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business magazine Food and Drink




After it’s recent refurbishment, we visit Leone Bistro on Queens Rd

We take a look at the new Panamera, the 4 seat tourer

One aim – promotion



James Blacklaws from Lloyds TSB outlines the importance of a business plan for firms seeking to grow and expand PAGE 21

Pasta Master



Sven’s City PAGE 33

!ity IstN W C eice er



A brand new magazine for Leicestershire-based directors and decision makers Financial Advice Corporate Entertaining Legal Issues


white hall


Winter 2010



white hall


Welcome… to Leicestershire’s quarterly business magazine which is aimed at you, the directors and decision makers of the county’s key businesses. Whitehall magazine provides shrewd tips that may save you money, offered by professionals’ from different service sectors. This experience is set alongside lifestyle articles, interviews and comments. The content is structured in a way that allows you, the reader, to pick and choose the sections that are relevant and of interest to you. The style is deliberately relaxed yet informative, so enjoy the experience and give us feedback with your own thoughts for future content. The editorial team want Whitehall magazine to provide a platform for discussion between directors and the business community. So why not join in?

Editors Advertising Printers Design Address Phone Web

Lee Cobby Dominic Payne James Westwood Minuteman Press Lutterworth Think plus Ink Whitehall Magazine 6 Frederick Street Leicester LE18 1PJ 0116 288 9999

Please note: Whitehall Magazine is fully protected by copyright. No part of this magazine can be reproduced or reprinted without the consent of the publisher. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy, however there can be no liability accepted by the publisher for errors or omissions. We cannot be held liable or responsible for any breaches of copyright from adverts, materials, photography or any other matter supplied by third parties. The views and opinions expressed within the magazine are those of the editors. To subscribe to Whitehall Business Magazine email us:


Robert Craven a writer praised by Richard Branson for his approach to business writes about re-gaining your personal life once your business is up and running.



Whitehall look at the options available when trying to raise capital for your business

We set out the 3 main VAT Schemes and explain the pro’s and con’s that will help you save your business money.

20 24

Porsche centre Leicester reveal their new pride and joy. The Panamera V6 four seater saloon.

Silvan the bespoke flooring specialists tell us about their plans for expansion and why an understanding partner is important in the business world!

Director’s Suite 4-7 Staff 9

Tax Savings 11

Capital ideas 12-13

Berkeley Burke on tax efficient investments



Legal 17 Corporate Recovery 18-19

Financial Advice 20-21 Motor 24-25 Technology 26-27 Food and Drink 28-30

Corporate Entertainment 31

Sport 32-33

Interview 34-35

Director’s Suite

The ‘not’ to do list

The ‘not to do’ list In a desperate attempt to keep control of his life, business expert Robert Craven, a writer praised by Richard Branson has adopted a ‘Don’t do’ list policy. It should be easier to stick to than a ‘To do’ list but actually it is still pretty tricky. So, in no particular order...

Don’t email first thing or last thing each day Don’t email before 10.00am or after 4.00pm. Emailing first thing screws up the day as you get distracted beyond belief. Emailing last thing screws up your sleep pattern - it can wait till tomorrow! Don’t check emails regularly Check them at set times, say 10.00am and 3.30pm, ie not often. You must define one important/key task for each day and that must be your first priority. Email addiction will destroy your business and screw up your brain. Don’t answer calls from people you don’t know/recognise Never ever answer a call unless you know who it is from. You should have a PA or virtual PA screening all your calls. Let them know who you will and who you won’t speak to and instruct them as to how to handle the various different types of call, eg keynote speaking enquiries to Trish, consultancy enquiries to Lesley and so forth. Because we create our own businesses around ourselves, we end up being involved in way too much. You should be designing the business so that it operates without you. Try putting auto responders on your email that say “I am out of the office but consultancy enquiries can be dealt with right now by Lesley at or on +44 (0)1225 851044 and keynote speaking enquiries can be dealt with by Trish on…” You could do the same with your direct line answer phone if you don’t have someone to filter your calls for you. Just stop talking to people you

don’t know - the call is probably for their benefit and not for yours! Do not turn up to meetings on time This is known as Lombardi Time. The great Hall of Fame football coach of the Green Bay Packers, Vince Lombardi, invented a strategy that he recommended to his coaches and players. Lombardi Time states: “Show up for every important business meeting 15 minutes ahead of the scheduled meeting time.” The idea is to use the 15 minutes to catch your breath, collect your thoughts and preplan what you want to accomplish in the meeting and how you’ll go about it. I hate being late. If others are late I consider it the height of rudeness (can’t they be bothered/organised...). If you look closely (because you arrived early...!), you’ll see people arrive at meetings, and this will tell you a lot about the way they lead their lives. Don’t work with (or employ) energy sappers This one is ‘stolen’ from Clive Woodward. From time to time we all work with energy sappers/zappers and don’t we just know it! They seem to squeeze every last ounce of passion and excitement out of any project. Their mantra is some permutation of: · “Yes but...” “If only...” “They won’t/can’t’/haven’t/shouldn’t couldn’t...” “Well, if that’s what you want to do...” “I don’t really see the point of...” And don’t the energy sappers just love the “they” word. “They did this...”, “They do that...”

Most people are reasonable; that’s why they only do reasonably well.

Oh how I hate these people! They become high-maintenance (and usually low-profit) because of the damage they do to your own immune system. Their stress and negativity dumping behaviour sucks the very lifeblood out of your most precious asset - your enthusiasm. Replace all energy sappers with energisers - it is as simple as that! Don’t build the business around yourself In the early days it’s great to see those emails and texts for you – you are important and wanted. However, this excitement soon turns into an addiction. Your definition of success starts to depend on how much you are needed. Wrong! (unless you want to be the bottleneck in your business). Try to design the entire business model with the sole intention of getting it to operate without you. Or do you enjoy working 24/7? ‘Start with the end in mind’ is what Steven Covey says. If you intend to get out of your business at some point then you need to design the whole thing with that endpoint in mind. Otherwise you end up as the most tired person in the graveyard! Don’t carry a Blackberry 24/7 The world will not grind to a halt if you are not there to take every call. In fact, customers might treat you with a bit more deference if you ration your available time with a little more respect for what is really important. Don’t play it too safe The riskiest thing is to be safe. Very good is bad because no-one notices it.

Don’t be reasonable “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends upon the unreasonable man.” GB SHAW

So, are you being reasonable? As Paul Arden says, “Most people are reasonable; that’s why they only do reasonably well.” Don’t get the negative feedback habit We spend 95% of the time focusing on the 5% of things in our businesses that don’t work and only 5% of the time focusing on the 95% of things that really do work. If we do screw up we already know about it, so let’s recognise the mess and get on. When things go wrong there is no point dragging the team into the boardroom to dissect and analyse every action that (may have) contributed to the poor result. It is far better to take the team into the boardroom when things have gone well to dissect and analyse every action that (may have) contributed to the good result, ie get the team to focus on what they are doing right. If you get/see what you focus on then it seems mad to focus on what’s gone wrong and it seems obvious to spend more time looking at what really works. Don’t take it all too seriously No-one enjoys working with a bore and while we are at it... Don’t forget why you are doing this in the first place When you are on your deathbed you will not say “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.” Get real, have fun, laugh and lighten up!

Final thoughts by Whitehall Having tried to put the above into action, I can vouch for it not being easy. I have managed to keep Lombardi Time and I don’t have my Blackberry with me 24/7 for office use. However by just adopting two or three of these actions I’ve found that I’m less stressed. I find it’s similar to going to the gym. I may not leave looking like a model, but I certainly feel like one inside and that’s the addiction. Robert Craven is the keynote speaker and author of the best-selling business book ‘Bright Marketing - why should people bother to buy from you?’. As MD of The Directors’ Centre, the consultancy for growing businesses, he works with ambitious directors to break through constraints on business growth. He can be contacted at or on (0)1225 851044.

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Director’s Suite

Understanding VAT with Whitehall

Understanding VAT The first of our review points for all businesses we visit is the cash flow. Cash is king and if your business is set up incorrectly you could find that you waste money trying to fund the VAT man


MRC understand that VAT affects businesses of all sizes above the £70k turnover threshold and therefore have set up various systems to help us handle our VAT obligations. Below we have set out the three main groups of VAT schemes and explained the pro’s and con’s.

Small Turnover 0 - 150k Flat rate scheme This is a sales based VAT scheme, which allows small businesses to calculate and fill in the VAT return based on the amount of money you’ve banked during the period under review. The scheme works by applying a revenue set percentage to your income and ignores any VAT you’ve paid on purchases, unless your purchase is an assets worth over £2,000 e.g vans, laptops and plant. In which case you may reclaim the VAT amount incurred on that item. The revenue set percentage is based on your industry class and ranges from 3.5% to a maximum 13%. This scheme suits smaller companies with high gross profit percentages and small amounts of overheads. Typically, consultants and sub contract builders working for VAT registered larger businesses. Registering for VAT when your turnover is below the threshold of £70k seems madness to a lot of businesses however if your customers are all VAT registered, using the Flat Rate Scheme will provide additional income from HMRC.

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For Example: • You currently charge £2000 and pay no VAT. Your customer writes you a £2000 cheque and that is the cost to them. • You join the scheme and charge £2000 + £350 VAT. Your customer writes you a cheque for £2350 and reclaims £350 from HMRC. Their total cost is £2000. • Your income is £2350 less VAT due to HMRC, which can only be a maximum of £305.5 (13% of £2350), therefore your total income is £2044.50.

Medium Turnover 150k - 1.6m Cash accounting Vs Invoice basis VAT charged to your customers on your invoice becomes due once they have paid you. Typically this will help businesses because they can put aside the VAT proportion of their sales income as they bank it, safe in the knowledge that their VAT bill will always be covered by the amount put aside. The opposite scheme to the cash accounting scheme is ‘Invoice basis’ which requires you to pay the VAT man any VAT charged on your invoices, whether you have been paid by that customer or not. The negative side to ‘Invoice basis’ is that if customers push their payment terms over 30 days, your invoices raised on the last day of the VAT quarter may not have been paid by the VAT due date, leaving you in a negative cash flow situation. The plus side of using invoice basis is that if you run a business where your customers pay at the point of sale there is no strain on your cash flow and VAT incurred on your purchases can be reclaimed prior to you paying your suppliers.

Large Turnover 1.6m + Past 1.6m turnover you must implement ‘invoice basis’ VAT accounting. This transition from cash accounting to invoice basis is not always pain free. You need to ensure that you chase all of your debts to ensure that you receive them within 30 days, otherwise you could be left with no funds to meet your VAT liability. Missing payment deadlines can mean 2 - 10% revenue penalties on VAT due. Anticipating the change and putting aside one month’s worth of VAT liability in a separate account is the immediate thought, however if your business is geared towards maximum reinvestment and all cash is spent this might not be possible. Arranging a bank overdraft can make paying your VAT on time more flexible, just in case a customer digs their heels in and delays paying you. Debt older than 6 months are classed as bad debts and you can reclaim the VAT paid to HMRC for that invoice. The overdraft facility will need to be one month’s worth of VAT and will only be used as and when your customers decide to stretch your terms past 30 days. One final point to consider is that you have 14 days from the date of supply to raise an official VAT invoice. If the 14 day period spans a VAT quarter then hold off until the new VAT quarter starts.

Director’s Suite

Q&A with Whitehall

Q& A Q

Fuel costs represent a significant outlay for my business. Am I dealing with the VAT on motor expenses the most effective way? How can I be sure I’m getting the most back with the least amount of admin?


The basic options for recovering VAT on motoring expenses are: -claim all VAT back on any fuel used whether private or business, and pay a motoring ‘scale charge’ for each car*. Keep a detailed mileage record for all travel, calculate a business proportion of the total mileage and claim the equivalent percentage of your total VAT cost per your fuel receipts. Pay a business mileage allowance and keep your fuel receipts, claiming a VAT percentage of the mileage claim.

2/10 (Admin burden)

VAT scale charge If you reclaim VAT on road fuel for private motoring in a car HMRC will insist that you pay the motoring scale charge. This is based on the CO2 emissions of the car and not the actual amount of private usage. The scale charge must be added to the output tax (Box 1) on the VAT return.


Mileage Records If you do not want to use the motoring scale charge because the charge you pay is more than VAT on the road fuel that you can claim, you can record all your mileage in a log showing the business mileage and the total mileage. So if, for example, you have travelled 5,000 miles in the quarter and 1,000 are business miles, then you can recover 20% of the VAT.


Pay a mileage allowance The HMRC publish mileage rates** that give the fuel costs per mile for the relevant engine size. It normally works out at between 10p and 15p per mile depending on the engine size and fuel type. You can then apply the VAT fraction to the figure and claim it back at 17.5% (7/47ths) or 20% post 1 Jan 2011 (1/6th). You do need to keep fuel receipts as a backup for these claims. *What is a car? A car for VAT purposes is any motor vehicle of a kind normally used on public roads which has three or more wheels and either: is constructed or adapted mainly for carrying passengers or has to the rear of driver’s seat roofed accommodation which is fitted with side windows or which is constructed or adapted for the fitting of side windows. **


Over the recession my company has required back up funding from the directors, can I charge interest?


Yes, the revenue’s set rate for interest charges is currently 4.75% APR, you can charge this to your company and collect the interest payments monthly. The interest will be subject to a 20% tax deduction up front, in the same way a wage would have PAYE deduced. You are required to fill in a revenue form ‘CT61’ which needs to be ordered via phone, 01274 539665 and completed on a quarterly basis, with any tax deducted being paid to HMRC. Come the end of the tax year any interest paid to you will be entered into your tax return between your wage and dividends, and therefore depending on your personal income set up, the tax deducted up front could be repaid.


Who provides the best exchange rate for overseas transactions?


N.B 13:56pm on 5 November 2010 interbank spot rate for euro’s is €1.1510 to £1 Bank charges RBS Transfer charges range between £10 - £20. Exchange rate = Under £100k = @13:56pm 5 November 1.1146 (15 minutes to get price) HSBC Transfer charges range between £20 - £30 Exchange rate = Dependant on volume (indication rate, not time specific) @14:15pm 5 November 1.1158 (10 minutes to get price) Lloyds TSB Transfer charges range between £21 - £28 Exchange rate = Dependant on volume (indication rate, not time specific) @ 14:23 5 November 1.1256 (5 minutes to get price) Currency specialists International Foreign Exchange (IFX) Transfer charge is £10. Exchange rate = Dependant on volume, (generally 0.4% - 0.6% off interbank) @ 14:14pm 5 November 1.1476 (1 minute to get price) 52 Brook Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 5DS, UK +44 (0)20 3005 8916 If you have any questions you feel we could help with, please email us on with the subject header Q&A.

Whitehall business magazine I 7

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Safety first Every employer in the UK has a responsibility to make arrangements for someone becoming ill or injured whilst at work The Health & Safety Executive requirements: • Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations require employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to enable first aid to be given to employees if they are injured or become ill at work. • These regulations apply to all workplaces including those with five or fewer employees and to the self employed. • Employers are required to carry out an assessment of first aid needs. • The minimum first-aid provision on any work site is: a suitably stocked first-aid box and a person to take charge of first-aid arrangements. The Number of First Aiders: • It’s important to remember that accidents can happen at any time. First-aid provision needs to be available at all times, including weekends, holidays, sickness and shift cover. You should take into account; remote sites and travelling workers, your organisation’s accident history and cover for members of the public. If you are unsure about what your workplace first aid needs are, call our team for advice on 0844 357 91 27, or visit our website at, where you can complete a free online assessment in just a couple of clicks. SkillBase First Aid are friendly and professional specialists in First Aid training courses.

We are very experienced at delivering the highest-quality First Aid training courses and we train thousands of delegates each year. Our First Aid training courses are professional, fun, highly participative and allow delegates to ask questions and discuss their experiences in an open and relaxed fashion. The 5 top reasons why you should use SkillBase First Aid for your first aid training needs: • Our courses are fun and interactive workshops, allowing delegates to discuss their own experiences, and ask questions. • Our delegate feedback rates us as excellent, on a massive 97% of feedback forms, from the thousands of delegates we train each year. • We are directly approved by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to run first aid training courses. • We have our own dedicated training team, that deliver the same course, in the same way, consistently. We are not a booking agency. • Our pricing structure is simple and transparent. We constantly check our prices to ensure that we offer excellent training, at excellent value. Our courses are available for individuals at our training centres, and for groups at your workplace.

Our First Aid training courses are professional, fun, highly participative and allow delegates to ask questions and discuss their experiences in an open and relaxed fashion. For more information, forthcoming course dates, or a quote for onsite training call our friendly and professional team on 0844 357 91 27, visit our website at or email

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Whitehall business magazine I 9

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Tax Savings

Benefit in Kind by Whitehall

Benefits for the future! April 2008 and Alistair Darling announces the 10p Tax rate is to be scrapped! Uproar rises from the benches and as Alistair returns to his bench, both Brown and Darling know they have to find a way to restore the public’s belief.


ay 2008 Alistair Darling announces an increase in the personal tax free allowance from £5,435 to £6,035. However, he brushes over not increasing the National Insurance allowance, which we assume is still required to plug the deficit in the pension pot.

2010/11’s Gap = £775 How does this affect you? In order to utilise the above changes in the most tax efficient way we need to find a type of income which is not subject to National Insurance but is deductable from your company profits. Which brings us nicely to Benefits in Kind, a monetary value is placed on a luxury which is provided at your company’s expense. This value is added to your wage and recorded on your personal tax return. The value of the benefit is subject to Employers National Insurance at 12.8%, however the corporation tax savings at 20% easily out weigh this. We as a company have gym membership as our chosen benefit in kind, which not only fills the gap but provides healthier employees who are full of life and stress free.VAT is re-claimable and the net amount following corporation tax relief is £31.32 per month as a cost to the company. This expense would have usually come from our employees pockets and therefore the equivalent wage would be £800 gross.

Car’s are another good benefit in kind, monetary values are based on a percentage of the car’s cost when new. The percentage is based on the car’s emissions. Percentages start at 15% for CO2 emissions of 125g/km or lower. However the percentage can be discounted for hybrid electric and petrol cars or bi-fuel gas and petrol cars. On the flip side the percentage can also be subject to an additional 3% if the car is a diesel. The following are allowable for corporation tax relief: • Depreciation • Loan interest • Repairs • Servicing • Insurance VAT is re-claimable for the last 3 items. An ideal car is the one pictured below, the Toyota Prius, with benefit values starting at £1,418 per year equating to a personal tax cost of £128.

A separate benefit can apply if you decided to provide fuel for your employee; this is also based on the co2 emissions. However bare in mind all fuel will be covered under this agreement with your employee and therefore some might make additional trips for no good reason. To control your fuel expenses a pence per mile rate can be agreed to supplement their business trip fuel only. Find your next car at www.whatgreencar. com. Other benefits are available but require more tailoring to comply with HMRC’s rules and regulations.

Farmer & Carlisle Leicester 129 Welford Road Leicester, LE2 6BE 0116 285 2851

Whitehall business magazine I 11

Capital Ideas

Funding advice

Capital ideas With many small firms finding it difficult to access bank credit, some will turn to their accountant for advice on funding When asked his biggest regret in his first 100 days as Prime Minister, David Cameron replied: ‘Failing to get banks to lend more to struggling businesses.’ Conditions remain very tough – particularly for small firms. Whitehall Accountants look at the various options available to businesses when trying to raise capital. Security Risk ‘Banks are still willing to lend, but information and security is of greater importance to them than it was a few years ago,’ notes Dominic Payne of Leicestershirebased accountants and tax advisers Whitehall Accountants Ltd. ‘It’s much more difficult for businesses to get a loan or overdraft, however, being well prepared and focused on the tasks ahead is a great start, combined with a solid business plan you’ll find the bank managers being a lot more open.’ Security on such arrangements remains an issue for many owners, states James Blacklaws of Lloyds TSB Bank Plc (see Banking page 21), as house prices drop the equity left in your home following a bank price reduction of 30%, less the outstanding charges, leaves many home owners in negative equity. ‘Gaining a close relationship with your bank is a very smart move, even if you are not looking for finance. This will then put you in a

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better position when finance is needed.’ Businesses that are a little more fortunate might be able to raise cash by selling assets, such as premises or machinery, but they need to consider the longer-term implications, warns Lee Cobby, Director of Whitehall Accountants Ltd. He adds: ‘Careful consideration is needed when drawing upon liquid reserves, because it could leave you short of working capital.’ Equity Finance Some small businesses seeking to fund growth might be able to attract private equity investment. According to the BVCA (, the industry body that represents the UK’s private equity and venture capital industry: ‘Private equity is medium-to long-term finance provided in return for an equity stake in potentially high-growth, unquoted companies.’ Unless a business can offer major turnover upswing within five years, a private equity firm is unlikely to be interested. Investors favour companies ‘managed by experienced and ambitious teams who are capable of turning their business plan into reality.’ As Lee highlights, ‘although private equity firms can provide hard cash, greater knowledge and useful contacts, it involves conceding some ownership, as well as having to work with the investor, who will expect to have a significant say in how the business is run. Finding the right investor is crucial – and that’s much more than someone with the cash you need. The fit must be right.’

Private equity firms tend to focus on specific sectors. ‘Companies with clear competitive advantage and a sound business model are very desirable. Owners and managers must have a clear vision for their business and a credible growth strategy,’ says Lee. Angels Delight Business angels are highly successful, independent business people who invest (typically £20,000-£200,000) in early life small companies for equity and a seat on the board. They take a hands-on role in taking their investments forward. The British Business Angels Association’s website uk provides a list of its members. As Lee explains: ‘Business angels or venture capitalists as they are commonly known, come in similar forms. However, they are not just there to make money, but to offer advice, drawing on their years of knowledge. If greater sums are required, they might invest with other angels.’ It is imperative that the business owner finds someone they can trust and can get on with. They must be able to accept criticism, too. Angels usually have an array of excellent contacts,’ says Lee. ‘They may be able to open doors that were not an option before and also with speed and conviction.’ Factoring and Discounting As a last resort for smaller sums, another fundraising option is factoring. As Dominic

explains: ‘factoring enables businesses to sell their invoices to a lender, who advance up to 90% of the invoice value. The factoring company will then chase in the debt for you. This can be used to get businesses through short-term cash flow crises, however be aware that signing you up to a long term agreement is usually on the factoring companies mind. Factoring charges are between 2-3% of the invoice value and, after 120 days of the debt being outstanding most factoring companies will bounce back the debt to you with no refund of the initial charge. Advice should be sought from an accountant who understands factoring, Factors are strict on lending criteria, and the financials must be presented in a way the lender understands.’ Invoice discounting is similar, Dominic adds. ‘The main difference is the business owner still chases payment and keeps control of their ledger, so the customer does not know the invoice has been sold.’ As Dominic concludes: ‘Lending criteria has tightened up - and in some cases for the better – but it has probably become too strict. Bank managers need to make calls based on individual merit, because not every business is the same or fits nicely into national criteria.’

Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) Another victim to the emergency budget was the amount of capital expenditure which is 100% deductable from your company profits in the year of purchase. The AIA was set at £100,000 entering the 2010/11 tax year, however following Mr Osborne’s speech the new allowance will be decreasing to £25,000 as of April 2012. Therefore your investment strategy should be brought forward to meet this deadline.

Whitehall business magazine I 13


I Whitehall business magazine

bright ideas + creative design = a local marketing service that really adds up‌ Think plus Ink is a graphic design agency based in the heart of Leicester city centre. Our work includes branding, print, online and retail design projects for local businesses, high street names and the private sector. If you would like to find out more about us, please get in touch; 0116 253 3455 or email or search for Think plus Ink on Facebook and Twitter. FREE

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Drowning in paperwork? A legal agreement is a bit like a life jacket – you only find out if it is any good when you really need it


nd like a life jacket, what saves you is not the thing itself but the quality of it and the way it is used. Sadly, the recession has meant that businesses falling on hard times are sometimes unable to honour their commitments and/ or they look for a way out. Further, when businesses are tightening their belts lawyers can be seen as (and sometimes are) an extravagance, especially when so many legal documents are available on the internet at a fraction of the price.

Many of these legal documents are well drafted and perfectly acceptable. The problem is, just as a life jacket has to be the right size and fastened correctly, a legal document has to be the right one for the intended purpose and must be used in the right way. Getting it wrong is the equivalent of tying the life jacket around your legs and hoping this will keep your head above water. The first problem with internet legal documents is that it is difficult to pick

the right one (e.g. there are literally dozens of leases and shareholder agreements). The second problem is that, having selected the document, people then start ‘tweaking’ it which can leave businesses without the protection they thought they were getting and with additional problems for the future. A further issue we see is the increasing number of businesses not bothering with legal documents (even from the internet). Instead, they cobble together a ‘back of a fag packet’ version and hope for the best. Whether using internet agreements or their own versions, often businesses simply don’t realise the extent of the risks they are taking. To continue the water analogy, you should always know the depth of the water and the strength of the current before jumping in. A well fitted life jacket might be fine in the local river but you wouldn’t use it to cross the Atlantic. A couple of recent examples are:•A client came to us with a scrap of paper he had signed saying he would sell his industrial unit. The paper had all the requirements of a binding contract. When he decided to walk away because this was a bad deal the buyer threatened to sue him. We managed to get our client out of this (just) saving property worth £400,000. •A client sold shares in his company using a shareholder agreement which he downloaded from the internet and then changed. The result is that our These notes are intended as general guidance only and should not be relied on in any specific circumstances without additional specialist legal advice.

client has lost control of his company and cannot get out of the agreement. A good business solicitor will not only prepare the right documents but will also look at the transaction as a whole and how it fits in with your business. They will explain the risks you are taking and help you to manage those risks by putting together a ‘Plan B’ in case things go wrong. Of course good lawyers aren’t cheap but most will give some free initial advice. This also enables them to assess how best they can help you and solicitors carry professional indemnity insurance. To help you navigate through the choppy waters of business and choose the right life jacket/legal document here are my some of my tips on entering into any legal arrangement:1.Write down everything that you expect from the agreement i.e. what you will (and won’t) do, what you will be paid or receive and the same for the other party. By doing this it will help you identify possible misunderstandings and therefore risk areas. 2.Do not sign anything without some sort of legal advice. 3.Try to work out what could go wrong – there might be more than you think (remember you don’t know what you don’t know!) For more information or help with your legal documents please call David Heys on 0116 212 1027. David Heys is a solicitor and partner and head of Commercial and Business Law at Lawson West LLP

Whitehall business magazine I 17

Corporate Recovery

Begbies Traynor

Plan your recovery don’t leave it to luck! Ravi Sembi, a director of the Leicester office of corporate recovery experts Begbies Traynor, offers some tips for business survival Begbies Traynor’s latest Red Flag statistics (which monitors the warning signs of companies in distress) suggest that the East Midlands economy is turning the corner, albeit the recovery remains fragile. Experience of the last four recessions tells us that unemployment levels and corporate and personal insolvencies have lagged behind technical recession by up to two years. So this is the time to keep the basics of survival firmly in mind... Cash remains king and you need to keep it that way. Always seek to have enough reserves to get you through a worst case scenario like several months of poor trading and do not be afraid to chase debtors. They may be important customers but life is cut-throat – make sure they are paying on time, do not allow them to build up debts owed and, if necessary, refuse to deliver any more until the figure is down to reasonable proportions. Stop work when credit limits are breached.

Speak to your bank and your accountant often and be as open as possible with them. They are there to support you and their attitude towards your business may well make all the difference. Make sure you have a formidable business plan in place and do your utmost to both follow it and keep it up to date. Ensure you have skilled advisers on hand who have seen tough times before and can steer you around potential pit-falls. Where possible negotiate longer credit terms with your suppliers but set shorter terms for your customers. Get your invoices out on time. Make sure that your product or service adds value and then market it as effectively as possible. It may be the next best thing to sliced bread; but, if no-one has heard of it, it won’t sell. Be realistic. If you are in a hole, stop digging. Take advice, re-examine your product, re-assess your target customers and, if necessary, get out and do something different well before bankruptcy or administration loom. Check out the competition and seek to ensure your operation is watertight. Don’t let your business become overstretched, budget for essentials and don’t rob Peter to pay Paul. And, while we are talking about robbery, make sure you are not taken for a mug. Fraud is always prevalent in tough times and could easily take you down. Be decisive in tackling setbacks; all businesses get them.

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Don’t be afraid to delegate. Build a trusted team around you. You may think no-one else is up to the job but actually that is probably not the case. Trying to do it all yourself will leave you stressed, unable to see the wood from the trees, tired and vulnerable. Remember that business is about risk-taking – don’t be afraid to take the hard decisions while grasping what opportunities present themselves. Don’t panic. Ultimately, business is about common sense. Do not succumb to greed. Play the percentages and remember the old motto that if something looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Should things go wrong, it is easy to feel very alone, but the experts are there to be used. It is absolutely vital that proper advice is taken by the company and its directors as soon as possible, and it is up to the company’s advisors to ensure that the directors are pointed in the right direction (even if there may be arrears of fees!). To use a medical analogy, if the patient delays seeking treatment until the symptoms are critical, the prognosis may be terminally negative. At the Leicester office of Begbies Traynor, we specialise in business rescue, recovery and restructuring. And don’t think we won’t understand your predicament; there is virtually no situation we as a firm have not seen before. If you would like to contact Ravi, please call 0116 281 6780 or email

Caption copy want one phone call away has been key during the last year and as our business continues to hold a dominant position in the market place it demands more of my time, meaning that finances take a back seat. Whitehall have taken the reigns allowing us to outsource the accounts department and not only reduce the cost but also reduce the strain.

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Financial Advice

The Pension puzzle Written by Zachary Gallagher of Berkeley Burke


any people find pensions dull and uninspiring, conjuring up images of laborious trustee meetings, complex calculations and unfathomable jargon. Most accept the need to save for later life but struggle to relate to schemes shrouded in mystery, and in which they play no part other than in handing over their contributions to the insurance company. Happily, there are schemes which allow you to plot your own path to retirement. To make your own investment decisions, to hire and fire investment managers and to choose how, when and by whom your pension should be paid.

The pensions industry has several terms for these schemes such as “SSAS” (Small Self Administered Schemes) or “SIPP” or “member-directed”. We call them ‘memberdirected’ in this article. Member-directed pensions started in the 1970s and freed directors from unexciting insurance company funds.

The rules allowed (and still do allow!) SSASs to invest in assets which benefit their sponsoring companies. Loans to companies, or purchases of company premises, allow loan interest and rents to be paid into the directors’ own pension pots, and give companies a valuable source of freedom or semi-freedom from the banks. A new member-directed pension, for a wider audience arrived in 1989. The Self-Invested Personal Pension, ‘SIPP’, caters for individuals who do not control a company. Over time the appeal of SIPP membership has grown to the point that many companies now set up staff ‘group SIPPs’ as an alternative to an insurance company pension. Hundreds of thousands of SIPP members can make direct purchases of commercial property, gold bullion, listed and unlisted shares, as well as unit trusts, currencies and many other investment types. Availability of investments through onestop ‘platforms’ has further widened SIPPs’ appeal and accessibility. Many differences between SSAS and SIPP disappeared when ‘Pensions Simplification’ arrived in April 2006. The respective strengths of the two scheme types are shown, however, in the fact that neither has replaced the other in the “simplified” world. Each retains sufficient distinction to allow both to flourish. Although some predicted that simplification would kill off SSAS, its ability to lend up to 50% of its fund value to its sponsoring company, subject to security being put in place, has ensured its continuing appeal.


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Why you should think of a SSAS or SIPP: Contributions go straight into a dedicated bank account, rather than directly to ‘front-end charged’ insurance company managed funds. Once in the bank account, contributions are only invested when you sign the cheque. Access to as wide an investment choice (including commercial property and loans) as HM Revenue & Customs’ ‘authorised’ regime encompasses, subject to any restrictions imposed by individual scheme managers and the ability to change your investments at any time, on whatever criteria you think fit. Enjoyment of still generous tax reliefs. A real sense of control in consolidating your funds, in particular how and when you draw benefits. And the SIPP goes from strength-tostrength as costs fall, investment choice increases and public awareness improves. Insurance companies compete with independent SIPP providers, small and large, for market share in an ever-growing sector of the pensions industry. SIPPs came under the regulatory watch of the Financial Services Authority in 2007, meanwhile, prompting a clearer sense of administrative direction and openness. Of course, member-directed schemes are not for everyone. Traditional insurance company pensions will always have their place, and advisers must be certain that a SIPP is the right option for their client, before recommending one. For those who value imagination, choice and freedom, however, pensions have never been more exciting. Zachary Gallagher can be contacted on 0116 204 2905.

Financial Advice

Lloyds TSB To help ensure local businesses are in good shape to prosper in the coming months, James Blacklaws, relationship manager for Lloyds TSB Commercial in the East Midlands and his team have been looking at the critical factors that are key to a successful business Taking any business forward has been difficult recently. However, research commissioned by Lloyds TSB Commercial earlier this year shows that over half of UK firms are expecting business to improve over the year. Many new and even established businesses fail because they don’t have a clear idea of their strategy and objectives. A business plan is a crucial blueprint that keeps you focused on where your company is going and how you are going to get there. It can help you identify what you have to do to make your vision a reality. Often, businesses can become too focussed on the day to day activities and fail to make time to generate a business plan and to keep growth ambitions on track. A well structured plan lays the foundations for growth and shares important information with key stakeholders. It should cover a number of things, such as: •An executive summary that includes your strategic direction and enables employees to work towards a common goal. •A 360 degree review that details which internal and external factors impact

your business. This should include the current and future economic climate, your competitors, technology and environmental regulations. It should also cover a detailed analysis of your company’s strengths and weaknesses. This will help highlight where and when you need contingency plans and how you can continuously drive improvement and efficiency. •Key financial considerations detailing your current cashflow and your forecast for the next one to three years, including variable and fixed costs, expected turnover, margin and profit.

Many new and even established businesses fail because they don’t have a clear idea of their strategy and objectives.

James Blacklaws says: “A detailed business plan is not only a sign of a well run business, but the preparatory work that’s required can often reveal things not previously considered. Importantly, it can help highlight challenges and commercial opportunities, and act as a blueprint for growth. “Often businesses aren’t sure where to start so choose not to engage in any detailed planning. That’s where my team and I come in - we can provide support and guidance to help firms start the planning process. To arrange an appointment with a member of the Leicester Business Team, call 07901 104098 or visit your local Lloyds TSB branch.’’

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Baker Jayne

Wealth of experience Baker Jayne Commercial Insurance brokers may be classed as a new company in years, but directors Alan Jayne and Adam Baker have a wealth of experience between them Adam Baker began his career in 1992 at the AA and has worked in a number of insurance sectors over the years, whilst Alan Jayne has been in the industry for 23 years at companies including Marsh and Lloyds of London. The duo teamed up and formed the company in 2009 at a time when many businesses were folding due to the economic climate. But the state of the market was just a further challenge to relish for the pair, who, with their small team, deliver tailormade insurance to businesses from their picturesque barn conversion premises in the Warwickshire countryside. The company offers a range of insurance packages from bespoke commercial combined policies to motor fleet insurance, property owners and professional indemnity insurance. The business is growing and having already purchased Rightway Insurance has continued to expand, recently welcoming Kim Holmes, formerly of R & C Insurance Consultants, to their company. Kim joins the team of dedicated personnel all of whom have market leading experience and expertise within the insurance profession.

Proud of their independent broker status, the company’s success can be attributed to the quality of advice and service given to all clients. This combined with the strong relationships that they have with all the leading insurers, allows them to obtain the solutions and provide the traditional values they pride themselves on.

Baker Jayne can provide solutions for all their clients’ requirements, dealing with all types of diverse corporate risks. Adam Baker, our founding director, lives in Leicester and is keen to promote Baker Jayne within the Leicester community. Call 0844 858 4030 to talk to one of the team today.


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Enjoy the Panamera Powerful, efficient and lightweight – the V6-engined Porsche Panamera Gran Turismo… Following the successful introduction of the Panamera in 2009, Porsche expanded their model range this year by introducing two new versions of the Gran Turismo; the Panamera and Panamera 4.

Both the Panamera and Panamera 4 models are powered by a brand-new Porsche-designed 3.6-litre V6 featuring Direct Fuel Injection (DFI) developing maximum output of 300 hp and peak torque of 400 Nm. Featuring a 90º V-angle, the V6 engine sits snugly beneath the sleek bonnet and, following the Porsche tradition, the Panamera transmits its power to the road via the rear wheels, while the Panamera 4, as its name suggests, comes as standard with active all-wheel drive. Equipped with the Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) double-clutch gearbox - which includes Auto Start/ Stop - the Panamera delivers 30.4mpg on the Combined cycle and CO2 emissions are an impressive 218g/km. The Panamera 4 averages 29.4 mpg and 225g/km respectively. When equipped with the optional nineteen-inch all-year tyres with optimised roll resistance, fuel consumption reduces further and the CO2 ratings lower to 213 g/km and 220 g/km in each case. Furthermore, both V6 versions of the Panamera fulfil the strict EU5 emission standard. The combination of performance, efficiency and everyday usability typical of Porsche can be partly attributed to the intelligent application of lightweight


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construction methods consistently throughout every Panamera, with the axles, doors, bonnet, wings and the rear tailgate each made of aluminium. Furthermore, the brand-new V6 power unit, built at the Porsche engine plant in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, offers similar lightweight advantages and is approximately 30 kg lighter than the eight-cylinder featured in the Panamera S and 4S. Together, these innovative weight reduction measures throughout the car contribute to the low overall weight of the Panamera of just 1,730 kg – a remarkable figure for a car of its capabilities. Like the proven V8-engined models, the Panamera and the Panamera 4 each combine dynamic sporting driving characteristics with a high standard of comfort and a luxurious interior ambience. Offering steel suspension as standard with optional variable dampers, adaptive air suspension with additional air volume is also available as an option and provides an even wider range of suspension settings to extend the driving qualities further still. Standard equipment on all models includes Bi-Xenon headlights, front and rear ParkAssist, heated front seats, tyre pressure monitoring, automatic dimming rear view mirrors, Porsche Communication Management with touch-screen satellite navigation and audio controls and cruise control.

The Porsche Panamera is priced from £61,461 (including VAT) and the Panamera 4 (PDK transmission as standard) is priced at £66,929 (including VAT). Every Panamera has the assurance of a Porsche Vehicle Tracking System (VTS), a sophisticated vehicle security package approved to Thatcham Category 5 standard, and customers will also be able to explore the potential of their new car by participating in a complimentary course at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone. The Porsche Panamera is available from Porsche Centre Leicester, which features a 30 car showroom for new and Porsche Approved used cars. In addition, the showroom includes a customer specification lounge where one of Porsche Centre Leicester’s Personalisation Consultants can demonstrate many of the different options and bespoke choices available on all new Porsche models. Their workshop has 10 work bays including a dedicated MOT bay and a Direct Dialogue bay where customers’ cars can be assessed by a Porsche trained technician and any necessary work highlighted and explained before it commences. The workshop facility enables Porsche Centre Leicester to offer a one stop shop for all service requirements including wheel refurbishments and SMART repairs, as well as a fully automated car washing facility for customers’ convenience.

...each combine dynamic sporting driving characteristics with a high standard of comfort and a luxurious interior ambience.

The Centre offers the full range of Porsche services including new and Porsche Approved used car sales, servicing, parts, a Porsche service loan fleet and a full range of Porsche demonstrators. The Porsche Tequipment range of personalised vehicle enhancement options is also available to order and can be fitted to new and used vehicles at the Centre. For more information about any of the services Porsche Centre Leicester offer please visit leicester or call 0116 319 0768.

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Which Smartphone?

iPhone: therefore I am? James Westwood questions whether the market leader really is best for your business, with surprising results..


ith mobile phones becoming an essential accessory within the business world, we go in search of the ultimate smart phone. This issue we review three of the market leaders focusing mainly on their business capabilities and how they can make your busy lives that little bit easier.

Blackberry Bold 9700 For years BlackBerry have tried to prove that business phones don’t have to be tedious and with the BlackBerry Bold 9700 I believe they have achieved this goal. With a stylish, guitar fret inspired QWERTY keyboard, the vivid colour display, and business interface, this handset is destined to become the world most desired business accessory. With 3G capabilities and a super-fast email system, it’s hard to see any obvious flaws. There is ultra-long battery life (up to 38 hours of music playback, six hours of talktime and up to 17 days on standby). The Bold 9700 is also slimmer than any of its ancestors but still manages to cram in 3G, Wi-Fi, larger memory and a better camera. And for these reasons the BlackBerry Bold 9700 blows earlier handsets out of the water. Other phones in the BlackBerry family just don’t seem to be on the same page as the Bold. This mobile phone could turn out to be a major challenger to the iPhone crown.

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Nokia E7 The E7’s slide out QWERTY keyboard is where this Nokia moves away from earlier handsets. The large, raised keys may not be as comfortable to use as they BlackBerry Bold 9700, but when on a flat surface the keyboard could be compared to that of a laptop. Tilting the massive 4 inch screen (the iPhone is only 3.5 inch) is a great addition because not only does it remove any glare, it also makes it easier to watch movies on than any other handset. Nokia’s brand new CBD (Clear Black Display) is the best display technology on the market. LCD and AMOLED screens visibility is massively reduced when in sunlight, whereas with CBD it’s as clear as if you were in a dark room. It’s also set to be included in all future Nokia handsets. Now on to the software, S60. The redesigned web browser handles web pages brilliantly in a fast efficient way that could challenge any desktop computer. Multi-touch is supported allowing the user to easily zoom without altering the quality of the page. Email capabilities is the main feature on any business phone and the Nokia E7 has made sure to include an email system allowing up to 10 email accounts which could prove to be very useful. Spreadsheets, word documents and presentations are no strangers to the E7 because of the QuickOffice Dynamic Premium application with which you can view, edit and share documents. All in all, the Nokia E7 is a very capable handset and is a brilliant addition to the array of

business phones currently available. However the problem this handset has is that it is up against giants like iPhone and BlackBerry and given the choice most customers would go for one of those. Apple iPhone It has been three years since Apple released the first iPhone and transformed the mobile phone market. It completely changed the way we expect a phone to be and what we expect it to do. The majority of mobiles now offer applications, internet browsing, GPS and email but only the iPhone can garner such anticipation. This year, the buzz is centered around iPhone 4 and in a booming market innovating speed and build quality are major aspects in this mobiles success. The first thing you notice as you pick up the new handset is the renovation in shape. Apple has done away with its trademark smooth, rounded edges and instead opted for a new chiselled design. This causes iPhone 4 to feel like a first-rate, robust product and well worth the price you previously

deemed too high. iPhone 4 now features a glass case made from the super-strong aluminosilicate material which improves its strength and scratch-resistant screen. It also cleverly utilizes the stainless steel strip which circles the entire outside distance of the phone. This steel strip acts as the Wi-Fi and cellular antenna in a way that will boost performance. Other advancements include a 5 mega pixel camera with LED flash and HD video recording capability, improved battery life and perhaps the most eagerly awaited feature for the iPhone, multitasking. Multitasking isn’t only restricted to iPhone 4 either, it’s available to all iPhone 3GS users who run the iOS4 software.

Apple have delivered a truly monumental phone that will stand the test of time and worry any manufacturer.

Of course iPhone 4 has faults, it would be impossible for it not to. For example the signal is sometime jolted when you hold it in a certain way but this is easily resolved by either holding it differently or by buying a protective case. In summary, the iPhone 4 exceeds all expectations. Apple have delivered a truly monumental phone that will most likely stand the test of time and will worry any mobile manufacturer.


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Food and Drink

Leone Bistro and Restaurant

The Leone King This former Italian pizzeria has undergone a fantastic transformation in the last six months and has quickly become one of the hotspots on the popular Queens Road

Clarendon Park’s Queens Road, Leicester, has always been a prominent location with a thriving community packed with restaurants and stylish bars. And for the past six months, this brand new, innovative, Italian bistro has introduced itself as a front runner in not only what Clarendon Park has to offer, but in what Leicester’s food industry as a whole has to offer. The owner, Patrick Anderson, and his chef Shaun Hill have transformed this once standard restaurant into one of the most atmospheric places in Leicester with packed out tables every weekday. So our advice is to book early as the food is well worth the wait. Patrick Anderson is a young manager who knows what the customers want and what’s more, he knows how to give it to them. After finishing university in 2004, Patrick entered the food and drink industry and quickly impressed his employers to earn himself a management position. Clearly ahead of his peers and in search of a wider knowledge in preparation for his own restaurant, Patrick moved to a hand full of different restaurants before finally opening Leone Bistro earlier this year. Patrick has chosen Head Chef Shaun Hill to control his kitchens and based on the quality

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of food delivered to your table, it was a wise choice. Shaun has worked in Michelin starred restaurants in both London and Manchester so you know you’re in safe hands. Coupled with strong ties to the local fishmongers and various suppliers, you can be certain that the food is of the best quality and that the restaurant offers the freshest produce. So the right ingredients are there to make an outstanding restaurant, I popped down in early November to see if it all comes together. When I first walked into Leone Bistro, the ambience of the place hit me. The warm lighting shone over the room which complimented the intimate, Mediterranean style of dining. As we were waiting for our table we enjoyed a few drinks on the sofa which still allowed us to enjoy the bustling atmosphere of the restaurant without being in the middle of it all. There are lots of tables for two implying they are a romantic restaurant that mainly caters for couples, however upstairs are tables for large groups and parties. The big specials board is the main attraction which changes very regularly, maybe even daily and displays new and exciting dishes that they have conjured up. Having been politely showed to our table a menu is placed in my hands; One of the dishes that really stuck out for me was the squid ink risotto with asparagus as a starter.

It tells me that the chefs are always looking for new and exciting ways to innovate and show off their talents, and it works. Looking down the menu at the main courses, it was packed with food I wanted to eat, Halibut, Scallops, Steak as well as Italian favourites such as pasta, pizza and calzone. I opted for tagliatelli frutti – a pasta dish full of prawns and mussels and a dish which I find is hard to master. The dish arrives and straight away I notice the immaculate presentation. Cutting into a ribbon of pasta you can tell that consideration has been taken in the cooking times of various parts of the dish. The pasta is cooked to perfection and the fish still has all of its flavours that so frequently escape at other restaurants. Main finished, I would not normally order a desert due to being overwhelmingly full after two courses, but this time I could not resist the thought of the raspberry roulade which did not disappoint.

The value for money at Leone Bistro is truly incredible and very hard to find anywhere else. Furthermore in a bid to keep in line with other Italian restaurants in Leicester, there are many offers to entice the customer such as two pizzas for £10 on Tuesdays and “Happy Thursdays” where you get the whole bottle of wine for free if you order two large glasses. However if you ask me, the offers aren’t required to draw me in.

I’ve been to this restaurant more than once, simply because the food and wine are divine and the service is flawless.

Whether it’s for a quick lunch, a romantic dinner or a party for 15, Leone Bistro can cater for you with some of the finest food and drink in the area. This place is well worth a visit!

106 Queens Road, Clarendon Park, Leicester LE2 3FL Telephone 0116 2203157 Whitehall business magazine I 29

Food and Drink

Restaurant Reviews

Lunch Le Bistrot Pierre

Dinner The Case Restaurant

Drinks Taps Bar

In the heart of the city on Millstone Lane sits a charming restaurant that was built by a late Victorian wine merchant. The interior is both bright and contemporary yet still warm and very comfortable. The menu changes on a weekly basis and generally draws on French regional dishes which are excellently presented and generous in size. Le Bistrot Pierre’s meat dishes jump off the menu, particularly their braised lamb which is cooked to perfection on the bone accompanied by red cabbage, dauphinoise potatoes and buttered courgettes. Entrées and deserts are straightforward but delightfully presented; along with a well appointed wine list this ticks all the boxes. Ultimately it is the overall dining experience that has kept me coming back to Le Bistrot Pierre for the last few years, often for business lunches. Value for money is truly exceptional and combined with the service received by the attentive and friendly staff, it comes as no surprise this establishment has repeatedly won Midlands dining awards.

Set over four floors this restuarant has striking appeal, a former luggage factory now boasts a modern chic interior. Whether visiting the shop and tasting room, dining in the restaurant or starting the night with a cocktail or glass of champagne in the bar The Case restaurant provides the very best in contemporary entertaining. Cooking only with fresh seasonal produce and offering no-nonsense British food, flavours from around the world make their mark on the cooking. The wine list promises plenty of decent drinking by the glass, The Case is also famed for it’s swanky cocktails and fine champagne notably the Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Rosé 1995. Kick start your taste buds with fresh steamed mussels in white wine, shallot, garlic and herb cream. Followed by pan fried halibut on crushed lemon zest potatoes with a herb salsa, concluding with blackberry & dark chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream. Overall, a fine example of how a restaurant should be run, with a sprinkle of magic.

Set in one of Leicester’s oldest and most beautiful buildings, Taps is a world beer and food venue that allows you to pour your own drink at your table, thanks to cleverly fed beer lines. Taps vision is simple, freshly made food from local produce, an excellent selection of beers from around the world and for their customers not to be left waiting. Along with the beer taps fitted to each table there is a large selection of high quality bottled beers, fruit beers, ciders and guest beers each week. The music is relaxed and quiet providing a subtle background to the excitement of bustling customers which really add to the atmosphere. Taps is a totally fresh new concept which provides a great venue for a relaxed meeting with clients and customers alike. Along with a great team of staff that are both prompt and friendly, Taps is well worth a visit. 0116 2627927 Avg Price- Lunch £10-£15 0116 2517675 Avg Price - Dinner £40-£50 0116 2530904

The newly refurbished Le Bistrot Pierre on Millstone Lane


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Forest Hill Golf & Country Club

Come and enjoy the beautiful surroundings at Forest Hill Golf & Country Club, set in over 130 acres of parkland, with exclusive woodland and feature lakes, our golf course offers an enjoyable challenge to all levels of golfers. At Forest Hill we provide a range of services which make our venue ideal for business and pleasure:

Golfing packages for 2011 Start at £17 + VAT per person for 18 Holes

Day conferencing/ team building Purchase one of our golfing packages and spend the day networking or developing new relationships with staff members and clients.

However the most popular package @ £30 + VAT per person includes; • Coffee and Bacon Buttie on arrival • Basket of Range Balls • 18 Holes on Championship Course • 2 Course Meal

Exhibitions Offering a choice of three main function rooms ranging in size from 20 guests to 150, Forest hill has the ability to provide the perfect setting for your event, coupled with award winning catering from our in-house chefs.

Markfield Lane, Botcheston, LE9 9FH Tel:01455 824 800


The need for speed! M

ackRory Racing is a Leicestershire based privateer racing team competing in the Fuchs-Silkolene British Supersport Championship that is part of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Series. The series is widely regarded as the most competitive championship in the world and has seen a host of motorcycle road racings’ most successful riders rise through its ranks. It has been responsible for producing 6 World Superbike Champions, 102 World Superbike race wins and 266 World Superbike podium finishes. The team operates out of Mallory Park, owned and managed by Steve Bennett of MackRory Demolition Ltd. MackRory Racing has two bikes, competing in both the Supersport Championship and Supersport Cup. The team boasts two of Britain’s best up and coming talents, in the shape of 21 year old James Webb and 19 year old Matthew Hoyle. With a strong and knowledgeable team behind them, MackRory Racing is set for big things! MackRory Racing only competed in the Supersport classes for the first time last season, having progressed through the ranks from British 125 MotoGP, Red Bull

Championship, British 125 Cup, World MotoGP Championship and British Superstock Championship, collecting a host of accolades and silverware along the way. The team progressed nicely last year in its first season in new surroundings and has built a platform in which to build from this term. MackRory Racing is fully expectant and confident to be front runners for the British Supersport Championship and British Supersport Cup this year.

For more information on sponsorship/ advertising opportunities and corporate hospitality contact the commercial manager, Richard Hill, on 0800 292 2672 or and you will be sent a 2011 prospectus.

The season kicks off for MackRory Racing in April, when they compete in the first race of the campaign at Brands Hatch. You can follow the team live on Eurosport, ITV1, ITV4 and Men & Motors as well as extensive coverage in all the motorcycle newspapers, magazines and websites. ‘Watch this space’ as Whitehall Magazine will be featuring MackRory Racing in every quarter, with regular updates, results, interviews and previews as we follow the team on an exciting journey through the 2011 season. If you wish to be a bigger part of the team season and get involved with MackRory Racing, there are a number of sponsorship and advertising opportunities available with the team, at varying levels but starting at just £500.00 per season.

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With a strong and knowledgeable team behind them, MackRory Racing is set for big things.

Football/Leicester City


The only way is up! Sven Goran Eriksson hopes to take the Foxes back to top flight. Lee Cobby reviews the Swedes progress so far …


eicester City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson insists that his primary target is simple... to take the club back to the Premier League. The Foxes’ Thai owners have made it clear that they expect the Swede to guide the club into the top flight, after spending too many years in the lower divisions. Leicester’s Swedish boss has claimed that he will be handed funding to bolster his squad in the January transfer market. “I was asked by the owners, ‘how much money do you want?’,” he added, “The target here is very clear – Premier League.” With tough winter fixtures ahead, the spotlight glare will be shining on the unflappable Swede more than ever. A few of the summer signings are struggling to settle, it’s going to take time for Miguel Vitor and Yuki Abe to adjust to the English game and the intensity of the Championship. I’m still not sure about the likes of Moreno and Michael Lamey. Again, they probably need time to settle, but with more additions likely in the January transfer window, it wouldn’t surprise me

to see one or two moving on. Leicester City’s new Thai owners will raise the bar during the January transfer window as they chase promotion. Eriksson said the Raksriaksorns, who lead the Asia Football Investments consortium which has bought the club from Milan Mandaric, will put up the cash for him to strengthen the squad with some high-profile signings. Lots of names of course are being linked to Leicester City already. Eriksson has signalled his intention to make big changes as he bids to kick-start City’s season by signing Darius Vassell and bringing in Curtis Davies, Kyle Naughton and Greg Cunningham on loan, others will follow.

WIN A Pair Of Leicester City Tickets v Doncaster Rovers Saturday 11th December, Walkers Stadium To be in a with a chance of winning just send an email to quoting ‘Whitehall Magazine LCFC competition’ along with your name and telephone number.

Good luck!

I was asked by the owners, ‘how much money do you want?’,” he added, “The target here is very clear – the Premier League.


Richard Brewster/James Iliffe, Silvan Flooring

Every step tells a story Whitehall Magazine’s Dominic Payne sits down and discusses business ethics with the directors responsible for the rapid rise of the UK’s only provider of 15 metre long wide plank flooring Leicestershire based Silvan have strived for excellence since day one and are approaching their 10 Year anniversary. As you pull up to the head office located in Market Harborough’s Welland Business Park, the immediate image strikes you as fresh and continental. The distinctive logo hangs proudly above the main entrance and as you walk through the doors, the clean white walls are complimented by various flooring samples hanging neatly. Richard Brewster and James Iliffe emerge from their office to meet me in the samples room, as we take a seat at a bespoke made wooden table a fresh cup of filtered coffee is slid in front of me...

Good morning both how’s your day going so far? R: Good, yeah, it’s been a productive day so far and I’m off down to London after this to discuss a project with a new client. Who’s your typical client? J: Interior designers and architects mainly. R: We still deal with some individuals though, I like to meet the clients as I used to when I first started. So how and where did Silvan begin? R: Well I started as an apprentice laying floors, after a while I felt I had reached the peak of my game so started on my own. I still like to get my knees dirty just to keep me fit. So you started as one man and his van, I guess the challenges you face now are completely different? R: haha, you could say. J: I think the trouble every business faces is getting paid. Especially now we deal with main contractors more and more. Their quantity surveyors are there purely to keep the money in the contractors back pockets. If you could go back in time and do one thing differently in your business, what would it be? R: I would say introducing infrastructure from the beginning. J: I agree, sometimes infrastructure is applied because you reach a point where it’s needed, however,


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Richard Brewster Director Born Leicester 1973 Career After training with his grandfathers flooring company, Richard progressed from strength to strength, landing his first big contract with Christies Auctioneers London, who acted as a spring board to launch Silvan into a world of Louis Vitton, Lotus and Grosvenor Crescent.

Inset An example of the high quality of Silvan hardwood flooring.

it is important to put something in place to allow you to get where you want to be. So what are your plans for the future? R: We are expanding outside of the UK with a few projects now, but the long-term goal is to be permanently based across the world, US and Asia first. How do you find doing business with other countries? R: The language barrier is rarely the problem, the main difficulty is the working ethics or business set up. What is your definition of success? J: The type of clients we deal with. R: I feel successful already, this year we’ve dealt with, Louis Vitton, Lotus and Sunseeker. J: Also as long as we have year on year growth we’re happy.

We’re expanding outside of the UK... the long-term goal is to be permanently based across the world. The US and Asia first.

Do you have bad days? R: Of course, everyone does. So what stop’s you from throwing in the towel and giving up? R: Failure. J: Whatever you’re doing for a living, you’ll always get bad days. I could think of thousands of jobs worse than our hardest days. R: Having a supporting partner definitely helps to lift your spirits as well though. How do you balance your business and family? J: Having recently become a father family time is important, but when you can’t make it home for every dinner and when the weekend

is axed for a trade show which you need to attend; having an understanding wife, haha she’ll probably read this, is always helpful. R: I agree as I’m about to become a father, I will need to prioritise and make more time for the family, this may mean reorganising my day better. But I think you can run a business 9-5 and enjoy time with the family, it’s all just about planning. In your eyes what’s the most important expenditure, second to the product? R: Employees, the right employees pay for themselves, however having the wrong people in place will cost the business financially as well as possibly affecting the brand image. J: Having employees who appreciate this and know that the business’ success reflects their efforts is critical. As our business

James Iliffe Director Born Leicester 1977 Career Completing an apprenticeship with Blackburns, James moved onwards and upwards working his way through the ranks of Solums and then becoming a shareholder/ director in Vestis Flooring. Having crossed paths with Richard during his apprenticeship at Blackburns, when he was offered shares in Silvan and a chance to work with an old friend, the choice was easy.

grows and develops so must our employees – to us it’s vital that the employees feel part of the company. I couldn’t have said it better myself. So as a final thought, what’s the best bit of advice you’ve received from another businessman? R: Don’t worry about what your competitors are doing. Keep focused on providing the best quality products from your business. And, what’s the best bit of advice you could give to another businessman? J: Structure your business, everyone has a role to play and carries that role out. It’s too easy to have partners or employees all doing a bit of everything. Too many cooks spoil the broth? R: Exactly.

Whitehall business magazine I 35

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Whitehall Magazine Issue 1  

Leicestershire business magazine

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