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SUFFOLK

DIRECTOR INCORPORATING IoD

SUFFOLK

AUTUMN 2015 Whistleblowers Harrod UK Arts & Business Crowdfunding The Last Word: Raedwald

COURAGE Robert Gough swims against the tide

FC1 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015


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WELCOME

It’s enjoyable to have a new publication. Particularly if it’s well received and I’m pleased to say that Suffolk Director has met with much approval.

Contents

As we meet with more and more businesses, it’s exciting to discover their enthusiasm for this county and all it has to offer. Directors not just keen to make their mark and a healthy profit but Directors who are also keen to give something back to the local community. Recognising that business and community work hand in hand as they have always done.

Robert Gough swims against the tide

I thank our loyal supporters whose contributions you will see throughout these pages and hope that if you haven’t already you will get in touch to share your business story with other soul mates.

2 COURAGE

7 Whistleblowers 9 Dividends 11 Litigation 13 IoD Suffolk 15 IoD Suffolk Annual Dinner 16 Harrod UK

All ideas, views and feedback are most welcome.

19 IoD Calendar

Jonathan Tilston Publisher

20 Student Career Choice 12 Planning For this issue it’s been great fun meeting the courageous Robert Gough at The Salthouse Harbour Hotel, a place that exudes his business philosophy arousing curiosity. This hotel, pride of place on Ipswich’s Waterfront, is a wonderful example of how strategic and focused thinking pays off to deliver an exceptional outcome. Not just here but at the Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds and more recently Southwold Pier.

Also, Stephanie Harrod at Harrod UK in Lowestoft where the mantra: “whatever it takes” is helping her team deliver exceptional service worldwide. A company founded on buying old fishing nets for use as garden netting has taken both sport and horticultural worlds by storm. Finally, a huge thank you to our writers without whom this magazine would not exist.

21 Arts 25 Business & Sport 26 Social Media 28 Crowdfunding 31 Books 32 The Last Word Raedwald

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Photography Pagepix pagepix.co.uk IoD Suffolk Committee Carrie Bendall

Carrie Bendall Editor All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or in whole, without the prior consent of the publisher is strictly

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suffolkdirector.com 1 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015


Robert Gough Welcome to the wonderful world of Gough. One in which “Arousing Curiosity in Suffolk” isn’t just a strapline it’s a whole way of thinking: thinking that gives clear purpose and focus but also a vision that takes courage to deliver.

COURAGE 2 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015


COURAGE

Family-owned, Gough Hotels celebrates 50 years in business this year. The group includes the historical and comforting Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds, the chic and forward-looking The Salthouse Harbour Hotel in Ipswich and Southwold Pier, the location for curiously exciting, luxury, boutique hotel number three. The beginnings of Gough Hotels happened in 1965 when Robert’s mother, Mary Gough, and her late husband Richard bought the Victorian Marlborough Hotel on Henley Road in Ipswich. In 1973 they moved to buy The Angel Hotel. When Richard died suddenly in 1987, Mary held the fort and was awarded an MBE for her services to the hospitality industry in 1990.

Location The decision to buy the Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds, one of our prettiest market towns and desirable destinations, is easy to understand. An incredible setting, opposite Abbey Gardens, first spoken about in 1452, later to be known as a place visited by kings, queens, actors and writers. Charles Dickens a regular visitor whilst he wrote the Pickwick Papers and gave lectures at the Athenaeum nearby.

An old salt warehouse beside old Ipswich port was extremely forward thinking but the news that Gough had acquired a dilapidated warehouse in 2001 in Ipswich was greeted with lots of smirking. Ipswich? Really? The Port? Someone has to be first. Happily Gough’s foresight and vision for this part of Ipswich has been a risk worth taking. The Salthouse Harbour Hotel and the Waterfront are now much desired destinations. After a good time searching the rest of East Anglia, Southwold Pier plays right into “quirky hotelier” Robert Gough’s hands. Piers are a British institution and Southwold a much loved place. A pier is quite a risky place for a hotel; the natural elements have been unkind to piers in the past but much careful planning has taken place. 3 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015


COURAGE

The Pier Built in 1900, 810 foot long A landing stage for Belle steamships travelling from London In 1934, the T shaped landing stage was swept away Timber buildings replaced with two-storey pavilion, concert hall and arcade World War II, the pier is sectioned Sadly hit by a drifting sea mine in 1941 In 1955, a storm washes away some of the pier In 1979, a storm reduces length of pier to only 60 foot In 1987, restoration started By 2001, it reached 623 feet Named Pier of the year in 2002 It’s Britain’s only 21st century pier 2013, Gough Hotels takes over ownership

The ultimate location

Community

The Pier is where “arousing curiosity” can reach its full potential. Plans for the 30 bedroom hotel on Southwold Pier are yet to be realised and we won’t know what they are until Gough opens its doors. Suspense is everything. But before this opening ceremony comes, Robert Gough is taking time to understand the business of the Pier and all it stands for. At the same time he is “arousing curiosity”; new shops to fulfill his good, better, best strategy; eateries; the Under the Pier Show with quirky machines by Tim Hunkins; the Wacky Wall of Mirrors; a mural of George Orwell on one of the walls of the Pier’s main building, brilliantly created by street artist Charlie Uzzel-Edwards, aka Pure Evil; posh fish finger sandwiches, lobster and skinny fries, rewards for those walking to the end of the pier; and of course plenty of candy floss and sticks of rock.

It’s not just the money making place but the surrounding community Robert Gough is keen to pay respect to. Giving back to the areas that contribute to the Gough success. In Southwold this has meant helping to raise a sizable £80,000 for another very different walk, the Pier Path.

All artistic, playful and arousing curiosity; ultimately making guests smile, every step of the way. 4 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015

Southwold Pier has joined forces with Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and The Suffolk Coast Ltd Destination Management Organisation in this exciting project to develop the Pier Path walk, which is around 8.5 miles long. It begins at the Pier and stretches up the coast to Covehithe joining beach and marshland. It opens in 2016 and Robert is thinking of similar initiatives in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds. Enhancing the experience for all those that come.


COURAGE

Vision When Gough Hotels acquired a dilapidated warehouse in 2001 the news was greeted with lots of wry smiles. Robert Gough had bought an old warehouse, a tired and miserable product of the 1800s with a flat roof and a lean to shed on the side in what was, until the Ipswich Waterfront began developing a somewhat depressing place. Vision, belief and perhaps an historical connection for Ipswich where the Gough Hotel business began have paid off. The Salthouse is the first four star hotel in Ipswich. It’s busy, buzzing and much desired. It looks out on a marina full of expensive yachts. The view from each of its rooms is amazing and on a sunny day you could be anywhere your mind cares to take you. With it’s masterly position and its eclectic collection of art that arouses curiosity at ever corner, it’s something to be really proud of.

Oversized bathrooms and bedrooms making the most of the available view; lighting, heated floors, glass that changes from transparent to opaque at the tough of a button. Bose sound systems, fresh coffee, eclectic, quirky art to make you smile and … to arouse your curiosity. Robert says: “It’s the attention to detail that matters and helps to create the four star experience. Rooms with strong expectations, bigger bathrooms, copper baths, under floor heating, Juliet balconies, views down the river, quirky artwork all carefully chosen with guests in mind.”

Individuality Each Gough enterprise is different: its place; history; building style and décor. Each room has its own individual touch. The views from the top of The Salthouse Harbour Hotel take your breath away. How many think of Ipswich as a coastal town, how many really look out and see what potential it has? Each room makes the most of the available view down the Orwell, the river that gave George Orwell his pen-name.

Each step is deliberate, thoughtful and considered. Gone are large function rooms and in are more sizeable bedrooms and areas for private dining, all a determined step to preserve your happiness and not let someone else’s party interfere. Around each corner there is visual treat. “You learn a lot more from poor service when you are travelling around looking for ideas. Service is a vital element of success. It backs up the product. You have to have a great team around you, you have to set parameters and trust. The skills needed to run a hotel are many and diverse and we do what we can to train and nurture our staff. Our managers are home grown, some with us for 10 years now, they have worked their way up.” Coffee, a litmus test: everyone, including Robert, is trained in the right temperature for the milk to give it a creamy texture and then the special cold pressed coffee is added giving an all round smoother and more satisfying experience.

The décor, artwork and attention to detail inside The Salthouse Harbour Hotel are quirky, gorgeous and curious all at the same time. Each room has elements of fun and chic with admirable attention to detail.

Fine wine by the glass: an investment made in a verre du vin wine preservation system means that expensive wines normally just sold by the bottle can now be offered by the glass, again giving the guest another special experience rare to find anywhere else. 5 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015


COURAGE

What can we learn from such thoughtful business practice? Vision is everything Use it to create your own “arousing curiosity”

The curious is really in the detail Back to where Gough history began in the Angel Hotel, Bury St Edmunds. The well-appointed, elegant ivy clad Georgian façade hides more quirky and curious. The latest refurbishment, the cellar vaults now Wingspan, a cocktail bar. Why Wingspan? The bar counter is created from an aircraft engine and tables from aircraft doors. There is a chandelier made from milk bottles and sofas covered in German flour sacks. A decadently curious bar in a 12th century vault. Back to the ivy cladding with its amazing 20 pink window boxes: the pink petunias for these boxes have been supplied by the Nowton Park Nursery social enterprise for 15 years. The nursery is one of six Suffolk social businesses, run by Realise Futures, which support disabled and disadvantaged people with careers advice, learning and real jobs. Again part of the Gough philosophy to pay respect to the community within which it operates. The mind that comes up with these things is an amazing one. It arouses our curiosity, makes us want to know more and makes us want to share what we experience and see. More than anything it makes us smile. 6 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015

How can you make your customers smile Get them talking Passion guides Play to history Play to location Community is vital It’s not just about you and your location It’s about everyone and everything around you The contribution of all to create a Better Suffolk for all Over the last 10 to 15 years, Gough Hotels has contributed around £15 million to the local Suffolk economy as it’s expanded, refurbished and now acquired Southwold Pier. There is a clear philosophy of using local architects and builders and buying locally wherever possible.


WHISTLEBLOWERS

Whistleblowers: Heroes not Traitors Fiona Hotston Moore

The whistleblowing charity, Public Concern at Work, has reported that 63% of employers denied or ignored concerns raised by whistle blowers, over half of whom then went on to be dismissed or resign after raising their worries. Almost on a weekly basis we read of wrongdoing where individuals in a range of organisations including hospitals, institutions and banks have failed to, or chosen not to see, the failures of fellow workers.

Whistleblowers should get better protection than warm words if standards across the services and businesses we all rely on are to be maintained and the new rules recently introduced by the FCA are a very welcome addition to the armoury. However, these new rules can only go so far. It will still be necessary for individual organisations and companies to act to protect those who bring issues into the open. As Albert Einstein noted: “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil but because of those who look on and do nothing.” So two cheers for Tesco chief executive David Lewis who announced a ‘protector line’ for employees to report, anonymously, suspected irregularities. I suspect it will be considerably cheaper than the cost and fall-out from the accounting black hole scandal that triggered it.

But only two cheers. It is breathtaking that one of the world’s largest retailers apparently had no similar system in place before scandal came knocking. The whole culture of organisations needs to change. Whistleblowing can be discouraged in subtle ways to do with working culture in an organisation: Fear of being exposed as a ‘grass’ or not a team player. All these can chill a career and make a working life hell on earth. The National Audit Office last year listed a number of scandals, including the Herald of Free Enterprise sinking and the Clapham train collision, where the dangers were known, but those who knew of them were too frightened to speak out. Sometimes information is held by so few people that the code of anonymity is easily cracked, or might be. How are they to be protected by ‘anonymous’ hotlines? Whistleblowers are heroes not traitors. It is essential within both the corporate and public sectors that cultural changes take place to encourage individuals to speak up. Those in authority must investigate concerns rather than ignore or punish the individual who raises them. Don’t shoot the messenger, as Einstein might have added. Fiona Hotston Moore is a partner at Ensors Chartered Accountants ensors.co.uk Fiona.hotstonmoore@ensors.co.uk

7 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015


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DIVIDENDS

Dividends: there will be winners and losers Luke Morris

“So I am today undertaking a major and long overdue reform to simplify the taxation of dividends.” This is what the Chancellor said in the July budget; one of the main headline grabbers and catching some by surprise. It shouldn’t have. My profession’s been anticipating this for some time. Under the current system, basic-rate taxpayers pay no tax on their dividend income, while higher-rate taxpayers pay an effective rate of 25 per cent and additional-rate taxpayers pay 30.56 per cent. So taxpayers in all bands pay less than they would on earned income. The mantra for years—from accountants to any owner-managed business clients—has been “dividend is better than salary”. Government knew this and thus it’s been an obvious source of revenue to go after. Income tax is, of course, a temporary measure(!) introduced during the Napoleonic Wars and reaffirmed each year at the budget. Some of my peers are now having wonkish discussions about how levying a tax on dividend recipients is not logical since it amounts to double taxation (the money handed to shareholders as dividends having already been taxed when the company concerned paid its corporation tax bill). My take is that taxation has never been particularly logical. This is political and economic expedience.

An example of a loser is the sole shareholder of a company who takes a small salary and then dividends to use up his basic rate tax band. In the current tax year he can take around £40,000 out of the company without paying any tax. Next year that drops to around £16,000. So should dividends be paid before 6 April 2016? This is an option, but of course it may accelerate tax due and there are implications to increasing annual income such as the Child Benefit Charge and potential loss of the tax free personal allowance. Our tax team is busy working up scenarios for clients caught up in this. While we await draft legislation of the new regime, now is the time to plan; those who get to grips with the new regime will want to act soon.

Luke Morris Partner 0845 450 2465

I think this reform is the start of harmonising tax rates on dividend and salary, rates on dividends only likely to go in one direction. How have they done it? Essentially by introducing a dividend tax but exempting the first £5,000. Things change from April 16 and, as ever, there will be winners and losers. An example of a winner is a higher rate taxpayer who has dividend income of £5,000. In the current tax year he will have a tax liability of £1,250 (25% of £5,000). Next year he will have no tax liability.

larking-gowen.co.uk luke.morris@larking-gowen.co.uk This article is designed for the information of readers. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, information contained in this article may not be comprehensive and recipients should not act upon it without seeking professional advice. Larking Gowen is registered to carry out audit work in the UK and Ireland by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. ©Larking Gowen. 9 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015


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LITIGATION

Does litigation really cost a fortune? As a dispute resolution lawyer I am all too aware that people are often deterred from instructing lawyers to assist in recovering debts or pursuing claims, or in defending such claims, due to their perception of the high cost involved. I’m not going to pretend that fighting a legal dispute all the way through to trial isn’t expensive sometimes. However, the simple fact is that very few disputes ever get anywhere near a courtroom before they are resolved. Of the 1.5 million claims issued in county courts across England and Wales in 2014, only 8% were defended at all and only 1% actually made it as far as a trial. Of course, there are many more disputes which are resolved each year without any claim being issued at all. At Birkett Long, we have embraced the growth in ‘alternative dispute resolution’ and will always assist clients to resolve disputes in the manner best suited to their particular circumstances and budget. That might be by way of negotiation in correspondence, a ‘without prejudice’ meeting, a mediation or an adjudication. Or it might be that the time for negotiation has passed and that tougher action is required. In such cases we will advise on funding options that might be available and take the appropriate steps to minimise our clients’ risks and costs.

Expense should always be considered as part of a cost, benefit and risk analysis, which we will carry out at the outset of a matter and discuss with you. For example, you might consider it ‘expensive’ to pay a lawyer £500 in a claim worth £1,000, whereas you might consider costs of £5,000 in a claim worth £100,000 to be good business. Furthermore, spending a small amount of money to take some early advice will almost always save you money in the long term. You will know what your legal position is and be able to make decisions based on that, rather than what you think your rights are. That may mean a dispute can be avoided altogether or you may be able to negotiate a settlement at a very early stage. So when considering whether or not to instruct a lawyer to assist you in a dispute, remember: • taking early advice will save you money • the vast majority of disputes are resolved without claims being issued • even where claims are issued, less than 1 in 10 are defended and only 1 in 100 actually go all the way to trial • alternative funding options may be available to assist with the costs • the costs involved may prove to be very good value when weighed against the benefit to be achieved For help or advice on any dispute, at whatever stage, please contact Keith Songhurst on 01245 453821 or keith.songhurst@birkettlong.co.uk, or for insolvency and corporate matters contact Kevin Sullivan on 01206 217376 or kevin.sullivan@birkettlong.co.uk. 11 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015


PLANNING

Building on a farm just got easier Andrew Cann

Under the last, and new government, a number of planning reforms have and are being made to promote the building of new homes. One of the key areas that affects a rural county like Suffolk is the use, or re-use, of agricultural buildings. Last year the Government set out to simplify the planning process and procedures to convert redundant but structurally sound agricultural buildings into residential use. There are of course quite a few restrictions and conditions which still apply but for agricultural buildings up to 450m2, up to three new dwellings may be developed under ‘permitted rights’ using the new procedures. In theory this means planning permission is not required. These permitted rights don’t just apply to traditional ‘barns’ but to any building that has been used solely for an agricultural use or last in use, as part of an established agricultural unit, on or before 20 March 2013. For buildings brought into use after 20 March 2013, then they must have been used solely for an agricultural use, as part of an established agricultural unit, for 10 years before the date the development begins.

these applications, provided applications fall within the ‘permitted’ criteria, are well designed and take account of the usual transport, highways and noise impacts of the development, as well as any flood and contamination risks. The welcome clarification presents new commercial opportunities for the owners of no longer needed farm buildings. A further important economic consideration for owners will be whether the investment in conversion is the right long term business decision to avoid damaging the future needs and long-term viability of the agricultural business since the implementation of the permitted right restricts building further new agricultural buildings. If you have a redundant agricultural building which is no longer needed, planning consultants can help you assess the suitability of the building for residential conversion, and guide you through the requirements including make the necessary ‘prior approval notification’ to the council.

Despite the new rights, many councils have been turning down applications as the official guidance given to local authorities was unclear on how existing planning policy was to be applied to developments under the new rights. In March this year, further official guidance was issued which makes it much harder for local councils to refuse

Andrew Cann Planning Direct 07545 289 190 planningdirect.co.uk

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IoD SUFFOLK | ANNUAL DINNER

IoD Suffolk Annual Charity Dinner at Kesgrave Hall Members & Guests Raise £1,700 for Suffolk Mind This year IoD Suffolk’s chosen charity is Suffolk Mind and we are very pleased to announce we raised £1,700 at our IoD Suffolk Annual Charity Dinner to help Suffolk Mind spread the word about this difficult illness. As Suffolk Mind’s CEO, Anna Hughes said “We all have mental health, there is a spectrum from good to poor mental health and at any one point we are all somewhere on it. Anna also alluded to the words of one local GP at our mental health seminar which took place in June: “The NHS is running out of money, it’s over to you as employers now to take some action.”

Luke Morris

IoD Suffolk Chair & Partner, Larking Gowen

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We would like to give huge thanks to: Hosts, Milsom Hotels & Restaurants Our main sponsors of the evening: Barker Gotelee, Ensors and Pound Gates Anna Hughes

CEO, Suffolk Mind

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Those who made kind donations of raffle prizes: The Bildeston Crown, Barker Gotelee Solicitors, Penny Jones, Ensors, Wisdom Mind, Kesgrave Hall, the Leiston Centre for Wellbeing and Aldeburgh Music. Our speakers Luke Morris, IoD Suffolk Chair; Anna Hughes and Ezra Hewing of Suffolk Mind and guest speaker Tom Boother Daniel Jacklin, guitarist and Suffolk One student Caroline Kearney, chief operations officer for the evening Warren Page, photographer 15 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015


IoD SUFFOLK | HARROD UK

Whatever it takes Always striving to be the best we can be

Earlier this year, in the run up to the general election, the BBC’s Panorama programme sent four reporters across Britain to find out ‘What Britain Wants’. Could it still deliver a home for your family, a decent job, being part of a community and hope for the future? John Humphrys landed on the North Sea coast, in the most easterly settlement of the United Kingdom. Lowestoft. There he found people at low ebb and frustrated. He also found Harrod UK. Harrod UK is a family business full of hope. Last year it celebrated its 60th anniversary. It started in 1954 with a £300 investment, which Ron Harrod used to buy old herring nets and turn them into garden netting. Now it’s a multi-award winning market leader with a multi-million pound turnover and 140 employees.

and gardening has turned Harrod Horticulture into one of the largest mail order gardening companies in the UK. Now brother and sister Chris Harrod and Stephanie Harrod run the business with sales and marketing director Les Saunders and manufacturing director David Bowling.

The netting turned into football nets and goal posts seen all over the world; and, a passion for design

Active involvement from all staff lies at the heart of this firm’s success.

16 16||SUFFOLK SUFFOLKDIRECTOR DIRECTORAUTUMN AUTUMN2015 2015


IoD SUFFOLK | HARROD UK

Harrod UK is clearly a great and inspiring place to work. The fact that staff turnover is running at 2% is a key performance indicator. Not just this but achieving the Investors in People (IIP) Gold award is a good indicator too. Achieving the IIP Gold Award requires an extensive and time-consuming assessment to take place. During this time the IIP Assessor digs deep interviewing staff and management from all areas and exploring all aspects of company culture, procedures practice and investment in staff. No less than 165 pieces of evidence need to be demonstrated. Harrod UK demonstrated 172 leading the IIP Assessor to say: “Harrod UK is a learning organisation which punches well above its weight and where culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Harrod UK’s loyal team is seen as its most valuable asset and all staff members are encouraged to be actively involved across each aspect of company life. Under the motto “Whatever it takes” each individual is supported and

“Active involvement from all staff lies at the heart of this firm’s success”

inspired to work hard and encouraged to play hard and importantly come up with new ideas that contribute in ways both large and small to Harrod UK’s consistent success. Indeed “Whatever it takes” was an idea that came from employees. Developing a culture like this has to be deep rooted The goal to change the culture started in 1989 when the business experienced what Managing Director, Stephanie Harrod, describes as ‘a bit of a wake up call’. Harrod UK had started manufacturing plastic weights and other products catering for the newly fashionable bodybuilding and home fitness markets. The products were endorsed by former British shot putter and strong man, Geoff Capes, but the success was quite short lived when the main competition flooded the market with much cheaper products imported from China. Preferring to stay British, Harrod UK exited the market with help from a hard-hitting consultant that came with a government grant. At a time when

17 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015


IoD SUFFOLK | HARROD UK

turnover had halved, Harrod UK matched the £21,000 grant and began a plan for growth that played to its strengths. At the same time Stephanie Harrod and brother, Chris Harrod, took off to the US to explore what excellence looked like and to learn from some American award-winning firms. It was an eye opener to how employee engagement could help to turn business around. If you can change culture and get staff truly involved in decision-making, results can be remarkable. It was clear that if you employed individuals with the right attitude you could train them for everything else. If they weren’t interested in improving the way they worked in processes such as welding, packaging, mail order, understanding customer needs, then they were not the right people to have around. Now anyone in Harrod UK can present ideas to the research and development team Every year all staff attend an off site business performance briefing. In the morning the vision for the next three years is presented and in the afternoon there are breakout and brainstorming sessions across functions. Everyone is mixed up, product development, warehousing, mail order, sports and horticulture and all ideas are captured.

Ideas from last year’s session are revisited and it’s made clear what’s been done about them, whether they have been taken forward or not. Everyone knows how they can contribute and that any idea is a good one. And, it was out of one such session that the motto “Whatever it takes” came. Each staff grouping was asked to work on vision and mission and this is what kept coming back, in the first and second years. Could this really be a company motto? Yes, if it’s what the staff believe: to deliver to and exceed customer. Stephanie Harrod says: “It is all about the customer. My father used to say ‘the customer is king’ and he was right. So many people pay lip service to it but my brother and I were brought up with it. I read every email, on average about 250 a day and enjoy having full visibility of what’s happening across the business. “It’s also about continuous innovation and quality of products where the team input is essential. I would rather not sell anything that we are all not proud to sell; we don’t sell the cheapest, we sell the best. “Innovation and quality comes from constant discovery and listening to others, visiting and learning from best practice. Always striving to be the best we can be.”

Harrod UK Developing a culture of “Whatever it takes” Engage every single employee Ask rather than tell Make it easy to contribute Regular company and team meetings Involve rather than direct Source ideas from everyone If an idea can’t be used, explain why Continuous development and coaching for all

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IoD SUFFOLK | PAGE CALENDAR TITLE

Business Leaders’ Breakfast ‘Diversification’ – A visit to Harrod UK in Lowestoft By Stephanie Harrod, Harrod UK Date

Wednesday 18th November 2015

Time

08:00 – 10:00

Venue

Harrod UK 1-3 Pinbush Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR33 7NL

Price

Members & Guests £27.50 +VAT Non-members £33.00 +VAT Students £13.75 +VAT

Contact caroline@iod-suffolk.co.uk or Caroline Kearney 07917 699498 by 13th November 2015

Suffolk Community Foundation – ‘Stories of a Better Suffolk’ James Buckle and the Trustees of Suffolk Community Foundation warmly invite you to join their 10th Anniversary Event Date

Monday 23rd November 2015

Time

18:00 – 20:45

Venue

The Apex, Charter Square, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 3FD

Time

18:00 – 18.30

Welcome Drinks

18.30 – 19.45

Guest speaker: David Sheepshanks, followed by Terry Baxter on the sofa with special guests

19.45 – 20.45

Drinks and canapés

RSVP

elizabeth.stephenson@suffolkcf.org.uk or 01473 786915 by 16th November 2015

IoD Suffolk Christmas Drinks Please join us with other special guests from Suffolk Community Foundation There will also be a display of art from Suffolk One students Date

Wednesday 9th December 2015

Time

17:30 – 19:30

Venue

The Cookhouse, Suffolk Food Hall, Wherstead, IP9 2AB

RSVP

caroline@iod-suffolk.co.uk or Caroline Kearney 07917 699498 by 4th December 2015

FREE HELP FOR SUFFOLK’S AMBITIOUS, SMALL, ESTABLISHED BUSINESSES FROM EXPERIENCED BUSINESS EXECUTIVES.

Growing Suffolk Businesses

Me n t a

For full details call MENTA 0800 085 5090 or go to www.menta.org.uk 19 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015


PAGE IoD SUFFOLK TITLE | STUDENT CAREER CHOICE

How do you choose a career? Jordan Holder

Do something you love, enjoy, are good at

Choosing a career isn’t easy. It’s a decision that takes time, often influenced by your education, family, friends, economy, government and experiences. And who do you listen to?! When I was younger I always wanted to be a games designer, this was born out of a passion for playing computer games. Now, I never find the time to play computer games. However, when I was in my early teens, I wanted that career because it was something I loved doing. Although, as you grow up you discover new hobbies and passions and you slowly drift from those things that once intrigued you as a child.

Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something

people going into their first jobs will undoubtedly find it challenging and may not enjoy it, but they will learn from it and find what works for them. Treat every job like an apprenticeship, take more than a salary from your job, take experience and guidance. Lastly, don’t be afraid of your chosen career path, embrace what you love and stick to your guns. Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. If you’ve got goals … You’ve got to protect them. If people can’t do something themselves, they will tell you, you can’t do it. If you want something go get it. Period.

I found out what I wanted to do with my career and life when I started my micro business in 2012, selling Yearbooks to Schools. I can vividly remember the day I signed off my first business contract with ‘Jordan Holder, Managing Director of Catalyst Design’. It was a feeling of excitement and anticipation of what will happen next. After this, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I now work with Portcullis Market Access, Institute of Directors, Sports Aid and various other organisations pursuing business interests. My work varies from day to day and I love what I do, the opportunities I have and the people I meet and work with. I didn’t get here without hard work and dedication, which more young people need to do to get the careers they so desire. My advice for choosing a career is that do something you love, enjoy, and are good at. Students, graduates and young 20 20||SUFFOLK SUFFOLKDIRECTOR DIRECTORAUTUMN AUTUMN2015 2015

Jordan Holder IoD Student Membership Officer & Portcullis Market Access jordan@portcullismarketaccess.com


ARTS

The Business of the Arts Assis Carreiro MBE

It’s not always about cash but sharing expertise, resources and passion for creating a richer more vibrant Suffolk for everyone. We are encouraged to look at how we can work with the arts in Suffolk to achieve both business and personal goals The arts and cultural industries are one of the UK’s greatest success stories – massive growth with 400,000 jobs in museums, galleries and the performing arts. For every £1 of salary paid by the arts and culture industry, an additional £2.01 is generated in the wider economy through indirect and induced multiplier impacts according to ‘The Value of Arts and Culture to the People and Society’ from the Arts Council.

In Bury St Edmunds Karen Simpson, Director at the Theatre Royal believes the arts are a good way for businesses to engage with their clients and employees: “Many more people are passionate about the arts than we probably realise. Theatre can offer high profile special events for businesses as well as supporting the betterment of communities.”

The arts attract large and diverse audiences. Yet, funding remains a challenge. Suffolk is rich with arts organisations producing great product with little or no public subsidy. Partnerships are critical and an important piece of the funding pie. Businesses need to reach out to support the great cultural offer that is on their doorstep and that gives a uniqueness appeal to Suffolk.

The Theatre Royal is one of the UK’s only surviving Regency theatres. Beautifully refurbished with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, it is a crown jewel. But, in recent years, it has had some turbulent times, including the loss of its Arts Council funding. Despite this, it has forged on and today, whilst living on a knife-edge, has found a new model of operation, thanks in great part to its many loyal supporters. Karen Simpson inherited a huge challenge and takes nothing for granted as she maintains the theatre’s annual £1.5 million turn over – a £1million of which is from box office: “What sets us apart, is the generosity of local businesses and people. I have never worked anywhere where the business fraternity keeps a theatre so alive. Without them we couldn’t open our doors.” 21 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015


ARTS

One of the Theatre Royal’s long-time supporters is Beckett Investment. Ian White, Managing Director, is passionate about his support for his local theatre and Chairman, Bob Beckett, was involved for many years with the theatre’s restoration project. Ian White says: “We wanted Beckett Investment to be associated with something that was established, that we could be proud of and that reaffirmed their commitment to Bury as a great place to be. Sponsoring the arts does not offer a quick return. It is about a long term relationships that deliver many immeasurable benefits for clients and staff.” It’s this type of sponsorship that helps the Theatre Royal to stay open and to be a lively working theatre for the community. Karen Simpson adds: “Businesses have dug very deep to support us. They in turn help us build our audiences as they spread the word to their employees and to their clients. The economic impact is also enormous. When we run our pantomime there are reasons to come to town. Audiences visit shops, bars and restaurants as part of their day out and it becomes a win win for many.” 22 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015

“Sponsoring the arts does not offer a quick return” Ian White,

Managing Director at Beckett Investment in Bury St Edmunds


ARTS

On the Suffolk coast FlipSide has just celebrated its third anniversary with a bumper weekend of activities at Snape Maltings. FlipSide is a family arts festival with a ‘lively Latin Beat’ bringing music, dance and literature together for a unique programme of activities. In a very short time, the organisation has found its feet, thanks to the brilliance of its founding co-directors, Genevieve Christie and Liz Calder, who also run First Circle Editions. With support from Arts Council England, the Brazilian Embassy and trust and foundations, it is slowly finding its way with Corporate Fund Raising. A stalwart supporter of the festival since its launch is Ipswich’s Gotelee Solicitors under Senior Partner, Brian Morron.

The firm has a long-term commitment to music and literature. From supporting the New Angle Book Prize, Suffolk Book League and classical music concerts at The Corn Exchange, and now FlipSide. All are natural fits for a man passionate about books.

“It is not just about profile raising but supporting something we believe in and want to be associated with”

Each sponsorship is a partnership, not a one off. From an initial ad in the FlipSide programme, Gotelee was sponsor of this year’s writing prizes for adult and children’s literature. As FlipSide organiser Genevieve points out: “The partnership with business needs to be the right fit and mutually beneficial. FlipSide is blatantly public facing, aiming to reach a broad audience, with broad pallet of events and businesses can see the real benefits of their support.”

Brian Morron,

Senior Partner at Gotelee Solictors in Ipswich 23 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015


ARTS

“Sponsorship is not simply about handing over a cheque or getting your name on a poster. The impact of these partnerships can run much deeper through a shared agenda, on-going communication and clarity of the needs and ambitions of both partners. “We add value to each other’s products and we can talk up each other’s businesses in a positive and proactive way.” Businesses want value for money, but they also want to be associated with excellence and something that is worthwhile. The key is getting to know each other, finding out the best fit for the business and the art form and not being afraid to knock on doors. And realise the gain may be over the long rather than short term.

My challenge to Suffolk Directors

Over on the Waterfront in Ipswich DanceEast’s Jerwood DanceHouse would not have been built if it were not for the support of the local community and businesses. Its continued growth and success depends on partnerships. DanceEast’s Artistic Director, Brendan Keaney notes: “Even if you don’t use the DanceHouse, people are proud it’s here. It raises aspiration and makes Ipswich an interesting and dynamic place to live and work.”

Make it your business to attend an arts event over the next six months and start talking to your local arts organisation about their ambitions and how you can find ways of working together. It is not always about cash but about sharing expertise, resources and our passion for a richer and more vibrant Suffolk. The arts are part of the infrastructure that makes a place special. It engenders pride and sets a place apart; Suffolk businesses no doubt want to be part of that story.

Brendan adds: “A lot of our outreach work takes place outside the Jerwood DanceHouse, in hospices and communities across Suffolk. Without the generosity of MR King, a lot of our critical work in the community would not be financially viable.” “When you sit down and speak to businesses you suddenly realise how much there is in common. After all, we have to run an arts organisation as a business. 24 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015

Photograph: Johan Persson

Mike King, the driving force of MR King Volvo, has supported the arts in the county for many years. He provides cars for the Aldeburgh Music Festival and for DanceEast. The DanceEast car is enormously important.

Assis Carreiro MBE is a freelance cultural producer, programmer, leadership mentor and funding raising consultant working across the arts in the UK and internationally suffolkbroad@gmail.com


BUSINESS & SPORT

Back to Your Future Stuart Robertson

Although it may be difficult to predict the future, we should always try to pre-empt developments in technology to future proof ourselves and our businesses. Just because we have always done what we have done doesn’t always mean that will put us at the forefront of our business sector going forward. Within the cult film trilogy Back To The Future, Hoverboards and flying cars were some of the ideas that haven’t arrived in 2015 although the use of a hand held computer was a novel idea 30 years ago!

Will businesses in the future require staff to “live” in a 6 foot square box with at least one wall of t.v.screens/monitors, typing endlessly into a keyboard or dictating your needs to a virtual assistant – en suite toilet to the side – virtually no daylight - and only the briefest escape for exercise!! I am just pleased that my business involves talking to people one-on-one in the fresh air, walking around the golf courses of the world where, other than the equipment, the experience, and views, haven’t really changed in over a hundred years – come and join me!! Stuart Robertson Head PGA Professional and Director The Doctorgolf Academy Ufford Park Woodbridge Suffolk, IP12 1QW

In this increasing highly technological era, some of the advances have made a substantial difference to some businesses allowing them to become far more efficient than a few years before. The downside of this technology can be that it can take some of the human contact out of your business.

mail@doctorgolf.co.uk 01394 383480

@doctorgolf247

Big investment in Ipswich Sports Club’s facilities Ipswich Sports Club is pressing ahead with onsite developments to increase community and school involvement and to add more all weather tennis facilities. The members’ club, in Henley Road, Ipswich, has attracted funding support from both the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and Suffolk Lawn Tennis Association (SLTA), to create three more covered tennis courts. Andy Yorke, General Manager, said that the club was investing £150,000 in new facilities for its members, with the latest sports facility improvement – a brand new 3 Court Air Dome. “As a centre of excellence, and one of eight LTA Targeted/Supported Clubs across the LTA’s East Region we’re taking our responsibilities seriously.” To build on community links, the club has appointed 28 year old tennis professional, Sam Scowen, as tennis manager.

“While obviously tennis is the focus of what we’re doing here, I’m also a great believer in using sport to make a difference in education, in strengthening communities and teaching life skills,” he said. “I’ve arrived at the club at a very exciting time with so much going on. We’ve adopted a project called ‘Keeping the Dream Alive’ and it’s all about creating a groundswell of talent that will keep British Tennis at the forefront for years to come. At Ipswich Sports Club we want to be a big part of that.” ipswichsportsclub.co.uk 01473 251143 Henley Road, Ipswich IP1 4NJ 25 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015


SOCIAL MEDIA

Social Media for SMEs – worth it or not? Tim Fenton

So, your business is going OK, though a little bit faster growth would be nice. You, personally, are ‘on’ Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. You don’t, however, have a lot of time to look at them. Your business is not on social media. Some of your competitors are. Is now the time to invest time and money to join them? Only you are going to know the answer to that. But a quick look around the current state of commercial social media play should help. Before we start, one simple suggestion: if, at any stage, it becomes clear you could use the time or money better elsewhere, do that.

To begin, three fairly simple questions: 1. What is the significance of April 28th? 2. How would you feel if a work colleague invited you to come round to ‘Netflix and chill’? 3. Have you remembered to put ‘views my own’ in your Twitter profile?

April the 28th is Ed Balls Day. It commemorates the day in 2011 when the ex-MP tweeted his own name. This, of course, is quite an easy thing to do the first time you use Twitter, as the 26 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015

“If, at any stage, it becomes clear you could use the time or money better elsewhere, do that”

search box is not very well distinguished from the box where you type your update. And Mr Balls claims to have been in the supermarket when he did it. But the original tweet alone has been retweeted getting on for 60,000 times. It is probably still one of the three best-known things about Ed Balls. Take it slowly. Only do things you know are within your technical competence. Check before pressing ‘post’. ‘Netflix and chill’ need not necessarily involve a TV or, indeed, much relaxation. An invitation to ‘Netflix and chill’ is an invitation to sex. It first appeared on Twitter in an advertisement for condoms. Clean pyjamas, warm socks and a packet of condoms were the recommended ingredients of a ‘Netflix and chill’ starter pack. You don’t necessarily have to be right up-to-date with teen slang to use social media but, if in doubt, it doesn’t take a minute to check www.urbandictionary.com. You have put ‘views my own’ in your Twitter profile? Great. So, if a reader doesn’t like your views he or she won’t also take a dislike to your business or employer? No. It doesn’t work like that. When you post a message on social media it is, with a few not always reliable caveats, the same as broadcasting. It’s public and the public will interpret it as they wish.


SOCIAL MEDIA

Understand your audience So, social media presents a few risks, takes a bit of time and effort to get right but isn’t fundamentally different to any other type of networking. Spend enough time understanding your audience before you start talking. And when you contribute, contribute something useful. Followers will want to know that you’re holding a flash sale or have added a new service or that regulation affecting your sector has changed. They are less likely to be interested in your photo of a sunset or a retweet of a BBC News headline. What sort of updates do you find useful? It’s a pretty safe bet others will feel roughly the same. Everyone seems to be on Facebook. The headline numbers are mindboggling. Is Facebook the place to start? So many people are actively engaged with Facebook now the answer is probably ‘yes’. But look for pages and groups within Facebook that can help improve your aim. If you provide a service aimed at a particular geographical area, for instance, look for local news and information pages. Once you’ve got Facebook going, explore others.

If you are going to do this yourself, exploring and learning will take time. Try to make it enjoyable. If it’s going to be done by your Marketing Director/ Sales Manager/Spouse, make sure they have sufficient time, at least until they’ve got one or two accounts up and running. And if it’s going to be someone else, make sure you change the passwords before you give them the bad news about their probation period. HMV, among others, have scored a #FAIL on that one.

Measuring the cost is relatively easy How do you measure the benefit? There are various online tools available. Google and Hootsuite are not bad places to start. They will tell you about views and engagement. But the thing that really matters is profitable sales. Keep a record of where they come from, if you don’t already. Then you’ll know whether social media is worth it or not. Tim Fenton is a media consultant and member of the IoD Suffolk committee

Targeting is key If you run a recruitment agency and want to find programmers in their early twenties, Reddit could be the network to get to know. If you’re looking for well paid professionals possibly in need of a personal pension then LinkedIn is more likely to be the place. If you want to sell more up-market made-to-measure curtains, Pinterest will be worth a look. If travel is your business, have you thought of gapyear.com? People who knit and crochet use ravelry.com. Serious book lovers like librarything. com. A purely B2B operation could need even tighter focus than this.

Creating a Social Media Strategy • Segment and prioritise your market (again) • Match the most valuable segments to particular social media channels • Write down the goals of your campaign and how that fits with the rest of your marketing activity • Define the user benefit you plan to offer • Describe the character of your presence • Diary review points • Write down an exit strategy • Plan the implementation • Do the marginal cost/benefit thing 27 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015


CROWDFUNDING

Crowdfunding Justin Grainger

Business Finance or Equity – Hero or Villain?

The Crowdfunding Model Instituitional Equity Debt Debt Equity Rewards Donations Rewards

4 Expansion

3 Validation

2 Revenue

1 Idea

Crowdfunding has enjoyed great hype as the panacea to all SME funding evils. In fact, crowdfunding is part of the SME funding solution, between small Government start-up loans, strong banks making traditional working capital and asset backed lending to viable businesses and Venture Capital, Private Equity or Initial Public Offering solutions for £500,000+. Nigel Wilson recently argued in The Telegraph that poor productivity amongst UK small cap’ firms was linked to over reliance on short term debt finance and equity finance was more appropriate to facilitate investment in productivity improving assets. Crowdfunding offers solutions but we need to understand what it is, variants, how it works and some of the key pitfalls for directors and investors.

The democratisation of finance Crowdfunding means gathering funding from the population rather than banks. Key facilitators for its recent rapid growth have been software 28 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015

5 Maturity

technology and social media. The software (aka crowdfunding platform e.g. Kickstarter/ Crowdcube) enables cost effective collection of funds and documentation from many individuals. Social media allows SME’s to broadcast their request for money at an affordable cost; subject to certain Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) promotion rules. The growth of crowdfunding has been fuelled by shortage of SME lending from traditional sources and savers seeking more exciting, self-controlled returns on their money. For investors considering crowdfunding, Caveat emptor will stand you in good stead and in general for your investment to succeed the business must solve a problem for which customers will pay – Crowdfunding or otherwise. For directors considering crowdfunding there are three main options, debt, reward and equity. Debt crowdfunding is simple; business loans up to 5 years, monthly repayments and an interest rate


CROWDFUNDING

fairly similar to banks, depending on the security offered, the quality of your proposition and the crowd’s appetite and assessment of the risk you present to their hard earned cash. One other thing, if you don’t convince enough of them you get nothing. “All or nothing” is a key part of the risk assessment as together the crowd offer precision in judgement rather than the expert judgement of a bank manager, or his computer! The choice of Equity or Reward crowdfunding is largely informed by the stage of your business, management team, willingness to forego equity and product uniqueness. Equity crowdfunding is the issue of new shares via a crowdfunding platform, often offering investors very attractive HMRC Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS & SEIS) tax breaks. For startups or early stage enterprises, equity Crowdfunding tends to succeed only with business star studded, serial entrepreneur management teams who have a big chunk of the raise lined up beforehand. It is a very effective way to fund the growth and scaling stages, if you don’t mind a long list of investors. It offers some strong valuations for business owners but beware as over-egging may cause your raise to fail or make future fund raising very troublesome – investors hate “down rounds”.

Equity crowdfunding can be fun for investors There have been some great successes like Mill Property REIT which went onto a public offering after a successful Syndicate Room crowdfunding raise. However, this is a high risk endeavour, you have no secondary market to sell your shares and little control over the director’s remuneration vs dividend

“Reward crowdfunding offers a superb opportunity for start-up, early stage businesses and new product launch, at low cost”

policy once they have forgotten how you helped make it happen. There is also the risk of fraud, as always. Reward crowdfunding offers a superb opportunity for start-up, early stage businesses and new product launch, at low cost. Your business offers rewards (aka perks) at a profitable price, such as early versions of your new product. However, the crowd are very cruel and very likely to spot a turkey and herein lies the key opportunity for the brave. The crowd will vote with their money whether your beloved idea is a turkey, or the next Reggae Reggae Sauce, quickly and inexpensively. I am talking about good value, rapid product or service validation and feedback – that’s the real value of reward crowdfunding. Reward crowdfunding succeeds when you offer a genuine problem solving, novel product or service (the rewards) that money can’t yet buy elsewhere; like the Pebble smart watch or the Coolest Cooler. There are US based reward platforms (e.g. Kickstarter and IndieGoGo) and UK platforms such as Crowdfunder UK. For society and the economy crowdfunding offers greater democracy in funding decisions and perhaps a solution to productivity issues, for the investor, buyer beware, and for the company director debt crowdfunding an alternative to banks, reward a way to test new concepts and equity stable investment funding. Justin Grainger Crowdfunding Consultant & MD of CrowdFundMe2 crowdfundme2.co.uk

29 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015


15884_Crown_IoDSuffolkMag_Ad_Layout 1 24/07/2015 14:43 Page 1

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Suffolk Director Autumn 15 _IOD Corporate 20/10/2015 12:49 Page 1

Festive Season at

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Tucked away behind the imposing façade of No 10 Northgate Street is one of Bury St Edmunds hidden gems – The Farmers Club.

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30 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015

WEDDINGS • CORPORATE • PRIVATE HIRE Contact us for an informal look around our club 01284 750969 frontofhouse@bsefc.co.uk | www.bsefc.co.uk

10/06/2015 10:28


BOOKS

Autumn Books Elon Musk:

Customer Is King:

Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

How to Exceed Their Expectations

by Ashlee Vance

Virgin Business Guides £12.99, kindle edition £8.99

Ecco Press £13.57, kindle edition £11.39

South African born Elon Musk is the renowned entrepreneur and innovator behind PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity.

by Robert Craven

“It feels like the obvious is being stated when we are told, “You should concentrate all your efforts on the needs and wants of your customer.

Musk wants to save our planet; he wants to send citizens into space, to form a colony on Mars; he wants to make money while doing these things; and he wants us all to know about it.

Design everything through their eyes … create a brilliant customer experience so they’ll come back wanting more.” However, if it is so obvious, then why do so few people do it?

A freakishly bright kid who was bullied brutally at school, and abused by his father he is the real-life inspiration for the Iron Man series of films starring Robert Downey Junior.

Clearly, 90% of our own customer experiences do not make us feel that the customer is king (or queen or whatever). Although many organisations have made real progress, many seem to have gone in the opposite direction and some even celebrate their lack of attention to the customer experience in the pursuit of rock-bottom prices.

He started a pair of huge dot-com successes, including PayPal, which eBay acquired for $1.5 billion in 2002. Musk was forced out as CEO and so began his lost years in which he decided to go it alone and baffled friends by investing his fortune in rockets and electric cars. This book, by American journalist Ashlee Vance, captures the full drama of Musk’s life and work so far.

The phrase has been over-used but so has “profit is vanity, cash is sanity”. However, the real question is whether the phrase imparts its full meaning. Personally, I think it probably does. But then again you are my customer, and only your opinion really matters, so what do you think?” Robert Craven

• J o i n u s at o u r •

entrance examinations For girls and boys entering in September 2016 Entry at Prep School - Saturday 23 January 2016 Entry at Senior School - Tuesday 26 January 2016

To book a place call the Admissions Office on 01473 408300 or visit www.ipswich.suffolk.sch.uk/entranceexams

31 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015


THE LAST WORD: RAEDWALD

RAEDWALD Our Suffolk hero has a rant and advocates a devolved Suffolk

I’m sick and tired of Scotland. Or perhaps I mean I’m sick and tired of Scottish politicians. Nicola Sturgeon refuses to rule out the SNP wet-dream of a second referendum. Despite the “won’tbe-one-for-another-generation-if-they-say-no” rhetoric of last year. I heard someone say: perhaps they were thinking of generations in terms of hamsters. Quite. The biggest irritation is that block of poorly dressed MPs, the ones that sit where the Lib Dems used to sit but aren’t as well mannered. They seem to take up a disproportionate amount of airtime. Question Time, let’s stick a red-headed MP on the panel to bang on about austerity and “investment” (spending other people’s money) whilst avoiding accountability for their disastrous record in government the other side of Hadrian’s Wall. Any sniff of scrutiny, just steer the discussion back to independence. According to ONS data, Scotland sits at 7.7% of so-called “Gross Value Added” contribution to the UK economy, taking in data from before oil prices tanked. You’d think it’d be more than a meagre 7.7% (and falling) given the noise they make and oxygen they get. You have to take your hat off to Nicola, really. 32 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR AUTUMN 2015

True localism has always made sense to me. Making councils self-financing would mean they’re more accountable, fairer in their decision making and more efficient. Most importantly, they would then attract stronger people as leaders. We have massively paid the price for poor civic leadership - in places like Ipswich and Lowestoft for too long and whilst Cambridge has essentially become another country. It’s one of the UK’s wealthiest cities with an unemployment rate 25% below the national average, a GVA 34% per capita above, has 4,500 knowledge-intensive companies within a 25 mile radius, 12 billionaires among its alumni and more Nobel prizes than anywhere else on earth. Suffolk has just jogged along. OK, so there’s history in Cambridge, but even with that history they have had vision and leadership. Surely we can aspire too? Incidentally, the GVA figure for the East of England is 8.6%. Let’s start banging on about Suffolk and let’s support the proposal of a devolved Suffolk, which our current cadre of civic leaders has put together. Perhaps we will then have the chance of ridding ourselves of our entrenched systems, and those same civic leaders.


• J o i n u s at o u r •

entrance examinations For girls and boys entering in september 2016

Prep school assessments - saturday 23 January 2016 senior school assessments - tuesday 26 January 2016 Call for more information: 01473 282800 (Prep School) • 01473 408300 (Senior School) www.ipswich.suffolk.sch.uk/entranceexams


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Profile for Tilston Phillips

Suffolk Director | Autumn 2015  

The second edition of the Suffolk Director's friend. An influential voice in a cacophony of sound bites that shares business experience and...

Suffolk Director | Autumn 2015  

The second edition of the Suffolk Director's friend. An influential voice in a cacophony of sound bites that shares business experience and...