Surrey Business Magazine - Issue 38

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SURREY

BUSINESS THE OFFICIAL SURREY CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE MAGAZINE

BIG STORY

Ruth Davidson Can she save Scotland? MAKING A COMEBACK The return to the office INFLUENCERS FORUM Post-Pandemic Marketing TRAVEL The Italian Lakes MOTORING A brace of VWs DYNAMIC MAGAZINE Unconscious Bias

ISSUE 38 MAY 2021


SURREY CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE CONNECTING PROMOTING SUPPORTING & REPRESENTING YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS

CALL US TODAY AND JOIN SURREY'S MOST INFLUENTIAL BUSINESS NETWORK @SURREYCHAMBERSOFCOMMERCE

@WWW.SURREY-CHAMBERS.CO.UK

@SURREYCHAMBERS

01483 735540

@SURREYCHAMBERSOFCOMMERCE

@SURREYCHAMBERSOFCOMMERCE


M AY 2021

CONT ENT S 30

INFLUENCERS FORUM

50 INTERVIEW

12 Theft of Catalytic Converters on the Increase

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

16 Surrey Chambers joins ChamberCustoms Initiative

KICKSTART

18 Kickstart Scheme Continues to Deliver

EDUCATION

LEGAL

44 The teacher is dead. Long live the teacher?

28 Making a come back How far can employers go to encourage staff back to the workplace? 48 Beware memorandums of understanding – they can bite

FINANCE

BIG STORY

30 Ruth Davidson

BUSINESS

46 Leadership Philosophy from a Champion Squash Player

TRAVEL

74 Three of our favourite Italian lakes

ACCELERATOR

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63 NatWest entrepreneur Bhavna Mishra

TECHNOLOGY

PLATINUM

MOTORING

78 VW Passat 80 VW T-Cross

PLATINUM MEDIA GROUP

38 Funding growth through asset-based lending 40 Back to the office? There is help available! 42 Protecting your business from the risks of overtrading

62 Extech Cloud’s ongoing investment in training and staff development proves a success 64 Welcome to the world’s fastest growing industry

INNOVATION

68 The office is dead... Long live the office!

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 owned and published by Platinum Media Group.

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NEW INITIATIVES AS ROADMAP PROGRESSES The sunshine was welcome in April as venues started to open their doors for outside service. Hopefully, they are all getting used to the changes brought in to ensure infection rates are kept to a minimum. Businesses must display an official NHS QR code poster and have a system in place to request and record contact details of customers, visitors and staff. One change to the previous system is that all members of a party must now check-in or provide their details, rather than just a lead member. As an increasing number of people begin to use public transport to return to work and shop, the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has published guidance for businesses on simple, proactive steps that they can take to ensure that both employees and consumers can travel confidently and safely.

LATEST GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES

It has been a particularly busy time for government backed initiatives, which we always investigate to see how we can help local businesses and the economy.

The recently published Skills for jobs white paper has set out the government’s blueprint for reshaping the technical skills system to better support the needs of the local labour market and the wider economy. As part of this, Local Skills Improvement Plan trailblazers are being funded. This is a great opportunity to really get the business needs understood by the local providers of skills and we will be looking to engage with interested businesses in the coming weeks. The reason this is important is that in pulling the LSIP together we would develop our understanding of needs and drive future investment towards the key areas in demand. The second initiative is the Community Renewal Plan, which provides an opportunity for people, places and communities to pilot new approaches which respond to local challenges and local need. These projects can incorporate Investment in Skills, Investment for local businesses, Investment in communities and places and Supporting people into

❛❛ It has been a particularly busy time

for government backed initiatives, which we always investigate to see how we can help local businesses and the economy ❜❜

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employment; all of which would have a positive impact on the local economy. Again, we are keen to hear from businesses on these topics.

WHAT ARE BUSINESSES SAYING?

A survey from Surrey Chambers and the rest of the British Chamber Network has been shared recently, which demonstrates that we still have a long way to go to get back to the pre-covid levels of international business activity. The British Chambers of Commerce’s Trade Confidence Outlook for Q1 has revealed the stark issues facing exporters in the first months of this year. The survey of more than 2,900 UK exporters, including those in Surrey, revealed that the percentage of firms reporting decreased export sales had increased to 41%, up from 38% in the previous quarter. We work with over 500 exporters and importers and many of them are telling us that their ability to continue trading is at risk due to issues arising from the UK-EU Trade

Agreement. The Government has taken a step in the right direction with the establishment of the £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund, and we urge local businesses to apply for it.

LOCAL SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES April saw the final session of our first Start-Up Academy, an incredibly successful project delivered by Surrey Chambers, Surrey Heath Borough Council and login business lounge. This Academy has been so successful that we are launching Academy number two with the next cohort starting in September. At a time when starting a business is an option for many, we are keen to improve the survival rate of those start-ups. Surrey Chambers of Commerce can be reached on 01483 735540, info@surrey-chambers.co.uk, @surreychambers www.surrey-chambers.co.uk

Louise Punter CEO Surrey Chamber of Commerce AND WHILE YOU’RE HERE... Platinum Media Group enjoys the largest circulation of any business magazines in the UK, reaching over 720,000 readers across the South East and this includes 468,000 online readers. If you can’t wait for the next issue then jump onto our social media platforms and join the conversation.

@platbusmag Platinum Publishing Group www.platinummediagroup.co.uk

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JOIN THE CHAMBER “Surrey Chamb is the co ers of Commer indepen unty’s largest ce busines dent, not-for-p s r that help support organ o�it isation s busine sses to c locally, n onn atio in order nally and glob ect ally to gain c u supplier s and kn stomers, owledge .”

CAN YOUR BUSINESS AFFORD NOT TO BE A MEMBER OF SURREY CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE? Sitting at the heart of the business community, Surrey Chambers of Commerce connects you to opportunities, skills, knowledge and valuable contacts. We can help you grow and develop, by promoting your business, introducing you to new customers, keeping you informed and representing you locally, regionally and nationally With a membership representing businesses of all sizes across every sector of the economy, the Chamber works hard to ensure that the continued prosperity of Surrey takes into account the needs of business, as well as providing a range of high quality services to help businesses to grow and meet new potential customers, including making introductions into over 40 countries. Surrey Chambers of Commerce is an integral part of the Surrey business support network and alongside its partners offers specialist advice, knowledge and information on a wide range of issues facing local businesses.

WE CAN:

■ Help you to find new customers – raise your profile, increase your brand awareness and generate new business by using our website, publications and database to communicate with thousands of business people. ■ Connect you to other businesses – we run over 100 events a year that give you the chance to enhance your

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business network, find new customers and meet like-minded and other successful business people.

British Chambers of Commerce who talk directly to government, influencing policy and strategic decisions.

■ Expand your network overseas – we provide friendly, professional advice and assistance and help you obtain necessary export documentation. Our relationship with 28 accredited overseas British Chambers means we can introduce you to our global network of experts to make your journey much easier.

■ Support your local community – we are passionate about contributing to the wider community and encourage you to work with us. We support a variety of local initiatives, providing you with the chance to give something back, whilst raising your company profile.

■ Develop you and your workforce’s knowledge and skills – we run a range of training events throughout the year and can introduce you to a variety of training providers. ■ Represent you – we believe it is important that you and your business are fairly represented locally, regionally, nationally and, where appropriate, internationally on issues affecting business. We work closely with Surrey County Council, the eleven local borough councils, district and two Local Enterprise Partnerships and we feedback and provide input to the

■ Save you money – we can provide you with a variety of discounts designed to save your company money. As well as national deals you will benefit from exclusive discounts offered by other Chamber members. You too can offer a special member to member deal. Email: sarah.butcher@ surrey-chambers.co.uk Visit: www.surrey-chambers.co.uk Call: 01483 735540


Maximising Value: From Start-up to Sell-up Many entrepreneurs dream of selling their business for a life-changing sum of money. But just how do you realise this goal and what do you need to do to make sure you achieve the maximum value? At a recent webinar for Chamber members, experts from accountants BDO and IP lawyers Venner Shipley shared their practical advice on maximising value to attract an investor to fund growth and prepare a company for sale. Below are some of the key R&D tax and intellectual property issues to consider at each stage of the typical lifecycle of a business.

Stage 1: Idea

Stage 3: Scale up

Stage 2: Start up

Stage 5: Sell up

Stage 4: Growth and maturity Stage 2: Start up

Stage 3: Scale up

Consider an IP audit! SMEs can take advantage of £2,500 grants from the UK Government to help with these costs. Knowing what IP you have, what you can do with it and identifying gaps that you can fill will strengthen your IP position - but always, keep your invention confidential!

Make sure you get the timing right when applying for grants with a match requirement (typically 30% for government grants). Using academic partners can help to reduce your match funding requirement and extend your technical expertise.

Think about the type of investor you’re trying to attract and how you can help to minimise their financial risk by securing advanced clearance from HMRC for tax reliefs through EIS/ SEIS.

Consider the R&D/patent box schemes to aid cash flow. An R&D claim could be worth up to 33p in the pound and you can make a claim even if you have received a grant.

Stage 4: Growth and maturity

Stage 5: Sell up

IP rights are commercial tools and you should have a clear IP strategy from the outset which underpins your commercial goals. IP is a powerful tool for raising investment, so be “investor ready” at all times.

Consider what you are going to sell i.e. the shares of the company, or the IP and assets, as these will have different tax implications.

As your business grows ensure relevant tax advice is taken to put in place robust structures in preparation for a sale.

Before a sale, have your IP independently valued by patent advisers so you have a better understanding of its worth. They can conduct due diligence, FTO searches and check that you won’t infringe third party IPRs.

Whatever stage your business is at, our experts can help. For tax relief and R&D credit advice contact Kevin Voller, Tax Partner, BDO, kevin.voller@bdo.co.uk or 07595 203838. For IP advice, including patents, trade marks, copyright and designs contact Anton Hutter, Patent Attorney, Venner Shipley, ahutter@vennershipley.co.uk or 01483 920500. Save the date for our next webinar: Being Investor Ready, Thursday 10 June 2021 at 4.30pm.


SURRE Y CHAMBERS E VENT CALENDAR MAY ONWARDS….

CHAMBER COFFEE MORNING:

GROW YOUR BUSINESS THROUGH YOUR BRAND May 12th 2021, 10:00 - 11:00 Surrey Chamber of Commerce return with their topical Coffee Mornings - and on the 12th May we welcome Graham Hales, Director of Graham Hales Consulting Ltd. We will be looking at ways of growing your business through your brand. Click here to book

POST COVID RECOVERY FOR THE TOURISM & HOSPITALITY SECTOR

May 19th 2021, 10:00 - 11:30 Surrey Chambers of Commerce and Visit Surrey, the County’s Tourist Board are delighted to bring you the latest news on the post covid recovery for the tourism and hospitality sector. Click here to book

NETWORKING SOUTH EAST

May13th 2021, 10:30 - 12:00 Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset, and Isle of Wight Chambers of Commerce are delighted to present Networking South East – a new initiative created to connect the businesses of the southern Counties. Click here to book

HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT AFTERNOON NETWORKING

June 23rd 2021 14:30 - 16:30 Event Location: Lythe Hill Hotel, Haslemere Surrey & Hampshire Chambers of Commerce invite you to our afternoon networking. Following on from last years success, this is the perfect opportunity to grow your business connections by meeting a wide range of companies from locations around the Surrey and Hampshire border. Click here to book


MAXIMISING SALES EFFECTIVENESS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM

July 1st 2021, 13:00 - 14:00 Paul Glynn from Sandler Training takes you through some counterintuitive ideas that will help your maximise your revenue generation from your current contacts. You will leave with at least three ideas you can implement to increase your chances of sales success. Click here to book

SURREY TECHNOLOGY FORUM: AI IN THE WORKPLACE

July 6th 2021, 12:00 - 14:00 Event Location: Seasons Café, Guildford Cathedral We are delighted to welcome back our Surrey Technology Forum, an annual event where we investigate different areas of IT and technology, and how these can affect different areas of the workplace, this year we look at AI in the workplace. Click here to book

SURREY CSR FORUM

July 12th 2021, 08:30 - 11:00 Event Location: Princess Alice Hospice, Esher Back by popular demand, our CSR – Connecting the Community is officially welcoming a whole new group of charities to host their own table for the morning. If you’re a business who needs to brush up on their CSR, this is the event for you. Click here to book


CHAMBERS NE WS HOW GOOD IS YOUR EARLY WARNING SYSTEM? Cloud Service Providers in Hook, Freestyle TS, are proud champions of Apprenticeships. With the benefits of workplace learning becoming more high profile, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the apprentice program, they deliver in partnership with Basingstoke ITEC. Since 2017 a series of Apprentices have joined and progressed within the team. James Ackland completed his IT Engineer Apprenticeship in 2018 and has since taken part in continuous skill development, completing multiple Vendor accreditations with Veeam, Sophos, HPE and Dell Technologies.

experience enabling escalation of their careers and providing excellent customer services”. Gaspard Melody-Alliot and Tim Wolfe completed Apprentice-ships, now have key roles on the IT Helpdesk. Tim said “I think the practical element of an apprenticeship and being in the

workplace has helped me develop so much, both in terms of my career and as person. I have learned more in the past three years of work, then in my 12+ school years, your knowledge isn’t fully realised until you do it for real.” Mark Hammond, General Manager, Basingstoke ITEC said of their collaboration with Freestyle TS “We think it’s really important for Apprentices to develop business-related skills, so they have a solid foundation for their future career. With the Government providing up to £4000 to recruit an apprentice, it makes sense to fill the skill gap in your business with an Apprentice. Next time you call us you might well speak to one of the Team who’s benefitted from an Apprenticeship. Get in touch to find out more about our services as a Cloud Services Provider.

Mike Roberts Director at Freestyle TS explains “We’ve benefitted greatly by having the Apprentices as part of our team, they’re gaining some great

YUNIQUE MARKETING 5TH ANNIVERSARY GIFT In celebration of YUnique Marketing’s 5th anniversary the company is gifting marketing support to the business community

seeking to build a world that’s full of giving. In addition to our regular B1G1 gifts that we contribute as part of our everyday work activities, we will make a special donation of five days of business training to women in Guatemala. Vocational training gives women the opportunity to be financially independent, build self-confidence, resilience and agency and enable them to secure employment that ensures the sustained safety and well-being of their families.

OUR TIME

In addition to her current mentoring capacity, our Founder Jarmila Yu is donating five mentoring spaces specifically for young people who have been awarded Kickstart placements in a dedicated marketing role in businesses in Surrey (our HQ county). The five free of charge spaces will be allocated to eligible businesses in Surrey where Surrey Chambers of Commerce have acted as the Kickstart gateway organization for them. The 1:1 mentoring sessions will take place monthly for up to six months, and consist of 30 minute online sessions between the kickstart placement young person (as the mentee) and Jarmila Yu (as the mentor).

Founder of YUnique Marketing Jarmila Yu comments “As every business owner knows, the first few years of any business are the hardest and most perilous, so we are delighted and thankful to be here five years on and growing steadily, especially given the tumultuous events of 2020 onwards. In celebration of our 5th anniversary, and in keeping with our chosen Giving activities, we are very OUR CHOSEN CHARITY excited to announce three special We’ve long been supporters of SATRO, activities that align to Our Giving as gifts the Surrey based educational charity to the business community.” based around encouraging students to consider STEM careers, and our regular Attraction Factor boardroom sessions OUR GLOBAL GIVING We are proud to be members of B1G1, raise donations via a “ticket for good” *Eligibility Criteria / T’s & C’s apply. the global non-profit organisation delegate donation in lieu of an event fee.

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NEWS

MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID WORKPLACE TRAINING WITH CHARITY OAKLEAF ENTERPRISE While it is a legal requirement to have physical first aiders situated in the workplace, we are a long way off from seeing mental health treated in the same way. The good news is that conversations about mental health are increasing, which aligns with Mental Health First Aid’s aim to create a society where everyone’s mental health matters. Oakleaf’s evidence-based Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training courses teach you how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue, and feel confident guiding people towards support. By doing your training through Oakleaf, every penny you spend is fed straight back into the charity, supporting hundreds of individuals struggling with mental ill-health throughout Surrey. “I wanted to undertake the mental health first aid course to develop my wellbeing coaching practise and extend the support I am able to give to clients and colleagues. The 2-day course is packed with information but is also very practical with lots of opportunities to practise.

A MOMENT TO REFLECT A few months ago I put together a very similar article where I spoke about the optimism I felt for the coming months. I think I was even so hopeful that I dared to invite readers to our upcoming Christmas events. Of course when I was putting this together I still thought I’d be visiting my parents on Christmas Day, so I think I can be forgiven for my auspiciousness. Yet here we are at the beginning of May and there’s reason to be more buoyant than ever. We finally have an official opening date where, all things being well, we will never have to close again. This recent period of closure, however, has given us the chance to re-evaluate our business and to look at some of the details we never would have before. We’ve taken time to consider what we do best and how we can put more of our efforts into this while being more realistic with the things we don’t do so well. It’s too easy sometimes to look at what your competition is doing and to feel like you need to jump on the bandwagon with

them. Even when your resources don’t allow it. I feel a moment to pause and reflect is vital not only in our personal lives but in our businesses too. These changes may only be small but I am confident it will help us to bounce back from lockdown 3 (or 4. I’m really not sure anymore) much stronger than we have before. Whether your business was given the greenlight to open at stage 1, 2 or like us, stage 3, I wish you all the very best of success. I’m confident that the past 12 to 14 months have been the hardest you will ever face and you’re still here. If that’s not motivation to keep going, nothing is. Giles Thomas Group Operations Director For upcoming events and further information please check manorcollection.co.uk

Giles Thomas outside Reigate Manor

“Our session leader, Dan, was extremely knowledgeable. He brought a wealth of valuable experience to support our cohort in a relaxed and enjoyable learning environment. I am now much more confident to spot the signs when clients are struggling with their mental health. “I would thoroughly recommend this course and the additional support that the wonderful team at Oakleaf have provided.” Paul Cliff, Managing Director at North Face Consulting To find out more about Oakleaf MHFA courses, visit oakleaf-enterprise.org/mhfa-training or contact Jen Clay: jenclay@oakleaf-enterprise.org

Hartsfield Manor

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THEFT OF CATALYTIC CONVERTERS ON THE INCREASE Louise Punter CEO of Surrey Chambers of Commerce recently met up with Matt Sessions and Kate Hyder from Surrey Police to learn about a growing crime in Surrey Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, Surrey has seen a large increase in catalytic converter theft across the county. The value of metals contained within catalytic converters (Rhodium, Palladium, and Platinum) has been increasing significantly for a number of years. Palladium has increased in value by 258%, and Rhodium by 956%, which has likely had an impact in the crime type increasing.

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Surrey Police sought to approach the issue of catalytic converter theft from a problem-solving perspective, to understand why the problem was persisting across the whole of Surrey. Nationally, there are large intelligence gaps around where the catalytic converters are sold and broken down. It is believed from the intelligence available, that the majority of these offences are committed by organised crime groups, travelling across the region, heavily targeting a specific area, before moving on.


INTERVIEW

❛❛ It is believed from the intelligence available, LOUISE: What cars are most likely to be the target for criminals? MATT: Our data shows the most susceptible cars to catalytic converter theft are the Honda Jazz, Toyota Prius, Toyota Auris, Honda CR-V and Lexus RX. Hybrids will always remain the most sought-after vehicle in this kind of crime as they have two power sources, an electric motor and a petrol or diesel engine, so their catalytic converters are used less frequently to process pollutants. That means the metals inside them are less likely to have corroded, making them more valuable. LOUISE: Is it just in Car Parks that this crime is committed? MATT: Initially the main target was Car Parks but these criminals are pretty brazen, and we are now seeing this happening more frequently on residential roads and driveways This is a higher risk, but it doesn’t seem to be a deterrent for criminals as no-one is realising that a crime is being committed. LOUISE: How are you hoping to prevent the theft of catalytic converters in Surrey?

that the majority of these offences are committed by organised crime groups, travelling across the region, heavily targeting a specific area, before moving on ❜❜

LOUISE: So what does the public need to look out for? KATE: The kind of things we want to make the public aware of is what the scene of this crime looks like. Does it look like they have the keys to that vehicle? Is there a door or window open? Are they changing a tyre? If the answer is “No” to these questions this is suspicious. If they are underneath the vehicle and are in an unmarked van, then that is a red flag. We have had incidents where people have noticed and tried to confront the criminals but we discourage the public from any approaches; Just call 999 and report what you have seen. We have created Car Park signage to simplify messages about what to look for and what to do when you think you can see a catalytic converter theft in action. It would also be really helpful if businesses could put these signs in their car parks.

KATE: Catalytic converter marking kits are also being distributed for free to the highest risk vehicle owners, with 2160 kits having been paid for through a Surrey Police scheme and 600 kindly donated by Toyota. We are working together with some local garages who are offering catalytic converter marking for free. If we stop suspects with catalytic converters in the back of their cars we would hopefully be able to identity that they are stolen as they are registered on a system. MATT: The fact that the criminals are so brazen fits in with our idea that we need more people to recognise what is going on and stop these crimes. Currently, half a dozen people can walk past a car with the crime being committed and it will mean nothing to them, so we need to help them to recognise and report these criminals.

KATE: The key thing for us is to raise the awareness of people to this crime and help them to recognise when it might be happening. It is often committed in broad daylight and because the criminals are often in hi-vis jackets no-one takes any notice of them. MATT: Office and business park car parks have always been a target for these criminals as they can steal from several cars at once. We need the public to be the eyes and ears for Surrey Police, and the more awareness we bring to this crime the sooner we can bring an end to it.

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POLICING SURREY

SURREY POLICE POLICING SURREY

Alison Bolton, Chief Executive for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner It has been a difficult winter for everyone so I am sure that the further easing of the Covid-19 restrictions over the last month would have been a welcome boost for our local residents and businesses. We have all been counting down the days to the reopening of hairdressers and barbers or perhaps looking forward to meeting friends for a drink in a pub garden. Equally those who run businesses, particularly in the retail and service industry, will be relieved I’m sure to be able to open their doors to customers once again.

with respect should be a responsibility for us all.

But one of the more stark effects of the pandemic has been the rise in abuse, threat and sometimes violence directed towards those who work in our shops and stores.

You might have seen that a campaign was launched in April called #ShopKind which was created for the retail sector, by the retail sector and is supported by the Home Office and independent charity Crimestoppers to raise awareness of this issue and help deter abusive behaviour.

Research has shown around 400 shop staff are abused every day across the country with many more incidents likely to go unreported. Sadly it appears that retail staff have been bearing the brunt

The campaign is designed to acknowledge the vital role shopworkers are continuing to play during the pandemic and to encourage positive behaviour in stores.

❛❛ Nobody should go to work fearing they will

be mistreated and three quarters of shop workers say that incidents of violence, threats and abuse have been worse during the pandemic ❜❜

of some shoppers’ frustrations about wearing masks and social distancing measures. Our police officers are on hand to respond to these types of incidents when they are reported but treating our shopworkers

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Our shop workers have provided an essential service to our communities over the last year, putting themselves at risk working in essential shops, keeping families fed and providing vital human interaction for so many people who have been alone at home.

Nobody should go to work fearing they will be mistreated and three quarters of shop workers say that incidents of violence, threats and abuse have been worse during the pandemic. This is simply unacceptable and why I believe this campaign deserves the support of us all. It continues to be business as usual for our policing teams and at this time of year they are gearing up for the busy summer period. The gradual easing of restrictions will coincide with some of the big sporting tournaments in the calendar and providing support for the G7 summit in Cornwall, as well as the numerous events that take place in the county such as the Epsom Derby Festival. Whilst I’m sure those occasions will look and feel a little different, Surrey Police will have their plans in place to ensure those that can attend are kept safe. We also have the small matter of the Police and Crime Commissioner election taking place in early May. By the time the next edition of this magazine is published, the next PCC will be in place so watch this space!


Importing? Exporting? We can help take the stress out of customs declarations for your goods ChamberCustoms is the customs training, advisory and brokerage service delivered through Surrey Chambers of Commerce and across the UK Chamber network. Our customs declaration service is for UK importers and exporters, of all sizes, in every region of the United Kingdom. With direct links to the HMRC Customs handling system and all inventory linked ports, we can guarantee that your goods, no matter where they enter or leave the UK, will be cleared for onward transportation smoothly.

We offer:

A high level of compliance and assurance for customers Confidence on tariff and data entry to remove fiscal risk; backed by the technical expertise of the market leader in this sector A wealth of international trade experience and expertise from across the trusted Chamber of Commerce network Contact the ChamberCustoms team at Surrey Chambers of Commerce now

customs@surrey-chambers.co.uk l 01483 735549 Helping traders to keep on trading


INTERNATIONAL TRADE

SURREY CHAMBERS JOINS CHAMBERCUSTOMS INITIATIVE Developed by leading specialists in customs compliance at the British Chambers of Commerce, Surrey Chambers is excited to offer ChamberCustoms as part of our expanding wealth of international trade support to our business network Surrey Chambers of Commerce is proud to be part of the ChamberCustoms initiative. ChamberCustoms delivers three services at its core: customs training, customs advisory and customs brokerage. Developed by leading specialists in customs compliance at the British Chambers of Commerce, Surrey Chambers is excited to offer ChamberCustoms as part of our expanding wealth of international trade

support to our business network since launching at the beginning of this year. ChamberCustoms is different from other brokerage services by harnessing the reach, expertise, and knowledge of the Chamber of Commerce network to offer a fast, fully compliant service. Furthermore, our service is authorised for clearance at all inventory-linked ports in the UK, ensuring customers goods will be cleared no matter where they enter or leave the country. A customs declaration is a fiscal document regulated by HMRC and must be completed for a UK business to trade overseas. Prior to the UK separation from the EU, customs declarations were only a requirement for trading with the Rest of the World (non-EU) market. Now, with the UK-EU transition period ended from the 31 December 2020,

› TO TA L N U M BER OF C US TOM S DEC L A R AT IONS

Export 47%

Export 42%

JAN Import 53%

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Export 44%

FEB Import 58%

MAR Import 56%


❛❛ Since launching, ChamberCustoms has

been fully equipped to handle the expectant demand to support businesses out of the transition and into the post-Brexit world ❜❜

the number of declarations made by traders is forecast to increase from 55 million to around 300 million per year. Businesses which only traded within the EU single market have needed to prepare for heretofore unfamiliar procedures and paperwork to clear their goods at the ports. Since launching, ChamberCustoms has been fully equipped to handle the expectant demand to support businesses out of the transition and into the post-Brexit world. For the first quarter of 2021, we have represented over 1,600 UK businesses across the network and continue to expand our customer base. At the end of March, we were delighted

to reach a momentous milestone, having completed over 10,000 customs declarations for our traders in just three months. The first quarter witnessed higher demand for import customs declarations than export declarations consistently from January to March. In January, 53% of total declarations completed were for imports compared to 47% for exports. The ratio for import declarations rose to 58% in February, but fell in March to a more even 56% of declarations. Our total demand for declarations saw a dramatic increase of 30% from January to February and continues to rise each

month. Unsurprisingly, this sharp surge reflects the early stages of post-Brexit trade for businesses, with the initial uncertainty from overseas buyers and continual changes to export/import procedures – not forgetting the logistical hurdles of an ongoing pandemic. Nonetheless, as the year progresses, ChamberCustoms continues to provide crucial support to importers and exporters, and we remain optimistic UK trade will continue to grow – and thrive as before – as businesses adjust to their new surroundings.

ChamberCustoms at Surrey Chambers is available to all UK businesses, including non-members. For more information, contact the team now: email customs@surrey-chambers.co.uk or call 01483 735549.

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KICKSTART

KICKSTART SCHEME CONTINUES TO DELIVER The Kickstart Initiative is a fantastic scheme which aims to get our young people into work, providing high quality government funded six month work places for young people

Surrey Chambers of Commerce continues to deliver a Kickstart gateway service to smaller employees, increasing the chances of approval of their application to take on one or more Kickstart Placements. We now have over 400 placements in the process with 75 young people already working with their new employers. Some of these matches are starting to develop into longer term employment opportunities, which will help to avoid high levels of unemployment amongst our young people.

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ANOTHER KICKSTART SUCCESS STORY

“Since leaving college in 2020, I was working in jobs such as retail, bar tendering and waitering. I joined the Kickstart scheme to help me gain knowledge of a different working environment, where usually I’d have needed previous office experience. I am now working with People Business as a Team Administrator. This will help me learn new skills and software for my future. This is my third week and already I’ve learned so much – from booking Zoom meetings, gaining Excel skills, right through to creating videos. The whole team has been really welcoming and I’m really enjoying my time here” Alex Wentworth, Team Administrator

The Kickstart Scheme is a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements for young people aged 16-24, who are claiming Universal Credit, to equip them with additional skills, which will help them to secure future employment. The Government will fund 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. In addition, businesses taking on a Kickstart candidate can apply for £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.

As the scheme progresses, we will be bringing employers and placements together to share stories and build networks. For any business considering a Kickstart placement please contact kickstart@surrey-chambers.co.uk


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NEW MEMBERS

Surrey Chambers of Commerce welcomes its latest member companies When you join Surrey Chambers of Commerce, your company details automatically get listed on this page alongside fellow new members. What a fantastic way to let the Surrey Business community know you are out there and ready to get those all-important connections.

CLOCKTOWER CARS

THUNDERBOLT DIGITAL LTD

RSM UK LLP

01372 727727 clocktowercarsuk.com Contact: Naseem Jan

01252 413757 wearethunderbolt.com Contact: Saybhan Delilkhan

01483 307000 rsmuk.com Contact: Lianne Street

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH ASSESSMENT LTD

THE APPRENTICESHIP AND SKILLS HUB

CROSSROADS CARE SURREY

07824 014642 theapprenticeshiphub.com Contact: Carol Greaves

01372 869970 crossroadscaresurrey.org.uk Contact: Jen Sanderson

CMI CORPORATION LTD

MACK LOGISTICS

MOLDOVAN WINE LTD

01483 413362 cmilabsplc.com Contact: Adam Trussler

01252 543555 macklogistics.co.uk Contact: Darren Boyce-Smith

07575 400002 moldovawine.co.uk Contact: Irina Hriplivii

02032 398229 occupationalhealthassessment.com Contact: Magnus Kauders

All new Chamber members are entitled to a one-off 50% discount for a company profile within this magazine. Contact lesley@platinummediagroup.co.uk for more details If you are looking to join Surrey Chambers, then please do get in touch with either: sarah.butcher@surrey-chambers.co.uk or tom.woods@surrey-chambers.co.uk or call 01483 735540. We look forward to hearing from you!

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SURREY CHAMBERS EXECUTIVE PARTNERS New Executive Partner: RSM UK LLP Leading accountancy firm RSM is delighted to become an Executive Partner of the Surrey Chambers of Commerce. Based at London Square, Guildford, RSM have a local team of 120 staff and 11 partners who offer a full range of services covering audit, corporation tax, private client advisory tax, VAT planning and compliance, accounting and business advisory, payroll, HR advice, corporate finance, systems development and restructuring services. Their size enables RSM to offer a breadth of experience and depth of expertise to advise clients both large and small, without forgetting the importance of a personal relationship and quality service. Chris Hurren, Office Managing Partner said “we are proud to become an Executive Partner and keen to continue to build strong relationships in the Surrey community, contributing towards making Surrey the best place to do business”. Contact: Lianne Street Tel:01483 307 000 www.rsmuk.com

Royal Automobile Club

Charles Russell Speechlys

www.royalautomobileclub.co.uk

www.charlesrussellspeechlys.com

Haines Watts

Projectfive

Taylor Wimpey

www.hwca.com/accountants-esher

www.projectfive.co.uk

www.taylorwimpey.co.uk


BIG OOPS About 11 years ago a City dealer called Steve Perkins bet $520 million on the oil price in the middle of the night after a four-day drinking binge that began with a weekend of golf. He was so smashed that he blanked out after the final, calamitous trade, later admitting to regulators that he had no idea what he was doing. Banning him from the City, watchdogs noted that Mr Perkins “poses an extreme risk to the market when drunk”. A colleague at the time asked: How come if I want to change a £50 note at Starbucks they have to get the manager, but this guy can trade half a billion dollars’ worth of oil and no-one notices till the next day?

NEWS BULLETIN ❛❛ There is always

something left to love. And if you ain’t learned that, you ain’t learned nothing ❜❜ Lorraine Hansberry, American playwright 1959

$100 BILLION FLOAT As Coinbase floated on the stock market recently, with a valuation topping $100 billion, a question for Barclays, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and the rest: “Guys, why didn’t you do this first?” After all, Coinbase does most of what an investment bank does, but for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. It holds your bitcoins for you like a custodian bank, puts you together with buyers and sellers like an over-the-counter broker, and makes markets. Yet, a decade after Fred Ehrsam and Brian Armstrong came up with the Coinbase concept in a San Francisco apartment, still none of the big finance houses do the same.

SPENDING SPREE Fast-food chain Leon has been bought for £100 million by the Issa brothers, the billionaire siblings who bought Asda just a few months ago. The brothers’ petrol forecourt business, EG group, have bought more than 70 Leon restaurants across the UK and Europe with plans to build out the network, including drive-through sites. Mohsin Issa and Zuber Issa said the deal offered a “fantastic opportunity” to purchase a “ brand we have long admired”. The group has also committed to keeping on Leon’s management team and staff.

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NEWS

❛❛ There are two most powerful days in your life: the day you’re born and the day you discover why ❜❜ Boniface Mwangi, Kenyan activist 2014

MAGPIE FLYS

PIZZA GURU

MusicMagpie, the second-hand gadget seller, has revealed plans for a £208 million flotation on London’s junior AIM market.

Pizza Express tycoon Hugh Osmond is preparing £300 million takeover bid for Homebase. Osmond, who became one of Britain’s biggest pub landlords when he established Punch Taverns would make the purchase through his private investment vehicle, Osmond Capital. Homebase has been on the market since November when Hilco, which bought it for £1 in 2018 after a disastrous spell, then sold it to Australia’s Wesfarmers who paid £340 million 18 months prior.

The company, founded in a garage in Stockport in 2007, is the UK’s biggest mobile phone recycler. It allows users to trade in their old phone, console or CD for free and receive payment on the day it arrives with the company. Recycled items come with a 12-month warranty. The company, which also operates under the Decluttr brand from a base in Atlanta, Georgia, and sees US sales accounting for around 25% of group turnover, is profitable. Latest accounts show it made £13.9 million in profits in the year to December on revenues of £153 million. The business said it is expecting to raise £95 million for selling shareholders through the listing, including for some long-term private equity backers. Directors and senior management are set to own 11.5% of the company on IPO.

SOARING REDUNDANCIES Redundancies among the over-50s have soared by almost 200% in the past year across the UK, leading to calls for targeted support for the age group. About 107,000 people aged over 50 were made redundant between November and January.

❛❛ In a world full

of audio-visual marvels, may words matter to you and be full of magic ❜❜ Godfrey Smith, writer 1987

TAKE OVER GREEN LIGHT Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has watered down the government’s hard-line approach to foreign takeovers amid concern that the new rules would deter overseas investors. The government has very quietly tabled an amendment to the National Security and Investment Bill that will slash the number of overseas deals monitored in the crackdown. The bill was seen a as way to scrutinise investments from China more closely. It is proposed to revise the stake threshold at which the business department must be notified about a deal, from 15% to 25%, in line with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US.

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ECONOMY Private sector activity returns to growth with a robust expansion in March

NATWEST

SOUTH ® EAST PMI › K E Y F I N DI NG S n Joint-fastest rise in new business since November 2014 n Workforce numbers grow at robust pace n Sentiment improves to the strongest on record Latest UK regional PMI ® data from NatWest signalled a return to growth in the South East’s private sector activity. The headline NatWest South East Business Activity Index – a seasonally adjusted index that measures the monthon-month change in the combined output of the region’s manufacturing and service sectors – rose sharply from 48.9 in February, to 59.0 in March, signalling a renewed expansion in output, and one that was the fastest since last August. Private sector firms in the South East registered renewed growth in new orders during the latest survey period, with the latest uptick the joint-strongest in over six years. According to panellists, the government’s ‘roadmap out of lockdown’ fuelled greater client demand and new contract wins in March. Overall, the pace of expansion was robust and among the strongest in the series. The increase in new business in the South East was sharper than the UK average. March data revealed output expectations for the year ahead improved to the strongest since the index began in July 2012. Firms overwhelmingly linked hopes of growth to improved demand

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conditions and a return to normality following the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination programme. Output expectations also improved at the UK level, although sentiment in the South East was stronger than the UK average. Private sector firms in the South East recorded an increase in workforce numbers in March, thereby ending 13 consecutive months of job shedding. Survey respondents often associated the expansion to a surge in demand. The rate of job creation was marked overall, and the fastest since October 2015. Sub-sector data indicated that both service providers and manufacturers recorded growth in staffing levels.


ECONOMY SOUTH E AST BUSINES S ACTIVIT Y INDE X

sa, >50=growth since previous month 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 2001

2003

2005

2007

2009

2011

2013

2015

2017

2019

Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit

Incomplete work accumulated by private sector firms in the South East rose solidly at the end of the first quarter, the first rise in backlogs in three months. The rate of expansion was marked, and the fastest since March 2015. According to panellists, delays in the receipt of inputs and higher sales contributed to the increase in outstanding business. Of the 12 UK regions monitored, only the East of England and West Midlands recorded a quicker rise in backlogs. March data indicated another sharp rise in average cost burdens faced by private sector firms in the South East, with the latest rise extending the period of inflation to ten consecutive months. The increase was the strongest in the aforementioned sequence, moreover, the quickest since February 2017. Panellists

overwhelmingly linked higher prices to rising raw material costs, increased transportation costs and Brexit. Some firms also mentioned higher staffing expenses. Sub-sector data indicated inflation was broad-based, although manufacturers recorded the sharper rise in input prices. Selling prices charged by private sector firms in the South East rose at the end of the first quarter. Moreover, the rate of inflation strengthened for the third month running to the fastest since November 2017. Reasons for higher charges included the passing on of rising material and transportation costs. Overall, output price inflation was robust, and the sixthsharpest in the series to date. Selling prices in the South East rose at a quicker pace than that seen at UK level.

› C OM M E N T STUART JOHNSTONE

Managing Director, London and South East, Corporate and Commercial Banking “March survey data welcomes a return to growth in the South East’s private sector, with a substantial expansion in business activity recorded. The government’s ‘roadmap out of lockdown’ fuelled sentiment, which in turn encouraged a surge in demand and output. Amid efforts to fulfil new orders firms increased their hiring efforts, although this was not enough to stop capacity pressures from arising. Promisingly, efforts to clear backlogs may prompt further increases employment over the next few months. “On a more worrying note, inflationary pressures have been a common theme over the first quarter, with material shortages and delivery delays often blamed for the robust rates of inflation. Firms will hope, particularly in the interest of profit margins, that these supply-side disruptions will ease, but the Suez Canal blockage in March introduced another challenge for global supply.”

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LEGAL

Employment law expert Simon Bellm considers a sensitive issue: can employees reluctant to attend the workplace because of Covid-related reasons be required to do so?

MAKING A COME BACK How far can employers go to

encourage staff back to the workplace? When the government’s roadmap hit destination non-essential retail and (outdoor) hospitality last month, the numbers of people savouring a little more freedom might have suggested we were out of the Covid woods. Clearly that isn’t yet the case, but assuming that Lockdown 3.0 continues to be cautiously lifted and more workplaces begin to open up, serious questions remain: To what extent can an employer require an employee to attend at the workplace, where they are reluctant to do so due to a Covid related reason? How should an employer approach these issues? The answers are far from simple. Much will depend on the employee’s

reasons for being unwilling to attend. Where the refusal is based on health concerns an employer will need to tread carefully. Dismissal or the disciplining of staff (including the withholding of pay) where a refusal to attend work is based on health and safety concerns, carries a risk of a successful Tribunal claim under s100 (dismissal) and s44 (detriment) Employment Rights Act. Those provisions protect employees from dismissal or detriment on the grounds of a refusal to attend at work, where the employee has a reasonable belief that it would put them (or others) in serious and imminent danger, which they cannot reasonably be expected to avert.

❛❛ Dismissal or the disciplining of staff (including the withholding of pay) where a refusal to attend work is based on health and safety concerns, carries a risk of a successful Tribunal claim ❜❜

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LEGAL The protection applies not only where an employee believes there is serious and imminent danger to their own health, but also where they believe that such danger exists in relation to others. An example of this might be where the employee is concerned about the risk of bringing Covid into their own household. The key issue is whether the employee’s belief about the level of danger is, in fact, reasonable. There are two things that may significantly assist an employer in showing that the employee’s belief is not reasonable.

VACCINATION ROLL-OUT

The first is the vaccination programme. If, as more data emerges, we have a situation where infection rates drop to the levels they were last summer, it will be difficult for many employees to show that their fears of serious and imminent danger are reasonable.

ADJUSTMENTS AND COMMUNICATION

The second is the steps that an employer implements to make sure the workplace is as safe as it can possibly be and, just as importantly, the effective

communication of those steps to all staff. The more that an employer does to make the workplace safe, the less likely the employee is going to be able to show a genuine and reasonable fear for their safety. The employee’s own health may be very relevant. In some circumstances, an employee with a suppressed immune system may be put in serious and imminent danger, where those without such health conditions are not. It may well be that, as infection rates fall, we will get to the stage where only those with existing health conditions will be able to argue that there is a risk of serious and imminent danger if they are required to attend the workplace.

ADDITIONAL VULNERABILITIES

Particular care should be taken where an employee is disabled, in a vulnerable category or has a relative in either of those positions, or where the employee has some other protected characteristic. That is especially so where the employee is unwilling to attend at work or be vaccinated, perhaps because of health issues, pregnancy, or on the basis of cultural or religious beliefs.

› A PPROAC H I NG T H E IS SU E OF R E T U R N I NG TO T H E WOR K PL AC E nC onsult with staff – employees are more likely to run with something they have been involved in deciding nT ry to secure agreement about a return nB e willing to be flexible – look for alternative options nB e sensitive in the case of pre-existing health conditions n Be very clear about the rationale for requiring a return to the workplace

With disabled employees, any requirement (applied to all staff) to continue to attend work in a pandemic could be indirectly discriminatory against those whose disability makes it more difficult or risky to attend. The important thing here is that an employer can justify its requirement that employees attend the workplace. This will involve a focus on the business or operational reasons for the request. An employer will also need to consider what reasonable adjustments it should make to facilitate a disabled employee’s request to work from home in a pandemic. Where objection is based on other non-health related concerns such as child care, the risk in relation to employment law liabilities is much lower. The primary risk is an indirect sex discrimination claim from female staff. Again, the key is that an employer can justify its requirement that employees attend at the workplace. One area of controversy is whether an employer can require that an employee be vaccinated as a condition of being allowed to work. Again, it would be wise to tread carefully. There is a clear risk of discrimination claims where an employee’s objection is based on health issues (perhaps pregnancy) or religious or cultural reasons.

Simon Bellm is an Employment partner at DMH Stallard. He can be contacted on 01293 55 8511 or by email at simon.bellm@dmhstallard.com dmhstallard.com

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BIG STORY

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BIG STORY

RUTH DAVIDSON

From Lothian to the Lords Ruth Davidson led the Scottish Conservatives from 2011 to 2019 and stepped down after Boris Johnson became Tory leader, citing political and personal reasons for the move. She is the former leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party and an ex-Territorial Army veteran and BBC journalist. Her ‘personal’ reason was the arrival of her son Finn, with her partner Jen Wilson and clashing with UK Tory leader Boris Johnson over his hard-line Brexit stance. By Maarten Hoffmann Seen as a solid media performer, Davidson was widely judged to have had a ‘good’ independence referendum and made her strong opposition to a new poll one of the central issues of her leadership.

May’s husband Phillip and Boris Johnson’s brother Joe Johnson.

She has been well rewarded for her allegiance to the Tories ‘up north’ with a peerage and elevation to the House of Lords. Just as rumours abound about the slimming down of the bloated upper House, Davidson joins a band of merry new peers tipped for the House in Theresa May’s dissolution honours list as one of her parting gifts, along with

Ms Davidson worked wonders for the Scottish Tories when she was their leader, winning a record 31 MSPs at the 2016 elections, which meant they overtook Labour to become the main opposition party at Holyrood, and then taking them from one MP to 13 in the 2017 Westminster election.

She was named recently as one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine.

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BIG STORY She has put the cat amongst the pigeons by suggesting she could return to frontline politics and lead the Tories from Westminster when they are next in opposition. In an interview for the Sunday Telegraph’s Stella magazine, the MSP for Edinburgh Central hinted that she could re-enter politics when her one-year-old son was older. “It may well be that my time in politics doesn’t come again until we’re in opposition,” she said. “I’ve probably got more experience than anyone in the party on how to lead from opposition. “If someone tapped on my door and asked me to help, I’d be there in a heartbeat. But at the moment, I’ve got four or five years when my son isn’t at school and that is not a time that I’m contemplating moving 450 miles away for the majority of the week. It’s just some things are more important than politics.” Davidson is considered the most successful leader of the Scottish Conservative party since devolution. She campaigned to stay in the European Union in the 2016 referendum and had been open about her reservations about Boris Johnson’s leadership of the Conservative party before her resignation. She also spoke about coming out to her family as gay and about the homophobic abuse she has received as a politician. “I was in my mid-20s when I came out – quite late,” she said. “I didn’t know for ages, which is surprising, looking back. I came out to one member of my very close family, it didn’t go well, so I didn’t come out to the rest for two years.”

I came out to one member of my very close family, it didn’t go well, so I didn’t come out to the rest for two years ❜❜

❛❛

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Davidson said she could get up to 1,000 abusive tweets a day when she was Scottish Tory leader. “It wears you down. I’ve had a lot of ‘string her up by a lamppost’ type stuff; ‘unionists, turncoats, traitors’,” she said. “And I had an incident where someone got my phone number and made threats. It turned out not to be that sinister, but I didn’t know that when I was being told they wanted to burn all gays.”

Ardern, who gave birth earlier that year, as one of the few women to have had a child while serving as a party leader.

Davidson, the first UK party leader to have a baby while in office, gave birth at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on October 26th 2018. Davidson joins the prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda

She wrote that the experience of being pregnant had been “invasive, joyous, mortifying, fearful and hopeful”.

In her recently published book on famous women, Yes She Can: Why Women Own the Future, Davidson said she had been preparing for IVF treatment while travelling to Davos in Switzerland for the World Economic Forum.

She also described how it felt to have nurses recognise her when she went for checkups: “There is a special feeling of wanting the earth to swallow you whole when you are led in a hospital gown to the room where an internal examination is going to take place by a nurse who decides to strike up a conversation with: ‘I saw you on the telly last night, talking about the NHS.’” Of course, the peerage is only in part thanks for what she had done and in part for what Boris expects her to do next and that is help in the fight to combat a Scottish independence vote. Alex Salmond has done his bit in trying to bring Nicola Sturgeon down, which failed when the enquiry found she had


BIG STORY parliaments across the UK, and I believe I can make a contribution to its work. Of course, the drama over Salmond stating that Sturgeon knew about the sexual assault claims against him came far earlier than she admitted. Whether she did or not is now old news as she was cleared of breaking the ministerial code and when it comes to breaking the ministerial code, the Conservatives also have form.

Davidson, the first UK party leader to have a baby while in office, gave birth at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on October 26th 2018 ❜❜

❛❛

not broken any rules, so now here comes their next assault, Lady Ruth Davidson. Sturgeon is obviously rattled by the Tory tactics to stop her. During First Minister’s Questions recently, Nicola Sturgeon teased Davidson about heading down to the Lords, however her attack on the Tory Holyrood went a bit far for the Presiding Officer after he told her to tone the assault down.

am honoured to follow in the footsteps of former Holyrood parliamentarians such as Jack McConnell, Jim Wallace and Annabel Goldie in being nominated for membership of the House of Lords.” “As a chamber dedicated to scrutinising and revising legislation, the upper house is stronger when it includes a range of voices with experience from different jobs, backgrounds, specialities and

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, was found to have broken the rules last year – but Boris Johnson decided she could stay on anyway. Tory MSPs had every right to question Sturgeon on what she knew and when. However they must understand their calls for the First Minister to quit are severely undermined by Patel’s behaviour. There are questions still to be answered by Nicola Sturgeon despite her near eight-hour session answering ­questions from MSPs on the Alex Salmond Inquiry and the whole sorry mess cost the taxpayer at least £600,000 and damaged the reputation of our democratic institutions in the process. So can Ms Davidson really be the Tories‘ secret weapon in dis-arming Nicola Sturgeon?

Sturgeon said: “So in the next parliament I hope to be standing here but that’s up to the Scottish people. “But while Ruth Davidson is off for taking £300 a day to sit in the unelected House of Lords, those in this chamber will be getting on with the job of improving education for all.” Those on the SNP bench erupted in laughter, however Ken Macintosh attempted to cool things down. He told Sturgeon: “I appreciate this is a political exchange and I always allow some latitude. But the First Minister has twice mentioned the House of Lords and I get it and I do understand it. However the point has been made, I’d rather it wasn’t so personal.” Afterwards as announced, she would head down to London, Davidson said: “I

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BIG STORY The Scottish Tories could deny the Scottish National party a majority at Holyrood, Davidson has insisted. She said that the SNP winning an overall majority in May’s Scottish parliament election was no longer the “nailed-on near-certainty” that polls had once predicted. But to stop Sturgeon’s party winning that majority – and then using it to push for a second Scottish independence referendum – the Tory Holyrood leader urged all Scots opposed to breaking up the UK to back her party in the regional section of the vote, even if they had never voted Conservative before.

She told the conference: “Labour are in third place across Scotland and they’ve said they won’t work with other parties to block the SNP. The Lib Dems are in fourth place and can’t effectively challenge the Nationalists. The Greens have backed the SNP throughout this parliament, and will do it all over again if they’re given the chance.” While Davidson accepted that “barring a complete implosion” the SNP would emerge from May’s election as the largest party, she was clear that a “majority Nationalist government can be prevented”.

Over the last few weeks, something in Scotland has changed. The Nationalist bandwagon, rolling unstoppably towards their dream of a second independence referendum, is now backfiring ❜❜

❛❛

Speaking as she addressed the party’s Scottish spring conference, Davidson insisted it was only the Tories who could stop the SNP from winning more than half the seats in the Scottish parliament.

She stressed this was “vital” because it was “the only way to be certain that Scotland isn’t dragged back into another independence referendum when we all need to be focusing on building a recovery from the pandemic”.

“Casting your ‘party’ vote for the Scottish Conservatives, even if you never have before, and even if it’s just this once, is the only way to stop that SNP majority. No other vote can be sure of preventing an SNP majority and the independence referendum they want to hold.”

May’s campaign and vote, taking place amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, will be an “election like no other”, Davidson said, as she warned the outcome of the vote “could have profound consequences for our country as a whole and for families the length and breadth of Scotland”.

She warned if Sturgeon’s party did succeed in winning a majority “they will put their obsession with securing a second independence referendum above Scotland’s national interest”. Davidson insisted: “At this uncertain time, the only priority that our governments should have is to work together to manage the Covid crisis and rebuild our country. But the SNP have made it clear, if they win a majority in May, they will try to hold another independence referendum in short order. “They’ve said it could come as soon as the second half of this year. And some of them are even pushing for an illegal ‘wildcat’ referendum. In the midst of a global pandemic, when the only priority should be pulling together to defeat it, to get the country back on its feet, the SNP’s priority is to divide us all over again. “Over the last few weeks, something in Scotland has changed. The Nationalist bandwagon, rolling unstoppably towards their dream of a second independence referendum, is now backfiring.”

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BIG STORY democracy,” he said. “Both votes for SNP at this election is the only way to deliver the change that is required if we are to build the greener, fairer and healthier Scotland that we all know is possible.” Whatever the outcome, the Scottish First Minister’s blind push for independence is seen as a personal vendetta against the English and would result in leaving her historic mark on world politics. This is despite the fact that it would leave Scotland a poorer ‘third world country’ with no currency and barely enough income to cover its bills. Brexit has amplified the independence cause, as they voted 62% for remain. Now, though, Scotland would be faced with the same kinds of choice that faced the UK, and indeed the EU, after the Brexit vote. Would an independent Scotland have a hard or soft border with England? Would it wish to be a full member of the EU single market and customs union, or the UK equivalents? What about a common travel area, as Ireland and the UK still enjoy, uniquely?

Ms Davidson said the SNP’s popularity was on the wane and claimed there were a “lot of different reasons for this”, pointing to “the SNP’s poor record of delivery across our public services” and “their increasingly highhanded attitude as a government that thinks it can do what it likes and get away with it”. But with Sturgeon having being forced to deny claims from her predecessor, Alex Salmond that there was a conspiracy against him, and MP Patrick Grady having stood down as chief whip after harassment allegations were made against him, she said there was an “increasing stench of sleaze and scandal” from the SNP. She said: “We’ve passed ‘peak Nat’ and, more and more, Scotland is saying ‘enough’.” SNP deputy leader Keith Brown said the momentum was “firmly behind” his party. “The Tories can dress up their desperation anyway they like, but they won’t fool Scottish voters who can see for themselves Boris Johnson’s attempts to rip up Scotland’s

If Scotland seeks to be a full member of the EU, enjoying all the benefits and global clout that brings, how will it run its economic border with the UK? Or, more accurately, given that the border of an independent Scotland with England would also be the second land border between the EU and what remains of the UK, what does the EU want it to be? Will it be a world where English tourists have their ham sandwiches confiscated at the border on the A74? Will the trains stop for a passport check as they cross the border? And who decides that –

Brussels or Edinburgh? If you’re born in England, but your mum is Scottish, can you get an EU passport too? The harsh reality of hard Brexit has revolutionised the terms of the debate on Scottish independence since 2014, when all concerned could assume continued EU membership across the British Isles. Politically, Brexit and its aftermath has made independence more attractive than ever for many Scots (though still with a substantial Unionist minority); but economically it is presenting near-insurmountable obstacles to trade and working across the border. Of course, we could all pretend that it is perfectly possible with goodwill all round for Scotland simultaneously to be part of the UK customs union and single market, and also part of the EU customs union and single market. It is, though, the kind of magical thinking that everyone indulged in during the early stages of Brexit, and Northern Ireland provides the living proof that you cannot have your cake and eat it. Anyway, it will be up to Brussels as much as Scotland to decide what the new border looks like.

Can they face another 5, 10, 15 years of English Tory rule, even with devolution? Probably not ❜❜

❛❛

Independence might be inevitable, but it has to be contemplated with some sense of reality, with the reality of Brexit in front of our eyes. Scotland’s freedom from unending Tory rule from London may well be unavoidable, because the constitutional position is simply unsustainable, and is intolerable to most of the Scottish people. Can they face another 5,10,15 years of English Tory rule, even with devolution? Probably not. In the very long run, Scotland will make its own choices. In the short to medium term, though, the Scots will be poorer, but happy. Just like the English.

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TICKETS NOW ON SALE Get your tickets now to the 2021 Brighton & Hove Business Awards

Now in their 15th year, the awards have established a solid reputation within the Brighton and Hove business community. This year’s ceremony – brought to you by Platinum Media Group – will be held at 7:30PM ON JUNE 24TH, with a ground-breaking virtual event that will see a variety of businesses and individuals recognised for their excellence in different sectors of the business world. It’s the BBC News - but not as you know it! The host of the awards is presenter NATASHA KAPLINSKY, a well-loved TV broadcaster who has previously worked as the main anchor on both BBC and Five News. She was also the winner of the first series of Strictly Come Dancing. It will be an opportunity to come together as a collective business community and support each other. Also a guaranteed evening of laughter-filled entertainment and cameos from a few well-known faces. YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS IT!

TICKETS ARE £25 AND CAN BE PURCHASED ONLINE

WWW.BAHBA.CO.UK


FINANCE

By Darren Hurdle, Corporate Finance Director Kreston Reeves

FUNDING GROWTH THROUGH ASSET-BASED LENDING A survey by banking giant Santander reported in March that business confidence is at its highest for three years with businesses looking to grow at home and overseas. Yet funding growth can be a real challenge for COVIDaffected businesses, and many are turning to asset-based lending. Darren Hurdle, a Corporate Finance Director at Kreston Reeves, explains why. Businesses will need different funding sources at different stages of growth. New businesses will often turn to family

❛❛ Asset-based lending is, in

short, borrowing money against, and secured by, assets owned by the business or invoices raised ❜❜

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and friends, banks or venture capital and angel investors to give them the financial kickstart needed. But that is rarely suited for businesses in growth stages. Businesses may have historically turned to their banks to help fund growth, however that avenue is for many businesses closed due to not meeting their strict lending criteria. During the COVID-19 pandemic, CBILS and Bounce Back Loans were a valuable funding source for businesses, but that avenue is now also closed. The new Recovery Loan Scheme, which opened its books on April 6th, is offered on commercial terms and will undoubtedly prove popular. This route, however, will not be suited or accessible to every business and, at the time of writing, is limited in providers.


FINANCE

INVOICE DISCOUNTING AND FACTORING

An invoice discounting facility can be used as a stand-alone product or combined with other asset-based lending to form a borrowing package, and is where funders advance a percentage of the value of invoices raised, or accounts payable, immediately to the business. Factoring will typically see a lender purchase the invoice in its entirety, operating its own credit control and dealing with a business’s customers directly, which isn’t always ideal. Invoice discounting, however, will see a lender offer funding secured against the value of an invoice, but the debtor and credit control function remains with the business. The advantage of both is that it will release a percentage of invoiced funds immediately, rather than waiting for 30 to 60 days, or even longer, for the invoices to be settled, vastly improving a business’s cash flow. Invoice discounting and factoring facilities both work well to aid a business during growth because as the business grows, the funds available with a facility grow too, freeing up more working capital to support further growth.

ASSET-BASED LENDING

We are seeing many growing businesses turn instead to asset-based lending to fund and support growth. Asset-based lending is, in shor t, borrowing money against, and secured by, assets owned by the business or invoices raised. There are a variety of specialist lenders, and the high street banks that will lend against debtors, stock, plant and machinery, property and even intellectual property. There are clear benefits for businesses: n It is often quick and easy to arrange, releasing funds immediately n It’s flexible with few restrictions on how cash can be spent

n It provides stability in repayment terms allowing clear future financial planning. n It allows business owners to retain control as lenders do not require equity in exchange. However, as with all borrowing, it is not without its risks. Should a business fail to keep up with loan repayments it faces the loss of the asset on which the borrowing is secured, or other measures to repay the debt.

Rates will vary from lender to lender and will always be on a case-by-case basis, but a business can expect an invoice discounting facility to attract competitive interest charges (as the funds are secured against the invoices), but will also incur some other operational fees. Overall though, it can be a cost effective and flexible way of borrowing to aid cash flow and growth. Businesses should always seek advice from their accountant or adviser to explore all growth funding options.

For further information and guidance on funding for growth, please get in touch with us on 0330 124 1399 or visit www.krestonreeves.com Darren Hurdle is a Corporate Finance Director at Kreston Reeves. E: darren.hurdle@krestonreeves.com

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FINANCE

Anthony Davies, Tax Partner at MHA Carpenter Box, discusses the tax relief available to help businesses get their office space ready for the ‘new normal’.

BACK TO THE OFFICE

there is help available! WHAT IS PLANT AND MACHINERY?

With the rapid progression of the UK’s COVID vaccination programme and reduction in lockdown restrictions, it is anticipated that many businesses could see an increase in the number of employees attending office premises over the next six to nine months.

Despite the industrial term, plant and machinery generally refers to the equipment used for carrying on a business (‘tools of the trade’). While it can include machines, it can also include any number of office items including fire alarms, security systems, carpets, computers and refrigeration to name just a few.

SUPER-DEDUCTIONS

The preparation for the return to the workplace will no doubt have a financial impact on many businesses as they upgrade equipment and make their offices a safer and more flexible working environment. From April 1st 2021 until March 31st 2023, there are two new reliefs available to companies that qualify with expenditure on plant and machinery assets. The two reliefs are: n A 130% super-deduction capital allowance qualifying plant and machinery n A 50% first-year allowance (FYA) for special rate assets. This means that companies will be able to save up to 25p in tax for every £1 invested.

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WHAT CAN BE CLAIMED?

The 130% super-deduction is for assets that would normally qualify in the main pool for capital allowances with a writing down allowance (WDA) of 18%. This includes plant, machinery, furniture, etc. This means if a company spends £100,000 on qualifying office equipment, the company can claim a deduction of £130,000 against taxable profits. The 50% FYA is for assets that normally qualify in the special rate pool with a WDA of 6%. These are integral features such as air-conditioning, lifts and water heating systems.

In general, you can claim capital allowances when you buy qualifying assets. In the current climate, all types of business are evaluating how they can optimise their workspace to provide more flexibility and provide a more agile working environment. The items must be new or unused.

❛❛ This means that

companies will be able to save up to 25p in tax for every £1 invested ❜❜


FINANCE

You can claim a super deduction on: n Office chairs and desks, particularly any office furniture that allows distancing between staff. n Computer equipment and servers, for example laptops and equipment to enable staff to work remotely and more flexibly. n The creation of flexible workspaces and areas within the office to facilitate collaboration may create opportunities to claim additional allowances. n N ew heating or air conditioning systems, to increase the ventilation. For businesses moving to increase or decrease office space: n B linds and curtains, carpets and lighting systems. n Microwaves, coffee machines, fridges, freezers, utensils and even cutlery racks can all qualify for capital allowances.

WHEN ARE THEY SUITABLE TO USE?

The allowances are only available to companies, and not to individuals or partnerships. And as mentioned previously, the expenditure must be new and unused to qualify for the allowance. It also makes sense to use if the investment is to be held at least until April 1st 2023.

WHEN ARE THEY NOT SUITABLE FOR BUSINESSES?

If you plan to dispose of the asset before April 1st 2023, a balancing charge will be due. This will effectively claw back the tax relief given. The balancing charge is then multiplied by the relevant factor 1.3. (Please note this applies only to the super-deduction and not the 50% FYA).

If you’re looking to purchase used or second-hand equipment, or you’re a sole trader or partnership, you may benefit from the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) instead. The AIA continues to be available alongside the new measures and remains at £1m until December 31st 2021 before dropping to just £200,000. However, the AIA can cover leased and second-hand assets.

HOW WE CAN HELP

Separate and detailed records must be kept of the qualifying assets. Our friendly tax team can help you determine what is eligible, and help you make your claims. For further advice on making the most of Super-deductions, please get in touch with a member of our team of tax and business advisers.

WHAT CAN’T BE CLAIMED?

Unfortunately, cleaning items, hand sanitisers and PPE (disposable or reusable) typically fall under the general expenditure. Therefore, capital allowances would not usually be applicable to these items.

Please visit www.carpenterbox.com or call Anthony on 01903 234094.

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FINANCE

By Dan Morgan, Managing Partner, Haines Watts Esher

PROTECTING YOUR BUSINESS FROM THE RISKS OF OVERTRADING With lockdown restrictions continuing to ease in accordance with the Government’s roadmap, businesses will be looking at re-opening and rebuilding their trading. However, it is important to make sure that this initial surge in business activity doesn’t result in overtrading. Overtrading is when the growth in your business becomes unsustainable because you no longer have the resources to fulfil the demand. In particular, pressure on working capital could be a real risk. During the course of the pandemic if you have used your cash reserves to survive you may need to build up trade slowly to balance the credit given to your customers versus credit received from suppliers.

❛❛ Every business will be showing the same levels of risk aversion as you so suppliers are likely to be much stricter on their payment terms ❜❜

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FINANCE CONSIDER YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH SUPPLIERS

Be careful when extending credit terms to your customers. If you allow credit terms of 30 days or more with customers but are on shorter terms with your suppliers, you could place undue pressure on cashflow. For example, if a business sells 100 widgets with payment terms of 60 days for customers but you have payment terms of 30 with your supplier, you will need to have sufficient working capital to meet this 30 day gap. If you don’t have the capital already in the business to pay your supplier then you can quickly run into problems. Late or non-payments from your customers need to be monitored closely over the next few months, particularly in terms of how they will impact your relationships with suppliers. If a missed payment from a customer means you won’t be able to pay your supplier then you need to proceed with caution. Every business will be showing the same levels of risk aversion as you so suppliers are likely to be much stricter on their payment terms.

HOW TO MEASURE IF YOU CAN KEEP UP WITH THE DEMAND

HOW TO BOOST YOUR RESOURCES

Before your business re-opens it is important to conduct some resource planning in order to match your demand. Have a plan in place which is able to be scaled up or down depending on actual business activity. Some key considerations will be the amount of stock you’re holding, not having surplus raw materials and ensuring you have alternative suppliers if needed. Staffing levels is also something which needs to be planned for. Many businesses I work with are only employing enough in-house staff to cover the work that they can guarantee will occur month on month and then if additional work comes in, this can be outsourced.

Accurate financial forecasting and reliable management accounts will continue to be important as you re-open and rebuild. If you have a grip of your numbers you can begin to test various outcomes and measure how well you think your business will be able to cope with changes in a variety of variables. When looking at your numbers you need to factor in any loans you took out during the course of the pandemic. Deferred VAT payments will now be kicking back in and if you took out a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL) early on, then the 12 month interest free period will also be coming to an end.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK YOU MAY OVERTRADE

If you suspect your business is at risk of overtrading then the first thing you should do is seek advice from your accountant on the best way to inject cash into your business as trade picks up. There are a number of options that you may be able to explore from RandD tax credits, to invoice financing, or asset financing. Invoice financing in particular can be a great option for allowing for a steady return to business as it scales up alongside the level of sales you are making. If additional equipment will help ease the strain and you do still have capital within your business then now is an optimal time to invest due to the 130% super deduction announced in the budget.

For more information: www.hwca.com/accountants-esher T: 020 8549 5137 E: esher@hwca.com

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EDUCATION

By Michelle Zeidler, Director of Professional Development and Performance, Hurst College

THE TEACHER IS DEAD. LONG LIVE THE TEACHER? The rise of digital technology and increased pupil access to educational platforms has created a growing movement of those who forecast the demise of the teaching profession as we know it. Indeed, the future predicted by Yuval Noah Harari in his book, Homo Deus, where computer algorithms can outperform humans in assessing and

responding to individual needs - the core skills of the teaching profession – conjures up a world in which children will receive all of their education sitting at home in front of a screen interacting with educational programmes rather than other human beings. And yet, our most recent experience with remote teaching and learning would suggest that this projection about the automation of education, cutting out the middle man/ woman, has been shown to be flawed. Putting aside the divisions that the pandemic has highlighted between those who have access to technology and those who do not, and whether it will ever be possible to eradicate this digital injustice to level the playing field; online learning has, for many, reinforced what teachers, those on the inside, have always known. There is more to education than the mere transmission of facts, high quality education is also about relationships. The best teachers not only impart their knowledge in an effective and efficient manner, but in the relation-

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EDUCATION

ships they forge with their pupils they inspire passion for their subject and nurture collaborative exploration and discovery of knowledge and meaning. During the pandemic, despite the best efforts and considerable innovation of teachers, the quality of these relationships could not help but fall victim to the constraints of online learning. ‘Teaching into the void’ will be a concept familiar to all who posed a question and waited for a pupil to respond. Even with the insistence of ‘cameras on’, the dynamic of class-based teacher-to -pupil and pupil-to- pupil interaction could not be wholly replicated. The most common complaint from pupils was not about the quality of the learning, but centred on their feelings of isolation as they worked on their own from home. Pupils’ wellbeing and mental health faltered. The use of collaborative learning spaces such as breakout rooms and channels helped to some extent, but could not replace the social dynamics and interaction that is found within a classroom environment.

❛❛ There is more to education

than the mere transmission of facts, high quality education is also about relationships ❜❜

And what about those pupils who had the technology but did not have the willingness to engage? Harari’s vision of the future assumes that all are sufficiently motivated to interact with the digital world. Not all teenagers are as compliant and benefit greatly from the watchful eye of the teacher guiding, persuading and at times cajoling them to get on. When quality relationships are removed from the education equation, I would suggest, however efficient and effective the transmission of knowledge, there is something missing that is vital to the learning process. Interestingly, this year there has been an increase in the number of people applying for initial teacher training.

In a global crisis, when the focus has shifted to what really matters, education alongside health care provision emerged centre stage. So, is the future bright for these new recruits or will their value and careers be truncated by the march of technology? I believe that they can join the profession in the certainty that teachers will be pivotal to the learning process for many years to come.

For more information: www.hppc.co.uk

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BUSINESS

A life in sport by MDHUB Member Duncan Kerr, CEO of Wave Leisure Trust

LEADERSHIP PHILOSOPHY FROM A CHAMPION SQUASH PLAYER The best books and films tell the story of a character overcoming an impossible obstacle despite all the odds. The truth of a character is revealed in the choices they make. Duncan Kerr’s story encapsulates this sentiment, a leader who started life as a young boy from Dunfermline in Fife with big dreams of an international sporting career.

learn so much from people outside my own sector”. Duncan reflected on his career chapter as a squash player and his current role as CEO for Wave Leisure Trust. “I always played better for Scotland than I played for myself - an interesting point when you apply that to my work.”

Duncan found “his home to be in sport” and at the age of 14, set his goal to play full International squash for Scotland “My dream was to be in the adult team and I did that aged 18, I obviously didn’t dream big enough”.

Duncan always asked ‘what next?’ even at that vulnerable point. The ‘what next?’ was Heriot-Watt University, to coach and train squash players which led to him setting up the Scottish Squash Academy. His lucky break came after failing to get an Assistant Director of Sport job in Edinburgh and successfully applying for Director of Sport at the University of Reading.

Recalling one key performance during the World Championships in Australia ensured that dream was fulfilled. “I still remember the winning point – I stood there thinking ‘wtf just happened?’” Stretching your ability by training with players better than yourself is a life lesson that he has maintained. “Today, I

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Duncan’s competitive squash career came to an end at the age of 23 when a congenital heart defect started to impact on his fitness. “I didn’t want to dabble, I needed to be able to commit totally or not at all so after an honest conversation with my consultant, I went home and put my racket in the wardrobe. If I’m honest, it was a very sad point in my life, one day I was playing in the world championships and the next, I was a part-time barman.”

Duncan receiving the award for the Most Innovative MD from Bill Taylor of Design Specific

The squash court has provided many lessons for Duncan which has shaped his approach to life. “In sport, winning demands performance, often on the


BUSINESS

enforced closure, Duncan is full of renewed vigour and energy to build on the massive opportunity for the leisure trust sector to have a role in primary care. “The Chief Medical Officer made the connection between fitness and chances of survival clear, so our ambitions are bigger than those pre-Covid”. Duncan’s motto is to dream big, maintain relentless resilience and learn from failure. Winner of the MDHUB Most Innovative MD Award in 2019, Duncan shows that he is one determined, passionate Scotsman who uses every grain of experience to be a better person and help others. “I sometimes reflect on my career path, wondering how I got here. After all, I was just a wee boy hitting a ball against a wall.”

DUNCAN’S TOP LIFE TIPS

www.waveleisure.co.uk

❛❛ Duncan Kerr’s story encapsulates this

sentiment, a leader who started life as a young boy from Dunfermline in Fife with big dreams of an international sporting career ❜❜

knife edge of your physical, mental and emotional capability and often taking risks, to push beyond the point of comfort, but also knowing when not to”. Regarding Duncan’s long term health outcome, that understanding meant choosing an experienced South African surgeon in Durban rather than a pioneering procedure closer to home. A year on from his operation, Duncan took on the challenge of MD at Gosling Sports Park – “a job I loved”. Here he learnt the importance of cost control but also that you cannot grow by simply cutting costs, you need a vision, a road map and an investment plan. “We borrowed £5 million to fund our growth

1 2 3 4

Dream Big – bigger than you think is possible and then bigger again. Be ‘all in’ and, no matter what the game, play to the last second. Failure hurts but use it to energise your next move.

Ask for help, especially when you feel vulnerable and hang on to the good people in your life.

plans but what I didn’t realise at the time, was that they were investing in me, my idea and my ability to drive it.” Today, community health is at the cornerstone of the vision and plan for Duncan and his team at Wave Leisure. Actively working to encourage everyone to take care of their health. “60% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese not because they are lazy but because they are not making their health a priority. Our job is to help and support people on their health journey. Many have discovered physical activity during lockdown but the fear is that it won’t continue with all the other choices opening up. After a year of ‘hell’ and

If you are interested in finding out more about the MDHUB, please visit www.mdhub.co.uk Email MDHUB Directors: Fiona Shafer: fiona@mdhub.co.uk or Phil Green: phil.green@mdhub.co.uk

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LEGAL

By James O’Connell, Partner Mayo Wynne Baxter, solicitors

BEWARE MEMORANDUMS OF UNDERSTANDING

THEY CAN BITE It is a common occurrence: you’ve had exploratory discussions with a potential supplier/investor etc., leading to an understanding of core issues that justifies starting serious negotiations. You don’t want the understanding fixed in stone just in case you need to renegotiate or the negotiations go nowhere. Meanwhile, the supplier wants to rely on that understanding – either because there is no point in further negotiating without it or because it needs to spend money on the next stage and is only will-

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ing to do that if the understanding can be relied upon. So, despite having diametrically opposed motives, you both sign a memorandum of understanding (also known as a ‘heads of terms’, and sometimes as a ‘term sheet’). It is written loosely to accommodate the contradictory motives. Typically, memorandums (or memoranda) focus on headline topics: who, what, where, when and how much? Stage two of negotiations cover the 1,001 points


LEGAL

❛❛ Problems arise when stage two never

happens or goes nowhere, but one of the parties has begun to take (expensive) steps in expectation of a contract ❜❜

of detail that are essential for a contract to actually function as intended (e.g., quality standards, ordering/delivery process, invoicing, problem resolution, etc.) Problems arise when stage two never happens or goes nowhere, but one of the parties has begun to take (expensive) steps in expectation of a contract. Their fall-back position is to claim the memorandum was a binding interim agreement, not a non-binding record of negotiations. Where such cases end up in court, the judge will go back to the very basics of contract formation. The starting point is that a contract is automatically formed when two parties who are (i) able to form a contract (e.g., not five year-olds) want to (ii) do something legal, with (iii) the intention of forming a legal relationship to do it (negotiating an imaginary deal doesn’t count) and

(iv) have agreed on enough core terms to allow the contract to actually be carried out and (v) one of them has made an offer to deal which the other has accepted and (vi) some form of benefit has been exchanged or promised between them (otherwise one is simply making a gift to the other). The mistake businesses make is to assume that merely by entitling a document a memorandum, they automatically sidestep the above contract formation test. That is incorrect. If the above requirements are met, then a contract is formed – which could be very bad news for one of the parties – if only because not all the important terms would have been covered in the memorandum. The cases that come before the court are invariably those where one party says the memorandum is legally

binding, but the other disagrees. In such cases the court has basically applied the old abductive (no pun intended) test: if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it probably is a duck. This means that the more the memorandum looks like a contract, the more likely it is that the court will agree with the party claiming that it is a binding contract. To avoid this, make sure that your memoranda are not written as if they were contracts: consider not signing them; try not to use wording like ‘the parties have agreed…’ or ‘the parties shall…’. Make sure that the memorandum is headed ‘subject to contract’ and is liberally sprinkled with reminders that it is not intended to be legally binding. Of course, if you want the option to be able to claim that the memorandum is binding, then write it as if it were a contract.

James O’Connell, Partner Mayo Wynne Baxter, solicitors www.mayowynnebaxter.co.uk

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INFLUENCERS FORUM The world has changed over the past year in ways we could not have imagined and many of our working practices have changed with it. Marketing has become a tricky landscape and new navigation tools are now required. This Influencers Forum will look at the subject of marketing, public relations and brand recognition in the new world. People will feel differently and act differently. But what will that mean for brands and the way they market their products and services? What will actually change and what will stay the same? And how can brands make sure they thrive in a postpandemic world? There’s no doubt that different industries will see different effects as we progress out of the covid era but there have been some fundamental changes that will affect all brands, no matter their size, audience or current offering. From online conferences and virtual networking to shopping for essentials and a new-found appreciation for efficiency – brands have quickly found new ways of doing things and consumers’ expectations have, unsurprisingly, risen at the same rate. Consumer behaviour is constantly evolving, but there are certain behaviours that Covid appears to have expedited. Some are obvious, others less so, but what’s interesting is to see how brands are already starting to plan for the new normal.

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www.platinummediagroup.co.uk

Now more than ever, empathy and prioritising customer experience will help brands stand out and build a loyal customer base. We expect this to continue way beyond the pandemic era. Will this be the end of inperson networking events, the death of the humble physical business card thereby indirectly decreasing the opportunistic referrals many businesses rely on to keep their pipeline filled? We don’t think so, but it has opened up the possibility for far more events to be moved online. Smart businesses are already scrambling to find the best way to stay in touch with their customers online and stand out in what is already a crowded space. Brands that find new ways to communicate and stand out short-term are also likely to be the ones who fare better in the longterm. B2B brands may notice the difference more as they shifted from in-person to online conferences and many find them to be more efficient and more accessible to their audiences. For many of us, the pandemic has made us appreciate our similarities and has drawn us together – this will be reflected in how we reach out to clients and how we ‘behave’ going forward.” There will be a far deeper focus on storytelling/actual relationships – all as a form of retention. There will not be a focus on growth at all costs - every brand will rely far more on their core customer base and how to keep them engaged and profitable.


INFLUENCERS FORUM

PAUL TOWNLEY-JONES

JOANNE EMMERSON FCIM

Managing Director, Paparico

Managing Director, Bark Like A Big Dog Ltd

Paul is a marketing expert with over 20 years’ experience in consulting, digital marketing, advertising strategy, and market research. Through his agency, PAPARICO, he is now utilising emerging technology in marketing, in particular artificial intelligence.

Joanne has over 30 years’ marketing and design experience; 25 years of that as an agency owner and consultant. Joanne is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and specialises in Neuromarketing (the behavioural adaptation of marketing and design). She is known for her creativity and incredibly high performing direct marketing campaigns (and being hilariously blunt and straightforward).

PAPARICO is a marketing consultancy powered by artificial intelligence. Through AI technology we are able to take a truly data-driven approach to marketing, optimising campaign performance and delivering maximum ROI. www.paparico.co.uk 07919 566 338 hello@paparico.co.uk

RICHARD FREEMAN Managing Director, always possible Richard is CEO and founder of always possible, and a specialist in organisational strategy, cross-sector innovation and connecting grassroots entrepreneurs to big ideas in education, research and thought leadership. For the past 20 years he has been designing professional development programmes, business scale-up projects and cultural festivals. always possible is one of the UK’s fastest growing development companies, helping clients to solve problems and seize opportunities. www.alwayspossible.co.uk 0208 242 1630 ideas@alwayspossible.co.uk

Bark Like a Big Dog is content marketing agency, specialising in neuromarketing and focused on helping small business to bark like the big dogs – for little dog prices. Proven, effective and affordable!

LESLEY ALCOCK Commercial Director, Platinum Media Group

Lesley is a marketing professional, having spent many years with Capital Radio in London and the Observer Newspaper, and was instrumental in the launch of the Observer Magazine. The Platinum Media Group is the largest circulation business publishing group in the UK, reaching up to 720,000 readers each month across three titles. www.platinummediagroup.co.uk 07767 613707 lesley@platinummediagroup.co.uk

www.barklikeabigdog.com 01256 541441 joanne@barklikeabigdog.com

HELEN BOGIE

MAARTEN HOFFMANN

Helen has more than 20 years’ experience working in business development and marketing for professional services and tech businesses.

Maarten Hoffmann is the facilitator for the Platinum Influencer Forums

Marketing Director, Kreston Reeves

The Platinum Publisher

Her focus has been on helping professional services firms to understand their client needs and deliver solutions that win, retain, and grow client business. Kreston Reeves help dynamic businesses, not for profit organisations, private individuals and families with much more than accountancy, business and financial advice. www.krestonreeves.com 0330 124 1399 helen.bogie@krestonreeves.com

www.platinummediagroup.co.uk

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INFLUENCERS FORUM Welcome to our panel of Influencers. A recent study noted that brand experience is the most important factor for the consumer and l will turn first to Joanne with your view on this statement JE: I agree 100%. We specialise in European and global marketing and what we are seeing is that the first reaction is panic. The need to make up for lost time and brand experience is vital to reconnect with your network. But it must be a measured approach. What we have learnt from this is that people are craving relationships, whether that be with family members or the brands they love. It’s about how you reach out, how you wrap them up in your arms and make them feel part of your community. HB: Clients are at the heart of our business and what l see is that it is all about offering a very personal experience. You need to understand these behaviours: it is about competing with their last brand experience. Kreston Reeves are in professional services and even there, we see the need to personalise our approach far more than we had to pre-pandemic.

We know how the big brands like McDonalds and Ford do it with unlimited budgets but how do smaller SMEs tailor-make this experience? RF: We have helped over 200 SMEs deal with this issue. The first thing is don’t panic. Stay in touch with your customers, put your arm around them and make sure they are OK. That is the first step to a personalised experience. And this involves the whole team not just the marketing department. It’s the team that know the business better than anyone and they are best placed to offer opinion and advice on what clients are looking for within the individual business. PTJ: We need to be very careful how we speak to clients. Going directly into a sales pitch can almost be regarded as rude these days. You have to genuinely care about the client and their circumstances and that is where the SME comes into their own. Personalise your approach and their experience of your business. JE: If l can interject there, an important factor here is the human brain. Remember your brain can’t read and it is driven by visual and emotional connections and for the first time in living memory, it is not about reintroducing your business but understanding that you’re talking to people who have been locked away and have been afraid for the best part of the year. They might have lost family members or been ill themselves, so businesses cannot talk to people in the same way we used to. Bashing them over the head with the sales pitch is not what people need or want right now. They want to feel safe, confident and understood. Humans are risk averse creatures and although the world around us has changed, human nature has not.

www.platinummediagroup.co.uk

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INFLUENCERS FORUM

So is this a permanent change or will we all revert to business as normal? HB: I think it’s certainly a permanent shift. Everyone’s experience has changed fundamentally and there has to be trust and social conscience around everything you do. Another thing to factor in is that the consumer has changed, their tolerance level has changed and with the mass move to online purchases, they want what they want right now. PTJ: I agree. There’s been a cultural shift and this is a great opportunity to rethink your strategy. Certainly family life has taken centre stage and this has be considered in the mix with your marketing strategy. RF: I certainly feel this is a permanent change. We work across many sectors so it is probably too early to finally decide but so many sectors are seeing change. Take the construction industry that we work closely with, customers are much more precise and determined to have what they want as the home has become the centre of their personal and work life and that sector in particular is having to adjust how they approach their customers. LA: I think there is a huge change and the method of communication is so very important. There is a tremendous feeling of camaraderie, understanding that we are all in this together. What l see a lot of with clients is the topic of social values. These have to be built into marketing and consumers are looking for more from brands - it’s all about what that brand is doing for the local community, what values they hold and how they transmit those values. Often, the true understanding of the values does not come from the top, rather is comes from the team. At Platinum, we decided early last year to stop making any kind of sales calls. Instead, we started calling clients for no other reason that to see how they were and if their family was fine. I think it was refreshing and truly appreciated.

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www.platinummediagroup.co.uk


INFLUENCERS FORUM

JE: We all took what we had for granted but when it is taken away, you realise what really matters. We are all sweaty cavemen and at the end of the day we found new joy in reconnecting with our neighbours and our friends and this is something that l don’t think we are prepared to let go. We are pack animals and we are only just starting to realise that. Fear will subside of course and we will see an evolution in emotional and experiential marketing. RF: Marketing is about presenting a particular story about your business and l think consumers, especially local buyers have realised that businesses are made up of people just like them and they are suffering too. This does not work with the major brands but for smaller local businesses this is a great strength that can be capitalised on. In my view, this is a very healthy result of the pandemic. PTJ: There is also a big push towards the sustainability of business. We work with a lot of small breweries and they have certainly seen customers far more interested in their sustainability credentials than ever before. Brand values is the key but be very aware of not being seen to just jump on the bandwagon - it has to be genuine and authentic. HB: I agree and these values have to be understood by the entire team. If we accept we are all in this together then we have to accept that supporting your local community is vital in building that authentic approach and this is where smaller businesses can really excel.

I am not as confident as the panel in that human nature often wins out and l feel there is the chance that in a few years to come when this is all a distant memory, we might slip back to how we were before. I guess Brexit started the ‘buy local’ drive and the pandemic has further cemented the feeling. I hope l am wrong as l think we will have a far better society for it. JE: I don’t feel we will go back to globalisation because l don’t think that we really wanted it in the first place. We are tired of anything fake, tired of fear, tired of false values. We will end up with a more agile and supple supply chain but the supply chain is just the bit in the middle - business is done human to human and we must remember that. PTJ: It’s funny that you say that as even AI bots are being reprogrammed to communicate in a different way, a more human way with empathy and understanding. We build bots and l had a client tell me last week that he was shocked when he found out he had been communicating with a bot as it felt like a sincere human communication. Inbound calls went through the roof in the last year and bots had to change to adapt just as humans did. HB: There has been such an increase in technology take-up within marketing but we have to control technology as it has not been through what we humans have been through, so as Paul said, tech retraining is important. JE: Technology must facilitate and not lead and now automation has to be much more selective. Many people, and l am amongst them, often crave to speak to a human and no matter how good bots become, they will never replace the human. PTJ: We recently gained funding from local government and this was directed at helping businesses improve their digital presence, as the pandemic certainly showed the weakness in many companies digital capabilities.

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Selling, buying or starting a business? Call us on 0800 84 94 101 Offices across Sussex

www.mayowynnebaxter.co.uk


INFLUENCERS FORUM

We did a quick survey of 100 businesses recently and on the basis that their responses were confidential. They responded with determination to get their point across to the marketeers. One question, 67% of them did not really understand what content marketing is - would anyone like to have a crack at explaining that? JE: Content marketing does what it says on the tin. It’s an organic approach, it’s story telling and using your story across multiple channels. It is engaging with customers rather than just telling them the products great, buy it now. Tell your story of how you came to be selling the product, tell customer journey stories, get your team to contribute their experience of the product. Engage don’t sell. Content marketing is a conversation not a pitch. The next interesting result was over 55% of respondents did not truly understand SEO. In terms of SEO what is it and where’s the value? PTJ: SEO is of course search engine optimisation and is simply using the key words that describe your product to ensure that the maximum number of people see your company when they type that word into the search engine. As to the value of SEO, firstly you have to understand that it is a long game – results do not come overnight. Once clients start to see more leads coming in, then they really get behind it – and it’s free. Sure, you have the cost of the SEO agency and perhaps you have budget behind pay per click but it is a very cost effective way to market and secure leads, and conversions. But this is a very competitive market and you have to work hard to stay in the game. We are all assaulted daily by hundreds of companies promising to get us on the first page of Google. There are only ten search returns on the first page so how on earth can we all get on that first page? PTJ: Content is the key. Be very wary of these companies as they might get you there in the short term but possibly with methods that really hurt you in the long term. The algorithms are very clever these days and they take in so many factors that there is no real short cut to this. Use great content, use good SEO and ensure customer satisfaction - these are the keys to rising in the search ranking. Do not expect to see any results for three months and allow for a minimum 12-month campaign. HB: I think SEO should be replaced with User Experience. It’s great to get your name to the top but if your UE is not great, you will drop out fast. Google are now moving to the best user experience and not the company with the biggest budget to rise to the top and this is certainly a better and human way to approach it. On this basis, a small burger bar in Crawley could beat McDonald’s to the top if they record higher rates of customer satisfaction. No one wants to buy from the burger company with the biggest budget, we want to buy from those with the best burgers.

www.platinummediagroup.co.uk

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INFLUENCERS FORUM

Another interesting question that came up was how to measure social media engagement? JE: Over lockdown, social media behaviour has changed. It’s easy enough with the right dashboard to see how many likes, views and clicks you are getting but what about the quality of these clicks. There is no way to judge that unless they buy. More people now are wary of clicking ‘like’ as they know that there is a system somewhere recording these clicks and they will then be chased around the universe with sales calls. Again, social media engagement comes from great content.

What about Aligning Values – this is a phrase that keeps coming up. How does a company align the values of their company? RF: First, you have to understand what your company values are. For our company we are developing something akin to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. How we behave, what we put back in, what our principles are. This is often judged by the way you market your product, how you engage with issues such as sustainability, what your current clients say about you. If you just jump on a passing bandwagon your increasingly intelligent audience will find you out. Bear in mind recovery takes five times longer than doing it the right way in the first place. Recognise that any company is just a group of individuals and although each individual will have differing values, when they come together, what values do they all share and represent. PTJ: Values are the differential. There might be a hundred firms in your field offering the same product so the customer will choose by understanding different things - your reviews of course but also your values about community, customer service, referrals, and of course, the story you tell. Often consumers will pay a higher price for the same product because they like the story and your company values. JE: Many companies really struggle to understand and verbalise what their values are and the fastest way to do this is to love and support your team and value them above all else. That is such a potent message and the easiest one for people to articulate. That’s a great start. That certainly rings true. In a recent Forum on recruitment, it became glaringly obvious that, especially amongst Gen X, they interviewed the company and not the other way round. No matter the salary, if they do not agree with the values, principles and goals of the company, they didn’t want the job. If your values are not authentic or do not align with the potential employee, you are left behind as the top people will not want to work with you. Therefore failing to understand and align your corporate values can seriously effect the bottom line.

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www.platinummediagroup.co.uk


INFLUENCERS FORUM

LA: That is very true of millennials and Gen X as such things are very important to them. To work in a company for more than the pay-packet. They want to feel good about what they do, with a sense of purpose and integrity and in many ways, employers have been really slow in realising this. This was happening anyway but the pandemic has turbo-charged this and their appreciation of the company’s value framework. RF: I absolutely recognise that. We recently employed two under 25 year-olds and there is no doubt that l was interviewed by them and not the other way round. They had a very clear sense of why they wanted to work with us. Not the salary but the impact we have on behalf of our clients, the type of clients we deal with and the talk of salary was right at the end, almost as an afterthought. HB: The value proposition is not just the younger generation. Not long ago when l was returning to the UK after many years abroad, the first thing l looked at in potential employers was their CSR policy, and then digging deeper to see how long they had been doing it to ensure they had not just jumped on the bandwagon. I was looking for a positive working environment and experience. and l certainly found it at Kreston Reeves. PTJ: Start with why. Why does the company exist? Why does the company sell those particular products? Once you start asking those questions you get into ‘who’ the company is. And this is not only attractive to employees but that’s what draws in your customers.

It was interesting listening to Helen speak of her experience when she returned to the UK. For you Helen, how does a leading accountancy firm make their values attractive to you? HB: I was attracted by their strap-line first and foremost – ‘helping you to a brighter future’. I found that this runs right across the company, absolutely everyone across all levels. Also, their charity connections, their commitment to CSR, and the amount of time and effort that goes into caring for their clients. I found that hugely attractive and l am delighted to be the Kreston Reeves marketing director.

So let’s look at some thing we used to do. Face-to-face networking is a huge generator of contacts and leads. I have run the leading Director level networking forum in the South East, the Platinum Club, for over 10 years and l have very fixed views on this but rather than giving you my opinion, what’s yours – will it resume? HB: Yes. PTJ: Yes JE: Yes RF: Yes, however, l have been involved with some online networking and it does have its place. I think there will be a hybrid approach, and the time saving alone is remarkable. There are some benefits to virtual so let’s benefit from both. PTJ: We do work with various company’s Congress events and although they ran virtually last year and they can’t wait to get back to live events, l think there will be a mix of both - hundreds at the live congress and hundreds attending virtually from all over the world without the need for flying and hotels. JE: I will certainly do both - some l will attend in person due to the nature or stature of the event and others l will dial into. I must say l am craving human contact as many others are - l am even craving the bad croissants. There’s an old adage ‘how can you see eye to eye if you don’t meet face to face’. That’s a bit of a kitsch catch-all but the Platinum Club did not run any virtual networking events as l don’t believe that is what networking is about. It’s not about selling, its about building long-term relationships. I listen to many conversations at the Platinum events and they are mostly about their kids, or homes, or cars, or their last vacation - getting to know someone as a person and not as a means to an end and then seeing if there is any business connection down the road, is the way to go, efficient networking works, and it makes it more enjoyable. Body language is also an art that cannot be effectively utilised online.

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INFLUENCERS FORUM

What about crisis management? Traditionally this has been more of the PR role? It seems every five minutes there’s another public or corporate figure who’s not ‘woke’ enough or has been caught doing something they shouldn’t have done. Joanne, l think you have been involved here, has this changed in the new normal? JE: For me no. The answer is not to blag your way through it. Social media is a double edged sword. The bad news gets out faster but the available methods of response have equally grown. I have been doing crisis management for 35 years now and l have to prevent clients from creating an artificial response as people can sniff that out a mile off. As we said previously, the public are more and more switched on to BS. A crisis has to be faced head on with human emotion and a human face. It’s not just the major big events that happen as every day there is a new crisis on social media, and then they make the mistake of trying to take it off line in the hope it will go away. Don’t. Take it back online and face it head on with empathy and human emotion. Crisis PR is about human stories and human failings. Another very good marketing strategy is sponsorship – whether it be an event, a charity, a podcast, a sporting event – is this still a good route forward? RF: Absolutely. But it’s about the right event, the right market and the right story. It’s no longer about paying the money and turning up to the event - it’s about collaboration and ensuring the organiser of the event understands what you wish to get out of it and tailor-makes certain aspects of the sponsorship to your desires and aims. I was the Project Director for something called Essex 2020 aiming to connect business with education to recreate the narrative around the county and to push forward STEM subjects for young people. Everybody won from this event and it was a perfect fit for all the sponsors. I am also delighted to say that ‘always possible’ have joined Kreston Reeves in sponsoring the Brighton and Hove Business Awards - celebrating and rewarding local business, our community, for their efforts, skills and talents. HB: I totally agree. We used to partner with two other firms about Sustainable Growth and that is aligned with our values and we make sure it’s collaborative. You need the return on investment but that’s not just about cash in the bank, its about your preparation and targeting the right market.

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Neuromarketing is a fascinating subject and one that l think Joanne has extensive experience in? JE: Neuormarketing is essentially understanding how the brain works and human behaviour. The pandemic has made no difference to this as the brain hasn’t changed for ever. It’s a research methodology, we take the findings from behavioural science and apply that to marketing. What people don’t understand is that the brain is illiterate. The best way to think about it is landing on a company site, the brain is searching for the answer to whatever the question is. The faster the brain gets to the answer - for example, can l trust you, will l be safe buying from you - the faster your site or brochure can answer those questions the faster the brain tells the person to go ahead. Simple=True=Trust. If you want to be a world leader you should never have to say it, it should be evident. If you care about your team or the environment, show it. Don’t forget, the brain can’t read. Marketing is like dating - if you want them to swipe right you had better make sure they understand what sort of relationship they are going to have with you, how trustworthy you are and how safe they will be with you.


INFLUENCERS FORUM

What about the advent of influencer marketing – has this changed? PTJ: This has been a growing market and l don’t see it changing much. The problem is identifying the fake from the genuine. Some people see this as a valid full-time career but equally, there are many who buy followers, buy likes and then send in the bill. Do it right and it can work well but it has to be fully contracted with expected KPIs and research into their followers to ensure this is your target market. Authenticity comes into play again as if they are doing it just for the money, most of the audience will spot that and it can damage the brand. JE: There are regulations coming in every day on this subject. Using people just for their huge following is useless if the Influencer in question is not authentic. Going for the person with half a million followers with huge lips and everything hanging out, standing in Dubai saying’ l love this product’ before doing the same thing for various different companies all day, is over. Consumers are too savvy for this to have any affect.

Well l must say that l now feel that the pandemic has been a force for good, within marketing at least. If we are to become a more caring, more genuine and authentic society then that can only be a good thing and will force a change in the way we all market our products or services. And if the consumer is becoming more savvy and daft publicity stunt style marketing is past, that really does have to be a good thing. I have really enjoyed this discussion and my sincere thanks to all of our Influencers.

www.platinummediagroup.co.uk

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TECHNOLOGY

By Andrew Hookway, Managing Director, Extech Cloud

EXTECH CLOUD’S ONGOING INVESTMENT IN TRAINING AND STAFF DEVELOPMENT PROVES A SUCCESS LOCKED DOWN IT DUE TO A RELUCTANCE TO CHANGE?

Extech Cloud, an award-winning IT managed service provider based in Sussex, was recently thrilled to be announced as ‘Edge Partner of the Year’ in the Vuzion Cloud Awards 2021.

Over the years, the team has seen time and time again where a business’ IT systems become ‘locked down’ due to the reluctance to change current practices.

Vuzion is an innovative Cloud solutions specialist, assisting businesses like Extech Cloud, ensuring the best possible foundation for their partners to build and develop a sustainable and future-proof business for the 21st Century. The team at Extech Cloud has partnered with Vuzion’s EDGE Partner Program in order to ensure the team has the technical skills and expertise to offer customers the solutions and services to suit their needs.

INVESTING IN KNOWLEDGE AND STAFF DEVELOPMENT

“Part of our ongoing work with Vuzion involves heavily investing in the training of our team, with the help of Vuzion Cloud,” says Andrew Hookway, Director of Extech Cloud. “This is so that our team of experts at Extech Cloud can continue to provide top-level service and pass this knowledge on to our wide range of clients. We want to ensure that no matter what a client might want to speak to us about, we have the best possible answers and solutions on-hand to help”.

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Having the right systems in place ensures that day-to-day routines can continue without any spanners being thrown into the works. It’s a way to future-proof the business and ensure that you’re competing within your sector, otherwise what’s the point?

CONTINUALLY LEARNING AS NEW INNOVATIONS ARISE

As the world of IT is so fast-moving, the team at Extech Cloud aim to continually learn as new innovations arise, ensuring that they are always ahead of the curve and that clients are empowered with the know-how to be in the starting gates when the business boom hits, and by all accounts later this year. If your business has a new-found confidence in future business conditions following the first steps in the gradual easing of the national lockdown, you may find that uncertainties are now shifting towards what you are doing with your IT.

For example, you wouldn’t enter a marathon without your running shoes, would you? Therefore why be in the race when you’re at less than your best?

BE AT YOUR BEST WITH EXTECH CLOUD

Digital transformation is easier than you think when you come to Extech Cloud. Speak to the experts to get the facts. Contact the team on +44 (0) 1444 443200, email info@extech.co.uk or visit www.extechcloud.com


ACCELERATOR

BHAVNA MISHRA Bhavna Mishra is the founder of Browzly, an innovation EdTech created to help every child experience the joy of reading and teachers to support and track each student’s reading and learning progress. Proven to improve student engagement, Browzly connects school communities in a social reading network to share books, reviews and take multimedia book and topic quizzes. As a one person team, Bhavna has built up the business on her own, from establishing relationships with schools to testing the service at every stage of development.

❛❛ Bhavna’s ultimate moon-shot for Browzly is to be endorsed by the Department of Education ❜❜ In 2016, she found herself working endless hours at a corporate job. Due to the amount of work and stress that she was enduring she found that she was becoming burnt out within her current role. When speaking with a mentor and discussing her strengths and what she wanted, she concluded that she no longer wanted to feel this way and sought to do something about it.

After making the decision to leave the corporate world, Bhavna received job offers from a few different companies but she knew that this was something that she didn’t want to jump back into. At the time she had two young children that were both in Primary school and realised that neither of them had enough books that they could read to develop their learning. As a result, she came up with the idea of creating Browzly. Initially, it was created as a paperback swap platform that would allow students to connect with each other and swap their copies of books. After taking time to research and speak with multiple schools, Bhavna discovered that a digital platform allowing students to swap and share their recently read books was something that students, parents and teachers at the school would find very useful. Therefore, she then set out to create a concept presentation that would outline the idea that she had created. From here she received feedback on what would work best and asked if the school would like to pilot the platform with their teachers and students. So far, since launching in 2017, Browzly have recently completed their fourth successful reading challenge with

students participating from schools across the globe. At the beginning of 2020, Browzly won the popular Kids Judge Bett 2020 Award and was shortlisted for the final in the Classroom aids for learning, teaching and assessment category! Bhavna has recently had approval to hire 10 employees as part of the Kickstart grant by the UK government; she will now be working to get more staff on board and continue making this a great platform for all to use. Her ultimate moon-shot for Browzly is to be endorsed by the Department for Education as a recommended reading platform. As well as this, their vision is to continue making reading as accessible and enjoyable as possible for students of all learning abilities across the globe.

Contact Information https://browzly.com/ Linked In: http://linkedin.com/in/ bhavna-jmishra-07a25963

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TECHNOLOGY

FBI IC3 report: cybercrime cases up 69%. By Scott Nursten, CEO, ITHQ

WELCOME TO THE WORLD’S FASTEST GROWING INDUSTRY The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3) reported 791,790 cybercrime cases in 2020 with direct losses of almost $4.2 billion. Many more cases are unreported or unknown - the Solarwinds breach compromised the entire supply chain and went undetected for months. The IC3 report aims to use data to catch cyber criminals and recover stolen funds. To some degree, it is working. But cybercrime is slippery; criminals hide behind foreign IP addresses and cloaking technologies. It’s also incredibly lucrative. With 69% growth, cybercrime is the fastest growing industry on the planet. Is your business prepared for the war that is coming?

CYBER DEFENCE SPEND VS CYBERCRIME PROFITS

Global cybersecurity spend was $153 billion in 2020 (Juniper research). Sound impressive? Cyber criminals took $2 trillion from their victims over the same period. IBM puts the average cost of a corporate breach at $3.86 million, yet businesses are not even investing 10% of this amount in cyber defences on average. The biggest single reported payout in the year was a wire fraud business email compromise costing $60 million. Another case cost $2 million and yet another cost $977,000. These three cases, each costing a million dollars plus, show the scale of loss is growing dramatically. The $4.2 billion losses do not include consequential costs such as lost time, lost earnings etc. This is the amount paid directly to criminals from American companies and individuals desperate to fix a problem they could have prevented for a fraction of that.

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GLOBAL SIGNIFICANCE

The IC3 report is the only one of its kind to categorise cybercrime, attack methods, direct losses and criminal patterns. It shows how crimes are escalating across the world, many with international links. Excluding the US, the UK leads the top 20 international victim countries by a wide margin. 216,633 known attacks were UK-based. In second place, Canada is 40 times less likely to fall victim to an attack with 5,000 cases.

HOW 5% OF VICTIMS PAID 50% OF THE LOSSES

Of all reported cases, 95% (33 types of crime) mainly effect consumers and count for just over half of the losses. The remaining 5% (4 types of crime), those reported mainly by businesses, account for the other half. This means the average business paid more than $100,000 compared with the average consumer paying $5,000.


TECHNOLOGY They state that adjusted losses do not include lost business, time, wages, equipment, or remediation services. Cases or losses are often unreported or made directly to the FBI, creating an artificially low loss rate here. We work with a business that lost millions of pounds following a ransomware attack earlier this year. In my opinion, these losses are definitely under-accounted.

❛❛ Global cybersecurity spend was $153 billion in 2020 .Cyber criminals took $2 trillion from their victims over the same period ❜❜

WHAT DOES FUTURE CYBER RESILIENCE LOOK LIKE?

The IC3 report is incredibly useful, but it only looks backwards. Training your staff in cyber awareness is a great start but we have to prepare for advanced, layered and persistent attacks.

TOP 4 LOSSES TO BUSINESSES

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Business Email Compromise (BEC) 19,369 cases $1,866,642,107 lost While phishing can lead to BEC, it’s more likely that executive email accounts are hacked or spoofed, leading to identity theft and funds being diverted or converted to cryptocurrency.

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Tech support fraud 15,421 cases $146,477,709 lost Criminals usually targeting older people at home used the same tactics to gain access to corporate networks. Playing into doubts and insecurities, they pressure people into making a decision, say they’ll get in trouble if they don’t act fast. It’s powerful stuff if you’re new to remote working and get a call from ‘tech support’ saying they need your login to fix an urgent issue.

}}NEXT MONTH’S TOPIC SECURING IOT WHEREVER YOU WORK

3

Phishing 241,243 cases $54,241,075 lost Phishing aims to get onto the network, rather than directly accessing cash. Once access is gained, the real attack is carried out. IC3 received 241,243 phishing-related complaints last year, making the $54 million price tag relatively small compared with BEC for example, but phishing is often simply how they pick your lock. This means losses are often attributed to other crimes further down the line.

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Ransomware 2,474 cases $29,157,405 IC3 have added a special note to the ransomware loss rate, indicating a much higher average cost than the $12,000 indicated here.

Criminals access your network first, find out everything they can about you, stealing valuable data, maybe trying email scams. Once they’ve exhausted every avenue, they’ll encrypt everything and ransom you. After you think “phew, it’s over”, they may still sell your exfiltrated data as well. Layered attacks are already happening. Only the criminals know what they have planned for tomorrow, which is why strategy is so important. Because BEC is top of the danger list, it may be tempting to race out and buy email security software. But that alone is not enough, because once email security is fixed, attackers will use something else. Then what?

For more information, feel free to get in touch with me at transform@ithq.pro www.ithq.pro

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CHARITY FOCUS

MAKE A DIFFERENCE Without your support, children’s hospice care wouldn’t be possible. From helping families spend precious time together to supporting them through some of their toughest times, every penny you or your business raises or donates to Chestnut Tree House will make a big difference. Your support helps local children and young people with life-shortening conditions and their families across Sussex. Families just like Faith’s. hospital for end-of-life care, let’s get her here as quickly as we can’. We just felt safe.” Faith was born at London’s Kings Hospital on 16 January 2019 and despite her obvious brain exposure, she defied all expectations and was born breathing and healthy. “We had a five-minute cuddle and it felt like a lifetime. When you are not expecting to have a cuddle with a baby that is alive, it’s huge.”

FAITH’S STORY

In 2018, Vicki went to her local hospital for her 16-week baby scan. Excited to welcome a little girl to her family of four, she was anticipating a happy day. But at the scan, Vicki received the devastating news that her baby girl had occipital encephalocele, meaning that her skull didn’t fuse so she had brain tissue and fluid leaking out of the back of her head. The family were referred to a specialist hospital in London, who confirmed the diagnosis. They were told that she had less than a one per cent chance of surviving and that their little girl would likely pass away during the pregnancy or at birth. The family’s bereavement midwife suggested a referral to Chestnut Tree House, so they could explore their options for end-of-life care. Describing how she felt when she first visited Chestnut Tree House Vicki said, “the word ‘hospice’ conjures up a lot of thoughts. But you walk in and there is unbelievable comfort, it instantly felt like a home away from home. I remember saying; ‘if we can get our little girl out of

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To help with Faith’s brain exposure, she had to have a seven-hour surgical procedure at just 36 hours old. “Faith has very complex needs; she is severely visually impaired, hearing impaired, is very delayed, has motor impairment, is tube fed and has daily seizures. No one dares to talk about Faith’s life expectancy, because she has done amazing to even get this far. We can’t live every day like it is our last, but we almost have to, because any day could be her last.” In January 2021, Faith celebrated her second birthday, where the family chose their favourite photos from every month of Faith’s life to celebrate all the magical memories that they have created

together. “At least half of our favourite memories with Faith are all because of Chestnut Tree House, either at the House or at a community event.” When asked what life would be like without Chestnut Tree House, Vicki says, “I don’t know. It would take away a big part of Faith’s quality of life; the swimming, the sensory room, everything, we couldn’t do that without them. “If you’re thinking about fundraising for your local children’s hospice, then all I can say is thank you. Because of you, so many families like us have a lifeline. Because of you, we are not always in hospital surrounded by machines, we are somewhere that feels like home. And that is massive.”

DONATE. FUNDRAISE. GET INVOLVED.

There are so many ways that you and your business can get involved with Chestnut Tree House and support families like Faith’s. Get in touch today and make a big difference.

To find out more, visit www.chestnut.org.uk or email enquiries@ chestnut-tree-house.org.uk


To feed the most vulnerable we needed great service from our bank Joshua Owens-Baigler Director, Angelina Restaurant

At NatWest, we approved a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan for Angelina Restaurant in Dalston. This not only enabled them to keep their staff on, but to provide around 500 meals a day to local vulnerable people. Search NatWest Business

Here to support you Security may be required. Over 18s only. Subject to status. Business use only. Any property or asset used as a security may be repossessed or forfeited if you do not keep up repayments on any debt secured on it.


INNOVATION

THE OFFICE IS DEAD...

LONG LIVE THE OFFICE! As lockdown measures ease and life begins to return to normal, will our relationship to the workplace remain changed forever? The research and insight team at Sussex Innovation have examined the changing attitudes of business owners and employees over the past year – what have we learnt from the pandemic, what behaviours might we keep, and what do we miss most about office life?

There can be no doubt that flexible working patterns and working from home are here to stay. The shape and form this might take will depend on each organisation and its needs, but employees have discovered during the pandemic that remote work is totally possible, socially acceptable and fundamentally changes how they work – sometimes for the better. As businesses made the forced and rapid shift to entire teams collaborating remotely, some observers were amazed at how quickly we all adapted. Tools like video conferencing, cloudbased collaborative software and live chat have all been part of our lives for much longer than the past year, and have been growing more refined for some time. Remote work was always possible, it just hadn’t become a necessity yet.

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Of course, the all-remote model also has obvious downsides that stack up against the cost of rent and travel. Creativity and collaboration thrive when people are brought together – one of the of ten - unspoken benefits of Innovation Centres like ours is the impromptu connections that come when different experiences and expertise spend time in a community alongside one another. When an MD is struggling with a dilemma, goes to make themselves a pot of coffee and gets chatting to a data scientist from down the corridor, a new solution might present itself. These are the kind of chance encounters that are difficult to recreate in a Zoom call. W hil e rese arc h su g g es ts that employees are often more productive without the distractions of a busy workplace around them, the kind of


INNOVATION

coordinated communication required for a big project can often be much more difficult to achieve. There is some evidence to suggest that home workers keep longer and more irregular hours to meet their deadlines through asynchronous schedules and missed opportunities for a quick catch-up chat. Not only does this impact on the efficiency of projects and the quality of the end product, it can take a huge toll on mental health and wellbeing. While the enforced strictures of life in lockdown are an extreme example, it has starkly illustrated the value of ‘ face time’ between colleagues beyond simply getting the job done.

Even before the pandemic, activity-based offices were an emerging trend driven by the wave of Silicon Valley tech start-ups set on luring the best talent with the promise of a more people-centred working environment. High-end offices, designed to afford leisure and recreation space for their occupants, grew to include bars, cafes, gyms and even napping rooms as the culture moved away from a room packed with workstations and people clocking in at 9am and out again at 5pm. While the much-parodied ‘beanbags and hammocks’ office design of Silicon Valley cliché is a bridge too far for some,

there are lessons to be learnt here about what people want from a healthy workspace. The lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 have been an impetus for organisations like ours to reflect on the true value we offer. We don’t expect to stop providing ‘traditional’ office space for those who need it any time soon, but it won’t be all we offer. Instead, we’ve refocused on our strengths. We know that we can be a properly flexible place of work, where people can find the right space for the right job at the right time. But more than that we provide community, a hub for activity to happen and ideas to be shared.

❛❛ Creativity and

collaboration thrive when people are brought together ❜❜

There are some things we have missed that can’t be replicated remotely – the ability to build friendships, accrue social capital, even the commute can be an important factor in establishing a boundary between work and leisure, providing time to reflect on plans for the day or what we have accomplished. Offices are still going to be hugely important in the future because they facilitate a strong workplace culture, collaborative work and business relationships, but the lesson of the pandemic is that we should stop thinking of ‘the office’ and ‘work’ as interchangeable terms. Instead, we can expect to see more hybrid spaces, truly mixed-use environments that blend creative meeting space, great virtual tech and AV facilities, and quiet zones for focused ‘deep work’. We may very well see the parts of the office that used to be thought of as ‘extras’ – big conference rooms, lounge spaces, cafes and restaurants, outdoor space – become the heart of the new workspace.

Visit www.sinc.co.uk/ article/future-office-0 to access the full report, The Office is Dead... Long Live the Office! Sussex Innovation provides consultancy and space to help ambitious businesses scale. Their workspaces include the spectacular countryside views at the University of Sussex campus in Falmer, affordable access to London at East Croydon station, and a newly built city centre location opening next to Brighton station later this year. If you’re planning a more flexible return to work for you and your team, get in touch with Sussex Innovation about the range of options available for office-based, remote and hybrid working using their facilities – visit www.sinc.co.uk/office-space

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Our thinking starts with you “They are excellent in every respect and I am absolutely delighted with the service we receive. Everything has been done in a first-class manner. We know the next period is going to be uncertain, however, with MHA Carpenter Box’s help, I look to the future with confidence.”

Standing still is not an option In today’s environment you need an accountant that does more than just numbers. You need a trusted adviser that helps your business thrive. With our relationship led service, we look to understand the opportunities and challenges faced by you and your business. Our focus is always on client service, with open and honest relationships.

We’re here to help Audit and assurance Accounts and business consulting Tax planning Digital solutions Financial planning

www.carpenterbox.com Now, for tomorrow


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MAKE TIME TO COMMUNICATE

REALLY LISTEN TO EACH OTHER

The key to good communication is ensuring that everyone has a chance for their voice to be heard. This can sometimes be difficult, especially for quieter employees. So, I always recommend managers to set aside time for regular 1-2-1 sessions with employees. These give them a chance to raise any concerns they may have, and will also help them to feel valued.

Often, communication breaks down because everyone is fighting to get their voice heard, without actually listening to what anyone else has to say. Almost everyone can benefit from practicing active listening. This means truly engaging in what someone else is saying to you, instead of just focusing on what you want to say next.

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SET CLEAR OBJECTIVES

Many teams falter because they don’t meet their goals and objectives. This can be because they’re not sure about what the objectives were in the first place. To aid communication, managers should set clear expectations for their teams to follow from the very beginning of a task or project. This should minimise any chances for confusion and help make communication easier. I recommend the SMART goals method for best results: setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-related.

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What’s the most important factor in your business? Perhaps it’s your team. Maybe it’s your customers. Or, it could be your mission and what drives you forward. Whatever’s on your list, communication should definitely be up there! Good communication is key for any business to thrive and grow. Manish Kapur works with a range of creative businesses to help them drive growth and become more efficient. He’s here to share four ways to improve communication at work, to ensure the smooth running of your business.

COMMUNICATION TAKES MANY FORMS

Remember, communication isn’t just about face-to-face conversations. It’s also done via email, over the phone, and on video calls. So, the key here is to be aware about how you’re communicating in all of these ways. Try to be clear, concise, and take cues from the person you’re communicating with on whether your communication style is working for them. Fostering a culture of clear communication in the workplace can take time and practice to get right. But, once you have it in place, everyday life in the workplace should become a lot easier!

If you own or run a creative business that’s looking for support, in improving your communication or any other area, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. Contact details: Website: www.manishkapur.co Email: manish@manishkapurltd.com Phone: +44 (0) 203 984 6440

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Celebrating 200 years of history This year we are celebrating 200 years of our history. We’re using this as an opportunity to celebrate what all our people collectively do for our clients, colleagues and communities. Our people make Kreston Reeves, they are our greatest asset. Visit our website to find out more www.krestonreeves.com/200


PEST CONTROL The surge in outdoor eating is music to the ears of wildlife and public health pests who are capitalising on scraps and crumbs left by humans in urban areas and the countryside

MAKE SURE PESTS DON’T SPOIL THE RETURN TO NORMALITY Increased food availability means pests are more likely to breed successfully, survive and become bolder. Restaurant and business owners with outdoor seating areas need to be particularly vigilant advises Paul Bates, Managing Director of Cleankill Pest Control. “Dining outside under the cover of darkness allows rodents to sneak about under tables unnoticed. It’s vital that eating areas are kept as clean as possible at all times, and food quickly picked off the floor, to avoid your diners having an uninvited guest in their party. A screaming guest who has just had a rat run over their foot is not good for business.” “Also, with exterior doors being left open more than usual to allow easy access for waiting staff, pests will take the opportunity to sneak inside and establish themselves.”

Restaurant and ❛❛ business owners with

outdoor seating areas need to be particularly vigilant ❜❜ Pigeons and seagulls will be poised to grab leftover food if it’s not cleared away properly and are likely to leave their germ-laden droppings in return. “With pest birds,” Paul explains, “it’s a case of reducing the number of places that are available to nest and roost especially at this time of year. Making sure your building is ‘proofed’ against birds is essential. This could mean netting, or spikes of special gel – there is range of measures depending on the building and circumstances. We can even bring in our team of falconers and their Harris hawks which are highly effective. Above all check your netting and strengthen your defences before nesting begins.”

Some establishments have suspended their pest control contracts during lockdown closure and pest control companies are now receiving a flurry of calls from panicked restaurant, hotel and social/ leisure club owners after discovering pests have moved in while the staff and customers were away. Paul adds: “The problem is that it takes much more time and effort to remove pests once they have taken a foothold, not to mention the damage they might have caused to the building and electrics while you were away. It’s far better and more cost-effective to have a preventive contract in place so any issues are spotted by our expert technicians as early as possible.”

n Inside the building, you should ensure that somebody has safely and professionally checked the condition of any wiring that is accessible, particularly if there is evidence of rodents. n Checking loft spaces for nesting birds and squirrels. n Checking inside of storage cupboards for droppings and cockroaches. n Checking carpets, curtains and beds for moths and other signs of insect activity. n Cutting back any vegetation near to the property to reduce harbourage places for pests.

Cleankill experts advise that any buildings that have been left unoccupied are thoroughly checked before being opened-up again. This includes: n Checking around the outside of the building for new gaps and changes to the structure in case damage that has have occurred while the site has been empty.

For a free no obligation survey contact Cleankill Pest Control info@cleankill.co.uk

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TRAVEL

3 OF OUR FAVOURITE

ITALIAN LAKES

There’s nothing quite like the glamour of holidaying at The lakes of Northern Italy. The serene nature and old skool beauty are hard to beat and puts The Lakes squarely on our bucket lists. Here we take a brief look at three of the eight Italian lakes and some fantastic accommodation options. By Tess de Klerk

LAKE COMO Perhaps the most famous of the lakes, Como has long been the haunt of aristocrats and film stars who flock to its shores for understated glamour and breathtaking beauty. Lake Como has a reputation as the place to see and be seen! It’s worth noting that the lake has two main communities, the relatively sleepy Varenna, and the glitzy, glamorous Bellagio with both offering quaint cobbled streets, neo-classical villas and stunning scenery. Water taxis wizz about between the two and you can’t go wrong with booking your stay anywhere on Como. REFINED EXCLUSIVITY Villa d’Este The opulent Villa d’Este was once the summer home of Princess Caroline of Brunswick and welcomed princesses, marquises, sultans and stars in its long history. It oozes regality with palatial rooms, suites and villas luxuriously decorated with rich fabrics, sparkling chandeliers and works of art. Nestled in extensive private grounds, complete with terraces, statuary and a mosaic-embellished garden, Villa d’Este offers unrivalled facilities and impeccable service. Its reputation as one of the best grand dames in the world still stands.

Filario Hotel

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Villa d’Este OLD SKOOL ELEGANCE Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni Bellagio’s opulent Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni is an elegant grand dame, with all the trappings of old fashioned luxury. Think doric columns, beautiful antiques, frescoed ceilings, grand sun terraces, spectacular lake views and, of course, a Michelin-starred restaurant. CONTEMPORARY LUXURY Filario Hotel Modern architecture, clean design and genuine hospitality create a luxuriously modern atmosphere that sets Hotel Filario apart from everything else on Lake Como. All 13 rooms at Filario feature private, cosy balconies with stunning views over the lake. The private beach has a lovely little beach bar, offering fantastic appetisers, wine and cocktails.


TRAVEL

Isola Bella

LAKE MAGGIORE This 35-mile long lake straddles both Italy and Switzerland, with the majestic Alps providing its staggeringly beautiful backdrop. The term ‘picture perfect’ is wholly appropriate, and it’s no surprise that artists such as Hemingway and Clark Gable found their inspiration here. Isola Bella, with its belle-epoque villa, cultivated gardens and roaming white peacocks is one of three tiny Borromean islands, and an unforgettable day trip not to be missed. These days Maggiore offers a peaceful atmosphere perfect for travellers looking for that laid-back feeling with an added touch of old-world elegance. FOR THAT PERFECT SPA BREAK Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees & Spa I struggle to describe the opulence of Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees. Although construction started in 1861, it boasts all of the detailed splendour of the baroque and rococo tastes, seamlessly meshing architecture and art. Expect lots of drippings of gold and cherubs as you absorb the history of this remarkable hotel. The medical spa is modern and offers an impressive array of treatments. BUDGET-FRIENDLY AND FULL OF CHARACTER La Camelia d’Oro This guesthouse, which used to be the private home of a gardener, has been cultivating its camellias since 1872! It offers pleasant stays surrounded by blooming flowers in spring and winter, lovely cool weather in summer and gorgeous colours and fruits in autumn.

Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees & Spa

La Camelia d’Oro

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View over Lake Levico

LAKE LEVICO Find your very own tranquil oasis hidden between the verdant hills of Lake Levico. This relatively small lake is renowned for its beautifully clear, Blue Flag accredited waters and resembles a Norwegian fjord. Its main village, Levico Terme, is a historical thermal spa town filled with flower-lined pedestrianised streets. The mountains and lush woodland make it a popular destination for hiking and cycling. There are gentle routes around the lake or more adventurous trails into the mountains. IDEAL FOR SPORTS LOVERS Hotel Sport & Wellness Hotel Cristallo The rooms at Hotel Cristallo are modern, functional and reminiscent of Finnish saunas. There is no shortage of actual saunas either which come in handy after a day of biking or hiking. Top of the range mountain bikes are available for free and there is garage parking for your motorbike.

Hotel Sport & Wellness Hotel Cristallo

GREAT FOR FAMILIES Parc Hotel Du Lac This family-friendly hotel boasts an idyllic location, private beach and lake-view spa. Facilities for children include slides in the outdoor pool, a number of play areas and a special children’s menu but this lovely hotel also ensures plenty of luxuries for parents.

Parc Hotel Du Lac

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TRAVEL EXPERIENCE ITALY LIKE AN ITALIAN! SIDESTEP THE TOURIST-TRAP RESTAURANTS My main tip here is to look out for simple menus. If you can’t find your favourite carciofi alla guida (artichoke) on the menu in August, then take it as a good sign. It most likely means that the kitchen respects nature’s rules of seasonality and the chef takes pride in using fresh ingredients. Look for eateries offering local specialities, i.e. a menu without pizza or tiramisu can indicate a great find. I am fortunate to have worked and travelled in Italy for long enough to have experienced the country as a traveller as opposed to a tourist. What’s the difference you ask? In a nutshell, travellers often get to experience their destination more authentically than tourists might. Not to worry, just keep these musings in mind if you long for authentic Italy on your next trip. DON’T VISIT IN AUGUST August’s stifling heat and hordes of tourists is enough to make Italians run for the hills (literally and figuratively!). This is the time when most Italians leave their cities and only the unlucky few stay behind to serve the tourist industry. Rome is an overcrowded nightmare in August but Milan is even worse with swarms of monster mosquitoes trying to reclaim their swampland, which the city was built on. If possible, visit these cities in spring or autumn. Early June is ideal when the days are already long and the prospect of the upcoming summer puts everyone in a good mood. Other months are okay too but August is a no-go for Italians. UNDERSTAND OPENING TIMES AND EMBRACE ‘RIPOSINO’ Many Italian shops and tourist attractions still close for a few hours over lunchtime, usually from 1 pm-3:30 pm, with noon to 4 pm the norm in Southern Italy. This is especially common over the hot summer months and allows workers to enjoy a leisurely lunch and ‘riposino’, a rest. Foreigners can find this frustrating, especially if they’re trying to squeeze as much as possible into the day but, believe me, the right thing to do is to embrace it like the locals. Savour your lunch and have that afternoon nap – it will serve you well in the evening when no self-respecting Italian restaurateur would ever serve dinner before 8 pm and evenings start to blossom around 11:30 pm.

Restaurants located on piazzas are too often tourist traps selling frozen foods (especially in Venice!). Wander down an alley or two to find something authentic. Never be tempted by hustling hosts enticing you into their establishments great restaurants don’t need hype men! EAT SLOWLY EXCEPT FOR BREAKFAST! Breakfast is a fast affair in Italy but don’t mistake this for fast food take away. Traditional breakfast is a pastry and cappuccino or espresso. Order your coffee at the cashier first, hand your receipt over to the barista, and enjoy your coffee while standing at the counter bar. Why not try ordering ‘cornetto e capuccio’ (croissant and cappuccino) like millions of Italians do every morning.

RELAX AND LET GO OF THAT MUST-SEE LIST Of course, experiencing those top sights are important but I urge you to take the time to explore the neighbourhoods which make up the fabric of Italian society - without an itinerary. Get lost, hang around in parks, shop at local markets, eat your gelato on church steps and chat with the nonnas gathering on the piazza. Plunge into Italian life as you feel the neighbourhoods pulse around you. A few favourites for neighbourhood exploration are Trastevere in Rome, Sant’ Ambrogio in Florence and Ranzini Vini in Turin. DRESS TO IMPRESS The majority of Italians enjoy the art of dressing well and they can cast judging eyes toward inappropriate attire. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean that you should splash the cash on designer gear to fit in and in most situations, a smart casual look will make you look like a true Italian! It does mean that Italy is the perfect place to wear that gorgeous dress or pricey blazer that’s been hanging in the back of your wardrobe for ages. Always a resounding NO to socks with sandals and remember that, as a rule, flip-flops are beachwear only in Italy.

QUICK TIPS n To locals, ordering a cappuccino after 11am borders on sacrilege. n Don’t order a latte - except if you want a warm cup of milk. n Delight the chef by drinking only water, wine or beer with meals. Steer clear of flavoured drinks as they’re perceived to alter the taste of food. n Aperitivo, the 5 o’clock-ish impromptu drinks and snacks get-together, is the very essence of the Italian way of life and always a pleasure. It’s also the way to keep hunger at bay until supper, sometimes eaten well past 9 pm n To avoid disappointment keep in mind that, traditionally, the pizzas served in Northern Italy is what we may know as ‘deep dish’ with thick, bready crusts. The Southern Italian pizza is the thin-crust variety. If you are looking for the thin-crust pizza while in Milan, let’s say, then look out for Romana Pizzerias. n Waiters aren’t being rude when seemingly ignoring you after serving your food. They know you’re there but allow you to enjoy your meal in peace. If there is an issue simply catch their attention. The bill won’t arrive automatically so when you’re ready to leave, just flag down your waiter the next time he passes by and say “Il conto, per favore”. n NEVER splash in any fountains. People do but never Italians, who view their fountains as monuments. In Rome you can be heavily fined for such behaviour. n Finally and perhaps most importantly - don’t sweat the small stuff . Your train is likely to be late and your dinner guest may well be but carpe diem! After all, you’re on holiday in beautiful Italy!

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MOTORING

VW PASSAT By Maarten Hoffmann, Senior Motoring Editor

PLATIN UM

As with its Audi sister, you can have fourwheel drive although you will never go hill-climbing in it, it makes it more secure and planted on wet roads and in snow, you might be one of the only cars actually moving.

The Passat has always had an identity problem. Where does it fit into the sector? To me, it’s always been a little nondescript - not quite an Audi and not quite a VW. It never quite fitted in with its contemporaries, the Skoda Superb or the Vauxhall Insignia or higher up the sector with the Audi A4, Merc C-Class or BMW 3 Series. But my, how things have changed with the new model. Better equipped, a much better interior and a good looking body. The entry-level 118BHP 1.6 is adequate and will do the job but the 148 BHP 2-litre is the one to go for, with plenty of get up and go and solid as a rock on the

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motorway. For the best ride, opt for the smaller 17” wheels as although they don’t look as good as the large ones, you will benefit from a much smoother ride. The diesel models can be a noisy and booming whereby the manual is smooth and fairly silent.

The interior is much improved with good adjustment on the seats, and the dashboard is easy to read and operate. Front and rear parking sensors are standard and required when reversing, as it is not easy to judge the rear length. Or go for auto parking whereby the car does the job whilst you just sit there. and read the paper. It comes with a standard 6.5” screen although you can


MOTORING

TECH STUFF MODEL TESTED: R-Line 2.0-litre TSI ENGINE: 2-litre, BiTDI POWER: 190 bhp SPEED: 0-62 7.5 secs TOP: 150 mph ECONOMY: 37.2 mpg combined PRICE FROM: £33,280.00 PRICE AS TESTED: £39,450.00

PLATINUM

❛❛ The Passat will certainly be rarer in the car park as every Tom, Dick and Harry seems to have the A4 or 3 Series ❜❜

upgrade to the 10.3”, SatNav is standard and the phone connection is wireless with Bluetooth and DAB. I have the R-Line Edition with the 9.2” screen and it is much easier to ‘stab’ at it on the move without planting yourself in a tree and the resolution is very good.

good with the 1.5 TSI returning a very respectable 47.1 mpg and that is good for this size of car. With a low CO2 emission score company drivers will benefit from cheaper BIK rates.

Passenger space is great with plenty of room for 5 and certainly feels roomier than the A4 or the C-Class and there’s loads of space for all your junk, with large door bins, large glovebox and cupholders. The boot is large and if you need more, plump for the estate.

Every Passat is fitted with an automatic emergency braking (AEB) system to help avoid low-speed shunts. There’s a broad array of safety systems on top of that, including standard lane-keeping assistance and an e-call emergency response button. Options include blindspot warning and a system that helps you to reverse park a trailer.

Fuel economy across the range is very

There will be a challenge to consider

when buying the Passat, in that the higher up the model/extra’s sheet you go, the closer it gets to rivals that are better. You only need to get halfway up the model/price sheet before you are into the range of the A4, and 3 Series –and there’s the problem. Do you buy a top spec Passat or mid-spec Audi A4? The Passat will certainly be rarer in the car park as every Tom, Dick and Harry seems to have the A4 or 3 Series but do they all have them because they are better cars? The Passat is now a seriously good car and well worth considering.

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MOTORING

VW T-CROSS By Maarten Hoffmann, Senior Motoring Editor The demand for compact crossover SUVs remains strong and here is VW’s entry into that market. The T-Cross is effectively a taller, chunkier-looking Polo and rides on the same MQB platform, uses the same three-cylinder engines and is built in the same Spanish factory as the Polo, but is 54mm longer and 138mm taller. You sit 100mm higher up. It’s more practical than a Polo, thanks to increased overall length, a sliding rear bench seat and optional folding front passenger seat. VW claims it’s the most spacious and therefore practical car in its class.This sector also contains the Ford EcoSport, Renault Captur and Seat Arona. The T-Cross most people will buy – the 115bhp version in mid-range SE trim with the manual ‘box - sneaks in just under £20k. As far this class goes, that’s on the money. It’s a good looking car and drives well although it could do with a tad more grunt in the lower rev range. But then, this car is for those consumption conscious folk and therefore grunt is not really the aim, and they

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will be delighted with the full economy. The ride is firm but not annoyingly so and it handles very well on the motorway. Due to the ‘cute’ nature of the car, it comes in a range of Design Packs offering bright colours with colourcoded interiors. These packs cost £525 or £650 dependant on model selected and for this you get colour-coded wheels and mirrors, sports seats, tinted windows and your personally selected interior colours. All models get the 8inch colour screen and the infotainment system is really easy to use with


MOTORING

TECH STUFF MODEL TESTED: T-Cross SE ENGINE: 1-litre TSI POWER: 110 bhp SPEED: 0-62 -10.2 sec TOP: 124.3mph ECONOMY: 48 mpg combined PRICE FROM: £18,655.00

PLATINUM

❛❛ It’s a good looking car and drives well although it could do with a tad more grunt in the lower rev range ❜❜ cracking graphics. All models get a/c and autonomous braking and you then receive more with the SE version and more still with the SEL. The interior plastics are a tad on the cheap side with hard plastics around the dash and fairly flimsy door panels but something had

to give for the price and better that than the engine or gearbox. Good space in the rear although the middle seat is really only for kids – and small, non-complaining ones at that. The running costs will be around that of

a Polo although a fraction higher due to the extra chunk. All models emit between 111 and 115g/km of CO2, so they all fi t into the same VED band of £165 for the first year then £140/year thereafter. The most economical models claim 48.7mpg, and the least 44.8. In practice you won’t notice the difference. This is one of those cars that works – good looking, well kitted out and fun to drive - and although based on the Polo, it is a super car in every way.

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Mercedes-Benz of Guildford At Sandown, we pride ourselves on excellent customer service. Our dedication to customer care and quality stretches beyond the forecourt, with specialists always on-hand to help you at Mercedes-Benz of Guildford. Please be assured that we have always prioritised the safety of both our customers and staff. We have taken all the necessary steps to enable you to deal with our sales, service and parts teams safely and in full compliance with the latest government’s guidance. To speak to a member of our team today please contact us on 01483 916291.

Our Sales, Service and Parts departments are all COVID-19 compliant.

Appointments booked in advance over the phone or online.

Mercedes-Benz of Guildford Moorfield Road, Slyfield Industrial Estate, Guildford, Surrey GU1 1RU www.sandown-group.co.uk

Click & Collect is available for new & Approved Used vehicle purchases.

All documentation is contactless and signed electronically.

Home delivery is available for sales, service and parts customers.


THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR WOMEN

LOVE HOW TO FALL BACK IN LOVE WITH YOUR BUSINESS

MAY | JUNE 2021 #10

UNCONSCIOUS BIAS IN A WORLD DESIGNED BY MEN

WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT SACHA DENCH

SISTERS ARE DOIN’ IT FOR THEMSELVES MOTORING JAGUAR I-PACE


Order from brightongin.com for socially distanced, COVID-safe doorstep delivery within Brighton and Hove by a member of our little team or send the spirit of Brighton nationwide with next-working-day courier delivery


cont ent s 8

INVISIBLE WOMEN EXPOSING DATA BIAS IN A WORLD DESIGNED FOR MEN

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Steering committee Welcome

18 Investment In female entrepreneurs

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UPFRONT All the latest bulletins from the world of business

20 How to fall back in love with your business

14 Have you got a financial adviser in your power team? 16 Double world record attempts to mark UN climate conference in Glasgow

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24 Sisters are doin’ it for themselves 26 What does the demise of Top Shop and Debenhams mean for early-stage investing? 30 Yoga for those creaky knees 32 MOTORING It’s all rather grown up

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DYN AM I C

INVESTMENTS

3


MEET THE STEERING COMMITTEE

Our illustrious steering committee guide the editorial tone of the magazine

JULIE KAPSALIS CEO Chichester / Crawley College Group

EMMA LANE Director Allied Irish Bank

VICTORIA KERTON ROSEMARY FRENCH OBE Regional Director Executive Director NatWest Gatwick Diamond Initiative

FAIZA SHAFEEK CEO Carrot Events

ALISON ADDY Community Officer Gatwick Airport

LOUISE PUNTER CEO Surrey Chambers of Commerce

LESLEY ALCOCK Commercial Director The Platinum Media Group

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ABIGAIL OWEN Corporate Partner DMH Stallard

FIONA SHAFER Managing Director MD HUB

MAXINE REID Partner Quantuma

MAARTEN HOFFMANN CEO/Publisher The Platinum Media Group

ANA CHRISTIE CEO Sussex Chamber of Commerce

ALISON JONES Partner Kreston Reeves

ZOE RUDLING Partner RSM

FIONA GRAVES Events Director The Platinum Media Group


welc ome FROM ROSEMARY FRENCH OBE Chair of the Dynamic Steering Committee ROSEMARY’S OBE WAS AWARDED FOR SERVICES TO WOMEN IN BUSINESS

The heroes and heroines of our health service have been rightly lauded and applauded during this pandemic but surely the best way to show our appreciation is to offer an equal pay playing field to those Florence/Fred Nightingales. A recent government review shows that female hospital doctors are paid nearly 19% less than their male counterparts. The Department of Health and Social Care found out that female GPs earn 15% less. The reason given is because women are more likely to need to work flexible and part time hours and the salary pay structures simply don’t hold up. The Review calls for an overhaul of the medical working culture to enable a work environment where doctors are paid according to their skills and not their desire to have children. That segues nicely into this month’s feature piece

on Caroline Criado Perez’s book, Invisible Women. In the book she provides countless facts, figures and statistics to demonstrate the continuing pernicious gender inequalities throughout our working, social and home lives. Her data reveals how women still inhabit a world built for men from infrastructure to society, from education through culture, from the obvious to the invisible. I entered my working life one year after the Equality Act and I have semi-retired after 43 years. When I get my state pension this year, for the first time in my life I will be paid the same as my male colleagues. Only because I did not jeopardise my career prospects by having children. How can women still be in this position? Is anyone listening out there? Does anyone care?

Contacts PUBLISHER: maarten@platinummediagroup.co.uk COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR: lesley@platinummediagroup.co.uk EVENTS DIRECTOR: fiona@platinummediagroup.co.uk HEAD OF DESIGN: design@platinummediagroup.co.uk

WWW.PLATINUMMEDIAGROUP.CO.UK DISCLAIMER 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. Dynamic Magazine is owned and published by The Platinum Media Group.

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WILL THEY NEVER LEARN? Only weeks ago, the House of Lords overwhelmingly voted for plans to add convicted serial domestic abusers and stalkers to the high risk offenders register, so that the police and specialist agencies can work together to prevent them from offending again. Yet despite initially appearing to accept the plans, ministers are now calling on MPs to vote to drop them. This is a big mistake and means losing the chance to monitor and manage some of the most dangerous convicted perpetrators who pose the greatest risk to women. Too often when awful crimes against women happen, it emerges afterwards how many times the perpetrator had offended against other women before. Yet no one joined up the dots and nothing was done to stop them moving from one victim to the next, with the violence and abuse getting worse each time.

{up f r o n t } All the latest bulletins from the world of business

DECENT HOURLY RATE The boss of gambling website Bet365, Denise Coates, was paid nearly half a billion pounds in salary and dividends last year, as the latest in a string of record-breaking awards took her total pay since 2016 to nearly £1.3bn. After an unusual delay in filing its accounts at Companies House, Bet365 revealed that its highest-paid director, understood to be Coates as chief executive, received £421m – or £48,000 every hour of every day throughout the 12-month period. In its accounts, the company said its pay arrangements were “appropriate and fair”. Bet365 also paid a dividend of £95m, signalling a separate windfall of around £45m for Coates, who owns more than half of the empire she built out of her father Peter’s Stoke-on-Trent bookmaking business.

NO GOING BACK More than a year into the pandemic, many employers are bringing employees back into the office. But some companies are finding that after months of getting used to the convenience of working from home, employees aren’t nearly as excited about going back to the office as their bosses are. A recent nationwide survey found that 34% of respondents working from home as a result of the pandemic would look for a new job if required to be in the office full time. Nearly half of all respondents, 49%, said they prefer a hybrid work arrangement, where they could divide time between the office and another location. Respondents said that if employers insist on bringing employees back into the office, they would prefer that companies offer the freedom to set preferred office hours, a “personal, distraction-free” workplace, employer-paid commuting costs, employer-provided child care and a more relaxed dress code.

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A FISHERMAN’S FRIEND

HISTORIC LAW

A pioneering businesswoman who grew Fisherman’s Friend cough sweets from a small firm into a huge global brand has died aged 91. Doreen Lofthouse, known as “the mother of Fleetwood”, began spreading word of the menthol and eucalyptus lozenges around the world in the 1960s. The Lancashire philanthropist was also awarded an OBE for her charity work. Wyre Council said Mrs Lofthouse was “a true pioneer” whose generosity had also helped “transform Fleetwood”. Over the past 30 years, Mrs Lofthouse and her family have given tens of millions of pounds to fund community projects in the town, including the recent restoration of The Mount.

Germany’s coalition government will introduce a mandatory quota for the number of women working as senior management in the country’s listed companies, in a move hailed as a “historic” step towards sexual equality in German boardrooms. In a deal agreed on Friday evening by Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and their junior partner the Social Democrats, management boards with more than three members must include at least one woman, reversing a voluntary system that critics argue has failed to achieve the required shift towards gender equality.

DIVIDED OPINION The meteoric rise of the label “femtech” to describe technology products, apps and hardware addressing women’s health and wellbeing issues divides opinion. While some say it helps the sector secure vital funding from male-dominated venture capitalists, others argue that it unnecessarily pigeonholes women’s health. So, does it help or hinder?

MALE, PALE & STALE Not a single FTSE retailer has a female chief executive and there is only one chairwoman, according to a recent report. Since the departure of Karen Hubbard at Card Factory and Veronique Laury at Kingfisher, large London retailers have been run atmost exclusively by men, despite this being a sector where most of the workforce are female and where 80% of purchasing decisions are made by women.

Elaine O’Donnell, who was made non-executive chairwomen off Games Workshop, the £3.5 billion seller of miniature gaming figurines, is the sole chairwomen of a large listed company. London-listed companies are more profitable when women make up more than one in three executive roles, according to new research. And we wonder why retail is in such a mess!

PARLIAMENT’S LOSS The former cabinet minister and Lib Dem peer Baroness Shirley Williams has died aged 90. Williams was one of the disenchanted ex-Labour cabinet ministers who became ‘The Gang of Four’ founders of the breakaway and short-lived Social Democratic Party (SDP). As a Labour minister, Lady Williams, served in the governments of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan in the 1970s rising to become education secretary, and was well known for speaking her mind. Throughout her political career, both in the Labour Party and subsequently the SDP and then the Lib Dems, Williams was a passionate pro-European.

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UNCONSCIOUS BIAS

INVISIBLE WOMEN

Exposing data bias in a world designed for men A review of Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

This intensively researched book exposes a male-biased world and successfully argues that the lack of “big data” on women is equivalent to rendering half of the world’s population invisible. There are more than 7.7 billion people on Earth today and more than half of these people are women. Yet when you look at heads of state, governments, corporations and other global players, you are almost always looking at white men. Why is the world and its resources still run by men? Why are meaningful jobs and careers still comprised mostly of men? Why are women still not equally enjoying the fruits of their labour, of their intellectual abilities, of their dreams? And whilst this is a problem in multiple industries, why is the lack of gender diversity particularly prevalent in technology? How does this

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preponderance of men affect the lives of women and other minorities who are striving for equality? In Invisible Women: Exposing data bias in a world designed for men, Caroline Criado Perez analyses how gender politics are affected and enhanced by gaps in big data and argues powerfully that human history is comprised of a pervasive gender data gap that effectively ‘silences’ and erases

women’s accomplishments, experiences, needs and daily lives. This intelligent, accessible and witty book, which is Ms. Perez’s second, was recently chosen as the winner of the prestigious Royal Society Insight Investment science book prize for 2019. As we explore the subtle and ubiquitous nature of male-biased big data, we couldn’t find a more capable guide: Ms. Perez is a writer, broadcaster and an

It is nearly impossible to read this book without experiencing a flood of potent emotions ranging from frustration to tooth-gnashing outrage


UNCONSCIOUS BIAS

award-winning feminist campaigner with a number of victories to her name, including getting a woman on British banknotes, forcing Twitter to revise how it deals with abuse on its platform, and winning the battle to get a statue of suffragist Millicent Fawcett placed in London’s Parliament Square. In her book, Ms. Perez contends that defining women solely by their relationships to men – as wives, daughters, sisters, or mothers – allows men to view women either as a subtype of men, or as an alien ‘Other’, rather than as autonomous human beings with their own dreams, goals, desires, and specific needs. As she provocatively notes at the beginning of the book: “If our intellect, interests, emotions, and basic social life – all are evolutionary products of the success of hunting adaptation’, what does that mean for women’s humanity? If human evolution is driven by men, are

women even human?”. Despite the fact that it is nearly impossible to read this book without experiencing a flood of potent emotions

ranging from frustration to toothgnashing outrage, Ms. Perez is not seeking to bash male-dominated society. She freely admits she cannot prove why the gender gap exists. Instead, she is documenting a long-standing and seemingly inescapable problem that effectively renders half of the world’s population invisible, and she is hoping that the evidence that she has amassed in her book will convince the public that this data gap exists and that it has real and profound effects on women’s lives. Ms. Perez illustrates her argument with a wide variety of examples – and uses what little data we do have – that touch on every aspect of women’s’ lives,

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UNCONSCIOUS BIAS

ranging from the workplace, academic and other careers, medical research, to home life, and in daily and public life, all of which systematically neglect, ignore or completely overlook women. This contrasts with the abundance of big data on men, which are recognised as the universal norm. As a result, the fact that women can have needs that are different from those of men has not occurred to those who are creating these social structures. Ms. Perez’s argument that big data gaps support the perception of women as ‘The Other’, and this means that the truths you arrive at are, at best, only half-truths. The author’s arguments also extend beyond the needs of women: she also discusses how the intersections of race, gender identity, disability and other minority identities are amplified by the lack of big data, which creates an even larger cumulative detrimental effect. Several chapters were particularly deeply concerning: the chapters about medical research (“The Drugs Don’t Work”), politics (“Women’s Rights Are Human Rights”), international development (“Who Will Rebuild?”), disaster relief (“It’s Not The Disaster That Kills You”), and “The Plough Hypothesis” were especially illuminating – and damning – whilst the

chapter about the meritocracy myth and how sexism plays out in academia and elsewhere was so familiar and so welldocumented that it had me absolutely seething with rage, for example: “Brilliance bias is in no small part a result of a data gap: we have written so many female geniuses out of history, they just don’t come to mind

Although this thesis is not new, this comprehensive book is worth reading because of the exhaustive and painstaking research that supports its argument

IF YOU READ ONLY ONE NONFICTION BOOK THIS YEAR, THIS IS THE ONE! In Invisible Women: Exposing data bias in a world designed for men (Chatto and Windus, 2019: Amazon US / Amazon UK), Caroline Criado Perez

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as easily. The result is when ‘brilliance’ is considered a requirement for a job, what is really meant is ‘a penis’. Several studies have found that the more a field is culturally understood to require ‘brilliance’ or ‘raw talent’ to succeed – think philosophy, maths, physics, music composition, computer science – the fewer women there will be studying and working in it. We just don’t see women as naturally brilliant. In fact, we see femininity as being inversely associated with brilliance: a recent study where participants were shown photos of male and female science faculty at elite US universities also found that appearance had no impact on how likely it was that a man would be judged to be a scientist. When it came to women, however, the more stereotypically feminine they looked, the less likely it was that people would think they were a scientist.”


UNCONSCIOUS BIAS

bossy

quiet

abrasive

The way in which a woman who excels at taking charge of a situation or project is labelled due to unconscious bias.

The way in which a woman who prefers to take time to consider all angles before voicing an opinion is labelled due to unconscious boas.

synonym: a boss

synonym: thoughtful

The way in which a woman who doesn’t sugarcoat her opinion and instead displays a confident and forceful personality is described due to unconscious bias.

feisty

bitch

cold

The way in which a woman who tirelessly defends a decision or opinion she strongly believes in is described as due to unconscious bias

The way in which a woman who confidently voices her opinion in the workplace is commonly described due to unconscious bias.

The way which a woman who is concentrating on a particular goal and not wasting time or energy on other things around her is described due to unconscious bias

synonym: determined

pushy The way in which a woman who is skilled at using reasoning to persuade someone to do or believe something is described due to unconscious bias synonym: persuasive

emotional The way in which women who aren’t afraid to display strong feelings or beliefs are labelled due to unconscious bias.

synonym: leader

synonym: assertive

synonym: focused

dramatic The way in which a woman who is protective of a particular undertaking that she has devoted her time, effort and energy to is often described due to unconscious bias. synonym: passionate

synonym: passionate

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UNCONSCIOUS BIAS Although this thesis is not new, this comprehensive book is worth reading because of the exhaustive and painstaking research that supports its argument: citations of relevant scientific studies and journalistic pieces are compiled together, chapter by chapter, in 69 pages (!!) of endnotes. To make this book easier to navigate, it is also heavily indexed (19 pages). These features not only allow the outraged reader to easily follow up as she (or he) further investigates these matters on her own but it also serves as a sombre reminder that this crucial book is reality-based and thus, cannot be ignored or dismissed. She further argues that zoning laws, which specify the areas of a city in which residential, industrial, recreational or commercial activities may occur, do not adequately take into account the lives of many women. “Things like zoning are really very biased against women. This idea of zoning has been designed around this idea of a very traditional malecentric lifestyle. Many cities have been designed around the idea that work takes place in factories or offices

The fact that women can have needs that are different from those of men has not occurred to those who are creating these social structures

and that the home is a place for rest and recreation”. But she argues that this does not reflect the way of life for many women. “Women are much more engaged in unpaid care work, they have different travel patterns because they’re dropping their kids off, or they’re looking after the elderly relatives, and

they’re combining that with their paid work,” she said. Invisible Women is highly recommended to both men and women as an incredibly readable piece of journalism that investigates the pervasive problem of gender inequality. Many of you will also find you cannot put down this passionate and informative book until you’ve finished it. Invisible Women is a tremendously important book that is essential reading for people of ALL genders and from all walks of life, and will likely affect how you think about the world, and about how women fit into it. (It also would make a good holiday gift for your policymakers.) Additionally, this book is so illuminating and engaging that it would be excellent choice for your book club.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caroline Criado Perez is a writer, broadcaster and activist, named Liberty Human Rights Campaigner of the Year and Order of the British Empire by the Queen. She received the 2019 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award and the 2019 Royal Society Science Book Prize. She earned a degree in English language and literature from the University of Oxford, and studied behavioural and feminist economics at the London School of Economics. She lives in London.

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Thinkers Challengers Innovators Leaders DISCOVER THE SUS SE X MBA

FIND OUT MORE

www.sussexmba.com


The pandemic has made many of us realise how much we value and even depend on our close network – but does yours include a financial adviser? Samantha Kaye from Wellesley Wealth Advisory discusses the benefits of adding an adviser to your circle of support

HAVE YOU GOT A FINANCIAL ADVISER IN YOUR POWER TEAM? Ladies – who’s on your power team? It might include your family members, closest friends, fitness coach, therapist or childminder. These are the trusted people who support you and make your life easier and more fulfilling – something recent events have shown us the value of more than ever! You probably have your own wellestablished team, but does it include a financial adviser?

SHARING THE MENTAL LOAD

There are many advantages to having a seasoned professional helping to keep an eye on your financial affairs – not to mention some non-financial benefits. A recent report found that people who used an adviser felt more confident and better prepared for the future, and reassured that they were on the right track financially.1

We women are masters of keeping a lot of plates spinning – so, if you can outsource some of the worry about money matters to a trusted expert, that’s one less thing to think about

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PROMOT IONA L

An adviser can help to remove some of the mental load that comes with things such as planning for retirement, meeting tax deadlines, keeping on top of changing pension rules or optimising your investment performance. They can give you back the luxury of time, as well as peace of mind and security that an expert is keeping a watchful eye on your finances – even when it’s the furthest thing from your mind!

TAKING CONTROL

One reason you might not feel comfortable seeking advice is that you don’t want to hand the power over your money to someone else. But financial advice is not about losing control – it’s about taking it! It’s collaborative – as advisers, we’re there to support and empower you in making your own choices. The adviser–client relationship is designed to be a long-term one, and people often find that their adviser comes to feel like a member of the family, sitting around the kitchen table as a trusted source of personalised information who knows their situation well and guides them on key decisions.

FE AT U R E

Financial advisers come from all walks of life, too – they might be a parent like you, or have elderly parents to care for, and will understand the challenges you face.

GROWING YOUR POWER TEAM

We women are masters of keeping a lot of plates spinning – so, if you can outsource some of the worry about money matters to a trusted expert, that’s one less thing to think about. This can be especially helpful to business owners who are juggling work and personal ambitions. If you don’t yet have a financial adviser in your power team, now’s the time to seek one out! Sources 1 St. James’s Place and the International Longevity Centre (ILC), ‘Peace of Mind: Understanding the non-financial value of financial advice’ report, conducted via in-depth interviews with 32 UK individuals in 2020.

The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds you select and the value can therefore go down as well as up. You may get back less than you invested. Wellesley Wealth Advisory is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the Groups wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the Groups website www.sjp.co.uk/products. Wellesley Wealth Advisory is a trading name of Wellesley Investment Management Ltd.

◗ Samantha Kaye Chartered Financial Planner | Adviser Wellesley House, 50 Victoria Road, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 9LH 01444 849809 samantha.kaye@sjpp.co.uk www.wellesleywa.co.uk

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X X X X X X X

DOUBLE WORLD RECORD ATTEMPTS TO MARK UN CLIMATE CONFERENCE IN GLASGOW

A world-first circumnavigation of mainland Britain is to be attempted by the ‘human swan’ in a specially adapted electric paramotor. Take-off will be circa May 20th from Glasgow, flying anti-clockwise around the coast and returning to land in Glasgow. The expedition is expected to take six weeks and is supported by Kreston Reeves. ‘Human swan’ Sacha Dench, known for global expeditions with migratory species, has turned her focus to climate

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change for this expedition after losing her family home in the Australian bushfires last year. The expedition will see Sacha attempting to fly over 3000 miles around mainland Britain. The attempt is an extreme test, over some challenging and spectacular landscapes, of the capability of a newly adapted electric paramotor. This will replace the usual 2-stroke engine she has used for long expeditions like the flight following the Bewick’s swan from Arctic Russia to the UK. She

hopes to set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest, and first, flight around Britain in a paramotor. It will also be the first long-distance expedition attempted with an electric paramotor. On the way around Britain, Sacha and a ground crew will be meeting people from all walks of life, trying to answer the question ‘Britain drove the Industrial Revolution, can we drive the Green Revolution too?’ The crew will travel in electric vehicles, interviewing people who are working hard to


ALL IMAGES: CONSERVATION-WITHOUT-BORDERS.ORG

C ONSE RVAT ION

promote sustainable approaches that will help Britain achieve Net Zero by 2050. The team will be hosted by climate heroes from industry, agriculture, communities and conservation that are providing campsites for the team each night. The expedition and campaign will be shared via live video updates from air, ground and underwater. The aim is to rally enthusiasm, optimism and ambition from the whole country to cut our carbon footprint, at work and at

home. A compilation of the stories discovered will be presented at COP26 in Glasgow in November. The second World Record attempt is a mass public call to get at least 140,000 people to sign up to CountUsIn, a global carbon initiative, in one month. On achieving this every participant will be able to download their own Guinness World Record certificate saying they

Britain drove the Industrial Revolution, can we drive the Green Revolution too?

were part of a world record www.countus-in.org Sir Tim Smit, Co-Founder of the Eden Project and contributor to the expedition said: “One of my heroes, Muhammad Ali used to ‘float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’ as another of them, Sacha Dench flies like a swan, stinging only with a tale of the challenges facing us. Tracing the entire coast of Britain in a pilgrimage to the natural world and our need to adapt and save it from the worst of climate

change, landing to talk to people making a difference to a future that still remains ours to make” Sacha Dench said “I am very thankful to all the sponsors and supporters who have stepped up to make this happen, particularly major backers EDF. The support has been overwhelming, from companies that have backed us, to teachers, heads of government and individuals who have donated - getting us to take-off has been a mass effort. Alison Jones, Partner at Kreston Reeves who are sponsoring Sacha’s World Record attempt commented: “We are delighted to be supporting Sacha in her record-breaking bid which will help to raise awareness around the UK of the impact of climate change right here on our doorstep and to encourage people and businesses to make changes, however small to help tackle the climate crisis. We firmly support the UK leading a Green Revolution to encourage real change here in the UK and around the world. For our business, 2021 is a special 200th anniversary year and as part of our commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goal, Climate Action, we are also excited to announce that we are committing to planting a tree for every client of the firm in 2021 to demonstrate our commitment to our environment. We look forward to welcoming Sacha to the South Coast this summer and wish her the best of luck with this amazing challenge.”

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I N V E ST M E N TS

INVESTMENT IN FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS

Investor attitudes play a crucial role in unlocking capital for women owners and we know this can be fundamental in helping female-led businesses achieve their ambitions. The Alison Rose Review into Female Entrepreneurship (“Rose Review”), first published in March 2019, demonstrated that up to £250 billion of new value

(equivalent to 1 SME million businesses) could be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as UK men. A central finding of the Rose Review was that that the single biggest issue holding female entrepreneurs back is the lack of funding directed towards them. To address this and ensure that

The Code now has 100 signatories, including the bank, which is a founding member, as well as angel investors and venture capital firms

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female-led businesses can play their part in the economic recovery by ultimately scaling and growing, new funding sources are coming on stream. These include the UK Enterprise Fund, an exciting partnership between the Business Growth Fund and Coutts. The UK Enterprise Fund will invest c.£50 million in diverse and high potential businesses alongside a support programme for female investees. NatWest has also announced an additional £1 billion in funding to help support female-led businesses in the UK recover from the coronavirus, this builds on the £1bn announced last January – the largest intervention by a UK lender focused specifically on female entrepreneurs.


I N V E ST M E N TS

Women are also 17% more likely than men to struggle balancing business demands with family life The Rose Review suggested several initiatives that the private sector (and parts of the public sector) could take forward including increased funding and support from private investors. As part of this NatWest launched the Investing in Women Code (IWC) - a commitment by financial services firms to improve female entrepreneurs’ access to tools, resources and finance. Signatories to the IWC commit to: ◗ Having a nominated member of the senior leadership team (or key individual within the angel group or network) who is responsible for supporting equality in all its interactions with entrepreneurs. ◗ Providing HM Treasury, or a relevant industry body designated by HM Treasury, a commonly agreed set of data concerning: all-femaleled businesses, mixed-genderled businesses, and all-male-led businesses. ◗ Adopting internal practices which aim to improve the potential for female entrepreneurs to successfully access the tools, resources, investment and finance they need to build and grow their businesses, working with relevant players. The Code now has 100 signatories, including the bank, which is a founding member, as well as angel investors and venture capital firms. Victoria Kerton, Regional Director at NatWest, said: “As the UK continues to open up and the economy recovers, it’s critical that we support female

entrepreneurs with the development of the businesses. As highlighted in the Rose Review, ensuring female entrepreneurs have the right access to finance is vital which is why we are proud to have launched the IWC. “For many female entrepreneurs, investment can unlock scale and growth

◗ 1 in 10 female entrepreneurs plan to start a business in 2021; ◗ 55% of female business leaders would not recommend starting a business in their sector in 2021; ◗ Female entrepreneurs and business owners are 17% more likely to struggle balancing business with family life during the pandemic; and, ◗ Nearly three quarters (71%) of female business owners and entrepreneurs found managing their business stressful during the pandemic, compared with just over half of males (55%). Against this difficult backdrop, good progress has been made this year in supporting female-led businesses. Through the Rose Review Board and the Investing in Women Council, working in partnership with a variety of organisations in business, finance and the third sector, and with HM Treasury (HMT) and the Department

opportunities, and the IWC highlights how important investment finance is to supporting female businesses now and for the future.” The pandemic has compounded the difficulties and expanded the obstacles faced by many women in starting, continuing and scaling their business. Recent research by NatWest found that nearly three-quarters (77%) of female business owners found managing their business in the pandemic stressful, compared to 55% of male entrepreneurs. Women are also 17% more likely than men to struggle balancing business demands with family life. Recent research commissioned by NatWest in conjunction with YouGov also showed that:

for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has continued, NatWest and partners have continued to deliver on priorities set out by the Rose Review. Victoria said: “Over the last year, many of us have faced incredible challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic and our research shows that many female entrepreneurs struggled to manage their businesses in a way they were happy with. We know there is work to do and we will continue to work alongside female-led businesses as we recover and rebuild. It’s through initiatives like the IWC that we can deliver on the Rose Review. We look forward to realising this goal with female-led businesses across the South East.”

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BUSI N E SS

By Karen Dunne-Squire, Elation Experts

HOW TO FALL BACK IN LOVE WITH YOUR BUSINESS Your business should be your greatest ally. It shapes your financial status, drives the things you do, decides where you spend your time and who you spend it with; it contributes to your selfesteem and often dictates your stress levels. Your business determines the person that you are and the life that you live. Yet, for so many of us, the organisation in which we work is our enemy, not our friend. Every day, I work with business owners who are frustrated, resentful and overworked – I have been that business owner myself. These executives are never the most profitable, the most effective or the most fulfilled in their business. I can trace a clear pattern in my business journey; the times when I have been at conflict with my business have, without a doubt, been the hardest. The treadmill of productivity and output becomes draining and makes it easy to lose sight of why you started in the first place. During these periods, I have inevitably found myself less effective, lacking in motivation and surrounded

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by negativity. I have also been making less money! In 2015, I made a very specific decision. I was going to build and sustain an environment of total motivation in my business. I was adamant that I’d develop a relationship with my business that was functional, happy, mutually beneficial and filled with love. I wanted to run an organisation that I always spoke about kindly and provided an environment of support for everyone within. I aspired to create a business that people were drawn to because of its deeply attractive culture. It would allow me to attract the best staff, win the best clients, align with the best partners, and ensure that I

worked with purpose and passion every day. My business was going to be the kid that EVERYONE wanted to hang out with. Thankfully, I had worked in and with over 400 businesses, and I had a lot of insights to support my approach. Elation Experts - the organisation I have today is my happy place. I have built this relationship through three key principles. When taking control of your professional destiny, you need to focus on these three areas. Doing exactly the right amount of the following will ensure that you fall back in love with your business and you create somewhere that everyone else can love too.

WHAT DO YOU PUT IN?

One of the key drivers of the human condition is our desire to add value. We want, perhaps even need, to know that the impact that we have is positive. We want to be recognised – we want to know that our talent is influential. We grow when we contribute, so I focus on this every day. If your business is a place where everyone has a chance to shine


X X X X X X X

and contribute in a meaningful way, you create a powerfully positive environment. Ask yourself and encourage your team to ask questions like: ◗ What areas of the business can I improve on today? ◗ Where do I have a really positive impact, and how do I ensure I use that influence regularly? ◗ How can I harness and encourage the strength of others? A wonderful business plays to the strengths of every team member. The great communicators lead the meetings, and the fantastic innovators contribute to new ideas. Have you identified the strengths of yourself and your team? And you making the most of those strengths? I know that I am great at motivating, so I make sure that I speak with everyone on the team regularly to give them the boost they need. This activity allows me to have a real impact and witness the tangible results of my strength in daily business operations. Consider each team member, including yourself, and think about

Every day, I work with business owners who are frustrated, resentful and overworked – I have been that business owner myself their strengths. Now look at whether that person is doing work that plays to that strength, are they in a position that allows them to contribute that strength to the business? If they aren’t then, look at how you can change that and help to give them work they will feel is making a positive impact. Look for ways to feedback to team members how their contribution is making a difference to the business. Everyone likes to understand how they fit in and how what they are

doing means something in the bigger picture. Purpose is a great motivator. By helping people see the value they add when they are at work, and understand the benefit they are bringing with their skillset, you will automatically motivate them. As a business owner you must not only ensure that you personally are adding tangible value but also that every person in the team has a chance to shine. If you can give and create a sense of purpose in your business, you will thrive.

WHAT DO YOU GET OUT?

Growth and development are key measures of human success. For some, this might be hitting a target, or learning a new skill. For someone else, it might be repairing a broken item or creating a new recipe. We measure development in very different ways, but without it, we stagnate. A business in which all members can realise their potential is one that attracts the best.

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BUSI N E SS

The questions for your business and your team are: ◗ What personal development will make me more powerful? (Training/ Coaching/Mentoring) ◗ How can I stretch my team to ensure that they grow every day? ◗ How can we create a culture of feedback that means everyone’s potential is realised? A business that has a culture of personal development layers learning on even the smallest of tasks. It embeds personal development planning, individual training budgets and plenty of extracurricular opportunities. There are daily discussions about strengths and weaknesses and cross-training and development. Every week in my business, we ask the team to report on the three biggest barriers to success, and we find a way to develop the team in order to overcome them. The consistent improvement in myself and my team is highly motivating – for them and for me. If something motivates you, it’s difficult not to fall in love with it. So, make sure your business is motivating everyone involved in it.

None of this is accidental – I simply chose to build a business that is worth loving

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR ENERGY?

Running on empty is the quickest way to failure. Often professionals who are not seeing the results they want continue to push harder, leading to burnout. Resting is not seen as a productive way of achieving more. But being full of energy creates an environment of success. If you get a sense of joy and balance from your work, you perform far better. These are the specific questions you need to focus on to ensure you and your team are efficient and enthused:

◗ What is the best way for you to relax and destress? ◗ How can you make sure your team are recharged daily? ◗ What signs will tell you that a team member is overworking and underachieving? ◗ How comfortable do people feel about asking for support? Keeping your business full of energy guarantees sustainable output from your team. This requires agile working – allowing your team to work on key tasks when their energy is high, and permitting them to step back and recharge when required. For my team, taking 15 minutes to meditate at lunchtime or running/ walking meetings make a huge impact. If deadlines are heavy, we will stop for a full hour and have a team lunch before addressing the task with full commitment. Resting makes use strong, and I recognised that when I started permitting myself to stop, I became much more effective. The same applies to everyone on the team – they need rest, and they perform better for it. I love my business. I wake up every day knowing that I am going to spend my day doing things I love, that add value, with a team of people who feel the same. I have a purpose, I feel successful, and I know the future is bright. None of this is accidental – I simply chose to build a business that is worth loving. The average human will spend 92,210 hours at work in a lifetime – are you willing to waste that many hours of your life in an environment that you don’t love?

www.elation-experts.co.uk www.linkedin.com/in/kdselation

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Karen Dunne-Squire is founder of Elation Experts, which is on a mission to empower SMEs by giving them the knowledge and skills to increase revenue, build powerful sales opportunities and create committed, loyal teams that are motivated to drive change. Karen is a sought-after keynote speaker and creator of The Growth Framework, an award-winning methodology, applying ‘Big Business Corporate Insights’ to SMEs in a way that makes practical sense for them.

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FI NA NCE

SISTERS ARE DOIN’ IT FOR THEMSELVES By Alison Jones, Partner Kreston Reeves The longer-term effects of the pandemic won’t be felt for years to come but there could be fewer working mothers in the workplace, perhaps as many as -20%. A recent article in The Telegraph laid bare a gender split showing: ◗ Double the number of women aged 2534 have been made redundant than men ◗ 71% of working mothers have had their request for furlough turned down ◗ 25% have been forced to use annual leave to deal with childcare issues caused by the pandemic. So much for the glass ceiling having been smashed when you look at the pandemic in this way, but as my headline suggests (in the words of Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics), many women are already taking matters into their own hands. During 2020 there were 835,494 new businesses registered in the UK and a good proportion of these will have been set up by women and it is estimated around 29% of small businesses are owned by women. Many of the female entrepreneurs I

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speak to say they were inspired to set up their business whilst on maternity leave, as it gave them time to pause and think about business ideas and what they really wanted to do for the rest of their career. Events of the last 12 months will have given many people time to think and reflect and it is anticipated we will see a whole range of successful new businesses setting up that will change the way we do many things in the future. Whilst many existing businesses have had to diversify and adapt to survive, there will be a number of new businesses driven by a desire for a change in lifestyle, the opportunity to make a new business from an existing hobby or skill set, as well as those that are borne out of the sheer necessity of needing to provide a living for themselves and their family. So aside from the time to think about ideas, what else is inspiring a new generation of female entrepreneurs and making it easier to set up a new business now?


FI NA NCE

FEAR OF FAILURE IS OLD NEWS

It’s often our own confidence that stops us from doing new things. Many people are now not afraid to try and fail than they were a few years ago. You can now set up a business with very little upfront costs, access broad markets through E-commerce platforms, engage with and talk to global audiences via your website and social media. We no longer fear failure in the same way as previous generations, that stigma has gone and we can learn from mistakes.

During 2020 there were 835,494 new businesses registered in the UK and a good proportion of these will have been set up by women

WE ARE TECH SAVVY

Some business start-ups are a stop gap to getting a new job, but many others provide a very clear stepping-stone to a new role or change in career direction.

There has been a huge technology surge over the last 12 months which is expected to have a long-term impact on our behaviour. The way we work, shop, educate, socialise, participate in groups has seen the most dramatic changes, but there will be many others driven by our whole-hearted adoption of many new technologies in a relatively short period of time.

WE ARE LEARNING NEW SKILLS ALL THE TIME

Learning is certainly for life and whilst a new businesses might provide a shortterm solution to generating an income, running it will also be teaching that business owner a new range of skills that they will go on to use elsewhere.

WE HAVE ROLE MODELS TO THANK

Our sisters, mothers, grandmothers have provided us with terrific role models of entrepreneurial working women in recent generations and they have showed us how to adapt over the years. Gone now is the notion of needing to be in the physical workplace five days a week, 9-5. Where and when we can work gives everyone a significant amount of flexibility for the future and all businesses will do well to remember that.

◗ Alison Jones is Partner at Kreston Reeves alison.jones@krestonreeves.com Tel: 01273 811000 or 0330 124 1399 www.krestonreeves.com

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IN V ESTMENTS

What does the demise of Top Shop and Debenhams mean for early-stage investing? By Chantelle Arneaud, Envestors Online shopping has been increasing since 2007. The growth, which has been steady year on year, rose sharply in 2019 and now accounts for just under 30% of total retail sales in the UK. Undeniably, this sharp increase was influenced by the pandemic. Yet, regardless of the catalyst, this trend is an irreversible one. In the past twelve months we’ve

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seen the demise of high-street retailers that were once part of the cultural fabric in the UK. Debenhams had over 200 years of history, while the

younger Top Shop, oft described as the jewel of the high street, fell into administration. Evidenced by the number of high street shops closing, it is well recognised that the way we shop has forever changed. We’re shopping online while in bed, at work and for 20% of us– from the bathroom. But what does that mean for earlystage investing? It’s easy to write this off as consumer behaviour that has nothing to do with investing. But that would be a mistake. The proliferation of online shopping


IN V ESTMENTS

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CUSTOMER LOYALTY

ALL PURCHASING DECISIONS START ONLINE

It’s easy to write this off as consumer behaviour that has nothing to do with investing. But that would be a mistake

is not limited to clothing or groceries, it is a key part of the buying process for all types of buyers for all types of products. Whether you’re buying an enterprise-grade software solution, a new house, a pair of jeans or equity in a business, the online channel is a crucial part of the journey. And as the retail industry underwent a massive shift with the adoption of digital and the growth of the online channel, so too will the early-stage investment space. While change can be daunting, it can also be a good thing that creates efficiencies, greater access and overall a superior experience for all involved.

Whether you’re a B2B buyer or a consumer, the buying process begins with online research. A Google study confirmed that 92% of people begin their buying journey online. That leaves only 8% wholly reliant on other means to investigate purchasing decisions. Do angel investors fall into the 8%? A common belief in the early-stage investing space is that High Net Worths (HNW) don’t like to do things online. However, this is proven not to be the case. A PriceWaterhouse Cooper study found that 98% use the internet daily and for up to three hours. Beyond this, a second study by Accenture Consulting confirmed 83% use digital for financial services. It’s worth pointing out that both of these studies are several years old, and it is reasonable to assume that the use rates of digital have increased since the time of publication. So, if you’re a network promoting investment opportunities and you’re not using the online channel, you are absolutely missing out on a key phase of the investors’ journey.

Networks which don’t offer the convenience of an online channel to their investors may believe that it doesn’t matter; your investors have been with you for years and are loyal. Another look at retail proves that there is no such thing as customer loyalty. The loyal customer base that Debenhams and Top Shop built up, slowly trickled away as new digital-first players came in and offered a better, more tailored experience. It’s easy to blame the pandemic. But the truth is that Covid-19 was but the last nail in the coffin for these iconic retailers. Both were struggling before January 2020. The reason: they weren’t giving their customers what they wanted. Generations grew up, times changed, new savvier players like Asos came into the market – and their once-loyal customers left. Customers are only loyal for as long as it suits them. If something better comes along, they will move on. What we’re seeing in the early-stage investment market is a number of new digital-first investment clubs like the Envestors Private Investment Club, Angels Den, or Chorus. These nextgeneration investment networks are the Asos of the investment space. They understand that investors want alwayson, self-service access to deals and they are ready to deliver.

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IN V ESTMENTS Can angel networks say the same thing? Do you really know what your investors are interested in without taking advantage of all the options digital has to offer? Investment networks are reliant on face-to-face interaction and personal relationships. Now, relationships are crucial to early-stage investing. But data can be used to empower your existing relationships. With online platforms you can collect data on investor interests – both those they state explicitly and those you can infer based on their online behaviour. This data, at both the individual and macro level, can be invaluable to you in catering to their needs.

Investors need both variety and volume to build a portfolio large and diverse enough to offset the risks

GOOD RELATIONSHIPS ARE BUILT ON SHARED INTERESTS, EXPERIENCES AND DATA

Since 2003, when Amazon began its category expansion, all other retailers have struggled to keep up with them. There are myriad reasons for this, but a core one is their mastery of data. A digital-first company, Amazon knows more about its customers than they’d probably be comfortable with. They collect data from every interaction, and use it alongside trend data from other customers, in order to help users make buying decisions. They are so good at it they often identify you need something before you’ve even realised.

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Take the case of an investor who has told you they are interested in B2B SaaS, but through data analysis you see they’ve begun browsing deals in the cleantech space. Perhaps they’ve decided they want to add some companies in this industry to their portfolio, or perhaps the interest is latent and they themselves are unaware of it. You might decide to introduce them to other investors experienced in the space or even hold a forum to discuss trends or specific deals. This little insight can very easily be used to deepen engagement among your audience. Another application is in deal selection. Many networks either use instinct to decide what their investors will be interested in or follow a set of criteria. This makes the error of assuming that you know exactly what your investors are after and/or that their interests do not change over time. Investors need both variety and volume to build a portfolio large and diverse enough to offset the risks associated with early-stage investing. By using real-time data on what is capturing their interest, you are automatically in a much stronger position to bring them the kind of deals that are going to get them excited.


IN V ESTMENTS MIND THE (SKILLS) GAP

When retailers first began to embrace e-commerce, they struggled. These organisations were designed around the store where footfall was king. Digital and all the data that comes with it was a new and foreign land. To fully leverage the online opportunity retailers needed to change their mindset and learn new skills. The case is not entirely dissimilar for investment networks. Many are focused on driving investors to events or on speaking to investors one-to-one about deals to assess interest. These activities will always be important, but in a digital world, they are no longer the be all and end all. This is a good thing. Digital opens up the possibilities for engagement so that you’re no longer restricted to a two-hour window at a pitching event or over lunch. Engagement becomes continuous and always on. To take advantage of this some new skills are required. An aptitude with digital marketing is foremost. Depending on the size of an organisation this can mean a new hire, or just upskilling existing staff. This isn’t as scary as it sounds, and most organisations are probably doing some form of this

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Chantelle Arneaud is from Envestors. Envestors’ digital investment platform brings together entrepreneurs and investors across geographies, communities and sectors – creating the single marketplace for early stage investment in the UK.

THE MARKET WILL CHANGE

already. But to deliver the best investor experience organisations should have database marketing, data analysis, and online marketing skills. Those new to digital, have the option of working with a third-party specialist or working with an investment platform provider who offers these services.

The early-stage investment space is a traditional one – for now. But as we saw in the retail example, traditions can be supplanted as quickly as a Prime delivery. Many factors drive an industry to change. In the case of early-stage investing it will be the core players in the market. That is the investors and the companies raising finance. They are getting more and more used to a digital first experience and the investment networks that serve them need to stay one step ahead of their needs. When this doesn’t happen, heritage organisations fall, and new giants emerge. Needs have undoubtedly changed. We are at a point where people expect an always-on, personalised service. They like to be empowered to do their own research and to drive their own agenda and without a digital offering they have to wait. Today, no one expects to wait. New players are entering the market every day with digital offerings that will cater to the needs of today’s investor. Traditional networks need to look ahead or risk falling behind.

◗ Envestors partners with accelerators, incubators and angel networks to provide a white-label platform empowering them to promote deals, engage investors and connect to other networks. Founded in 2004, Envestors has helped more than 200 high growth businesses raise more than £100m through its own private investment club. Envestors is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. www.envestors.co.uk www.linkedin.com/company/envestors-llp Twitter: @EnvestorsLondon

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YOGA FOR THOSE CREAKY KNEES By Tess De Klerk from Bliss Yoga

Knee pain and discomfort can often cause trepidation and keep us off our yoga mats. It shouldn’t. Yoga can be a fantastic tool to help keep our knees pain-free and functioning as they should. This Yin Yoga sequence can be very helpful in assisting with knee problems due to meniscus damage, knee cap issues, gout or arthritis. It is also a proven practice for keeping healthy knees healthy. I have personally found these poses invaluable after having injured my knees many moons ago and I have witnessed transformations in students who have practised these simple poses consistently. As always though, respect the uniqueness of your body and anatomy and don’t force anything! Please also note that this sequence is not indicated for significant cruciate ligament damage. I like to refer to the saying “There are no knee openers in yoga” in my classes. Meaning that in asanas such as Cow Face pose or Pigeon Pose, in which we focus and perhaps push a little past our comfort zone to open the hips, we rather work on protecting and strengthening the knees and never push to a point of any kind of pain. Added to that we definitely don’t want

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twisting of the knees, especially when knees are straightened! This doesn’t mean that we can’t work the knees in ways that can help them heal or make them stronger. There are ways to do so, and here we explore a very successful Yin Yoga sequence that has been pioneered and used within the Iyengar community over many years. These variations of Hero pose look simple but might not feel it while you’re in the pose – especially position two! Yin Yoga focuses on stretching and lubricating the joints and connective

tissue. In order to benefit and stretch the joints, your muscles must be relatively relaxed therefore, once you have found your pose, relax and allow gravity to take you deeper rather than using your muscles to push yourself further. Accept the challenge while being calm and patient with yourself and your yoga journey. As is the principle of Yin Yoga, these poses should be approached slowly and held for longer than other practices. When starting, aim for one minute in each position then progress to holding your poses for two minutes at a time.

PROPS ◗ 3 Yoga blocks, cushions or books (+- 2 inches thick). ◗ 2 Wooden dowels or other cylindrical poles. It’s best to start with an approximate diameter of 1 inch and progress to 1.5 inches over time. Of course, we don’t all have dowels lying around but something that can be rolled in the same shape will do too.


H E A LT H

SIMPLE KNEE SEQUENCE POSITION ONE

◗ Place the dowels behind the back of the knees and sit with the blocks/cushions between your feet. Make sure the dowels are snug and aren’t hurting you. Your feet should point straight backwards. If this bothers your ankles, place towels under them to make them more comfortable. Be still, breath gently and stay here for up to one minute. It is interesting noting that this is a variation of Hero pose is said to create proper arches in the feet due to stretching of the ankles and the feet. B. K. S. Iyengar recommends a daily practice of a few minutes for several months to correct arch problems. He also notes that “those suffering from pain in the heels or growth of calcaneal spurs … will get relief and the spurs will eventually disappear.”

POSITION TWO

◗ Remove two blocks, move the dowels back a couple of inches, so that they are positioned on the calves. Sit back down on the one remaining block for a minute. ◗ This pose can be challenging! Stay calm and breath through any discomfort but if it’s downright painful then skip position 2 until you’ve comfortably and consistently practised positions 1 and 3.

POSITION THREE

◗ Add a block to find yourself sitting on two blocks. Position the dowels behind the knees, similar to position 1. Stay here for a final minute. ◗ Slowly come out of the pose, close your eyes and take the time to feel the difference in your knees - feel the flow of oxygenated blood nourishing those deserving knee joints. Rub your palms together, rub those knees and give them some healing love ❤!

I have personally found these poses invaluable after having injured my knees many moons ago

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MOTOR I NG

DY N AM I C

It’s all rather grown up JAGUAR I-PACE

By Motoring Editor, Fiona Shafer, Managing Director of MDHUB

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A year on from my first experience of reviewing an electric car, the range anxiety inducing Audi e-Tron, l would never in my wildest dreams have believed just how much attention we are all suddenly paying to them. This is due to the global pandemic and the brutally obvious effect, the lack of car emissions have had on our environment. One could confidently argue that one of the positive and disruptive outcomes of this time, has been the accelerated pace of our engagement with the electric vehicle market, whilst simultaneously highlighting the inadequacies in the UK charging network. So, my excitement at looking forward to reviewing my first car in seven months was tempered slightly when presented with a brand spanking new, Jaguar I-Pace 400 PS Electric SE. Having reviewed the F Pace SVR and Convertible, I was familiar with the Jaguar performance stable and above all else, I was especially curious as to

how this performance would translate within an electric landscape. Would my range anxiety be off the scale or would I finally become a happy convert? So, I bring good news ... It is by far the best electric car that I have driven to date. The part that made me smile greatly, was the astonishing linear acceleration – from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds – which felt so much quicker and quieter due to being electric. I almost had a sense of wonder at the experience which was only tempered by the fact it was so fast that I became slightly alarmed at how


MOTOR I NG

YAY THE VERDICT NAY ◗ 290 Miles on a single charge – with a driving average of 253 miles ◗ Recharges from 80% capacity from flat with a 11KW wall charger (overnight home charge) in 9 hours ◗ 11KW Home charger – if you have a 3-way supply – will give you 33miles per the hour compared to 22 miles per the hour from a more common 7KW charger. ◗ If you can find one – a 100KW public charger can add 78 miles in 15 minutes ◗ Regenerative braking captures some of the energy normally lost when you lift off the accelerator ◗ Award Winning PIVI Pro Infotainment System – designed to replicate in essence exactly what your mobile phone does. ◗ An extremely low Benefit in Kind Tax rate ◗ Good rear boot space plus an unexpectedly handy front boot space that would fit a small gym bag or an emergency survival kit if stuck in the middle of nowhere with no charge.

◗ “Clear Sight” Rear View Mirror – the name of which I think is rather a contradiction in terms – as in this mode it enables you to turn the rearview mirror into a screen to display the view out of the back of the car based on the feed from the external cameras. The rationale being that if your rear window gets dirty or you view is blocked by passengers, you can see what’s going on. It is a bit like having a movie running in your line of vision – which combined with the rest of the displays for me was distracting. The other option is to have normal mode on, which is tinted (which makes you think you are permanently wearing sunglasses) ◗ It can accommodate 2 x 6 footers in the back but a squeeze for a third person in the middle.

8.5/10 quickly cars I overtook vanished into the distance like a mirage in reverse. Whilst it may not be as quick as one of its key competitors the Tesla Model S and Model X, it is significantly faster than most cars in today’s marketplace – so you are in for a real treat if it is speed you are looking for – and it is considerably cheaper than both the Teslas. That all said, I felt very safe most of the time…. the only slight disconcertion being a very slight sway on uneven surfaces, which was less discernible in “Comfort” mode. If you moved to “Dynamic” mode, the sway tightened up a bit but the payoff being you could feel the reverberations of the road surface more. The I-Pace is a very smart car even with its slightly conservative design, not helped by its navy blue colour reminding me of a Hospital Matron, confident, efficient and no nonsense – the car even says Good Morning to you when you switch it on ... thankfully it doesn’t take your temperature ... yet.

It’s all rather grown up... I think it would make a first-class company car

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