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My first job – Rik Barwick, co-founder of design agency Creativitea in Guildford  2 Zero waste earns Heart centre an award  4 The Secretts of success   5 Time to sell in May?   7

May 2013

getsurrey.co.uk/business in association with

lesson in serving success In this tough economic climate, food and drink establishments can sometimes need a helping hand to get ahead – and that is precisely what Woking Borough Council, Woking Asian Business Forum, Woking Chambers of Commerce and Guildford College Group is planning to serve up for them By Pete Bryant

pete.bryant@trinitymirror.com

The launch of Serving Up Success.

FOOD and drink establishments in Woking will be hoping to taste social media prosperity through attending a free workshop on the use of social media as a marketing tool. Management in the many restaurants, pubs, cafés and bars in Woking are being invited to take part in the launch event of Woking Borough Council’s Serving Up Success campaign on Monday June 3. Held at the Holiday Inn in the town, the series of briefings will give related businesses a forum in which to get together and share industry information, listen to advice from speakers and get feedback on business issues. The inaugural session will focus on marketing and campaigns and the use of social media to reach current and new customers, as well as network with other businesses, on a budget. Serving Up Success was developed in partnership with Woking Asian Business Forum, Woking Chambers of Commerce and Guildford College Group. Matt Peachey, economic development manager at Woking borough Council, said: “We have something like 90 licensed

premises in Woking and we want to help the bars up their game and do well. “People in the industry are very busy and work long hours, so the idea is to engage for a series of events. “We want it to be driven by them as much as it is driven by us.” Chris Kelly, licensee at the Sovereigns pub in Woking, said he found social media invaluable in promoting the business. “As far as running our business goes, I don’t know how we have coped without it,” he said. “It seems like we’ve been using it for years. “We use Facebook and our website to advertise when we

“As far as running our business goes, I don’t know how we have coped without it.” change our guest ales, when big televised sporting events are coming up and when we hold events like barbecues.” Serving Up Success is not the only way that Woking Borough Council has shown its support for the food and drink community in recent times.

Its annual Best Bar None initiative sees prizes handed to establishments in the town, and a free seminar on personal licence training was undertaken by a group last week as part of the scheme. This included lessons on the effects of alcohol on the human body and the responsibilities associated with alcohol retail. Voting for Best Bar None opened on May 1 and awards such as Woking Advertiser Public Choice and the overall winner sponsored by Miller Brands UK will be presented to the winners later this year. Louise Punter, chief executive of Surrey Chambers of Commerce, said: “The food and drink industry has been hit hard and in Woking we are very proud of our businesses and want to offer what we can to help them succeed. “We hope these briefings from industry experts will go some way to help businesses realise the importance of an online presence, and offer them some advice on what they can do to try and promote themselves on a minimal budget.” The Serving Up Success launch event runs from 10am-12noon. For more information and to book a free place at the forum, email carol.squires@surrey-chambers. co.uk.

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May 2013

My first job THE economy at a turning point will be the theme of the ninth Hart Brown Annual Economic Forum this June. In previous years, more than 400 delegates have attended the events held by the Surrey law firm, which offer opportunities to listen to and question leading business and economic figures on a range of topics. Economists are arguing that Britain is through the worst of the economic downturn, and recovery could be on the horizon. Speakers on the subject will include Lionhead Studios and 22Cans founder Peter Molyneux, Jeremy Batstone-Carr, chief economist at Charles Stanley, and managing director at Claremont Prime Rob Lucy. The forum will be held at the University of Surrey's school of management on June 20.

BOLLYWOOD dance company Just Jhoom! creator Shalini Bhalla has been shortlisted in a competition that searches for ground-breaking leaders. She was announced on the 55-strong shortlist for the Asian Women of Achievement Awards, which recognise contributions to Britain’s economy and society. The Cranleigh-based dancer Shalini Bhalla is now in the running for the Arts and Culture Award, which is one of those to be announced at a ceremony on May 15 at the London Hilton Park Lane. Just Jhoom! instructors have trained more than 200 others to deliver classes across the UK to people of all ages and abilities, and 500 are expected to have been trained by the end of the year.

Rik Barwick, co-founder of award-winning design agency Creativitea based in Guildford What was your first job? I always had a few jobs as a teenager, life was tight so I needed my own earnings and independence. My first was as a Saturday boy at Bowers Motorcycles in Bury St Edmunds. I worked there for five years for £15 a day and

loved it. Surrounded by amazing motorcycles and working with great people. My first design job was actually briefed there. I put together concepts for a new logo once I started studying design but it wasn’t good and it didn’t go anywhere. I had a lot to learn. How did you get from there to where you are today? My school teacher told me to grab a job where I could as I wasn’t going to do anything special. That same teacher then persuaded me to leave and do A-levels once I had proved her wrong and passed my GCSEs. This was the best move I ever made but it was tough. I’d had a job, earning reasonable money but I hated it. I wanted to draw and create pretty pictures and

get paid to have fun. I studied art and design and business studies and got a summer job erecting timber frame houses. It was great fun. I was outdoors all summer building houses, seeing something rise from the earth into something that would stand there for many years. I can see these past experiences in Creativitea’s DNA. We’ve grown a company from earth, maintaining an organic approach to growth, making strong partnerships along the way. We’re still working hard and having fun doing so. What does the future hold? I’m looking out to the horizon and seeing more than this but it’s hazy out there, who knows what’s down the path?

Rik Barwick

A WORKING party made up from members of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has been established as part of a drive to keep business in Surrey. Surrey County Council has approved the group, whose members will further discuss ways to amend the complicated procurement process to enable Surrey-based small businesses to access public contracts. Several events have already taken place with FSB membership present during which break out groups gave their various ideas and opinions. “This latest move is necessary to include what I regard as micro businesses,” said Antonio Falco, FSB Surrey policy team chairman. Following a meeting with Epsom Coaches Group the FSB and Surrey County Council will host an apprenticeship event in its departure lounge on May 24, which Chris Grayling MP, secretary of state for justice is expected to attend.

The catwalk show at the Royal Automobile Club, Epsom.

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Catwalk show raises cash to help street children TWO businesswomen took to the catwalk in a joint effort to raise more than £6,000 for a Leatherhead-based charity. Vivienne Cracknell, CEO of events company Cracknell Associates, organised an exclusive fashion show at the Royal Automobile Club in Epsom, demonstrating the clothing collections of fellow Guildford company Courtyard. The proceeds from the event went to Happy Child International, which helps Brazilian street children. More than 9,500 children’s lives have been transformed by the charity since it was formed in 1993. Courtyard is an independent designer boutique with a Guildford store in Angel Gate. Owner Julia Jaconelli ensured that a catwalk show of the latest range was the highlight of the Epsom show, attended by more than 120 guests. Proceeds from the day, which also included a Champagne

reception, meal and auction, were boosted by an prize of a fashion experience in Florence, donated by Italian travel company IC Bellagio. The prize was sold at auction for £2,000. Sarah de Carvalho, founder of Happy Child International, said: “I am so grateful to all those who helped us organise this very successful occasion and all those who came along to support Happy Child on the day. In 2013, Happy Child is helping to fund three centres: for boys younger than 18, those involved in crime aged 1821, and for pregnant girls aged 1218 who are living and working on the streets, trapped in exploitation and abuse.” Vivienne's ambition is to bring the corporate and charity worlds together to build mutually beneficial partnerships and successful events. She has a background in trade marketing at board level and has been organising networking and fundraising  events for three decades.

Vivienne Cracknell, CEO of Cracknell Associates.


May 2013

Eye hospital pioneers new treatment

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Age-related macular degeneration obscures the central field of vision in many older people. Now a Guildford-based private hospital launches a breakthrough treatment By Pete Bryant

pete.bryant@trinitymirror.com AN eye hospital in Guildford has become the first in the world to offer a breakthrough treatment for a condition that is a major cause of blindness in adults. An agreement has been reached for private hospital Optegra in Guildford to offer Oraya Therapy stereotactic radiotherapy treatment, known as IRay, for wet agerelated macular degeneration (AMD). The disease is characterised by abnormally fragile and leaky blood vessels that grow behind the retina, obscuring the central field of vision. The accumulation of fluid and scarring can damage cells make it difficult to read or recognise faces, but peripheral vision remains unaffected. Recommended therapy requires monthly evaluation and treatment including frequent injections to the eye, and it is this

invasive procedure that management at Optegra were keen to see changed. Instead patients are now offered the low-energy x-ray therapy as a one-time, outpatient procedure which takes around 20 minutes to complete. What was a store room became

“We are pleased to have the opportnity to work with these innovative and dedicated people” a high-tech base for the IRay treatment and Gareth Steer, managing director of Optegra, said he was pleased that Guildford had been able to offer it first. “Optegra is excited to have been selected to offer the Oraya Therapy as a treatment option that can help to mitigate this critical problem,” he said. “We are pleased to have

the opportunity to work with the innovative and dedicated people of Oraya. We are also please to have the benefit of a scientifically sound clinical trial to support the value and potential of this unique therapy.” The IRay arrived following a clinical trial in the UK and four other European countries. Jamie Wright, new hospital manager at Optegra Guildford, joined after 26 years in the Royal Navy's healthcare and management team, and has overseen the arrival of the new therapy. He said his time in the navy, which involved spending up to three months at a time in submarines, had instilled an efficient attitude in him. “The military is very driven and focused on performance,” he said. “It’s another string to our bow at Optegra.” Optegra has six hospitals in the country, and the IRay treatment will next be rolled out in Manchester later this year.

Building a moving portfolio A MULTI-MILLION pound building property in Albury was the breakthrough opportunity for a business partnership that offers an original property marketing option. Friends from Greyshott Will Tippett, 25, and Oli Thomas, 31, created BrickFlickR last year – a property-specific film marketing company that produces videos to advertise properties to buyers. The Guildford-based company was given a boost when Pinks Estate Agents allowed them to work from their office in Bury Court, Bury Street. The arrangement not only provides them with much-needed office space, but allows the two friends to bounce ideas off those

at Pinks to develop their service. Will, a graduate from the University of Creative Arts, and Oli, who is taking a hiatus as a property developer, visit either commercial or residential properties to create their films demonstrating the best features of properties which can be viewed online. “When we go to meetings people think it’s going to be a 360-degree tour, but then they see it’s not like that,” said Will. “People comment a lot that Oli and I are a good team. We’re very different. Oli is very direct and I’m sort of the young understudy.” They are currently working on a feature film at the £33m Albury Park Mansion development, a

commission they won in January, taking footage to highlight the architecture of the building, which contains 12 apartments, and the surrounding area. “That was our breakthrough and it was quite an amazing one to have on our portfolio,” said Will. “The project is ongoing and we’re showing the evolution of the build.” Last summer, Will attended the three-day Surrey Enterprise Summer School course run by the University of Surrey at G Live, and he and Oli have been invited back this summer as speakers to inspire the next wave of entrepreneurs. They also hope to introduce an interactive element to their films in the near future.

It’s never too late to try a change of career

Location accolade AN award for being one of the best small exhibition locations has gone to Sandown Park Racecourse. It received the Best Exhibition Venue Under 4,000sqm accolade from Exhibition News Awards at a ceremony in the London Lancaster Hotel. Sandown Park pipped five other venues to first place in a hotly-contested shortlist which included Silverstone, the Ageas Bowl, Old Spitalfields Market, Milbrook Venues and Donington Park Exhibition Centre. In its application, evidence had to be provided of how the venue improved its capabilities throughout 2012, and how management and staff go above and beyond to support exhibition organisers and enhance the visitor experience. More widely known as a leisure destination for avid horseracing fans, Sandown Park has also cultivated an enviable reputation with exhibition and event organisers looking for a versatile venue in the South. In 2012, the venue hosted more than 70 non-race day events including exhibitions, meetings, conferences and private celebrations, even hosting the London Olympic Games organising committee LOCOG for the duration of the cycling road race time trial.

Will Tippett and Oli Thomas of BrickFlickR.

After working in the dark for many years, Lucie Ponsford is making the most of the great outdoors at RHS Wisley

Lucie Ponsford swapped theatre design for gardening.

SWAPPING the nine to five bustle of the high street for the peace and tranquillity of the garden is a career change a number of staff members at RHS Wisley have experience of. Walk around the flagship RHS gardens just off the A3 and you will see tending to the greenery staff members who have exchanged the stuffy office, hot kitchen or even the stage for their current roles. The site has proved to be a place where people can reinvent themselves after becoming tired of their previous jobs. One of those to do just that is Lucie Ponsford, who once made a living doing costume work on television series Foyle’s War and in theatre in the West End. “You work all day in the dark and never come out and see the light,” she said. “I wanted to have a connection with the outdoors.” After retraining and gaining an

RHS level two qualification, Lucie worked in the grounds of Claydon House, in Lewes, Buckinghamshire, and then in Milton Keynes and Maidenhead before coming to Wisley. She said she had enjoyed bringing elements of the theatre to her gardening role. She said: “What’s fantastic about a career change is that you bring something new. It is good for Wisley to push its own boundaries and to push horticulture as an intellectual industry. Everyone has a degree and is highly qualified.” Lucie now plans to work towards her Master of Horticulture qualification to progress in her new career. Another person to have made the jump to gardening is Gerry Moore who was once a bank manager. He now plies his trade in the fruit department at Wisley.

Further down the path at the gardens is Mario De Pace, who worked as a chef for several years before turning to nature for work. He said the stress in the kitchen had convinced him that this was not the career for him and he now manages the vegetable gardens at Wisley. He is able to call upon his memories of his grandfather’s olive groves in Italy as he nurtures borlotti beans, cannellini beans and yin yang beans, so-called because of their resemblance of the Chinese symbol. “I found the pressure was getting to me a bit and wanted to try something difference,” he said. “I wanted to grow vegetables because you have that connection with the earth. “I was bored with going to the supermarket and buying tomatoes that, if you don’t keep in the fridge, taste horrible. “I also prefer working outside than inside. It’s in my genes.”


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May 2013

GREEN BUSINESS

Steps to reduce our footprint

Zero waste earns Heart award By Pete Bryant

pete.bryant@trinitymirror.com A ZERO waste target has been achieved at a Walton-on-Thames shopping centre, earning it a national award that places it alongside some of the biggest firms in the country. The Heart Shopping Centre in the town was given a silver award at the Zero Waste Awards annual lunch, where organisations that

send no waste to landfill are acknowledged. The judges of the awards recognised that management at The Heart had achieved this by increasing food and cardboard recycling efforts. In 2007, 261.4 tonnes of general waste were sent from the centre to landfill, but through the initiatives this was down to 189.4 tonnes in 2011, saving £3,829, and zero tonnes last year.

Heart’s security manager Mick Tinson by a recycling bin.

Since cardboard recycling began in 2010, revenue rose from £6,540 to £6,972 in a year. To date, 162 tonnes has been recycled. Staff at the Heart also worked alongside schools in the area, and pupils visited the centre to suggest imaginative ways to achieve the target and to learn about what goes on behind the scenes where they shop. The gold award went to food giant United Biscuits, and Heart general manager Mark Middleton said he felt being named alongside such a company showed what an achievement the award was for the company. “It shows we can perform with the best and that just because we are a neighbourhood shopping centre it doesn't mean we accept anything less than the big boys,” he said. “You usually have to chuck quite a bit of money at these kind of initiatives, which is why the larger companies do well.” At the centre, materials are reused rather than being disposed of and recycling is widely promoted. The Heart team worked very closely with its waste and recycling provider Saica Natur as it aimed to achieve zero landfill and further advance its recycling efforts.

Mark Middleton said: “It was important to us that we achieved zero waste to landfill. “We have an obligation and responsibility to our retailers, residents and the local community. “Leading by example, so that we can inspire others to think about how they use items and more importantly how they recycle them, is extremely important to us.” He added: “Entering these awards is about more than getting an award. “This is about getting an independent person to come in and tell you where you are going wrong.” The Zero Waste Awards were established by letsrecycle.com, the news and information portal for the recycling and waste management sector, and are aimed at inspiring and encouraging organisations to commit to reducing waste to zero. Applicants are judged on the re-use, recycling, recovery and composting of materials and products, as well as waste prevention, energy recovery and the general movement of waste through the waste hierarchy and away from landfill. LED lights are to be installed in the car park at the Heart, as well as solar panels to contribute towards energy costs.

The new service helps keep litter off the streets of Guildford.

More collections, less litter A NEW evening trade waste service aimed at reducing the number of bin bags left on the streets of Guildford overnight is now a permanent fixture in the town centre. Businesses subscribing to the bagged trade waste service are able to leave grey waste bags out for collection in the evening between 6pm and 7.30pm. Following a successful trial undertaken by Guildford Borough Council, the service is now available permanently in Guildford High Street and North Street. Waste from businesses in the area were often left on the pavements in the evening ready for

morning collection, but were unsightly and often ripped open during the night, causing litter. Now business owners can put rubbish out as they close for the day, and it is collected before visitors to the town arrive to visit evening attractions. Councillor Matt Furniss, lead councillor for environment, said: “It’s having a great impact on how tidy the streets are looking in the mornings,” he said. “We’ll be monitoring feedback and looking at extending the service in the future to help our customers.” For details of how to sign up to the service, call 01483 505 050. Sponsor’s feature

When does dismissing an employee cross the boundary and become unfair? Has the employee been warned? Tim Randles of Penningtons Solicitors LLP reflects on some recent employment decisions The law regarding unfair dismissal is a great deal more straightforward than is often suggested. However, recent cases tell us that employers still struggle to manage the process, especially when tackling previous warnings and their relevance to the matter in hand. When taking disciplinary action, especially where the employee has “history”, employers should: n Carry out a reasonable investigation into all the allegations. This may start as a simple examination of the papers but it is crucial to make a list of all the issues to be considered before taking the next step. n Look at all the facts. With more serious allegations of gross misconduct, especially where the decision may harm an

employee’s ability to continue in his or her chosen career, care needs to be taken to ensure that the investigation and disciplinary proceedings which follow are robust. n Put all the evidence considered by the disciplining manager to the employee and provide him or her with a proper opportunity to respond. n Take time to consider the evidence and write a decision letter which captures all the relevant facts including any mitigating circumstances. n Make sure that the investigation includes a detailed review of all previous incidents which resulted in disciplinary action. It may be possible to rely on a recently expired warning for the

same type of misconduct. Whether or not a previous warning is relevant is a matter for common sense. The range of reasonable responses test applies not only to the dismissal but also to the adequacy of the employer’s procedures. The recent decisions indicate that a tribunal is not entitled to look at a previous disciplinary warning and decide that some lesser warning would have been more appropriate. However, it may look at the facts giving rise to the previous warning and decide that its similarity to the present disciplinary offence will support a more severe penalty than if there is a marked dissimilarity between the two. Consistency is important and what the cases in 2012/13 tell us is that the courts do not think it

wrong for a tribunal to take account of the employer’s treatment of other employees charged with similar offences. It is relevant to the overall fairness of the decision. Generally speaking where an employee has been given a final written warning, it is unlikely that a subsequent disciplinary offence would be upheld as unfair in the circumstances. Where an employer has provided in a disciplinary procedure that certain conduct will be regarded as gross misconduct, it is not for the tribunal to be too critical of such provisions. The role of the employment tribunal is to start with the employer’s reasoning for treating the conduct concerned as gross misconduct. The tribunal must then apply the range of reasonable responses test.

For further information, please contact Tim Randles on 01483 791800 or email tim.randles@ penningtons.co.uk

Tim Randles of Penningtons Solicitors LLP.


May 2013

The Secretts of garden centre’s success Employing many local people and hosting ever-popular public events, family-run Secretts Garden Centre has been at the heart of the community for generations and with enough to keep visitors entertained all day, you can see why

A ‘destination’ garden centre. Pictures: Chris Whiteoak.

By Pete Bryant

pete.bryant@trinitymirror.com A FAMILY-RUN garden centre that warrants a complete day out awaits visitors to Milford. Based on a working farm, Secretts garden centre also encompasses a farm shop, restaurant and tea rooms, butchers and clothing and gift shop. A Pick Your Own option has been available to customers between May and September since 1980, giving people the chance to go out among the crops to pluck fresh produce straight from the field. Marketing manager Melonie Wiseman said: “It’s very much a destination area. When Pick Your Own is in full swing you could spend a whole day here, and we do have people who do that. “There are also two lakes with ducks and grassy areas where people can walk and cycle, even on a frosty winter’s day.” The family farm FA Secrett Ltd was founded in 1908 by Frederick Augustus Secrett, who borrowed £1,000 from his father to purchase 20 acres of land in Kew, Richmond. He then purchased March Farm in Twickenham in 1915 and Holly Lodge in Walton-on-Thames in 1932. When the Walton farm was turned into a reservoir by a water by a water board in 1937, the farm moved to its current location in Milford. The garden centre was added in 1972 followed, seven years later by the farm shop, which opened in the original stables that once housed the shire horses that worked on the farmland.

Now in the fourth generation of the family, it is currently under the ownership of Greg Secrett who is the director and manager and spends most of his time working on the farm itself. His father Charles is managing director and two other family members sit on the board of directors. “I think people notice the fact it

Community events are run regularly at the garden centre, including activities during school holidays for parents and children to take advantage of. The most recent addition to the centre was the Eliza’s tearoom in 1997 which offers a vintage experience with teas, cakes and scones. The Floral Emporium shop,

Farmshop manager Matt Philcox shows off some tasty treats.

is run as a traditional business and the emphasis is still highly on customer service,” said Melonie. “It creates a warm and friendly atmosphere hopefully. “We employ a lot of local people and our longest-serving member of staff has been here 54 years. The staff feel like they are part of a family as well.”

Black Barn butchers and Jo’s Jumpers are open to visitors to the centre. The two-and-a-half-acre glass house was also added to the site in 1992, and now produces gourmet salad leaves which are sold to top restaurants in London and the south east via the farm’s Secretts by Post service.

Pick your own fruiit and vegetables, sample the wares in the restaurant of stock up on plants for your garden.

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May 2013

‘If the idea is good, it may well have legs’ Mumpreneur and 2013 Toast of Surrey Winner Cara Sayer talks to features editor Rebecca Younger about the continuing success of her company THEY say most successful inventions are born out of frustration and that’s exactly how Walton resident Cara Sayer – head of the globally-recognised SnoozeShade brand – began her entrepreneurial career. The mother-of-one has won countless awards for her SnoozeShade products, which she invented about five years ago after getting frustrated that her daughter wouldn’t get the sleep she so desperately needed while she was out and about in the pushchair. Cara said: “You would often see parents throwing blankets over the push chair to shield their children from the sun and help them switch off and go to sleep and I thought, ‘there must be others out there like me who would appreciate something purpose-made’.” So she went about designing a purpose-designed blackout blind for prams, pushchairs and infant car seats and SnoozeShade was born. With a simple prototype fitted

to her baby’s pram, Cara’s design quickly attracted the support of a manufacturing supplier and orders started to flood in after she attended a leading nursery trade show in October 2009. “I wanted to show the product to retailers to see if it was a good idea,” she said. “I ended up getting my first big order from JoJo Maman Bebe at that show and they wanted it ready for February.” Now the collection of unique products is stocked by every nursery retailer in the UK, including John Lewis, Boots and Mothercare, and SnoozeShade has distributors in Dubai and Australia. Cara is currently in talks with American distributors and will be launching a new deluxe range next month. The 41-year-old has become an inspirational role model to other women and is continually urging would-be entrepreneurs to consider developing ideas they might have. “When I began my research before creating SnoozeShade, I was

incredibly shocked to find there wasn’t already a product like it out there,” she said. “There were sun shades but they allowed the child to see out, there was nothing that encouraged the child to go to sleep. It just goes to show that if you believe the idea is a good one, it may well have legs.” Since the launch of Snooze Shade, which has been recognised with a plethora of awards from publications including Mother & Baby, Practical Parenting & Pregnancy and the Surrey Advertiser, similar products have come onto the market, but Cara likes the competition. “There are disadvantages to being the only one of a product out there,” she said. “When there are more it makes it a more acceptable product generally. It also encourages people to weigh up the pros and cons of all those products available. That’s why it’s so important to me to have these awards and endorsements.” Cara admitted that being a mum and running a business was far from easy but added that the support of her own mum, who often helps out with child care, and husband, who also runs his own business, has been pivotal to her success. “As a mum, or indeed any primary carer of a child, it is difficult to juggle child care with running a

Cara Sawyer has won many awards for SnoozeShade.

business but it can be done,” she said. “My advice would be to join a networking group for mums in business, such as Mum’s Club,

heart of Woking’s newly-redeveloped town centre, the C2I Incubator is just three minutes from Woking Railway Station, and offers: • staffed reception during office hours • mail forwarding and collection • allocated business telephone numbers and 24hr remote voicemail • free high speed broadband access with choice of ISPs • access to IT support and hosted services • meeting and conference facilities, video conferencing and smart board technology • an informal café style meeting space.

in business, that’s why going to trade shows is also good – you get to meet people in person and make contacts.” Sponsor’s feature

Woking’s first Business Incubation centre More than just a managed office facility, Connect 2 Innovation (C2I) Incubator is Woking’s new entrepreneurial environment, set to open this summer. The C2I Business Incubator will offer high quality offices and coworking space, advisory support and services tailored to growthfocused businesses in their early stages of development. Developed by Connect 2 Innovation and Woking Borough Council, the aim of the Incubator is simple – to support the launch, survival and rapid growth of new businesses. Matt Peachey, economic development manager, said: “Potential members of the incubator will share two attributes: growth potential and ambition. The C2I Incubator will provide fully-furnished, high quality office units with inclusive, ‘easy in, easy out’ terms to suit the needs to young businesses, helping them to manage risk and scale up quickly.” Located on the second floor of the landmark Export House in the

which is run by Jane Hopkins. “When it comes to getting your idea out there, the best way is to get in contact with people already

Woking is serving up sweet taste of success

Mark Rolt, strategic director at WBC, and Shaheed Azeem.

Members will access the C2I ‘Ambassador’ network of expertise and advice, collaborate with likeminded businesses and be connected to potential funding sources. Members can also be referred to the business services and expertise of the universities of Royal Holloway and Surrey. Membership of the C2I Incubator will range from the basic ‘virtual membership’ package, through hot-desk usage, to the full incubator package, which includes fully-furnished offices for up to five people. Shahid Azeem, managing director of Arcom IT the Incubator’s

anchor tenant, explained: “We have bought into Woking’s economic vision and that is one of the reasons we have located our business in Export House. “It is encouraging in these challenging times to see the public and private sector working together to make a difference and we look forward to working with C2I and the Council to create a community of successful, growing businesses.” To find out more, please contact Woking Borough Council’s Economic Development Team on 01483 743487 or email economy@ woking.gov.uk.

Restaurants, pubs, cafés and bars in Woking can take advantage of a new initiative from Surrey Chambers of Commerce and Woking Borough Council, by attending their free launch event of Serving up Success at the Holiday Inn Woking on Monday June 3, from 10am to 12 noon. This exciting new series of briefings will give related businesses a forum to get together, share important industry information, listen to advice from speakers and get feed back on business issues. The forum is open to any Woking food or drink business, and this inaugural session will focus on marketing on a budget, offering top tips on expanding your customer base and creating effective online campaigns. Members of the food and drink community can also find out about how to use social media to reach more potential customers,

and network with industry colleagues and experts. Louise Punter, Chief Executive of Surrey Chambers of Commerce, said: “The food and drink industry has been hit hard and in Woking we are very proud of our businesses and want to offer what we can to help them succeed. “We hope these briefings from industry experts will go some way to help businesses realise the importance of an online presence, and offer some advice on what they can do to try and promote themselves on a minimal budget.” Serving Up Success has been developed in partnership with Woking Asian Business Forum, Woking Chambers of Commerce and Guildford College Group. For further information and to book your free place at the forum, please email Carol at Surrey Chambers carol.squires@surreychambers.co.uk

Start Up Woking – Ask the Experts Start Up Woking – ‘Ask the Experts’ will bring together a variety of industry experts and specialists, offering free advice and information to young businesses and entrepreneurs. The event will be hosted by a team of professional services experts including Start Up Woking’s business advisors, and its partners in legal and financial matters – Barlow Robbins and Menzies LLP.

Delegates can attend the twohour event to meet a number of new contacts with which to raise their burning business questions, gain reassurance and answers, all on the day where possible. The event will take place on Wednesday 19 June, from 5pm, at the H. G. Wells Conference and Events Centre. To register for a place, please email hannah.dawson@woking. gov.uk.


May 2013

Investment watch

7

Keeping an eye on the markets

Markets back on highs; Time to “Sell in May?” By Philip Scott

Head of Advisory Stockbroking at Simple Investments Current Overview Judging from the current levels in equity markets (FTSE indices and US indices), one could be forgiven for thinking that all is rosy in the global economy. The UK FTSE 100 is back on a five year high (we have avoided a triple dip recession) while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and close relation S&P 500 are trading at all time highs. The recent uptick has largely been the result of better than expected employment data from the US and some indications of improvement in some sector specific economic metrics from the UK. It is important to also remember the latent lure of shares which still provide (potentially) best of asset class yields in the face of ongoing low interest rates. Investors will be pleased to see portfolio valuations probably looking their most healthy in some time. But is there a disconnect between economic reality and share prices? Analysis of some of the additional macroeconomic indicators, however, produces a somewhat different picture. Europe remains in the doldrums at best; China’s rate of growth is slowing (more on this later) and the US is growing only marginally (with further implementation of austerity on the

horizon). Purchasing manager surveys out of both the US and China provide decent leading indicator information about the health (confidence) of their respective business communities and both currently show activity only slightly into expansionary as opposed to recessionary territory. As for the US jobs picture, a closer look suggests less hours are being worked probably as part-time employment flatters the data. Central Banks worldwide continue to be on alert for the provision of additional stimulus. Indeed the ECB has just cut its main target interest rate to 0.5%. Ongoing potential bond buying (QE) will continue to keep interest rates low which fuels the demands for shares. Banks in receipt of funds from central bank bond buying end up diverting money into shares for the same reasons. However these low rates should encourage companies to borrow more. Turning to general company results, earnings growth is essentially coming from cost cutting measures as revenue growth is proving elusive. Cutting costs is hardly synonymous with economic expansion which probably means people are losing their jobs and capital expenditure remains measured. Dividends are paid out of earnings, of course, but the ‘cutting for growth’ strategy cannot last forever; genuine expansionist growth is what will be needed to assist the

current upward trajectory. Cue the ongoing requirement for new government policies. Sell in May and go away? Over the past three years for what it is worth, the old adage has been proved reliable. From early March to lows achieved during the summer, the average decline in the FTSE 100 has been around 13% (and similar for the US markets). With equity markets at the levels we have today and with macroeconomic uncertainties still persisting, I would be surprised if at some point we didn’t see some form of fall; I am keeping some of my powder dry in portfolios with degrees of cash at hand and will look to add underperforming (attractive) stocks as opportunities potentially arrive. Sector watch: Miners Asset managers and stockbrokers alike spend much of their time trying to recommend sectors (or specifically individual companies) of the market where valuations have become relatively attractive in the context of the overall economic picture. The mining sector has had a dire 3 months and I find myself adding good quality names in this space. Recent updates (to include April’s Manufacturing PMI index) seem to highlight that China’s growth rate is slowing and with this we have experienced some significant falls in metal prices. Mining shares across the board have accordingly

had to discount this situation. Being such a large sector in the market (10 different mining companies are in the FTSE 100), I wonder where the index would now be trading had this group not have faltered? Food for thought. Just under 8% annualised GDP growth and with command economy leadership very aware of the apprehension in global capital markets, I would suggest there remain a wide range of tools (monetary, fiscal or alternative) that could be employed to maintain their growth momentum. There are many China doom-mongers out there who continually bang the same fear inducing drum relating to asset (property) bubbles, off balance sheet ‘shadow banking’ practices and general growth concerns as the country moves from export reliance to the need for a more domestic, consumer driven profile. I suggest these concerns are overblown and possibly even wrong. Some form of economic policy boost, I suspect, may be all that is needed to remind investors of the clear investment potential of the world’s second largest economy and to turn sentiment. With this an improvement in the prices of metals will likely materialise. Let us not also forget that the US, as the second largest consumer of mined commodities has itself material influence in these markets (it is not solely down to China firing robustly). Rio Tinto (£30) and BHP Billiton

Learn how Twitter can help business A GUIDE to using Twitter for business has been written by a social media coach from Guildford. How to Twitter for Business Success was penned by Nicky Kriel to assist those thinking of using the site to help raise their business’s profile. The book was launched last month at the Mandolay Hotel in Guildford and has been published by The Other Publishing Company based in Farnham. Nicky said: “It’s really to try to make it as easy as possible to get to grips with Twitter. It covers the most basic things with very much the business strategy in mind.” She said it is not just small, family businesses which have not yet caught up with the technology. “I’ve been quite surprised that bigger companies are in the same position,” she said. “But, especially

in Guildford, there are so many people self employed and in smaller companies that don’t know how to use it. “In the past two years people have gone from not being interested to ‘how do I do it?’.” The ubiquity of hashtags mentioned on television and radio programmes, she said, has given the website a far higher profile. “It seems to have the highest fear factor of all the social media sites. I know that when I started I thought ‘what’s going on here?’. I signed up in August 2009 and thought I had to learn how to use Twitter because business was quite slow at that point,” she said. “My Twitter following grew and in a few months I had well over a thousand followers and I was getting business inquiries. “In some ways I’m still a newbie

Philip Scott of Simple Investments.

(£18.30) now trade on single digit PE ratios paying over 4% dividend yields. New CEOs have been installed to closely manage costs and assets. Consider also the more diversified Blackrock World Mining Investment Trust which sits near £5 per share on technical

support, an appetising 8% discount to assets and also paying 4.3% by way of annual income return. This report was written by Philip Scott, Head of Advisory Stockbroking at Simple Investments on 3/5/13 when the FTSE 100 was trading at 6521.

Networking event focus on tips for online retail sector

Nicky Kriel at the launch of her book How to Twitter for Business Success.

compared to other people but I’ve earned my colours now.” Nicky also gives talks and coaching on the use of social media and said she was a technophobe herself to begin with. “I help people get a strategy for the business. I don’t always recommend Twitter but I think Twitter is the strongest PR tool you can use,” she said. “Facebook is the biggest at the moment but that’s not to say it will be that way in a few years. Google+ has been sneaking up in terms of numbers. There will always be fluctuation.” She said the basic skills for

using any social media site are transferable to the others but there can be a difference when using it for business. PR consultant and photographer Dani Maimone said the book is a really good, easy read. “It doesn’t use any complicated jargon and I’ve been learning things I didn’t know,” she said. “I would recommend it to anybody, especially anybody who has a small to medium size business.” The book is available in paperback or as a Kindle edition from Amazon or for more information go to www.nickykriel.com.

TIPS for online retail were given to members of a business networking event at an event at the University of Surrey. Chairman of fashion website ASOS.com Brian McBride visited the university to share his experience of leading global organisations such as Amazon and T-Mobile with members of BNI. The event was organised by Surrey Entrepreneurs Society, which is led by Kevin Patrick – BNI’s youngest member. He said: “The questions BNI members asked really challenged Brian, which resulted in him giving some brilliant, truly insightful responses.” Lisa Malyon, managing director of Sense Communications and BNI member said: “The best tip

that Brian gave was that it’s not important what car you drive, it’s about putting every penny into the business to make it grow during the early stages.” BNI members who were unable to attend the event were still able to watch an exclusive video from Mr McBride on the BNI South East blog, where he offered his top tips for members who use e-commerce. There are 12 BNI groups that meet in Surrey. The Guildford members meet every Thursday at 6.30am at the Mandolay Hotel and, during the last 12 months, the group of business owners has recorded more than £960,000 worth of business gained through fellow members. Visit www.bni.co.uk.


8

May 2013 Sponsor’s feature

Solutions to ensure your business email is safe from cyber threats Andy Houston from Arcom IT assesses the importance of a reliable email system for your business It’s amazing how we have all become totally dependent upon email. It is by far the most important business communication tool used today. We all know the huge frustration when there is a technical hitch which denies us from seeing our email. Given the choice of email or telephone I suspect that most people would choose email. Given this importance of email communication, at Arcom IT we have worked hard to offer our clients the best email solution. As the range of email threats has grown, systems for email security and encryption have become ever more complex. Users need ever higher levels of protection while at the same time expect more business

functionality. Arcom IT Email Security solutions provide the most comprehensive, cloud-based email risk mitigation system on the market today. Backed by stringent availability, along with flexible email encryption options, the Arcom IT email solutions cut costs and complexity, removing threats in the cloud to reduce your risks and improve overall email server performance. It is also built to ensure you can meet data security and privacy obligations governing everything from health information to payment card processing information in emails. Uniquely, Email Security allows end users to manage their Secure Email Gateway, as well as manage their safe and blocked senders list, or even report spam, all from directly within Microsoft Outlook.

The product protects against inbound and outbound emailborne threats, including malware, spam, phishing, Denial of Service attacks, deliberate or accidental data leaks, outages, and social engineering attacks. Email archiving is a critical requirement for every organisation, but it’s more than just email storage for the sake of record keeping and compliance.

“Email has become the most critical form of business communication” Arcom IT Email Archive solutions cut the cost and complexity of secure, accessible email archiving. It gives your users instant access to every email they’ve ever sent or received and it gives you central control of email retention policies. Email has become the most critical form of business communication, yet it’s not always as reliable as it is important.

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automatically to deliver email to end users during planned and unplanned outages of your Microsoft email service. Managed from a single administration console, and with no additional onpremise hardware required, Arcom IT simplifies your network and reduces administration.

Bringing the experts to assist local business

James Akrigg, Neil Coulthard and Andy Houston at the seminar.

In the midst of new legislation,economic turbulence and environmental challenges it’s important that the 21st Century doesn’t leave your business in a jam. At Arcom IT we have an unrivalled team of friendly experts who can supply and support robust, tailor-made solutions that evolve to keep you on the straight and narrow. And since our main office has been in Surrey since 1998... we’re just down your road!

• Server & Desktop Virtualisation • Storage Virtualisation • Application Virtualisation • Infrastructure Services • Cloud Services • Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity • Workforce Mobility • VoIP Telephony & Internet communications • 24/7 Monitored & Managed Support

W: www.arcomit.co.uk | E: info@arcomit.co.uk | T: 01483 505055 Arcom IT Ltd, Export House, Cawsey Way,Woking, Surrey GU21 6QX

Arcom IT Sussex Office, 2 Tarmount Lane,Tarmount Studios, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, BN43 6DA,

Arcom IT Gibraltar Office Unit 2b, Garrison House, 3 Library Ramp, Gibraltar.

At the recent seminar run by Arcom IT at Woking’s Lightbox gallery more than 30 Surrey and Hampshire businesses were represented at the event to hear experts from Microsoft and Gamma Telecom talking about the benefits of “Cloud” technology.

Delegates received great advice and tips from leading product specialists. They asked lots of probing questions, all expertly answered by the speakers and Marc Roberts of Arcom IT. One attendee, Suzie Magness,

the Business Development Director of RLHA Group commented: “We thoroughly enjoyed the seminar and the lively atmosphere and debate it sparked about ‘virtual’ offices through the use of cloud technology and the Internet.”

Arcom’s technical team grows Donovan Prinsloo was born and educated in Cape Town, South Africa. He started his IT career in 1999 as a Desktop Support Engineer for the largest internet service provider in South Africa. Having a hunger for travelling and learning, he spent four years in Australia as a field service engineer. When offered the opportunity to come to the UK in 2006, he could not turn down the chance to further his career and have a new life experience. Donovan has since migrated to

the UK and has been contracting as a technical consultant for several organisations. Now, being part of the Arcom IT team, Donovan says is his most exciting and rewarding career experience to date. He enjoys watching and playing most sports especially rugby. Donovan plays guitar, goes to gigs, and loves the outdoors life with friends and family, either at the beach or camping. We’ve not asked him what his favourite colour is, we presume it is a mellow yellow!

Donovan Prinsloo.


Business News Extra May 2013