next one! And he was so right. Learning by mistakes gives valuable experience. Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves I am a Scot, and this saying is ingrained in us. We were always taught to spend our pocket money carefully and to save, and this has definitely been the way I live my life. As a result,

I am approaching retirement with a comfortable private pension, which I have saved for since I was 28 despite all the ups and downs of the stock market, and a mortgage paid off in my mid-50’s. But our cars are second hand, and our home is not furnished with expensive furniture and the most up to date electronic gadgets. People are shocked when I say we only have one TV! It is a problem when my husband watches football, but I have my iPad to watch Downton Abbey and Strictly in comfort. Silence is golden Again, my parents’ wise words, but did I listen? No! As anybody who knows me can confirm, my absolutely worst vice is being unable to keep quiet. I do not mean that I am a noisy person ,although I do have a rather strident Scottish accent! It is just that I continue to ask the question in meetings that everybody wants to ask but dare not! It is often the ‘elephant in the room’ or ‘emperor’s new clothes’ question. Sometimes I get in trouble, but just as often it turns out that the meeting actually becomes worthwhile instead of a talking shop. Even so, I really must shut up! Proud Sponsor of the International Business of the Year Award in the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards. Enter here: www.gatwickdiamondbusinessawards.com


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Profile for Platinum Business

Platinum Business Magazine issue 6  

Platinum Business Magazine, Business for the South East, Celebrity Interviews, Motoring, Finance, News and much more.

Platinum Business Magazine issue 6  

Platinum Business Magazine, Business for the South East, Celebrity Interviews, Motoring, Finance, News and much more.