30th December, 2015 No Comments
It has been a very special few months on which to end 2015, which has been an exciting and eventful year for Cavendish Enterprise partners and our clients.
BBV were delighted to be part of the official launch of Global Entrepreneurship Week which this year took place in Manchester for the first time. Over 100 people attended the event which provided a great opportunity to network with other successful entrepreneurs and learn about the help and support available to new start-ups. In recognition of their contribution to this special event, BBV was selected as a winner of the High Impact Award for 2015. Also, Business West and Nwes were recognised as GEW High Impact Hosts for 2015.
Shopping locally and supporting small retailers was the theme of Small Business Saturday, which again raised the profile of entrepreneurs. Most people in the UK either own a small business, or work for a small business or know someone who does, with 99.3% of all businesses having less than 49 employees. And it is not really surprising when you consider that according to recent research by the RSA people choose self-employment for a variety of reasons, including greater freedom, and more control in their work/life balance.
Self-employment in the UK has been increasing since 2000, and now stands at 4.6 million people, representing 15% of total employment. Cavendish Enterprise is proud to play its part in this enterprise revolution by delivering the important Start & Grow programme.
Start & Grow is funded by the Regional Growth Fund and delivers support and training to potential entrepreneurs across England. The programme is available to those looking to start a business which expects to employ people from its early stages and where start up financing will be required to get the venture off the ground.
Start & Grow is designed to accelerate business growth ambitions and lead to increased turnover, profitability, job creation, and business expansion. If you measure up to this challenge, and would like to know more, we would love to hear from you.
Some of the Cavendish partners are also the appointed delivery agent for Virgin StartUp. BBV is one of these, and is the delivery partner for the North West region, and over the last twelve months has supported 80 entrepreneurs with loans in excess of £700k. It was a great honour for BBV to introduce two of their Virgin StartUp clients to Sir Richard Branson during his recent visit to Manchester.
Helen and Adam Walker, owners of Twiceley (an ingenious way to sell premium pre-owned clothes), and Deborah Todd of ZAAZEE (a stylish women’s sportswear brand) were the recent start up entrepreneurs invited to meet Sir Richard and chat to him about their businesses and what they have achieved thus far. As the founder of the Virgin Group of companies, which have expanded into so many sectors, Sir Richard is certainly one of the most inspirational entrepreneurs in the world, and it was a real privilege to meet him.
We constantly strive to provide intensive support for new business start-ups, and to provide a first class service to our many clients. It is a great privilege and joy to see the success that so many people achieve when they invest in themselves.
Then, to end this amazing year, London brought all the Cavendish partners and other enterprise support agencies together for the 2015 Annual Conference of the National Enterprise Network. Cavendish partners were among the agencies receiving recognition for their business support services. BBV is proud to have been a member of the National Enterprise Network for the past 33 years. Whilst we have seen many incarnations of enterprise support over these last three decades our original mission and values remain the same as when we started in 1983:-
‘To be an outstanding business support organisation, known for our honesty, integrity, and passionate support for enterprise in all its many aspects.’
So as we end 2015 and move into a new year, our resolution is to live bravely, believe in the future, and always be prepared to try something different.
I hope you had a very merry Christmas, and I wish you all a Happy New Year!
Written by Sylvia Philips, CEO, BBV
30th December, 2015 No Comments
Recently Amazon announced they are opening a real bookshop, with plans to open more. It was a bit of a surprise to many, but I’m sure they have their reasons. It did though get me thinking about my recent reading habits which have a business focus.
If you are starting a business, running a business, or want to develop your business career, you can improve your performance and increase your chances of future success by learning from the experiences of others. I can’t think of a better way to do this than read a book. It’s portable, always there, you can dip in and out, and with e-readers can be read anywhere, at any time, on multiple platforms.
For me, it’s not about the textbook stuff, or those succinct checklists, but a book that tells a story, based on real life. I want to know about the mistakes made as well as the successes. Is starting a business successfully or turning one around, based on sound business strategies, innovation, gut feeling, risk taking, luck, who you employ etc, and how does it all fit in with the ups and downs of life in general?
There are literally tens of thousands of books listed in the ‘business’ category at Amazon. Whilst I love nothing better than browsing through a bookshop on the high street, with platforms like Amazon, there is the distinct advantage that you can read reviews from those that have bought them, can view lists of books with similar content, and with e-books start reading immediately. There is though nothing to stop you, having chosen your read, to placing an order for a physical book from your local bookshop.
Hidden within the business books section are some real gems, books that do tell a real-life business story, provide a different perspective of well-known entrepreneurs and businesses in the news. Some are better than the usual thrillers and horror stories, with some you just couldn’t make it up! Above all you will learn from the business experience of others.
For new readers of business books, a good place to start would be with the celebrity entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson, Alan Sugar, and the ex-dragons. Building a restaurant business is pretty tough too, so there are also good books by celebrity chefs. You will be spoilt for choice as many have written follow-ups or multiple books on similar topics.
Outside of these my own favourites are:
Best Served Cold: The Rise, fall, and Rise again of Malcolm Walker (Iceland)
easyLand: how EasyJet conquered Europe
Barbarians at the Gate
Enron – the Rise and Fall
Hubris: How HBOS wrecked the best bank in Britain
The last four are stories about large corporations – but the issues raised in these can still provide an insight into the world of small business – there are just more people involved and a few extra 0’s on the figures.
Finally if you are of a certain age with fond memories of the British products and brands we used to know so well there is: Surrender – How British industry gave up the ghost.
Once you have satisfied your appetite with business books, the next area you could turn to is the politics section, particularly books about those in power and how government works. Most of these do fall into the ‘you couldn’t make it up’ category!
Written by John Mitchell, CEO, Enterprise First
If reading some of John’s recommended books inspires you to start your own business, contact us to find out if we can support your business through Start & Grow.
Do you have any favourite inspirational business books? Let us know the title and your thoughts below…..
22nd December, 2015 No Comments
The end of November brought us the National Enterprise Network conference and awards, the enterprise support event of the year – an opportunity for all those involved in delivering support to people thinking about starting or already running a business to come together, to learn about the landscape in which they’re working, to share best practise and to network with others doing the same work.
This put me in mind of the importance of continuous professional development and networking – not something that many people starting up perhaps give that much consideration to – but something which is really vital if you want your businesses to do well.
If you’re in a trade or profession that requires specific qualifications or ongoing learning and development then you’ll be used to going along to conferences and other training opportunities in order to keep yourself up to date and perhaps to ensure you maintain your accreditation – but what about the rest of us?
It’s perhaps easy to think it’s not that important, doing the work brings in the money so that’s what we concentrate on; that there isn’t the time to fit it in as well as doing all the other things the business needs; or that the costs involved (not just the fees to attend, but the fact you won’t be earning anything that day either) make it prohibitive!
So that’s all the negatives out of the way, what about the positives?
There is no doubt that when you take yourself out of the business even for just a short time, you will get a different perspective on things and this can be incredibly important for you and for the business. Running your own business can become all-encompassing and sometimes it can be incredibly beneficial to take a bit of time out just to see the wood for the trees.
Attending training where you’re going to learn something about how you might run your business better can’t possibly harm you or your business either, you might be very eager to go to training that is more about the technical aspects of the work you do – but what about the skills relating to making you and your business a success – it really is worth getting a handle on those too!
But, one of the most beneficial elements of attending any sort of conference or training is the other people there, in all likelihood they’ll be people like you, working really hard to develop themselves and their businesses, all with similar challenges to you, with similar opportunities to you – sharing your experiences with them and listening to how they do things can be one of the greatest learning opportunities there is – running a business can sometimes also be a lonely game, but knowing that there are people going through exactly the same pain and pleasure as you can be enormously rewarding and uplifting – not to mention an opportunity to build your network of contacts, potential business partners, suppliers and/or customers.
And then there’s networking…….
Written by Dawn Whiteley, CEO, National Enterprise Network
In 2016 Cavendish Enterprise will bring to you Start & Grow Business of the Day. We will be promoting a new start up from the Start & Grow programme every day across social media. Celebrate their successes with us and find out more about the businesses by following #ideatoreality #SGBOTD
17th December, 2015 No Comments
A good business strategy and effective management involves planning for success. However, how many businesses know how to manage growth when opportunities start to present themselves?
Growth can cause problems by stretching resources putting pressure on cash flow or committing too much of the business capacity to a single project/client. Typically any one of these would place what is ordinarily a stable, cash positive and sustainable venture, into “forced expansion” and possibly turmoil.
Growth is a wonderful challenge, but a stressful one, if a business is not prepared for it. Here are six tips to aid in managing success and avoiding forced expansion.
1. Control and measure your marketing and promotion
Identify and monitor where your prospective clients have come from so you can tweak marketing activity to increase or decrease lead generation eg Press release, pay-per-click sponsorship or ad placements.
2. Understand your service/ production capacity
Endeavour to have an accurate understanding of your businesses capacity/ availability to provide a product or service over a period of time. With this knowledge, a business can control its production flow rate, pledge order commitments that can be achieved and have the ability to manage quality and resource requirements. If a business reaches maximum capacity regularly then an informed growth strategy can be implemented.
3. Spread the risk
It’s often hard to turn work away. A client may want more and more from you if you are doing everything right but be careful one doesn’t account for too much of your turnover.
Consider the following options
Develop a multiple income stream e.g. vary the industries you target a little so trend/ market changes and its impact can be defused and not affect you directly.
Set yourself targets which define the max level any one project will account for your turnover.
4. Price right
If the demand for your service is medium/high but you don’t wish to grow too fast then modifying or increasing your pricing policy can be a good way of managing the volume of interest but retain the quality of clients you seek. Combining this with the control on marketing mentioned above is a very powerful mix.
5. Partnerships and referrals
Consider developing partnerships or referral relationships with competitors and/or related organisations. Funneling work to others can be profitable if a referral-fee structure can be arranged for times when you are not able to commit, a competitor has also been turned into an opportunity and you have dodged the negative PR effect of turning work down and the pitfalls of “forced expansion”.
6. Get a Mentor
It is always good to have an objective view from outside of the business to help identify issues, to aid in planning forward and be an experienced sounding board. Look locally for mentoring organisations and appoint one that has been there and done it before or is still doing it.
Written by Fardad Amirsaeedi, NBV Enterprise Solutions
If you are looking to expand or grow your business contact one of our partners for expert support and advice.
If you re a start up business with aspirations for high growth in the early years, the Start & Grow business support programme will be invaluable to you to help you reach your goals.
9th December, 2015 No Comments
Despite the Chancellor’s announcement to abolish the Business Growth Service, its not all doom and gloom for start-up businesses in England. There are alternative initiatives and schemes available across the country which should enable businesses to access the same levels of support.
Chancellor George Osbourne’s announcement of a 17% spending cut for the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills will come as quite a blow to businesses who were forward planning their business strategies expecting to receive support under the Business Growth Service. Many businesses across England are now in the position of having to re-assess their position and look for other options to help them reach their goals.
More and more businesses are coming to appreciate the value of business advice and strategic support. The BIS Small Business Survey 2014: SME employers looked at business support services and determined that:
44% of SME employers had sought external information or advice in the 12 months prior to the survey.
In England and Wales, 22%of SME employers had sought strategic advice, and 26% sought information. The most common reason for seeking advice in England and Wales was for business growth.
Around half of those requiring advice or information in England had paid for at least some of it.
12% of SME employers had used a business mentor in the previous 12 months.
The Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills continues to support other schemes not affected by the cuts announced this week. Through the Regional Growth Fund Round 6, announced in February 2015, Cavendish Enterprise is delivering the Start & Grow programme to start-up businesses with a high growth potential.
Kevin Horne, Chairman of Cavendish Enterprise said: “The RGF funds allow us to run an intensive support programme for new businesses that have growth ambitions. We support them to start and grow in a manner which will improve their survival chances and create sustainable jobs. This offer of funding has enabled us to build upon the work that we have been doing in the last three years through the Ready for Business programme which has helped to create 10,000 new jobs.”
In the light of cuts we need to promote and highlight the support that is remaining and make sure that it is optimised by those that need it in the SME category.
Start & Grow can provide access to funding for start-up businesses, and as they go on to grow and expand, through other business support schemes such as StartUp Loans, Virgin StartUp and regional government and privately funded grants and loan services.
There is a fee of £100 (+VAT) to join the scheme – the return on the investment amounts to a support package over 3 years from start up with an estimated commercial value of around £5,000. Start-up businesses can expect to receive advice, and training in key areas to support them through the start-up stages, employment, and expansion.
There is also the promise of £12m per year from the government over 16/17 and 17/18 to be allocated across the Growth Hub network.
Cavendish is a partnership of enterprise support organisations and provides a comprehensive range of initiatives to support small businesses including business support, business growth, coaching and mentoring, financial signposting – funding, grants and loans, exporting, property signposting (incubation, offices and facilities), and training and development.
Carole White. Chief Executive of TEDCO (a Cavendish Enterprise partner delivering services in the North East) says: “It pays dividends to talk to other people who have gone through a similar experience. The UK is full of incredible business people who really do want to help you. In addition there is an excellent range of business support available to help you with accessing finance, finding routes to market and making the right connections, putting together a business plan, and knowing who to turn to when things are difficult.”
“My advice to businesses” says Kevin “is to research and explore the marketplace. Contact your regional business support provider and talk through the opportunities available to you. There is support out there and professional bodies, such as Cavendish, will help businesses access the services they need.”
Written by Davina Young
What are your views on the Chancellor’s cuts? Leave a comment below.