Monthly Archives: March 2018
Taking creativity seriously
Solicitors are not often associated with creativity however Progression Solicitors have taken a creative approach since they started in business in 2005. Managing Director Anthony Smith gives this advice to those brave enough to start a creative business.
1. Protect your ideas.
Copyright and Intellectual Property law are complex ones but for those in the creative industry they are vitally important. Your ideas, artworks, songs, pictures and creations are your currency and they need properly protecting to prevent poor imitations. Make time to understand what can and can’t be protected and take steps where you can.
2. Protect your business
Also make sure you put in place terms of business and contracts of employment where appropriate. Such information may seem boring but they are just as important in a creative business as any other.
3. Protect yourself
With creative businesses the biggest asset is not the building, your website or your office equipment. It’s you! I know insurance is a boring topic (and I’m not an insurance salesman!) but make sure that if you can’t work you can still earn.
4. Delegate the stuff that stymies your creativity.
If doing the books makes your toes curl, and ultimately means you’re not getting around to the jobs that you hate doing then delegate them! There’s a reason a bookkeeper is often the first person to be taken on!
5. Do what inspires you
Very few creative businesses get to create exactly what they want 100% of the time, but those that get to enjoy that luxury at least most of the time are frequently successful. Don’t fall into the trap of creating purely for money, in the end it shows and work suffers. If you have to, make sure you have time to do what really gets you going outside of work.
6. Back-up your work and make notes
Clearly you can’t back up an original painting! However you can save digital photos, music files and notes about your work. Back-ups of original notes have even helped in copyright cases in later years so don’t underestimate the power of making a copy!
Anthony Smith is Managing Director at Progression Solicitors and specialises in Commercial Law. Find out more here. We are proud to have them as sponsors of the Creative Business category of #CFBA2018. #WeAreCumbria
Steve Howard the Business Doctor for Lakes and Dales loves supporting family businesses. We caught up with him about why he wanted to sponsor the Professional, Business & People Services category for 2018 and about his family business background.
Why are you sponsoring these awards?
- Family businesses were part of my growing up, as my grandparents and generations before them were small shopkeepers and tea merchants. Although my parents broke this chain, family businesses and the importance they play both socially and in the community as well as a local employer have always resonated with me.
Having come from a family business background, what challenges do you recognise?
- One of the biggest difficulties in all businesses centres on time. A lot of business owners spend so much of their time running the day to day operations of their business, they don’t always have spare time to spend developing either their business or the people in the team. The majority of these issues can be easily remedied, freeing up the owner’s time, organising the staff effectively and growing the business. The problem for business owners is: ”when do I have the time to work with someone who can help me?” What I hope to do is help them get the horse back in front of the cart so that time working with me to help them in their business is some of the best time they will have spent.
Are all family business owners control freaks then?
- Sometimes there is also often a reluctance to pass on responsibilities to other members of the team. This is usually put down to there being a skills shortage or lack of interest from staff (mostly perceived more than actual), often it is due to the owner not being confident that his team won’t drop the ball and damage their hard-won reputation. With a family business, this can be even harder, with family members being involved and wanting more responsibility, the owner/s having to balance the family needs with the importance of the business stability and growth. Having been involved in family businesses-both small and large-I have seen for myself how damaging this can be if the wrong decisions are made (or worse still, no decisions!) But I have worked with a large number of businesses where they have got it right; by helping them get the right people with the right skills and attitude in the appropriate roles, engaging with the staff so that all team members know where the business is going (and why), and making the business more manageable and effective by utilising all the skills and loyalty of both staff and family members.
How do you help family business owners?
- Because of family businesses are both dynamic and – on occasions – complex, there really is no one size fits all plan. That is why I like to get completely involved with all aspects of the business, and the people, to work with them to create plans and actions that works for the Business, whilst retaining their aims and values that every family business possesses.
Thanks for getting behind family businesses Steve!
- I am really pleased and proud to be able to sponsor an award that recognises those outstanding companies that support family businesses, helping them grow, improve their products or services, and add innovation and impetus to this vibrant business sector.
You can find out more about Steve and how he supports family businesses on his website, or better yet find him on the big #CFBA2018 night!
When the banks can’t help you get an idea off the ground, who do you turn to? In Cumbria we’re lucky enough to have the answer…Enterprise Answers! See what we did there? We caught up Chief Executive Grahame Latus to ask how a family business should go about applying for investment. So Grahame…
What does a successful applicant look like?
It’s all about the P’s
Since 2005, Enterprise Answers has engaged with hundreds of businesses across Cumbria and provided millions of pounds of finance to successful applicants to start, develop or grow their businesses.
With over 50 years of collective banking experience within the team, we had the required lending expertise but we wanted to be ‘different’ and with that in mind, we focussed on delivering a lending model that was totally relationship driven. It had to be a journey the customer enjoyed as much as we did, which laid the foundations for our lending principles to be influenced by people, place, pride and passion which has shaped the relationship lending model we currently utilise.
As a responsible lender, we still undertake the statutory financial assessments to determine affordability and risk, both to us and the borrower, sharing feedback with the applicant as part of our policy of being open, honest and transparent – values which we adhere to rigorously. As a not for profit organisation with no shareholders or ‘fat cats’ on our Board of Directors, we do not need to undertake unnecessarily risky financial transactions to create profit.
That gives us the flexibility to focus on what really matters, which is the people behind the business as these are the decision makers that can make or break the success of the business and nowhere is this more evident than in family businesses, where the 4 ‘P’s of place, people, pride and passion are more evident. Family businesses are more open minded, free thinking, creative, inspiring and innovative – something which many corporate businesses fail to realise from their own employees as their business model is driven by the fifth ‘P’ – profit.
Unleashing potential is something we are good at and we have got behind some great Cumbrian businesses and brands such as cafes, bistros, food producers, micro-breweries, small hotels, guest houses, farmers and professionals with them all having one common thread – they are family businesses and thus most likely to succeed.
We have derived a lot of pleasure over the years from engaging with family businesses and have enjoyed being a part of their journey to success, which is the key reason we are a sponsor of the Cumbria Family Business Awards and an active partner of the Family Business Network. When a hotel business in Windermere which recently repaid their loan and passed us the compliment “thank you for your support, without which we would have gone under, but you believed in us”, we know we’ve got it right.
Thirty-five Cumbrian family businesses will battle it out on Friday 9th March to be crowned Outstanding Cumbria Family Business of the Year at the Cumbria Family Business Awards. Now in their second year, the nationally trending awards was created to celebrate the contribution family businesses make to the county, with nearly 90% of businesses in Cumbria being family run. Grahame Latus who is backing the awards for the second year in a row and who will be presenting the most prized award on the night said:
“The judging process has been remarkable, meeting the finalists was especially enlightening and uplifting. The thorough process has made for some difficult decisions as the standard of applications from family businesses across Cumbria was so high. I look forward to presenting the ‘star prize’ on the night.”
Enterprise Answers are one of three main supporters of the awards alongside Armstrong Watson and Lamont Pridmore. Recognising the importance of family businesses to Cumbria other businesses are also backing the Cumbria Family Business Awards including; Cartmell Shepherd, Cumberland Building Society, 2017 winners Bells of Lazonby, NXT Recruitment, Steve Howard The Business Doctor, Hawkshead Relish, Progression Solicitors and Net* who created the website for the Awards and the special voting system which was launched for the Employee of the Year Category this year.
Get to know the finalists a little more.
Food and Drink Producers – sponsored by Bells of Lazonby
“Winning both our Food & Drink Producer category and the overall Outstanding Cumbria Family Business of the Year 2017 was a highlight of last year so it felt natural to support other family businesses going through the process this time around. The finalists are all worthy, each creating and making produce Cumbria should be proud of. Good luck!” – Michael Bell
Food and Drink Establishments – sponsored by Armstrong Watson
“Cumbria is recognised as one of Britain’s foodie havens, the quality of the establishments across the county is remarkable. By setting such high standards the families behind these businesses have cemented Cumbria’s reputation as a go-to destination. The finalists are all brilliant examples of why Cumbria is so loved and we wish them all good luck!” – Paul Dickson Chief Executive
Retailers and Wholesalers
“We are a family business and completely understand the challenges those growing a retail or wholesale business in the county face. Starting any business in a rural location is commendable and we wish every luck to all the finalists who have made a success of it!” – Maria Whitehead MD
Manufacturing – sponsored by Lamont Pridmore
“Cumbria has a proud manufacturing heritage and as a family run business ourselves we wanted to support those who are making products both on a large and small scale. Quality and family values are at the very heart of these finalists ethos’ and we wish them the very best of luck!” – Graham Lamont Chief Executive
Professional Business and People Services – sponsored by Steve Howard The Business Doctor for Lakes and Dales.
“Family businesses have values that set them apart from their corporate competition. It’s the people behind the businesses that interest me and how they deal with the unique challenges that running a family business present. The finalists are excellent examples of what can be achieved by thinking big but staying true to their values. Good luck!” – Steve Howard
Property and Construction
Small Leisure and Tourism Business – sponsored by The Cumberland Building Society
“Running a family business in hospitality isn’t easy, and you can rest assured that everyone who entered this year’s awards will have worked their socks off to achieve success. The impact of this on our region should not be underestimated, and the combined effort of all the family businesses in the tourism industry has put Cumbria on the map as the home of fantastic accommodation and experiences.” – Grant Seaton Senior Business Lending Manager
Large Leisure and Tourism Business – sponsored by Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors
“Not only have these families created businesses of remarkable quality which are all jewels in Cumbria’s crown, they have also become large scale employers and economic contributors. They have maintained family values whilst achieving all this and any of them would be worthy winners.” – Peter Stafford Managing Director
Creative Business – sponsored by Progression Solicitors
To carve a successful business in the creative industry is not without challenge and it is testament to the family businesses we have seen in this category that they have truly risen to that challenge. There is a rich creative and artistic culture here in Cumbria and it is marvellous to see that so well represented in this awards category .” – Anthony Smith MD
Transport and Logistics
Agriculture Forestry and Farming
Employee of the Year Finalists – sponsored by NXT Recruitment
“Any business owner understands the importance of having the right people in place, what is so heartening is how clear it is that family businesses truly cherish those people. Family businesses are often cited as being great places to work and we are proud to be supporting both the businesses and employees of Cumbria. Good luck one and all!” – Simon Glencross Director
Lynn Logan, Heart of The Lakes
Cath Irwin, The Regent Hotel
David Forsythe, Stephenson Halliday
Nick Owen, Elterwater Hostel
Nevil Jeffery, English Lakes Hotels
Geoff Whitehead, Lamplighter
Rachael Jackson, Roland Hill
Tony Davies, Virginia House
Chloe Dent, Trade Copiers
The employee finalists have been scored by the judges and OVER 2700 public votes have already been cast. The winner will be announced at the ceremony. Votes can be cast on the website www.cumbriafamilybusinessawards.uk
The thirty-five finalists met with the judges in early February and the winners will be announced at the glittering ceremony hosted by Hairy Biker Dave Myers on Friday 9th March at The Garden at Eden Carlisle.
The Cumberland Building Society are experts at helping families up the ladder especially when it comes to those with a clear picture of where they want to be. Families like Richard and Debbie Greaves of A Corner of Eden. Established in 1850 The Cumberland Building Society are part of our region’s financial heritage. They have been supporting Cumbria for over 165 years and we are proud they are sponsoring the Small Leisure and Tourism Category of the 2018 Cumbria Family Business Awards.
One of the most rewarding parts of working with family businesses is seeing their dreams come true. That’s why we were over the moon when this couple’s vision to create a luxury holiday home business out of a dilapidated farm was rewarded with a major international award.
When Richard and Debbie Greaves first set eyes on the run-down tenant farm near Ravenstonedale they did not see the ramshackle buildings that had led so many others to dismiss the property, but instead saw the potential to create a beautiful base for holidays between the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District.
Now after 12 years of renovations their hard work and skill in creating such stylish retreats has been honoured with an award from the European Holiday Home Association.
Click here to see how they created A Corner of Eden.
Finding the right property
Richard recalls that they had spent over 12 months devoting weekends looking for a property to start a holiday home business and had all but given up on the idea when they chanced upon an article in the local press about a Georgian farmhouse up for auction.
“It wasn’t in the area we had been looking in and there were all kinds of reasons why it should have been a non-starter, but we arranged a viewing and by the time we had reached the front gate I had fallen in love with it, bought it, converted it and retired – but maybe that’s how my mind works,” he said.
“It was in a fairly sorry state, but all I could see was the potential and the joy of bringing it back to life and being a naive optimist I thought we will be able to do that in a couple of years – 12 years on and we’re just about finished,” he added.
Finding the finance
Thankfully it was a vision shared not just by Debbie and their friends and family who were to lend a hand with renovation work, but also the Cumberland Building Society who agreed to step in and provide the finance so the couple could go to the auction with a chance of making their dream a reality.
“In fact the chap from the Cumberland came in to the auction and I thought that was a fantastic gesture, to come and support us, wish us luck and help us with the deposit once we were successful.
“It says something about the personal touch which gave us an incredible feeling of support,” Richard said.
Their faith in backing Richard and Debbie has paid off as the couple now have a successful holiday let business.