FEBRUARY 2021 | ISSUE 35 | FREE | UNLTDBUSINESS.COM
ROAD TO RECOVERY Greg Fell, director of Public Health in Sheffield, on how the resilient Sheffield City Region business community is ‘moving mountains’ to adapt to COVID-19
D N U O R A M O NEWS FR
S ’ N O I G THERE
S R E B M CHA
NATIONAL APPRENTICESHIP WEEK ● FUTURE COMMUTING HABITS ● CHARITY UPDATE ● PROPERTY NEWS
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& ROTHERHAM CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: PRESIDENT’S RECOGNITION 28 BARNSLEY
STORY: GREG FELL, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH IN SHEFFIELD 30 COVER
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: THE NEXT CHAPTER 47 SHEFFIELD
BID: THE SCHEMES’ ADMIRERS SHARE THEIR STORIES 48 SHEFFIELD
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: AWARDS TAKE A VIRTUAL LEAP 52 DONCASTER
INSIDE... 8-11: News A round-up of news in the region, including Regional Skills Partnership launch, and our new property page featuring Resonate Property Group, Auction House UK and Redbrik. 12-13: Appointments All the latest appointments from around the Sheffield City Region. 24-25: Skills Focus The Source Skills Academy with a special feature ahead of National Apprenticeship Week. 30-35: Cover story Greg Fell, director of Public Health in Sheffield, and Alexis Krachai, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce interim executive director, on the resilience of the Sheffield City Region business community.
37: Transport SYPTE on the future of commuting in the pandemic. 45: Question Your Thinking Whyy? Change rolls out new accredited apprenticeship training. 38-39: Barnsley College How apprenticeships are helping young people enter the workforce earlier.
EVERYTHING ELSE: 15: The Diary 16-17: Financial Health 18-19: Entrepreneur Support 21: Legal Matters 23: Evolving Technology 27: IT & Cyber Security 29: Troubleshooting 56: Charities
“ALL CREDIT TO BUSINESSES UP AND DOWN THE SCR” “2020 was quite a difficult year – that’s an understatement, and 2021 will be bumpy no doubt about that.” Our cover star for this February issue of unLTD magazine the Director of Public Health in Sheffield Greg Fell does not sugar-coat his predictions for the new year as the UK entered its third national lockdown – and there are probably not many unLTD readers who would be surprised. However, during our chat with both Greg and Alexis Krachai, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce interim executive director and MD of Counter Context, while both acknowledge we are not going to move swiftly beyond the pandemic, there are indeed signs of positivity. “It will be turbulent, but we shouldn’t be worried or intimidated by that,” says Alexis. “If we were to describe 2020 as a dark and challenging year, this year I think will be lighter but not plain sailing.” Greg is also full of praise for businesses in our region who have adapted to COVID – as he says: “All credit to businesses up and down the SCR who moved mountains to do that the best they possibly can.” Read the full cover story from page 30 – and Greg and Alexis were talking to unLTD as part of our first ever podcast episode which we are thrilled to have launched with producer James Marriott. It’s available through all your usual podcast providers so for the full discussion search ‘unLTD business’ and let us have your feedback on the next stage of unLTD’s expansion! There’s a real burst of positivity from our regular columnist Raj Shah director and principal of Blue Wealth Capital with his feature entitled Optimism Is the Only Realism – check out pages 16-17 where he shares some important mantras for tricky times. National Apprenticeship Week 2021 aims to shine a light on the work being done by employers and apprentices across the country from 8-14 February and the Sheffield City Region is no exception. Turn to pages 24-25 where The Source share how apprentices are providing ‘a vital layer of support’ during the pandemic plus on pages 38-39 the team at Barnsley College reveal how apprenticeships help young people enter the workforce earlier – and look ahead to the College’s own events during the week, too.
@UNLTDBUSINESS UNLTD BUSINESS UNLTDBUSINESS EDITORIAL Richard Fidler firstname.lastname@example.org Jill Theobald email@example.com General firstname.lastname@example.org 0114 252 7781 ADVERTISING Dan Laver email@example.com 07867 313995 Phil Turner firstname.lastname@example.org 07979 498034 General email@example.com FINANCE Michael Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org DESIGN Simon Waller, Simon Garlick and James Martin CONTRIBUTORS Joe Bamford Christopher Brown Chris Coates Jo Davison Mike Durham Ryan Fitzpatrick Matt Holmes
James Marriott Bronte Saulle Raj Shah Ian Snow Helen Williams Ash Young
unLTD is published monthly by Blind Mice Media Ltd Unit 1B Rialto, 2 Kelham Island Sq., Kelham Riverside, Sheffield S3 8SD and HRM PR | Creative Unit 1A Speedwell Works, Sidney Street, Sheffield S1 4RG The views contained herein are not necessarily those of Blind Mice Media Ltd and HRM and while every effort is made to ensure information throughout unLTD is correct, changes prior to distribution may take place which can affect the accuracy of copy, therefore Blind Mice Media Ltd and HRM cannot take responsibility for contributors’ views or specific listings.
Regional skills high on agenda with leading national partnership A regional skills partnership for the Sheffield City Region is aiming to tackle current and future skills shortages in the wake of COVID-19. The Regional Post-18 Education Partnership has been developed to identify positive and practical actions, which can impact the most disadvantaged young people and adults in the region, as they enter the post-18 system through education or work. Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University and Chair of the Partnership, said: “As local anchor institutions, we believe we have a civic duty to support our region’s economy, health and communities.” Yiannis Koursis, Principal and CEO of Barnsley College and Chair of the South Yorkshire Principals’ Group, said: “As the education systems leaders in South Yorkshire, it is upon us to meet the skills demands of the future, and successfully rebuild our region’s economy post-pandemic.” Regional organisations currently represented in the Partnership: Barnsley College, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Chesterfield College, DN Colleges Group, Higher Education Progression Partnership, Northern College, Sheffield City Region, Sheffield Hallam University, The RNN Group, The Sheffield College, and The University of Sheffield.
BUSINESS FOUNDER AND EX-MARINE AWARDED OBE Lee Hallam was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for his ‘inspirational industry leadership, philanthropy, and being a tireless champion of the disadvantaged’. Describing himself as a former ‘teenage tearaway’ from a disadvantaged estate, at 16, Lee joined The Royal Marines, going on to win the coveted Green Beret. Having trained and employed hundreds of service personnel, many of whom were seriously injured during fierce combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, Lee has spearheaded military resettlement programmes, launched local apprenticeship programmes, supported disadvantaged children, and raised hundreds of thousands for charities. He launched Linbrooke Services in 2002 with his friend, Andrew Wilson, from a small bedsit in Greenhill, which has since become a successful SME employing more than 350 people and improving the lives of local and national individuals and communities through employment and rehabilitation, restoring hope and self-belief. Joseph Dunn, Lee’s retired headteacher, nominated him for an OBE. He said: “Having taught for 34 years, I have engaged with thousands of children and still have contacts in the education sector across the country, but I have yet to learn of an individual who has turned his life around and made such an impact quite like Lee.
EX-MARINE LEE HALLAM, AWARDED OBE
Linbrooke Services was launched in
2002 “Leaving school with no qualifications and a juvenile criminal record, Lee is now hailed as a 'Face of the Vibrant Economy.' Lee said: ''I don't have an education, any GCSEs or degree,
but I went to the University of Parson Cross. Coming off that estate gives you spirit, character and a thirst for survival. Education will get you far, but drive and determination will take you all the way.'' Having been instrumental in building Linbrooke, and put in place a new management team, Lee has recently stepped back from the Board in order to focus more time on his charitable interests and supporting those in need in and around South Yorkshire.
‘PIONEERS IN THEIR FIELD’ – JENX LTD ANNOUNCES CO-FOUNDER RETIREMENT Leading Sheffield-based postural support specialist, Jenx, has announced the retirement of company cofounders Clive and Catherine Jenkins. The entrepreneurial couple, who formed Jenx Ltd in the cellar of their Walkley home in 1982, are widely known as ‘pioneers in their field’. During the pandemic, Jenx offered innovative, adapted services to ensure the children and families it provides with vital postural support and advice could continue to access help when they have needed it, and are continuing to do so throughout the latest lockdown. Clive said: “At times like this it almost feels as though you can’t do it (retire) as you don’t want to just walk away, but it’s important for Jenx as a company to adapt and change and to allow the next generation to continue to innovate and to keep move the business forwards.” Catherine continued: “We wanted to create a great place to work, so that people who work with us enjoy what they’re
Students and staff at Barnsley College have raised £943 for Hallam FM’s Cash for Kids fundraising programme which aims to improve the lives of children and young people across the region.
IT firm expands during lockdown South Yorkshire-based ESP Projects has acquired another Sheffield based IT firm, The Digital Group and grown to 37 staff during the COVID-19 lockdown.
CLIVE & CATHERINE JENKINS ANNOUNCE JOINT RETIREMENT
doing and they know that they’re doing a worthwhile job.” Holly Jenkins, director of Jenx’s UK Distribution Division,
Jiraffe, will spearhead a new management team at the Sheffield-based firm alongside fellow director, Dan Limb.
NEW STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH SCHEME GETS UNDERWAY A new scheme to support Sheffield College students with their mental health and wellbeing has got underway. Twenty-three student mental health ambassadors have been appointed as part of the Uniheads Mental Health and Wellbeing Academy at the College. James Smythe, Assistant Principal for Student Experience, The Sheffield
Barnsley College raises over £900 for charity
College, said: “Ensuring our students know how to look after their mental health and wellbeing and where to go to get resources and support is a top priority. We are proud to be the first FE college nationally to provide the Uniheads platform to our students.” Uniheads is an online mental health platform created by Sheffieldbased Champion Health,
which specialises in online mental health training and resources for businesses and universities. Harry Bliss, founder of Champion Health Ltd and co-founder of Uniheads, said: “Having a positive social impact is at the heart of everything we do and it is a privilege to work with The Sheffield College and support young people in our region.”
PAUL FLETCHER, MD AT CC33
CC33 creates 400 jobs after company growth South Yorkshire-based contact centre CC33 is set to recruit a further 400 people after a period of massive growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘Audio odyssey’ to celebrate Peak District National Park Derbyshire poet Mark Gwynne Jones is releasing the second chapter of Voices From The Peak an ‘audio artwork’ celebrating this year’s 70th Anniversary of the Peak District National Park.
Growth Hub to guide South Yorkshire businesses through lockdown Sheffield City Region is reminding businesses that help and guidance is available through the Growth Hub to meet the challenges brought about by this latest COVID-19 lockdown. The Mayoral Combined Authority, Mayor Dan Jarvis and the Local Enterprise Partnership recently launched its ambitious £1.7bn Renewal Action Plan (RAP) clearly demonstrating how the Sheffield City Region is investing in and supporting the local economy. The Growth Hub is supporting and guiding hospitality, leisure and nonessential retail businesses that are affected by the national lockdown. Many businesses are also taking advantage of Sheffield City Region Growth Hub’s Re-Start to Growth initiative, which gives businesses access to experienced and skilled experts to help assess, plan and restart their business through an agreed programme of intensive support. James Muir, Chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, explains: “It is a critical time for many businesses in our region. What they are experiencing is totally unprecedented, which means it is important that we have a strong team of advisers in place to be able to guide South Yorkshire companies through the local and national growth schemes that are available to them.”
LAW FIRM CONTINUES PATRONAGE AND LAUNCHES BUSINESS RECOVERY PROGRAMME Wosskow Brown Solicitors have confirmed their continued patronage of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce for an eighth year, after announcing further plans for the law firm’s Foundation. Managing partner, Ian Brown said: “Last year was turbulent for many Sheffield City Region businesses, ours included. We set out in early 2020 to deliver a business growth programme with our Wosskow Brown Foundation. Obviously, this didn’t go to plan, so for 2021, we are going to relaunch it as a business recovery programme. “The Foundation was launched in 2014 as a private sector intuitive in response to the government’s call for private sector businesses to help regenerate the local economy and strengthen the region’s organisations. If there was ever a time that we all needed to pull together for the benefit of the local economy, now is that time. “Through our Patronage
IAN BROWN, MANAGING PARTNER AT WOSSOK BROWN SOLICITORS
with the Chamber, the Foundation’s programmes and our commercial lawyers, we have a fantastic footing to provide city region organisations with sound business advice and commercial legal services. We’re all incredibly proud of that.” Tom Sutton, Sheffield Chamber head of policy and representation, said: “Our long-standing partnership has allowed us to work on key
initiatives and programmes during this time. I am excited about the prospect of launching the ‘Let’s Recover Together’ initiative with Wosskow Brown and the Wosskow Brown Foundation. The provision of practical support to help business and business leaders recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will be key to sustaining our economy in the long-term.”
Sheffield high street set for transformation following successful funding bid Sheffield City Council has been successful in its bid for £15.8m of funding as part of the Government’s Future High Streets Fund, which will be used to rejuvenate Sheffield’s high street as part of the continuing transformation of the city centre. Many businesses have had to close their doors or radically adapt to become COVIDsecure, including moving to online trading, opening with limitations and adaptations and supporting staff to operate safely.
Under the funding requirements, the plans must be delivered by
MARCH2024 The new funding will focus on reinventing Fargate and High Street as social hubs, with plans to create a new multi-use space ‘Event Central’, which will be used to host events and exhibitions, as well as offering co-working space and a café.
Current redundant space will be repurposed and refreshed with climate-resilient greenery and seating areas. Councillor Bob Johnson, Leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “The pandemic has been an incredibly challenging time for businesses, and I know that the new lockdown restrictions will impact even further on the vast majority. However, despite the current situation, this scheme provides hope for the future and will assist in the recovery of our local economy in the long term.”
AGENDA PROPERTY NEWS
AUCTION HOUSE SOUTH YORKSHIRE CELEBRATES RECORD-BREAKING 2020
JAMES HOLDING, REGIONAL AUCTION MANAGER OF AUCTION HOUSE
The region’s up-and-coming property auctioneer, Auction House South Yorkshire (AHSY) signed off on their most successful year of business yet in 2020 after successfully migrating their live auctions to an online and livestreamed format. Regional auction manager James Holding said: “Despite
the property market closing for over six weeks during the first lockdown, despite having to transfer all our room auctions to online or livestream sales, and despite ongoing coronavirus restrictions, we still managed to sell a higher percentage of lots than ever before! “The auction market kept functioning, sellers and buyers
remained both interested and active, and lockdown restrictions didn’t hold us back. AHSY was unique in that our immediate shift to remote bidding livestream auctions helped maintain momentum and they grew in popularity as the year progressed.” Buyers and sellers have embraced the idea of internet and Livestream sales. James adds: “Translating the format of our in-person auctions was important, but the demand was clearly still there so we had to demonstrate that the experience was not just viable, but secure, effective and reliable for our clients. Our growth has shown that it works and that they are as comfortable making a bid by telephone, proxy or online as they were in our room auctions. It also gives us confidence that even under another lockdown, we can look forward to similar successes in 2021.”
South Yorkshire property seeing increased demand for investment The property market experienced many upsand-downs during 2020. The challenging trading environment made it difficult for many to keep pace with changes and no-one knew what was around the corner. Homebuyers, tenants and investors alike experienced changes and setbacks throughout the year but the market bounced back strongly, assisted by various governmentbacked initiatives and has shown that the demand for property is not going away. Sheffield-based property business RESONATE PROPERTY reports that the demand for quality investment property
has been building over the past year, demonstrated by the uplift in property prices following the initial lockdown period. Alongside the increase in prices, the firm notes a shift in attitude and desire amongst those
looking to invest in residential property, especially over the past quarter, with more looking to make their next investment purchase in Sheffield. Mark Pereira, director of investments at RESONATE PROPERTY adds: “Investors that were previously fixated on investing in areas such as Manchester or Leeds have not only shown greater interest, but are now actively purchasing in South Yorkshire. The upturn in asking prices amongst popular rental properties such as terraced houses in Sheffield is demonstrating this increased demand and the strong growth potential of investing in the region.”
Redbrik branches into hospitality in 2021 Leading estate agents, Redbrik is opening two new branches early this year – on Ecclesall Road (the former Le Bistrot Pierre) and in Fox Valley Shopping Park, Stocksbridge. As well as providing its award-winning property services, each of the branches will host a Raffina Coffee & Deli, representing the agent's first move into hospitality. Redbrik has identified North West Sheffield as an area with huge potential for home movers over the next few years. Its recent evolution with the arrival of Fox Valley Shopping Park and the planned residential developments nearby make it an increasingly appealing area. Managing director, Mark Ross, said: “We've always been avid supporters of the high street. We wholeheartedly believe that by creating quality new office and social spaces within the communities we serve – we are enriching the local area. We hope they will become treasured community hubs. “We’re confident 2021 will bring more normality, particularly allowing us to create deeper relationships with our clients, providing a better, more personal service.” UK-top 200 law firm Keebles LLP advised Redbrik on both their moves.
Internal promotion at Multitask Personnel as technical team grows Multitask Personnel, the Rotherham based specialist recruitment consultancy, have expanded their technical division with an internal promotion. Kimberley Earl, who has been with the business since 2019, has moved over from a resourcing position into a recruitment consultant role within the firms growing technical sector. She said: “Having started my career at Multitask supporting the technical desk in 2019, I do have previous experience of working in this division. Combining this knowledge with the great experience I’ve gained supporting the professional team over the past year will enable me to hit the ground running with my new role.” Michelle Laing, operations support manager added: “With demand increasing for technical staff throughout the UK, it was necessary for us to create a new role in our technical division to ensure that not only can we meet this demand, but we are also future proofing the business by focusing our efforts on areas where our clients need us the most.”
HENTONS MD, PETER WATSON, LEFT WITH MARK BAIN
SENIOR HIRE AND TRIO OF PROMOTIONS AT CITY ACCOUNTANCY FIRM A Sheffield chartered accountancy and business advisory firm has made a key senior appointment and three internal promotions following a 13 per cent growth in turnover over the last 12 months. Hentons has appointed experienced chartered accountant, Mark Bain as a partner. With over 20 years’ experience, Mark has moved from New Zealand to head
up the 45-strong audit and accounts team. He said: “I wanted a new professional challenge that would utilise the diverse experience and skills I have developed during my successful practice career. Hentons stood out as one of the country’s leading independent accountancy practices, with an impressive growth trajectory, an inspiring team, and a broad client base.”
In addition to Mark’s appointment, Mark Knowlson, Jess Haunch and Mike Werbowy, have all been promoted to director level. MD Peter Watson, said: “As Hentons continues to grow, it’s important we retain and build on our team of ambitious professionals who want to make a genuine difference in the industry and will ultimately benefit our clients and their bottom line.”
New business development manager for Bruce & Butler
Adam Hobbs has joined Bruce & Butler as business development manager. Matt Bruce, CEO and founder of Bruce and Butler, said: “We are proud to welcome Adam to our growing team. “Adam has worked in our industry before and joins us as business development manager. Reach out to Adam if you have any data
protection or cyber security requirements.” Bruce & Butler are a specialist provider of professional compliance services enabling the data revolution. They support and help organisations to gain a competitive advantage in their sector through building trust, demonstrating accountability, and securing information assets.
AGENDA SPONSORED BY
Councillor Bob Johnson elected Leader of Sheffield City Council
Dentech IT expands team with new office manager
Councillor Bob Johnson, formerly the Cabinet Member for Transport and Development, has been officially elected the Leader of Sheffield City Council, replacing Councillor Julie Dore. He said: “I am completely honoured to hold this position, leading the city I have grown up in and admired my whole life. “I’m under no illusion I have a big job ahead of me – we are in the middle of a pandemic and the local authority plays a major part in looking after
Dentech IT, the South Yorkshire based managed service provider, has expanded its team in 2021 with the appointment of Amy Cantor as office manager. Amy, who is also a Zumba teacher in her spare time, brings a wealth of experience in management and customer service, having worked in retail management for over 10 years prior to helping out with Dentech IT in a smaller capacity since its inception in 2019.
residents, ensuring that everyone, particularly the most
vulnerable in the city are looked after, businesses are supported, and critical services can continue to operate. “I am feeling excited about the future and believe that Sheffield has huge potential, and I am wholly committed to maximising on what we have to offer. “I want to end by thanking Cllr Julie Dore for all she has done for Sheffield, through years of austerity and most recently leading the city through this pandemic.”
WHYY? CHANGE APPOINTS NEW MARKETER Laura Stead, a marketing consultant and trainer, joins the Whyy? Change team of skilled practitioners at their Sheffield head office. CIM marketing tutor Laura will head up the delivery of Whyy? Change’s Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) courses and their marketing apprenticeships which includes the CIM accreditation as standard. Ray Byrne, Whyy Change CEO, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Laura to the team. Laura is a talented and skilled practitioner who can support businesses to upskill their marketing teams into professional marketers with the skills, knowledge and practical know-how needed in the workplace.”
AMY CANTOR, NEWLY APPOINTED DENTECH OFFICE MANAGER
LAURA STEAD, MARKETING CONSULTANT AT WHYY? CHANGE
Sky-House Co welcomes new non-executive director Sheffield’s Sky-House Co has welcomed a new nonexecutive director to the team. Mark Rosindale, the former MD of Strata Homes, joins to assist at a strategic level with plans for growth over the next ten years.
“Mark will play a vital role in growing the Sky-House brand,” said director David Cross. “Going into 2021 we have four new sites ready for development, a growth of more than 150 new properties. “Mark’s great experience
will be extremely important as we expand into that future.” The Sky-House Co – created by the team at CODA Architects – was founded by David and property developer Philip Prince of Broadfield Holdings.
Luke Denman, MD of Dentech, said: “It’s great to be in a position where we need to further expand the team, and the appointment of Amy means our consultants can spend more time servicing our ever-increasing client base without having to worry about managing the office, and all the administrative works that comes with it.” Amy Cantor added: “I’m delighted to join Dentech IT on a full-time basis in this new capacity of office manager. I am familiar with the business, having helped out on a temporary basis in the past, but the workload is there to turn this into a permanent position and make the new role my own.”
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THE DIARY BY RICHARD FIDLER
Our editor says bring in an expert when communicating with customers and stakeholders
PUTTING IT DOWN IN WRITING This is probably the most dangerous column I have ever written. Dangerous because I’m about to discuss a topic that could see me sounding condescending, pedantic, a know-it-all or just someone that you really wouldn’t to get stuck with at a party (remember parties?). I’d like to think I’m none of those things, although others – especially my children – may beg to differ. The subject matter is communication and in particular the written word. Let’s be honest, none of us are absolutely perfect at it. This page is bound to have grammatical errors (hopefully no spelling ones) and there’ll be differences of opinion between people about how I should have phrased a
sentence, or used a different word. Language constantly evolves as does the way we use it. However, there are certain rules we use to guide us. And the rules, I think, have an accepted sliding scale of importance. For example, a mass of words with no punctuation is impossible to read and make sense of. If, for instance, you had an online discussion and you posted a 1,000-word rebuttal with no full stops, commas or apostrophes your point may be a winner in your head but no one else would have a clue what you were on about. If, though, you smashed your punctuation but mixed up ‘your’ ‘you’re’ and ‘you are’ throughout the thread then it would be pedantic in the extreme for your opponent
to use this against you rather than addressing your argument. Side-note: a quick check of Twitter will show you that people do enjoy being this picky. What I’m trying to say is that we all know we’re not Charles Dickens, but equally we’re loathed to accept that our written communication is poor in the same way that we’d defer to someone who is excellent at mental arithmetic. We wouldn’t give a wrong answer to a complicated sum and then say ‘oh you knew what I was on about!’ It’s either right or it’s wrong and we know our limitations. In a WhatsApp message to a friend or a Facebook comment it doesn’t really matter whether your spelling or grammar is spot on. Personal pride may dictate that you
don’t like to make mistakes but, really, who cares. Professionally is where people need the help of experts. It is not only the language used (correctly, of course) that is important, but it is also the overall message. You may think you know what you’re trying to say, but does your audience? Can your message be misconstrued, misunderstood or taken out of context? What may have seemed a good idea in your head can come across horribly when committed to paper or screen. This column rarely touts for business and I am not doing so on this occasion. But, please, consider using experts when constructing a message to customers or stakeholders as it’s bloody difficult to dig yourself out of a hole.
Got views of your own? Let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org LinkedIn: Richard Fidler
BY RAJ SHAH, DIRECTOR AND PRINCIPAL OF BLUE WEALTH CAPITAL The financial planner shares some important mantras for tricky times
OPTIMISM IS THE
ONLY REALISM (AND THE £400K CAMERA IN YOUR POCKET!)
CRISIS DU JOUR Generally speaking – ignoring the ongoing, interminable COVID-19 crisis, of course (which will come to an end one day soon) – it’s a pretty safe guess to say that your biggest worry today may not be the same as yesterday, or last week. Crises come and go, and thankfully so. When the ‘crisis du jour’ vanishes, to be replaced by the piece de resistance of tomorrow, we tend to breathe a sigh of relief and pat ourselves on the back for putting another nightmare behind us. Until the next one
happens, of course, when we panic all over again. It has been widely reported that the eventual ‘crash’ of the global stock market in March 2020 was caused by widespread panic among investors about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This saw circa £100 billion moved from equities into cash (JP Morgan Guide to the Markets Dec 2020). People panicked and didn’t stick to their plans. Periods of extreme turbulence – not just in the financial markets, but life generally – call for calm, clear thinking. It is important to
remember that a crisis is not always a disaster or an emergency. A crisis is broader than an emergency (an urgent action) or disaster (a calamitous event). The Oxford English Dictionary defines a crisis as 1. A time of severe difficulty or danger 2. A time where an important or difficult decision must be made. Most formal definitions of a crisis include the words: turning point, crucial time, and decision.
BE PREPARED When there is turbulence in the markets, the value of a
good adviser really comes into play. Vanguard (the world’s second largest fund manager, with circa £5 trillion under management) asked me to write an article for them on the importance of behavioural coaching and how we deliver it to our clients. (Vanguard Advisor Stories, Nov 2018). We not only prepare the plan, we rehearse the plan with you (as many times as it takes to get you comfortable with the reasons for sticking to the plan) and execute the plan (diversification of funds and, of vital importance, faithfully staying the course) by ensuring
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Call us now on 0114 294 5353 for an unbiased second opinion on your financial needs or visit us online at
that you do not panic and make a snap decision at the wrong time. At Blue Wealth, we don’t pretend that we can time the market, instead we encourage time ‘in’ the market. Had all those investors who panicked and withdrew their cash at the start of the pandemic last year stayed put and weathered the storm, they would have benefitted from the fact that from 1 April to 31 December 2020 the S&P 500 in fact returned a massive 47%!
TRUST IN HUMANKIND Tied in with our fundamental belief in staying the financial course is our optimism that humanity will persevere, innovate, and triumph over the challenges presented to it, just as it always has. The world has improved and will continue to improve. After reading the following facts, the only rational reaction can be one of an optimistic variety: • The Natural Order: At one time, nature's top predators
were a threat to us. Now, we are very much a threat to THEM! (1) • Longevity - In the early 20th century the average global life expectancy was 31, today it is approximately 67 (2) • Technology – for example, the iPhone 12. Huge technological advances have meant that the camera in today’s iPhone 12 would have cost circa £400k to make in 1991. The whole phone costing £37 million! (3) • COVID-19 vaccine - According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the average time to develop and make a vaccine publicly available until now has been 16 years (4). It took over 3,296 years for a smallpox vaccine to be developed (5). Although scientists didn’t have to make the COVID-19 vaccine from scratch (work had begun on making vaccines for SARS and MERS, which belong to the coronavirus family, during their outbreaks in
2003 and 2012) it is still pretty astounding to think that from dosing the first trial participants on May 5 it took only 6 months to get approval for emergency-use authorisation in the UK. (6) • The Future – I was invited to attend Abundance 360 last month. This was a 3 day global event hosted by Peter Diamandis (founder of the X Prize Foundation, and involved with Space X). Some of the discussions were truly mind-blowing – for example the advent of 6G – providing a connection capable of downloading over 140 hours of Netflix in a second and a demo of 3D printing of a 2,000 sqm house! Our belief in this is mirrored in the way we will coach you, the planning and investments we encourage you to choose to help you achieve your most cherished goals. It is far more rational and realistic to be an optimist than a pessimist, even though
no one can predict what the future holds.
THREE MANTRAS FOR YOU: This time it isn’t different. This too shall pass. Optimism is the only realism. (1.) “The Evolutionary Stability of Optimism, Pessimism and Complete Ignorance” Burkhard C. Schipper, Department of Economics at the University of California, December 7th, 2005 (2.) “Life Expectancy - Variation over time” Wikipedia (3.) https://www.aei.org/ technology-and-innovation/ the-540000-camera-in-yourpocket/ (4.) Explained: How was Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine developed in record time? How does it compare with others? (5.) Indian Express, 9 December 2020 (6.) Ten Global Trends – Bailey and Tupy, 2020
ENTREPRENEURSUPPORT BY HELEN WILLIAMS
‘We are here to be part of your team’ – that’s the message from our columnist Helen Williams of Helping Entrepreneurs Win (HEW). Here Helen shares with unLTD how HEW’s coaching support is helping the pioneering Golf in Society project drive forward with its mission to be a ‘catalyst that brings communities together’ GOLF IN SOCIETY Golf in Society founder Anthony Blackburn is part of the AWRC Accelerator Programme at Sheffield Hallam University, which is helping start-ups bring their health and wellbeing initiatives to market. Helen, a mentor on the programme, met Anthony
via the mentorship support sessions and started working together 1-2-1 as Anthony commissioned HEW for coaching support. Golf in Society is much more than golf. It is a not-for profit social purpose organisation that supports people in later life who are suffering from degenerative diseases such as dementia, as well as providing support for their carers and families.
As a large-scale operation working directly with patients and carers, golf professionals and volunteers, clubs and venues as well as charities, private investors and clinical commissioning groups, you can hopefully appreciate the complexity of the stakeholders but the simplicity of the purpose. The Golf in Society movement is about improving
the overall health and wellbeing of the 15 million adults living with chronic illness, as well as being the catalyst that brings communities together to take collective responsibility for improving the health outcomes of an ageing population. With venues operating in Harrogate and Glasgow and a roll out plan for a further six venues in 2021, the vision
For more info on how coaching with HEW can help you and your business please visit
is to bring Golf in Society to every community far and wide including the Sheffield City Region. This will inevitably bring with it opportunities for jobs, voluntary roles, investment, CSR partnerships as well as the undisputable positive impact for local residents and families within our region experiencing the challenges of illnesses like dementia. The working alignment here between HEW and Golf in Society has been built on shared values of integrity and purpose around health, business and integration as well as the trust to provide honesty in approach. Helen has been the glue to bring lots of moving parts together to ensure focus and effective execution. Much of the work in coaching is a behind the scenes makeover
for the business owner and the brand itself which accumulates to a more confident and succinct delivery for all involved. As Helen proudly stated to Anthony in the beginning – we are here to be part of your team, to help you, to give an honest account from an external, non-emotionally attached perspective so that you can drive your vision forward feeling supported and staying accountable every step of the way. There is still lots to do and a huge, exciting pipeline to nurture but one which is a very exciting project to be involved in and one we are very much looking forward to being embedded within our own region.
A FEW WORDS FROM ANTHONY: “When I started my social mission six years ago, I had a vision of improving the lives of people like my dad across the UK. As we embark on our most significant year of growth, the vision is very much becoming a reality. Meeting Helen through the AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator programme was a pivotal moment for me. “It came just at the right moment as I was beginning
to experience some of the growing pains that startups face as they evolve. Helen’s insight, guidance and expertise have been crucial in getting my growth plan ready for market. It’s a perfect example of how a simple 'hello' can lead to a million things.” For more information about Golf in Society’s pioneering work and how to get involved, please visit www.golfinsociety. com or contact Anthony directly at Anthony. email@example.com
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BY RYAN FITZPATRICK, BELL & BUXTON INCORPORATING IRONMONGER CURTIS The associate solicitor on increased buyer enthusiasm in the dental sector
THINKING ABOUT BUYING OR SELLING A DENTAL PRACTICE DURING THE PANDEMIC? Since dental services reopened in June 2020, the buyer enthusiasm shown by associate dentists and corporates has generated greater competition in the dental market across the full spectrum of practice type and size. Even in the current climate, we are frequently receiving new instructions from prospective buyers and sellers. There is an optimism for new business, with the number of completions now approaching normal levels. In particular, it is evident that recent events have encouraged many associates to escalate plans to buy their own practice in order to secure themselves an income. Many corporate providers are also reporting a strong return of revenue, at least proportional to the number of patients they can see given the current COVID-19 restrictions. As opposed to scaling down,
corporate groups have emerged with a renewed confidence to expand. Consequently, dentists who are looking to sell their business are achieving a good price due to the increased quantity of potential buyers. The rollout of the vaccination programme has encouraged many buyers and sellers to prudently agree terms today, especially because these transactions usually take at least six months to complete â€“ the likely view is that the robust dental sector will have settled even further by that point. In addition, it is apparent that most banks are open for business to the dental market, and despite the uncertainty in the wider economy, their policies have not changed significantly, and they are therefore willing to support both seasoned providers and lend to first-time buyers.
How can we help you? Bell & Buxton Solicitors (incorporating Ironmonger Curtis) are a law firm which specialises in the sale and purchase of dental practices. We have a wealth of experience in dealing with NHS contract transfers and CQC requirements. The firm acts for both NHS and private dental practices along with a broad range of other clients from the first-time buyer, to the more experienced multiple site corporate groups, to a dentist who has been an owner for 35 years and wants to retire. At any one time, we may have up to 60-70 dental sales and purchases all over the country. We offer fixed fee quotes at the outset. All of our fees include any assistance required to complete the pre-completion CQC application forms. Unlike
many of our competitors, we do not charge an additional fee for this CQC service. We do act for other businesses as well as dentists, which helps give us a more rounded commercial approach and is a benefit to our clients. It is important that you have protection beyond the completion of the transaction, and we will advise you on complex issues such as: due diligence; disclosure; warranties; retentions; TUPE and staff transfers. We do try to be as accessible as we can be and understand that often this means fitting in with your own availability. Please contact Ryan Fitzpatrick, on 0114 249 59 69 and R.Fitzpatrick@ bellbuxton.co.uk, who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
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EVOLVING TECHNOLOGY BY ASH YOUNG
Our tech expert with some top ‘testing’ tips to maximise profits
MAXIMISE YOUR PROFIT WITH THESE TESTING STRATEGIES Test your way through testing times… Things are ever evolving in the e-commerce world (and there is of course a pandemic), so testing what works for you and maximising your profits is more important than ever. What has been working for you for years, may no longer work. Or perhaps it does, but what else can you learn in order to drive your business forward?
Test your on-site content and landing pages
What is A/B testing?
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A/B testing is a method to determine what works best for your website. It’s a process to compare variations of a page’s design, content or functionality, and conclude which is the most effective for your metric – whether that’s sales, sign-ups, or something else important to your business.
Conversion rate optimisation can be very powerful. You can run A/B tests for new calls to action, images, page designs, and many more aspects. Ultimately, the content on your landing page for a product or service is one of the most vital tests to conduct. Here are just a few landing page elements you can test: Layout Offering Headline and copy Call to action Form Checkout process
Finding the optimal form and checkout process is key. For example, often reducing the number of fields in a form will increase the likelihood of someone filling this out.
However, that may not be the case for your site, so running a test will show you what format increases your conversion rate. I’d recommend using Unbounce to implement your landing page tests – this product “lets you create and publish your own landing pages, without needing a developer. It's an easier and faster way to get more conversions from your traffic.” Test your promotions Particularly in the e-commerce world, testing new offers and sales can help to boost your conversion rates. With the pandemic still ongoing, many potential customers are struggling and sometimes a simple discount code can encourage a purchase. Test different offers to find the optimum one that entices
more customers, without harming your profit margin. Test your paid advertising Advertising provides the perfect controlled testing environment. On various platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google Ads, you can A/B test different versions of your ads to see what resonates best with your audiences and improves conversions. You can test and optimise images, ad headlines and copy, keywords, the landing page, URL, calls to action and audiences. For the best results, it’s ideal to repeat testing improvements until you have the best possible version of your site. For help with maximising your profits, contact the Evoluted team. 0114 272 9753 email@example.com
SKILLS FOCUS SPONSOREDBYTHESOURCESKILLSACADEMY
THE SOURCE IS BACKING NATIONAL APPRENTICESHIP WEEK 2021 - FEB 8-15 The Source Skills Academy in Sheffield is passionate about bringing out the best in people. It has been helping businesses to increase the talents of their teams since 2003 and is proud to sponsor Skills Focus, a monthly spotlight on training and apprenticeship news and funding to help you develop your staff.
APPRENTICES CAN FUTURE-PROOF YOUR BUSINESS Businesses are being urged to invest in apprenticeships to steer out of the pandemic downturn and build resilience for the future. The Source Skills Academy is backing the forthcoming National Apprenticeship Week’s Build The Future motto and calling on employers to celebrate the positive impact apprentices have had on their workforces during the pandemic. The 14th annual celebration of apprenticeships runs from February 8-15. Being staged virtually, it will push the message that
apprenticeships not only help individuals build career skills, they also strengthen businesses. Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Gillian Keegan said: “It’s been a tough year for everyone, but we want National Apprenticeship Week 2021 to be a springboard to looking ahead. Apprenticeships can futureproof workforces and boost careers.” Dale Robinson, head of business development at The Source commented: “The biggest assets to businesses today are skills and flexibility, which is exactly what young apprentices offer. “We have heard many times
from businesses we work with that their apprentices helped them to adapt during 2020, give strong return on investment and are a crucial part of their plans for 2021." The Source, which has not-forprofit charitable status, has had more than 2,220 applications from would-be apprentices since April 2020 and has
successfully placed more than 200 apprentices in the last 12 months. It is urging businesses to provide more vacancies. For information on apprenticeships, contact Kerry Cook at The Source on 07584 391445 kerry.cook@ thesourceacademy.co.uk
APPRENTICES - WORTH THE INVESTMENT Businesses struggling to recruit the skills they need can develop skills in-house through apprenticeships. Apprentices learn on the job and can be moulded into skilled employees who follow your processes and company culture. They bring new energy, ideas and enthusiasm, which boosts morale and increases
productivity right across the business. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) says companies report huge financial returns on their investment in apprenticeships. For every pound invested in a level 2 apprenticeship, £26 was returned. This increased to £28 for level 3 apprenticeships.
Apprentices are more likely to stay with you - 80 per cent of companies with apprentices reported a significant increase in employee retention. Businesses with annual wage bills of more than £3 million pay the apprenticeship levy and have funds sat in their Apprenticeship Service account for training. Funds only stay in
your account for 24 months, so ‘use it or lose it’. All companies employing new apprentices before March 31 can access up to £2,000 per recruit via the Apprenticeships Incentive Grant. The money does not have to be paid back and is additional to the ongoing £1,000 grant employers receive for hiring an apprentice.
OUR APPRENTICES ARE A VALUABLE LAYER OF SUPPORT IN THE PANDEMIC Talented young apprentices provided by The Source Skills Academy are helping a Sheffield business meet rising demand during the pandemic. Medical and Legal Admin Services works with expert witnesses whose professional opinions are relied on in civil and criminal court cases, usually involving personal injury or clinical negligence. Part of the Unity Health Group, MLAS services include finding the right expert to fit a lawyer’s brief and typing and proof-reading the expert’s forensic opinion. “We ensure the report is accurate and on time. We are ultimately the expert witnesses’ gatekeeper,” explained MLAS director Colette Benn, Based at Ecclesfield’s Hydra Business Park, MLAS has 25 staff. Many have valuable experience gained in other sectors, but the company has found that adding apprentices fresh from education brings a valuable dimension. Said Colette Benn: “They are thirsty for knowledge and have no preconceived ideas from past work experiences. We have now taken on eight apprentices and the seven who have
DIRECTOR, COLETTE BENN ON A SUPPORT CALL WITH SOME OF THE MLAS APPRENTICES
stayed with us are fantastic additions to the team. “Everything has to be done right first-time in our business and we encourage them to ask a million questions so they can learn and grow.” MLAS began recruiting apprentices in 2019 and, as planned, set on more in 2020. Said Colette: “Our apprentices have definitely strengthened the team during the pandemic. “Their flexibility and
willingness to turn their hand to new things provided us with another layer of support. “We have been able to plug gaps with them and they have been invaluable in helping us keep up to date with general administrative tasks. “That is just one return seen from investing in young apprentices.The wider picture will see us utilising them in our succession plan for the business. “What is so crucial to the success of our apprenticeships
strategy is the very strong relationship we have developed with The Source,” added Colette. “They understand we want the creme de la creme - people with a great work ethic and good qualifications. “Kerry Cook, business development officer, has been instrumental in finding the right people for us and the ongoing tutoring provided is key in getting our young people to where they need to be.”
KICKSTART A YOUNG PERSON’S WORK LIFE Employers are being urged to give young people a chance – by offering them work experience placements through the government’s new Kickstart scheme. The Source Skills Academy, an official Kickstart gateway provider, is staging a virtual event on February 10 at 10am
to explain the scheme’s many benefits and help companies apply. Businesses providing sixmonth placements receive grants of up to £1,500 to cover training, support and set-up costs. The government also pay NI contributions and the National Minimum Wage
for Kickstarters working 25 hours a week. In addition, The Source is offering Kickstart recruits free online training courses in 130 subjects. “Our virtual event will explain how the scheme benefits local young people and helps boost businesses of all sizes affected by the
pandemic,” says The Source. “Businesses get to interview applicants, can choose to top up wages and convert a Kickstarter they find invaluable into an apprentice after six months.” Book your virtual place on February 10th. Email Kickstart@ TheSourceAcademy.co.uk
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Submit your form now at: ct.co.uk/services/strategic-it-review
IT & CYBER SECURITY BY IAN SNOW, CT MANAGING DIRECTOR
Ian looks at how to tackle the challenges facing IT teams during the pandemic
THE IMPORTANT ROLE OF IT DURING THE PANDEMIC Several months ago, nearly every business experienced some kind of disruption to operations, and as millions of employees adjusted to working remotely, IT teams had to provide quick solutions to ensure work could carry on as normal. Many perhaps previously overlooked the important role IT plays during the on-going pandemic and even now, when we’re all more adjusted to working in new ways, IT teams continue to face hurdles related to cybersecurity, new technologies and remote working to keep systems moving in the medical and healthcare fields, food supply chain, distribution and manufacturing. Here are some of the most common IT challenges facing all businesses across all sectors today along with some practical solutions. IT budgets decreasing A lack of budget and resources is a major concern for both IT staff and employers. For a lot of businesses, the range
of applications they use continues to grow rather than shrink – this puts more and more pressure on IT people and systems to deliver the latest. The reality for many small and medium sized businesses is that a decision on whether to upgrade or purchase technology quite rightly comes down to margins. IT should be a priority after lockdown, so the need for a more cost-effective IT solution will be crucial. This is where outsourcing your IT can help.
a hundred three-minute training sessions which are easy to navigate and help your team make the most of your most important existing and new business platforms.
Cybersecurity Data and security breaches continue to make headlines and cause headaches for IT teams. Particularly during the COVID crisis, cyber-attacks have been more sophisticated and harder to stop. Making sure your teams are aware of some basic security tactics is important when they’re working from home or on their Technology overload Recently businesses have been own devices. Real-time monitoring of forced to deploy new tools networks and devices is also an to help teams collaborate absolute must. Whether you and communicate remotely. have been directly affected by But with unfamiliarity and an attack or looking to boost lack of experience with new your security, you should software, staff are being left review your current strategy frustrated and inevitably on and identify what’s working the phone with IT. and what’s not. Whenever you introduce something new, training Back up and disaster recovery well ahead of launch will If you’ve ever accidentally take vital pressure off your IT deleted a file, experienced a team. At CT we offer all our server crash or any other data customers CT Knowledge – a disaster, then you know how micro learning platform with
important having a reliable backup and disaster recovery plan is. Most businesses may not have developed a plan to address a pandemic outbreak, but should have some kind of continuity solution in place. Having the right backup solution and disaster recovery procedures is critical to eliminating the downtime and expenses that accompany them. An immediate challenge facing IT teams is understanding their business needs. As the technology landscape continues to evolve, and the current situation is still changing, your IT teams are dealing with increased demand on network infrastructure, a significant rise in user support requirements and new security threats. Now might be a good time to look at having a strategic IT review which CT is currently offering free of charge to all S postcode businesses. To find out more visit ct.co.uk/services/strategic-itreview
EFFORTS OF BUSINESS COMMUNITY RECOGNISED WITH SPECIAL HONOUR Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber has praised the efforts of 24 local businesses after presenting them with a unique accolade to recognise their work during COVID-19 – president Joada Allen tells unLTD why the business community are the ‘forgotten heroes’ of the pandemic Developed by Chamber president, Joada Allen, the President’s Recognition was created to pay tribute to the way in which many businesses in the local community have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their response to the challenges posed during 2020 and celebrate the efforts made by local businesses to innovate, support employees, as well as help the local community. From taking part in Joe Wicks workouts to raise funds for local good causes, investing in technology to enable members of staff to work from home, to delivering products used in the frontline battle against COVID-19, businesses ranging from sole traders to large established manufacturers made submissions which were judged by a panel of business experts, including the Chamber president. Businesses recognised included Barnsley businesses the Hickton Group, which kept staff entertained throughout lockdown by organising a range of challenges which helped to raise funds for the Lennox Children’s Cancer Charity. Barnsley Hot Tubs defied major supply issues to see its turnover triple as more families swapped their summer holidays for garden saunas, whilst healthcare supplier Amity saw staff work around the clock to meet demands within the NHS. In Rotherham, Workwear manufacturer Portwest
introduced a new range of COVID-19 friendly clothing, and also produced more than 200,000 masks per day. United Caps defied the odds to relocate to a new site, whilst Gala Tent saw its senior management team swap their suits for stockroom duties, working without pay to help safeguard the company’s future. Maltby Independent Funeral Services helped the families of victims of COVID-19 to say farewell to their loved ones in a safe, dignified way. Never Average Marketing helped a number of charitable organisations, education provider Morthyng helped apprentices to continue their training, and business training provider Opes Libertas introduced a number of new services. Other businesses to receive recognition included VOOT Telecom, Professional Energy Purchasing, Whyy? Change, Mike Lawrence Health & Wellbeing, The IT Trainer, GH Magic, Affinity IT, Plan. Grow. Do, and FAB events. Doncaster-based alternative lending provider Finance For Enterprise helped businesses to safeguard more than 1200 roles through their work as a delivery partner for the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. In addition to recognising the efforts of local businesses, two charities were also praised for their efforts; Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and the South Yorkshire Community Foundation.
They helped nearly 150 community-led organisations across Rotherham and Barnsley access grant funding worth more than £200,000, as well as helping others to access an additional £150,000 delivered by working in collaboration with strategic partners within South Yorkshire. Joada Allen, president, Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber said: “The business community is one of the forgotten heroes of COVID-19 – many have faced incredibly difficult challenges, with some being forced to close their doors almost overnight and we wanted to recognise some of the incredible achievements made by the local business
community over the past twelve months. “The amazing work undertaken by all the businesses deserves recognition and as a Chamber of Commerce we wanted to recognise those incredible efforts made by businesses which have risen to the challenges posed by a difficult year for many businesses.”
BY CHRISTOPHER BROWN, BUSINESS RECOVERY PARTNER AT HART SHAW Our columnist helps businesses prepare for the coming year
KNOWLEDGE IS KEY – HOW TO IDENTIFY POTENTIAL PROBLEMS If at the end of 2019, I had been asked what the effect would be if the Government were to close large parts of the economy for a prolonged period and prevent many businesses from trading, my answer would have been to expect a substantial increase in business failure and therefore liquidations and bankruptcies. Indeed, at the beginning of the first lockdown, it was reported that a third of SME business owners thought their business might not survive. Thankfully, this terrible scenario has not happened, and corporate insolvencies were actually down by 33 per cent in Q2 and 39 per cent in Q3 of 2020 compared with the same quarters in 2019. Although there were some headline grabbing insolvencies in 2020, such as Debenhams and the Arcadia Group, I’d argue the various measures the Government introduced last year have, so far, protected many businesses from failing. This support has ranged from the initial cancellation of business rates for those in the
retail, hospitality and leisure industries to the provisions of grants, the deferment of VAT and other tax payments to low interest government back loans, with CBILS and Bounce Back Loans. One of the most important initiatives was the introduction of the furlough scheme which has clearly saved many people from being declared redundant at a time when it would have been very difficult for them to find another job. As an insolvency practitioner, I have spoken to business owners who, although struggling, have utilised the available support with the aim of getting through to the other side when things finally get back to normal. But of course, there have been failures, and I have worked with companies where the support was either not enough, or not even available, which resulted in them ceasing to trade and liquidation. With vaccines being rolled out and the end of the crisis finally in sight, what can business expect in the coming year?
Although nothing is certain, the likelihood is that as the support is withdrawn, pressures will build, and some business and companies will inevitably struggle. As well as the ongoing payment of VAT and other taxes, taxes deferred from last year are now due, although if needed it is possible to spread these payments over time. From April onwards, interest and capital payments will become due on CBILS and Bounce Back Loans taken out 12 months previously. And at some point the furlough scheme will come to an end, adding further pressure on businesses who must decide whether they have sufficient work for all staff. So, what can a business owner do to protect their business going forward? Forewarned is forearmed, so anticipate problems before they occur, with the use of an ongoing cashflow forecast and seek early professional advice to maximise the options available to correct matters and so save the business. Even if your business is financially healthy, you need to
be aware your customers or key suppliers’ businesses may not, and what the effect might be if they were to fail. Look out for potential warning signs: ⚫ Are your customers slow in paying or asking for increased credit limits? ⚫ Have payments been returned or delayed? ⚫ Are they late in filing their accounts? ⚫ Is their balance sheet weakening? ⚫ Have they CCJs registered against them? ⚫ Are they losing key staff? Knowledge is key – if you can identify potential problems, you are more likely to able to do something to help and protect your own business. Christopher Brown Chris.firstname.lastname@example.org 0114 251 8850 Business Recovery & Insolvency Partner Hart Shaw LLP
THE ROAD TO
Y R E V O REC As the UK works through the third national lockdown Greg Fell, director of Public Health in Sheffield and Alexis Krachai, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce interim executive director and managing director of Counter Context, discussed the optimism of the vaccine rollout, the changes needed to the help available for businesses, and how the resilience of the Sheffield City Region business community. Words by Jill Theobald
“It is in all our interests to manage the virus spread best we can – in the long term and in the way we run our lives and businesses – because the notion of COVID secure will be with us for long time to come, I think.” Talking to Greg Fell in January as the UK entered its third national lockdown, there are probably not many employers or employees across the Sheffield City Region (SCR) who would be surprised to discover the Director of Public Health in Sheffield does not sugarcoat his predictions. “2020 was quite a difficult year – that’s an understatement, and 2021 will be bumpy no doubt
about that. Lots of people want me to predict when it will be over. I don’t think it will be over in 2021 – that’s the honest answer.” However, he is also cautiously optimistic about the vaccine rollout – and the third lockdown coming to an end – and pays credit to businesses across the SCR who have responded by ‘adapting and pivoting’ the best they can. “We will come out of this third wave and the third lockdown and that will be quite a slowly declining tail. By that time, we will have a pretty well vaccinated population as well and that will have an impact, no doubt – and there will be caveats on that – but we’ll be no way
near a scenario where the whole population is immune. “There will still be susceptible people, so we are going to have to manage the impact of coronavirus probably for the foreseeable future. I’d like to say we could eliminate it but sadly that ship has been and gone – I think we will be in a bumpy place for at least a year would be my guess.” Bumpy – or ‘turbulent’ as Alexis Krachai, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Interim Executive Director, views 2021. But the MD of Counter Context also describes himself as an optimist and sure enough does see some rays of light as we head into the new year, too.
“It will be turbulent, but we shouldn’t be worried or intimidated by that,” he says. “If we were to describe 2020 as a dark and challenging year, this year I think will be lighter but not plain sailing as we are not going to move swiftly beyond this pandemic. “So we’re going to have to show resilience and carry on innovating and as a business community be agile and be prepared for ups and downs. Overall, the trajectory will be more positive than perhaps we expect but I think 2021 will be better than 2020.” Both Greg and Alexis agree that until the enquiries start, not just here but around the world, we won’t know which countries’ approaches
COVER STORY GREG FELL, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH IN SHEFFIELD
to tackling COVID were successful. “But the countries that went hard and early will probably prove to be the most effective,” says Alex, adding that we need to, “on a global scale look quite profoundly at those countries that have solidarity at winning their populations and an economy and a public health system that can lockdown very quickly with a high degree of adherence. It’s going hard and early, but we found that very difficult to do for a lot of different political, economic and social reasons and in a lot of European countries that was exacerbated the same.” Said Greg: “There’s one sure fire way to suppress viral transmissions and that’s to lock the economy down completely – that will have a massive positive effect but also a massive negative effect for all the reasons Alexis has set out. So we have to pursue a fine line between limiting the social and economic harm that suppression strategies have versus maximising the suppression strategy.” He is also full of praise for
businesses in our region who have, as Alexis describes it ‘pivoted and adapted’ to COVID. “All credit to businesses up and down SCR who moved mountains to do that the best they possibly can but some are more reliant on face-to-face contact with customers or between individual employees so that will be harder for some than others.” Alexis said: “All of us at a personal level mourn every job loss or every headline about a business that has failed. But some businesses are doing extremely well because their business models were not predicated on close contact between humans. “In the SCR and Sheffield in particular we have a genuinely proud history of being at the forefront of innovation – we’ve been doing it for 3-400 years so there’s been a lot of innovation in marketplace. But equally, and without doubt, there is a lot of pain in the business community, the marketplace, and the economy. Like most places in the UK, we are a city region of small businesses,
85-90 per cent are micro businesses, so yes, they have the ability to be agile, but they perhaps don’t have the resilience and cashflows to trade through really complex economic situations.” Greg said: “I may be wrong, but I believe there’s a case that economy in South Yorkshire is arguably less reliant on leisure and tourism etc than other parts of the country so we could make a case that we’ve been less impacted. But we HAVE been impacted and we can do better in terms of business support, no two ways about it.” Alexis describes the support since March 2020 as the government using ‘a huge hose pipe and sprayed money all over economy not necessarily in a panic but that was what was needed’ with Bounceback loans and CIBILs. In subsequent lockdowns, he says, the Treasury are trying to be ‘more nuanced, sophisticated and measured’. “But they haven’t got it right because the economy is incredibly complicated, and we live in a centralised state
so what we’re seeing now is, in simple terms, business support is either not enough – and can never be because you can’t replace a fully open economy – but the support that is being provided is being clumsily administered. And that’s not a reflection on local authorities like the city council, the local authorities in Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster or the Sheffield City Region but it’s government recognising or making it a political decision that it can’t keep hosing money into the economy the way it did before.” Alexis added: “Businesses are going to have to keep adapting and innovating and we must keep pressure on for support for those that, however smart and thoughtful their owners and staff are, will not be able to trade in a pandemic.” Greg and Alexis were talking to James Marriott during unLTD’s first podcast episode, which is available through all your usual podcast providers. For the full discussion search ‘unLTD business’.
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BRAVE NEW WORLD Alexis Krachai on learning lessons about the accelerating trend of the ‘low touch economy’ during the pandemic – and beyond “I was sent a report by a company in North America about what they defined as the ‘Low Touch Economy’ and it really resonated with me. I think it’s going to define the rest of our professional lives. “It’s defined as being shaped by reduced human contact and tighter restrictions locally, nationally and internationally and I think we will have to get used to the idea we’re all going to live and operate in a low touch economy. “It’s the acceleration of preexisting trends – more of our lives being lived online, and more products and services being consumed in our homes where possible. We will likely see an explosion in mental health issues and how people think about their wellbeing and products and services being developed – and indeed they already are – to address that. We will be more focused as a society and businesses will respond in kind on hygiene and cleanliness. “When we eventually talk about COVID-19 in the past tense we are still going to be carrying the kind of mental scars of having lived through it. I’m an optimist and I think we will have hopefully learned from this experience at a
structural level. “We will become a lot more sensitive to any little blip of an unknown pathogen and really focused in the western world on public health surveillance. It will start to permeate mainstream news and become more of a topic of conversation because we are now tuned into it. When we get back into pubs – which we will! – we will be talking about football scores as well as ‘have you heard about what’s popped up in South East Asia or Africa’ – that will be far more prevalent.” Alexis on how the region will ‘thrive’ post-Brexit “It’s a brave new world. In 2016 we voted to leave the EU and the political decision stemmed from that was for us to leave the EU Single Market and the Customs Union. That, in very practical terms, has involved us ripping away from the trading arrangements for our largest market for our exports that we’ve got used to over the last 30 to 40 years. “My message to businesses in SCR is I understand the pain that’s prompted some businesses and the frustration
with the additional paperwork that has been generated. It may be that there are businesses out there that can see and are enjoying new opportunities as a result of Brexit so there is good and bad news associated with a very profound political decision. “Regardless of my views on Brexit good or bad, one of the things worth noting is that in Sheffield and SCR we’ve been trading with the wider world for centuries – long before the EU was the gleam in the eye of political leaders after the Second World War. “So, we will thrive in simple and succinct terms. It is a huge change leaving Single Market and Customs Union been in for 40 years, but we’ll carry on doing what we’ve been doing in Sheffield and the wider city region which is making amazing things that people want to buy. We will carry on being successful because that is what we do. Businesses are very good at adapting and by and large very good at learning and spotting opportunities – we did that in the EU and we’ll do it outside.”
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JAMES MARRIOTT, ALEXIS KRACHAI, RICHARD FIDLER AND GREG FELL DURING THE RECORDING OF THE FIRST UNLTD PODCAST
Greg Fell shares his views on some of the key areas of the virus, its impact, and the third lockdown ‘flashpoints’ Greg on … herd immunity and vaccination There’s zero evidence that we can effectively shield the very vulnerable and the very elderly just because of the way society works. You can if you want to lock them away, but no one wants to do that – we all want to see our gran, so there’s no way we can operationally affect a shielding policy. The only way to develop herd immunity is to develop a vaccine – we have that now and we are going at some considerable pace on that. It will take a while for us all to be vaccinated but the best way for us to develop herd immunity with any infectious diseases is through vaccination.
Greg on … global lessons We’re a libertarian economy and that brings benefits for all sorts of reasons, but we’ve seen some of the downsides, too. Lots of South East Asia benefited from having direct experience of SARS first time round. We hadn’t been through that and hadn’t learned those lessons as a society. Global learning will be important from this. While it is fair to say the UK has not had a great response, we’re in a big club – a lot of the world hasn’t, while some countries have had a spectacularly good response. There are things have worked well for us and there are plenty of things that have not worked so well.
Greg on … lockdown three being ‘more lax’ The rules are less strict than last time, but the rules are being enforced, there’s no two ways about that – if the police and Environmental Health see people obviously breaking rules they will enforce the law. The media is full of a narrative of ‘everyone is breaking the rules’ but the evidence is actually to the contrary. The vast majority are observing the rules but where rules are allowing something to happen, people will do it – if retail is open people will go shopping. So while the rules are a little more lax compared with first time round and that makes it harder to control the spread of the virus, most people are observing the rules that are there.
Greg on … lockdown ‘flashpoints’ The key flashpoint around rule observance is people who can’t afford to isolate for 14 days. It’s alright for me, I can sit in my back bedroom for another nine months, thank you very much. But if I drive a taxi and I have four kids to feed £500 a fortnight is not enough. Another strong narrative in the media is that those on low wages and insecure contracts can’t afford to observe the rules in the same way I can and there’s more that needs to be done in those terms. That’s the single most important thing by far in terms of suppressing the viral spread.
unLTD’s first podcast episode, is available through all your usual podcast providers. For the full discussion search ‘unLTD business’.
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WHATEVER THE JOURNEY
HOW WILL THE PANDEMIC INFLUENCE
FUTURE COMMUTING HABITS? For many people, where they work and how often they commute has permanently changed as a result of COVID-19. Richard Pilgrim, marketing manager at Travel South Yorkshire’s Active and Sustainable Travel team, tells unLTD’s Chris Coates what lessons we can learn from the last ten months
Transport Focus, an independent watchdog for transport passengers and road users, recently published their ‘Travel during COVID-19: key lessons for 2021 and beyond’ report. This report looks back to the findings from their weekly tracker survey, an exercise they have carried out every week since May 2020. The survey, with more than 60,000 responses across 33 weeks, has consistently shown that the majority of passengers using public transport have felt safe when travelling. Around four in five who used a bus in the last seven days said they felt very or fairly safe, and almost nine in ten who had used a train in the last seven days said they felt very or fairly safe. But the picture changes where people have not used a bus, tram or train service
recently, even if they were frequent users before March 2020. Less than three in ten people who hadn’t made a journey by bus thought they would feel safe, and just one in three people that hadn’t made a recent journey by train thought they would feel safe. It’s clear that attitudes and practices towards the future of work and commuter travel are changing, with increased talk of greater flexibility where the workplace and job role enable it. Over ten months on from the start of the first lockdown, many people have not returned to their previous workplace at all. More people are seeking greater flexibility in the future and there has been more focus on the potential for ‘hybrid working’, a set-up that could provide a suitable solution for employer and
employee alike. As Transport Focus themselves conclude, ‘many people expect to work from home more and commute to workplaces less often in future’. It’s becoming increasingly clear that seeing a full return to our previous commuting habits seems unrealistic and, in many ways, undesirable. After all, before the pandemic, typical commutes in our area were around 50 minutes per day and had been increasing in recent years. Having an ongoing dialogue between employer and employee is crucial to what the future place of work and the commute will look like for many. Perhaps surprisingly, this conversation may not be as advanced as it needs to be. Our own survey, which we undertook with more than 50 employers across South Yorkshire in September 2020,
revealed that less than one in two had surveyed their staff about what a return to the workplace could look like. We can help to get these conversations going, reassuring current and future users of local transport services and advising on best routes, tickets and timings. We can host travel surgeries where we discuss travel options, and all this can be done ‘virtually’. We’re keen to talk to and work with businesses of all sizes to see how we can help more people re-think their future journey to work in 2021. To find out how Travel South Yorkshire’s Active and Sustainable Travel team can help your workplace, contact sustainabletravel@ sypte.co.uk or visit travelsouthyorkshire.com/ workplace.
APPRENTICESHIPS AT THE FOREFRONT OF ECONOMIC RECOVERY Ahead of National Apprenticeships Week, the team at Barnsley College share with unLTD how apprenticeships allow young people to develop their potential and enter the workforce earlier – and look ahead to their own events during the week, too As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the labour market, job prospects for young people aged 16-24 remain an increasing cause for concern, whilst the Office for National Statistics reports that the national economy faces a record-breaking jobs crisis. Analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies reinforces this fact, painting a bleak picture for several groups within society who are hardest hit by sector shut downs during the pandemic. Those aged under 25
are 2.5 times more likely to work in a shut down sector than other employees, whilst low skilled, low earners are seven times as likely as high earners to work in such a sector. To support the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic, the Government launched its ‘Plan For Jobs’ in July 2020. This acknowledged that these groups are amongst the hardest hit and promotes a raft of initiatives and incentives to protect them from long-term unemployment. An investment
of £1.6 billion is aimed at scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships, to help society’s most vulnerable onto the career ladder. Last month’s ‘Skills for Jobs’ white paper puts even greater emphasis onto the conversation around skills, strategic support to employers and co-developing future technical education; the green economy and the levelling up agenda. Until the end of March, employers may be awarded
funding of £2,000 for hiring new apprentices aged 16-24 years, or £1,500 for those aged 25 and older. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 grant that can be obtained by employers who hire an apprentice aged 16-18 years, or those under 25 years who have an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) or are in local authority care. Apprenticeships allow young people to develop their potential and enter the workforce earlier, whilst employers benefit from access to the next generation of
ADVERTORIAL talent. Those new apprentices are immersed in their employer’s culture and practices whilst they earn a wage and learn essential skills, knowledge and behaviours to invest back into the business. In fact, the benefits to both apprentice and employer stretch much further than this. That is reflected in the fact that employers in England got 271,900 apprenticeships underway in the first nine months of the 2019/20 academic year, despite the economic turmoil inflicted by COVID-19. Those aged 25 and over made-up 44.7 per cent of those apprenticeship starts, demonstrating that employers value apprenticeships not only for growing their workforce by recruiting school leavers, but also to upskill those members of their team who are more experienced or qualified. The majority of those older apprentices are likely to be studying apprenticeships up to Level 7 (university/degree level qualifications). Barnsley College supports around 1,500 employers across Yorkshire and even more beyond, with a growing team and portfolio of training programmes and qualifications which is designed to support the entire workforce development strategy. The College is rated outstanding by Ofsted and employs a dedicated Business Development team to work with employers, identifying talent to nurture and skills gaps to fill, whilst also supporting succession planning for key roles. Barnsley-based XPO Logistics supports new and existing employees to achieve the Level 2 Supply Chain Warehouse
FLORIN FLOREA, APPRENTICE CO-ORDINATOR AT XPO LOGISTICS
Barnsley College offers more than 70 apprenticeship pathways from Level 2 to Level 7. These serve a multitude of job roles and sectors.
A BARNSLEY COLLEGE STUDENT (CATERING AND HOSPITALITY)
Operative Apprenticeship Standard with Barnsley College. Florin Florea, apprentice co-ordinator at the firm, said: “The apprenticeship helps us to retain talent and it often propels an existing employee into a different role that offers them new challenges and greater fulfilment. Others are very happy to return to the same job and they give back more to the business having become more qualified, knowledgeable, and skilled. Over time, we are nurturing the development of our whole workforce so that each colleague is multi-skilled and has an in-depth understanding of the core business.” Barnsley College offers more than 70 apprenticeship pathways from Level 2 to Level 7. These serve a multitude of job roles and sectors from Accountancy, Construction and Beauty Therapy to Management, Teaching and Warehousing and Logistics. Historically, the College has enjoyed apprenticeship success rates above the national average. Angela Kerley, assistant principal - apprenticeships at Barnsley College, said: “Our team has recently extended to Shropshire and the West Midlands, where we have a locally based apprenticeship team and training facilities to serve a growing regional client base. Additionally, our acquisition of Independent Training Services Ltd./SmartStyle
Training Ltd. (ITS) extends our reach to employers, apprentices and students in the North West and East Midlands regions. “Our resources and provision are continually evolving and improving with the addition of T Levels (Technical qualifications) and content to our curriculum that will prepare our apprentices and students for an increasingly digitised world. We continue to invest heavily in our estate and facilities, having most recently transformed our SciTech Campus into the Digital Innovation Hub which opened its doors in September 2020.” Investment in the College’s digital curriculum is aligned with Barnsley’s ‘TechTown Five Year Action Plan.’ This aims to create ‘more and better jobs’ and businesses by promoting the acquisition of digital skills, digital entrepreneurship and the use of digital technology to transform existing businesses, all towards addressing the digital skills gap which threatens to cost the UK economy over £100billion in GDP growth. Apprenticeships added to the curriculum cover areas such as Digital Marketing, Cyber Security, Data Analysis, Software Development and Network Engineering. Barnsley College will be hosting virtual events during National Apprenticeship Week (8-14 February) which will cover benefits to businesses, courses offered, positives of studying, how to apply, finance and funding and more. Register at barnsley.ac.uk/events or find out about workforce development from Barnsley College at barnsley.ac.uk/employers References 1. ‘Employment in the UK: January 2021’ (Office for National Statistics) 2. ‘Sector Shutdowns during the coronavirus crisis: which workers are most exposed?’ (Institute for Fiscal Studies) 3. ‘Plan for Jobs’ (Gov.uk) 4. ‘Skills for Jobs’ (Gov.uk) 5. ‘Apprenticeships and Traineeships, England
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THE BREXIT ERA BEGINS Following years of debate and discussion the Brexit era has begun with a new trade deal. Brightfinchâ€™s Zeeshan Ashraf talks unLTD through the deal and its impact in terms of planning, duty mitigation and risk management
The last-minute deal may offer tariff free access to the single market for UK goods, but the cost of doing business with the EU has increased significantly. Apart from the customs declaration fees, businesses are now facing an extra administrative burden in an already challenging economic climate due to the covid-19 pandemic. Although no import duties are payable for goods of EU origin imported into the UK and British goods exported to the EU, UK exporters must ensure that their goods meet EU requirements in many sectors such as food and drink. Tariff free trade is welcomed by all sides however some British goods may also be subject to EU quotas. In addition, import VAT must now be taken into account when exporting to the EU if UK companies wish to continue trading on a duty paid basis in order to overcome the extra administrative hurdles for EU customers. The treatment of foreign entities for import VAT purposes is not uniform across the EU. Some countries offer Limited Fiscal Representation (LFR) which doesnâ€™t necessarily require a local VAT registration number. Other countries are offering the option of General Fiscal Representation (GFR) which requires local VAT registration, but allows the exporter to apply for a VAT deferment account. Some EU nations offer both options and others neither. Both of these solutions are likely to require a fiscal representative which could incur a monthly fee for VAT returns even if there are no imports into the EU.
Brexit has realised some of our worst fears with a clear lack of customs professionals both in the public and private sectors to facilitate the necessary processes. Those that are able to provide customs services are working around the clock up to seven days a week. Some companies importing into the UK before supplying customers in the EU are now facing a potential double duty cost when exporting to the EU. Delays at the border crossings, running into many hours and in some cases days, have halted a large proportion of the export trade in perishable goods - such as seafood and meat - which require seamless frontier operations to thrive. In addition, health certificates are now required for these goods which are both costly and time consuming. An increasing number of EU hauliers are refusing to undertake UK journeys due to the extra time, cost and unpredictability, which are crucial factors in logistical planning. The global picture is equally bleak as some traders have reported sky-rocketing fees for shipping containers owing to the pandemic in China and the hesitance of some shipping operators to trade with the UK. It seems that nobody is immune to the new realities of Brexit as consumers have discovered that an innocent online shopping trip can land them with a bill for customs charges and even import duties in some cases. This is due in part to the customs declarations that must now be submitted and to EU traders using tools such as customs warehousing whereby goods of Chinese origin for example are held without
ZEESHAN ASHRAF, BRIGHTFINCH
incurring EU duties if the final destination is outside of the EU. However, a crisis can also present opportunities. Despite the difficulties mentioned above, businesses can mitigate some of the fallout by utilising customs authorisations such as customs warehousing, Inward and Outward Processing Relief and various other trade facilitation tools. Many traders are exploring their customs arrangements for the first time which should lead to positive outcomes both in terms of planning, duty mitigation and risk management.
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STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOUR CLIENTS,
WHATEVER THE CIRCUMSTANCE The team at Hydra Creative tell unLTD why marketers shouldn’t cut their budget during the pandemic – and explain why the benefits of ongoing marketing are ‘limitless’ As the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the UK, many marketers had the knee-jerk reaction of pausing all activity and cutting their budgets. In principle, this seems like a wise move. Why try to sell if your doors are closed, or not legally permitted to sell? But this was a short-term solution to what would soon become a long-term problem. Historically, recessionary periods actually provide ‘fertile ground to grow market share’. Why? ⚫ With competitors pulling their spend, we have a bigger opportunity to gain market share ⚫ We need to remind our clients, existing and prospective, that we are ‘still here’ ⚫ Statistically, companies that increased their advertising budget had a more successful ‘bounce back’ post-recession. While some of these figures date back to as far as 100 years ago, the message still stands. Today, we have the power of digital marketing – removing barriers to market and providing a cost-effective, measurable alternative. So, what techniques should we be using to survive during a pandemic? Google Ads In 2020, Google announced a $340 million grant for small businesses to use on Google Ads. While the deadline has passed now, the effects of COVID-19 on advertising spend remain positive. The same competitive keywords are now less expensive per click than they were before.
For best results, try: ⚫ Using Google’s extended features (which are expanding all the time), for example, targeting campaigns based on specific goals such as traffic, leads or app promotion ⚫ Focusing on existing customers, getting their attention through remarketing display ads ⚫ Reviewing your market share more often to check how consumer habits are changing. Social media marketing Like Google Ads, social media pay-per-click advertising has fallen to record lows. For best results, you should combine both ads and organic posts into your messaging. For example: ⚫ Regular updates on the company for the ‘personal touch’, plus information on how you’ve ‘pivoted’, if appropriate
⚫ Paid ads with a sympathetic tone of voice – acknowledging the crisis but changing the message to reflect how you can help the customer ⚫ Facebook ads can be combined with Instagram to provide a cost-effective insight into your customers. Strategise your content Content without a purpose is simply content for content’s sake. Everything you produce should have a goal in mind, thinking about the customer funnel. For example: ⚫ It’s not always about the sell – your content could inspire or show empathy, provoking discussion and increasing your reach ⚫ Content needs to help people. Look for ‘newsjacking’ opportunities – for example, an accountant might write a guide to COVID-19 small business grants
⚫ Distribute! B2B content should be shared on LinkedIn, for example, while B2C infographics might serve better on Instagram. Continue with your email marketing With more time on their hands, your customers will engage with your emails more than ever before. In fact, email marketing increased by 44 per cent during 2020, with many businesses taking to newsletters to keep customers updated. Remember: ⚫ Clean your data regularly and segment based on the intention of the campaign ⚫ Use a mixture of promotional and informative content ⚫ Promote the newsletter through other channels to gain new subscribers. Above all – stay connected! The pandemic has given us all a chance to be more ‘personal’, with the prevalence of Zoom and new channels such as TikTok. Video marketing does not have to be expensive, and can provide a much more human experience if possible. Talk to your customers. They’re going through it, too, and would sooner speak to a human than a faceless brand. The pandemic may be short-term, but the benefits of ongoing marketing are limitless. Talk to Hydra Creative today to discuss your marketing strategy.
QUESTION YOUR THINKING
ACCREDITED APPRENTICESHIP TRAINING GALORE AT WHYY? CHANGE Sheffield based training provider, Whyy? Change rolls out brand new accredited apprenticeship training ahead of National Apprenticeship Week I am the director of governance at Whyy? – this basically means I protect the business from our CEO, Ray Byrne! Part of my role is head of apprenticeships. I oversee our apprenticeship delivery from the first conversation with an employer through to completion of the end point assessment, ensuring our delivery exceeds what the employer and apprentice expected.
It was always part of my plan to start an apprenticeship and I have patiently waited for the Quality Practitioner to be approved as the knowledge, skills and behaviours I’ll develop will enhance our business structure, systems and long-term strategies of growth and resilience. Being an apprentice at Whyy? is a unique experience focused on changing my mindset and
LAURA STEAD, MARKETER AT WHYY? CHANGE
I’ve worked as a marketer for almost 20 years (in fact two years before Mark Zuckerberg had even dreamt of Facebook) and I love the thrill of working in a fast-paced industry that faces new challenges and opportunities each day. As a skilled practitioner and tutor, I’m immensely proud to support
people who are carving their professional marketing career. The satisfaction I get from seeing others develop and grow can be likened to tucking into a familysized bar of Dairy Milk that you’ve hidden from the kids…amazing! (Learn more about Laura on the appointments page 13!)
EMMA HARRISON, DIRECTOR OF GOVERNANCE
I’m a firm believer in learning by doing and that applies perfectly to marketing. Whyy? Change offer Marketing Apprenticeships that enable people to do just that – gain the underpinning knowledge from industry experts while learning from real-life ‘on the job’ experiences. At Whyy? Change, we recognise that marketers wear their Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) qualifications like a badge of honour – it demonstrates that you are a recognised marketing professional and welcomes you into a community of fellow CIM marketers. That’s why all our marketing apprentices gain their CIM qualifications as standard. Whyy? Change delivers a full range of CIM Marketing Apprenticeships, suitable for those starting in their marketing career, right through to those who have gained experience and would like to progress their career further.
The region talks about there being too few opportunities to fulfil their potential, whyy not experience one of our accredited Marketing Apprenticeships firsthand? Give us a call 0114 400 0077!
applying my new knowledge and skills from my first session. By having a tutor who is a skilled practitioner in Quality is an absolute must as Lynda Holbrey, our Head of Quality HSE, can bring scenarios to life. Whyy? will be looking get certified in ISO 9001 by the end of 2021 and my apprenticeship will put us in a strong position to achieve the certification with support from our Head of Quality.
LYNDA HOLBREY, HEAD OF QUALITY
“Supported by the Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) this apprenticeship can qualify you to CQI Quality Practitioner Status. Whyy? Change, will pay for your membership fees including the upgrade to the Practitioner status as well as providing a Bureau Veritas certified ISO 9001 principles and internal auditor course at no extra cost.” Lynda Holbrey, Head of Quality Whyy? Change
THE NEXT CHAPTER Sheffield Chamber is busily shaping the next chapter in the organisation’s long history. The vision? To see Sheffield as the best place in the UK to run a successful and sustainable business. The Chamber’s mission? To lead the way in making that happen The Chamber’s transformation has started at the top. The Chamber Council that represents our members has welcomed new business leaders from a more diverse range of industries. A new cohort of nonexecutive directors will shortly join the board. All bring a passion to make Sheffield the best place in the UK to run a business. They all understood the role the Chamber can play in leading the way to making that vision for the city a reality. An announcement on their identity is imminent. In the meantime, the Chamber is thinking differently and broadening its horizons which is why future board meetings will need to take place across seven time zones. Like any organisation, the Chamber of Commerce does not operate in a vacuum.
The strength and quality of its relationships with other organisations is key to success. At the start of the new year the City Council welcomed a new chief executive and council leader. Conversations have already started on how our Town Hall and business community can work more closely together, building on the collaboration that was forged at the start of the pandemic when Sheffield’s
COVID-19 Business Response Group was set up. Sheffield Chamber is also a key player in the newly formed Sheffield Partnership for Jobs and Skills. Collaboration across South Yorkshire is also going from strength to strength. The three Chambers in Sheffield, Barnsley and Rotherham and Doncaster are in contact on a daily basis and representing our region’s businesses nationally. The Chambers
are now represented on the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Working with the local authorities and the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub, the local Chambers of Commerce, headed up by Sheffield, have just launched the South Yorkshire Brexit Support Service. Any business with a question about how to thrive outside of the EU now has a single point of contact to access expert advice. The service can be reached by calling 0114 223 8188 or emailing brexitsupport@ scci.org.uk. Next up is a strategic review of every aspect of what Sheffield Chamber does and the services and support we provide to members. If you have questions, suggestions or ideas get in touch by calling 0114 201 8888 or emailing email@example.com.
WHY WE LOVE SHEFFIELD BID
With the ballot for Sheffield BID’s future well underway this month, unLTD’s Mike Durham had a chat with some of the schemes’ admirers to find out why they’re such big fans It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since the BID first made its home in Sheffield all the way back in 2015. In that time BID, or the ‘Business Improvement District’, has partnered with more than 500 UK and independent retailers, hospitality and commercial
employers across 244 streets to help provide the city centre a brighter future. From rubbing away graffiti on shop walls, to attracting visitors with giant Lego spaceships, and even giving business-saving advice during three national lockdowns – it’s not out of the question
to say BID has come a key part of Sheffield’s business community. If the BID is to stay that way for the next five years, then the levy payers which fund the scheme – businesses occupying hereditaments with a rateable value of £40,000
or more – have until 5pm on the 25 February to cast their votes of approval. We chatted to three businesses who are some of the BID’s biggest fans to find out why they’re hoping it’ll remain an active voice for Sheffield’s City Centre for years to come.
SHEFFIELD BID ANDREW SNELLING CHIEF EXECUTIVE FOR SHEFFIELD CITY TRUST
Sheffield has seen encouraging signs of redevelopment. “The central challenge that all city centres face is encouraging people to spend their valuable time there, “We have two prominent and retailing alone won’t be venues in Sheffield City Centre, sufficient. Sheffield City Hall and Ponds “The majority of shoppers Forge, which on a ‘normal’ have had no choice but to get year can hold up to 500 events used to online shopping over around sporting, business and the past 18 months, which entertainment bringing in up has changed the future of city to 150,000 visitors – many from centre retail permanently outside our city. – an engaging, immersive “We understand the need to experience is now more have a vibrant city centre that essential than ever before. brings people back to Sheffield “BID projects such as the again and again, which is why Herd of Sheffield, Bricktropolis, we are keen to work with BID and the upcoming Bears of as they’ve got the city centre’s Sheffield are new installations best interests at heart. that provide interest in the city “City centres – and retail and get people exploring. specifically – have had “Whilst large events like challenging times in recent Cliffhanger present a very years across the country, but individual look at Sheffield and schemes like this have meant the strengths our city offers;
On-going support for initiatives that continue to develop Sheffield’s unique and clear personality are essential to a successful future for business in the city centre.
cementing the role of the green, outdoor spaces we have on our doorstep. “On-going support for initiatives that continue to develop Sheffield’s unique and clear personality are essential to a successful future for business in the city centre. “In addition, the BID team are well aware of the need to provide a safe environment for all visitors and have been especially helpful during the last year and a half helping us support local homeless people who congregate around our venues. “We are also keen to support the latest planning on active travel, and welcome the vision from Sheffield BID and Sheffield City Council on a new vision for Fargate and Castlegate that matches the great developments that have already taken place down the Moor.”
Health, Safety & Compliance
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SHEFFIELD BID SEAN GREGORY CO-FOUNDER OF SMOKE BBQ SHEFFIELD AND GEO “In the beginning Sheffield BID just seemed like it was another levy to pay, and all you thought was ‘great what are we going to get for it’, but then as time progressed you really started to see the value in it. “For one you have the regular visits from BID ambassadors, who check in with you, let you know what is going off and find out about the events BID has taking place, which helps us to plan. “They bring things to the city centre, whether it’s come around and look at an elephant or kids going on a treasure hunt with their parents. “The city centre is also noticeably cleaner now. We suffered a lot with graffiti around St Paul’s place where
JIM BELL DIRECTOR OF ARUP IN SHEFFIELD “We want to support Sheffield, which is why we have actively supported the BID through our non-exec director Simon Nevill – giving him the time and flexibility to work with the scheme since before it was fully formed over five years ago. “We support the overall concept of helping the cities where we have offices to be places where we all want to live and work. “As an office we may not be directly impacted by the front-line work of the BID in the busier areas, as footfall is not intrinsic to our work, but having a vibrant city centre is good for our staff. They enjoy staying in town longer at the end of the day, and have a place to visit during the weekend. “Vibrancy and a wide range of pubs, restaurants and cultural
Smoke is based as it’s a nice area with big buildings and big spaces giving a lot of opportunities to draw things. “The BID looking after that has been great – it gets spotted by ambassadors and reported back to the cleaning teams, who come out quickly and they clear it, instead of our managers going out and rubbing stuff off the walls. “If we were paying our levy, and all we got was graffiti removed, that would make me a happy man. “BID also went beyond my expectations when we approached them for support with Geo – a mobile app for businesses to communicate directly with customers. “I didn’t think BID would have any obligation to help, but they’ve taken it to heart to support us – and bestow the value of Geo – to all the other businesses in Sheffield. “As well as using it themselves, they have their
activities are essential to attracting people to Sheffield, and the BID has a major role to play in this by supporting extended hours in the city, and helping with safety and security. “With COVID-19 there are now fewer people in the city centre, and the increased night time security and cleaning services BID has provided has been incredibly important for those living or still working in the area – and for encouraging people back as restrictions are eased. “Coming out of the pandemic will be a really crucial time and having the BID bringing in extra activities to encourage people back into the city centre will assist and help the city recover. “The key thing is local businesses working together to make things better for all, and the BID is the convener of this work and activity. BID enables businesses to work together for shared outcomes. We strongly support this collaboration and the impact the BID has as a result."
THE GEO APP TAKES ALL THE HASSLE OUT OF FINDING SHEFFIELD-BASED OFFERS
ambassadors talking to every business they visit about Geo, sent e-shots, and put us on their webpage. “We have about 60 to 70
businesses on the platform now. I would say 40 per cent of them came from the BID, including big names like John Lewis, which is incredible.”
Coming out of the pandemic will be a really crucial time and having the BID bringing in extra activities to encourage people back into the city centre will assist and help the city recover.
DONCASTER BUSINESS AWARDS TAKES A
P A E L L A U T VIR
The past 12 months has brought challenges and stresses that no one could have anticipated. However, despite the pandemic and the inordinate impact it’s had on businesses across Doncaster and the wider region, we have seen them adapt to find success and resilience amongst the chaos. For this reason, the celebrated annual Doncaster Business Awards is returning for 2021 with the help and support of their fantastic sponsors. unLTD’s Matt Holmes caught up with Jade Dyer, assistant director of services at Doncaster Chamber to discuss what we can expect.
ALL THE WINNERS CELEBRATE AFTER THE 2019 AWARDS
AWARDS This year’s event will, like most things lately, look slightly different to usual. Instead of attendees celebrating together in one big room, the awards will be watched from home via a screen. But watching the awards is only one element of the night, as just because it is a virtual event, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty more to get involved with. “We made the decision back in September / October to consider going virtual and postponing it till March. We had to run side by side a physical and virtual plan,” says Jade. “When we made the decision to go virtual it was on the proviso that it wouldn’t be a flat production and would include the interactive element.” What exactly would that mean? Jade discusses how awards ceremonies are perfect places for high-profile networking, and this one shouldn’t be any different. “It’s the biggest awards in South Yorkshire with 900 people usually in a room. Our members want to meet, and they all enjoy that experience.” To replicate this, there will be a virtual platform where
DURING THE EVENING THERE WILL BE A LIVE VOTE WHERE GUESTS PICK THE WINNER OF THE DONCASTER BUSINESS HERO AWARD
guests are all represented and sat around ‘tables’. If there is availability, guests can join a ‘table’ and participate in a video chat to talk about whatever they would if they were there in person. Throughout the evening there will be a live vote where guests take an active part in picking the winner of the Doncaster Business Hero award, which will be presented live by Mayor Ros Jones on the night. A big part of the physical event is the entertainment, and it is just as true this year. Jade says: “We know hospitality and tourism has taken a massive hit, so we wanted to make sure they felt
included in this ceremony. The virtual platform will have different rooms that users can enter to watch pre-recorded performances from local artists in favourite venues around Doncaster.” For anyone missing the food at Doncaster Racecourse, which Jade reminds us is “second-to-none”, VIP ticket holders even get a welcome drink and three-course a la carte meal to finish at home, all helping to create the same shared experience with other guests as if they were there together. This year’s event has a very special new addition. It goes without saying we have all rediscovered our appreciation
for our NHS and in-line with this is the inclusion of the NHS Recognition awards. Jade said: “We are very close to our NHS partners in Doncaster. We wanted to give the business community the opportunity to say thank you back and celebrate the amazing work that they’ve done. These awards are nominated and voted for by NHS peers, therefore giving NHS staff the opportunity to show who they think deserves recognition.” 2021’s ceremony has the potential to be the biggest yet without the restraint of a set number of seats to fill, so more people than ever can get involved to celebrate the best of business in Doncaster. Despite attending from home, it’s still very much a black-tie affair so guests can still get dressed up for the occasion. Although Jade does add: “It’s up to you if you wear your slippers!” You can find more information about Doncaster Business Awards and buy your tickets to attend at www.doncaster-chamber. co.uk/ doncaster-business-awards
BUSINESS SUPPORT NEEDED TO BOOST SHEFFIELD CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL FACILITIES The Children’s Hospital Charity is calling on unLTD readers to help build a new Cancer and Leukaemia Ward at Sheffield Children’s Hospital
We need your help to transform the Cancer and Leukaemia Ward at Sheffield Children’s Hospital for families like Alice’s. There are under 10 months to go to raise the money needed to build our new Cancer and Leukaemia Ward at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. In this unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, many of us have experienced for the first time in our lives the difficulties of social distancing, shielding and isolation. For many families of young patients staying on our Cancer and Leukaemia ward, these are daily realities of their treatment. Our Cancer and Leukaemia Ward at Sheffield Children’s treats children from babies
through to 19-yearolds, in South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and as far south as Northampton. One of 20 principal treatment centres in the UK, we care for children with cancer and leukaemia as well as patients who have other blood problems such as bleeding and inherited disorders. While many of us can distance in our homes, children are still receiving treatment on our ward in facilities which could be better. The care and attention from the doctors and nurses
are second to none, but the facilities for the young patients do not match the quality of their treatment. One family who know the ward well are the Latham family whose four-year-old daughter Alice (pictured above) has been receiving treatment for a neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer, since January 2019. Alice has undergone extensive surgery, treatment and chemotherapy on the ward and this year the family were given the wonderful news that Alice had entered remission. Alice’s dad Jamie said:
“The staff are amazing and they do an incredible job. They have kept us going but their excellent care deserves facilities to match. We’ve probably been in every bed space and isolation room on the ward and we’re determined to help make the experience better for others where we can.” Could your business help us match the facilities on the ward to the incredible care children like Alice receive? There are lots of opportunities to support this project and your company could be recognised on the new Cancer and Leukaemia Ward for many years to come. If you would like to find out more please contact Tchad at tchad@tchc. org.uk or phone 0114 321 2470.
WHAT WE WANT IT TO LOOK LIKE
NAVIGATING THE ROUGH SEAS The rough sea that business owners need to navigate in 2021 will be a lot easier to manage if we have the right equipment in place, says Future Life Wealth Management founder and MD Jill Thomas What a strange year 2020 turned out to be. And, as I write this, it seems the seas in 2021 will be as rough. For many small business owners, the impact of lockdowns has been massive. For some Brexit has added another pressure. Just staying afloat may seem like a tall order. And that is where you may start to look at where to cut costs. It may be tempting to cut what you see as superfluous. But, as a small business owner myself, I ask you to stop and think before you make any rash decisions. One area that you might be tempted to cut back on is insurance. I have seen business owners particularly reduce insurance on people – life insurance, keyperson insurance or shareholder protection. But these are not nice-tohaves – these can be vital. You wouldn’t stop insuring the desks and laptops in your office. So why stop insuring the people? Furniture can be replaced – people are the commerciality of your business. What if something happens to you or one of your key members of staff or one of your shareholders? And if you are the sole director, what if the worst happens and you die and the business has to be wound up and redundancy
payments then have to come out of your estate? I am also seeing that life insurance companies are not keen on taking on the over-55s right now. In some circumstances, providers have even started to decline giving quotes. So, if you stop your life insurance temporarily to help cashflow you may have problems re-starting, particularly perhaps if you do contract COVID-19 – we really do not know how providers will respond to that and the implications of long COVID. And even once some sort of normality resumes, who knows what the rates will be like. We are generally advising business owners to keep the cover they have, as you never know what is round the corner. Another cost business owners are often tempted to reduce is the marketing budget. But remember people can’t buy from you if they don’t know you exist. You need to keep on keeping out there. Maybe you can look at more cost-effective ways of promoting your product or service, such as the targeted use of social media. Whichever method you choose, it is worth
noting research by Harvard Business School which shows businesses that are successful in the long term don’t cut back on marketing budgets when the going gets tough. That rough sea that we, as business owners, need to navigate in 2021 will be a lot easier to manage if we have the right equipment in place. We need a decent boat and crew, and the back-up of a life raft. To mix my metaphors, as they say, don’t risk throwing the baby out with the bath water. One day we will make it to calmer waters.
No individual investment advice is given, nor intended to be given in this article and liability will not be accepted in respect of any action you may take as a result of reading this article. If you are unsure you are urged to take independent investment advice.
ALLAN BRANCHES OUT WITH EMMAUS SHEFFIELD RECYCLING ART PROJECT Emmaus Sheffield’s Social Enterprise programme aims to provide meaningful work and enable the people it supports – known as companions - to eventually become selfsupporting once more. Companion Allan Scott has come up with the idea of turning scrap copper wire into miniature metallic Bonsai trees, which will be sold to provide extra funds as the Emmaus second-hand superstore has to remain closed during lockdown. “We are given many electrical items we cannot sell because they have failed their PAT test and can’t be repaired,”
said Allan. “I strip things down to their individual components and it was when I was taking the coil from inside an old washing machine I came across copper wire and wondered if there was anything we could do with that to make just a bit more money for Emmaus.” He intends to make enough miniature trees to have ready for sale when the Emmaus store opens again following lockdown. “The whole Emmaus ethos is taking something that has been unloved by society, giving it some special attention and giving it a new lease of life,” he said.
ALLAN SCOTT TURNING SCRAP COPPER INTO BONSAI TREES
LAW FIRM WAIVES WILL WRITING FEES IN SUPPORT OF BLUEBELL WOOD A community-spirited law firm is waiving its fees for its bespoke Will writing service to help raise much-needed funds for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. BRM Solicitors have partnered with the charity to offer the service throughout February in return for a donation to the hospice. BRM’s suggested donation of £75 for a single Will can pay for two counselling sessions for parents coming to terms with the devastation of losing a child. For a Mirror Will, often used by couples, BRM are suggesting a £150 donation. This amount would contribute to a short break for a family at Bluebell Wood to give them some muchneeded me time. Rob Woodhead, head of Wills and probate at BRM Solicitors, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting Bluebell Wood
RUDI LOVES VISITING BLUEBELL WOOD WITH MUM DANIELLA
this year with our Make a Will month after several successful years of supporting amazing local charities. “As well as helping to raise money for local charities, our free will months are a
great way to promote the importance of making a Will and ensuring money and possessions go exactly where you want them to. Four-year-old Rudi, from Chesterfield, loves visiting
Bluebell Wood for short breaks and wows staff and volunteers alike with his infectious smile and bubbly personality. Mum Daniella said: “Everyone’s welcoming, understanding and has empathy for our situation. “Nothing’s ever too much trouble. It’s a safe and comfortable place for us to go and having that support to rely on really does mean the world to us.” Rachael Dawes, individual giving manager at Bluebell Wood, said: “We need to raise over £5 million each year to keep our doors open, and our ability to fundraise has been significantly impacted by the pandemic.” “So a gift left in someone’s Will, of any amount, will help us to continue to be there for children and families at a time when they need our support more than ever.”
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