Author Archives: sophia
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.
Hawkshead Relish are one of Cumbria’s most recognisable (and delicious) brands. Their jars and bottles line the shelves of our cupboards and fridges and they are truly a family business Cumbria can be proud of. We were delighted when Maria agreed to be a judge for the Cumbria Family Business Awards and her insight and experience in running a family business was invaluable.
Hawkshead Relish have been making their handmade award winning Relishes, Pickles and Preserves for the past 19 years, initially to supply their café in Hawkshead with a few extra jars to sell to their customers. It was the disaster of Foot & Mouth that became the turning point, without any customers and on the very brink of financial ruin, they were forced to diversify quickly and build the “Relish” brand from scratch.
Today, they make around 3,000 jars a day all still by hand, using traditional techniques and recipes that Mark creates often using local ingredients wherever possible. With a small workforce of around 25 people, they send products as far away as Japan, Australia and the USA as well as to over 500 stockists throughout the UK.
Mark and Maria were jointly awarded MBE’s in 2011 in recognition of their contribution to the food industry in Cumbria. Since then they have gone on to help and provide advice for many small businesses starting up and especially in helping them to start their export journey. Hawkshead Relish have shown their support for other family businesses in Cumbria by backing the Retail and Wholesale category, an area they know very well indeed.
Mark Whitehead MBE MD, said
“The family is very much at the heart of our business. Not only with our daughters and Maria’s brother in the business, but with the rest of the team. We know everyone and their families, it’s a whole community”
As with many family businesses putting something back into the community is at the heart of their family values. It’s this commitment to the community that sets family businesses apart. Hawkshead Relish support many local charities and events throughout the year, with a special place for Sunbeams Music Therapy in Penrith who provide the most amazing therapeutic music sessions for disabled children and adults. Hawkshead Relish created a bespoke Private Label Marmalade for them to sell and help raise funds. The couple recently attended the opening of the new Sunbeams Music Centre at Redhill’s in Penrith with HRH The Countess of Wessex – to find out more please go to www.sunbeamsmusic.org
The findings of Armstrong Watson’s family business survey are out and make for very interesting reading. The firm had a record response to their Family Business Survey 2017 and they have summarised some key findings especially for local family businesses for us. They’ve worked with family businesses for over 150 years so are well placed to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly side of family business life. Armstrong Watson have been a phenomenal support for us here at Cumbria Family Business Awards and one thing we all know is how much family businesses contribute to the very fabric of Cumbria, from corner shops to FTSE companies. Keep up the good work. You’ve got this, and you are not alone.
Top 10 Key Stats
1. Average Number of Owners within a Cumbrian Family Business is 2
2. Only 1 in 7 Cumbrian Family Business owners are under 45
3. 54% of Cumbrian Family Businesses are second generation or older
4. Average Number of Employees – 25 (up 4% from 2016)
5. Only 13% of employers use salary sacrifice schemes
6. 79% find it difficult recruiting and retaining new talent
7. 1 in 5 businesses don’t plan to grow or adapt
8. Whilst 91% feel under pressure to adapt and innovate
9. 4 of every 9 will keep the business in the family
10. Yet over a third of Cumbrian business owners haven’t discussed their intentions to pass the business to the next generation.
Do the discoveries reflect your family business? Or are you experiencing something different altogether? If you’d like to discuss any of the issues highlighted or you want to know more about how Family Business experts can advise, support and protect your business and family finances you can get in touch with Armstrong Watson below.
T: 0808 144 5575
Register to download a copy of the full Family Business Insight Report at http://www.armstrongwatson.co.uk/familybusinessreport (available end of March).
Founded in 1946 Bells of Lazonby started life as a small bakers in the rural and very beautiful Lazonby. Established by John Bell a gutsy man who survived his aircraft being shot down over Germany in WW2, Bells of Lazonby is now in the hands of the second generation.
Recognised for its innovative approach to baking Bells is now a household name and regular on supermarket shelves.
Nowadays Bells is divided into three unique brands, Bells of Lazonby, We Love Cake and The Village Bakery Melmerby. Each brand is well established and equally well known for producing delicious baked goods for customers and stockists alike.
The family run business won Outstanding Cumbria Family Business of the Year 2017 #CFBA2017 at the very first Cumbria Family Business Awards and this year are supporting other family business food producers. Supporting Cumbria comes naturally to Bells of Lazonby. Just last week Bells of Lazonby donated over 600 gluten, wheat and milk cakes and 200 freshly baked stotties to the Cumbria Community Foundation Big Sleep event in aid of their Winter Warmth appeal. The event saw over 120 people camping outside the Low Wood Bay Hotel in sub-zero temperatures to fundraise for the elderly people of Cumbria who face challenges in affording their winter fuel bills. Michael Bell, MD and second generation family business owner of Bells of Lazonby says
“We are humbled by the Big Sleep event and greatly admire the work the Cumbria Community Foundation do – we love our place, Cumbria and try to do everything we can to support it. It’s an honour to donate our cakes and breads to such a worthy cause”
Andy Beeforth, CEO at the Cumbria Community Foundation said:
“We can’t thank Bells of Lazonby enough for supporting the event. We know our sleepers like to eat something sweet throughout the day to keep their minds from the cold, and they look forward to a good breakfast, so this provision has been vital and enabled us to raise even more money for the Winter Warmth Appeal.”
Hurrah for Bells of Lazonby! We are so happy and proud to have them on board for #CFBA2018 #WeAreCumbria
How to make sure your family business is here for the next generation
Everyone knows we’re all about celebrating family businesses, large and small. One of the things that makes them special is their ability to stay around for a long time, a really long time! During our #CFBA2018 story we’ve met Cumbrian family businesses going back as far as seven generations, but how do businesses protect themselves for the long term? Graham and Chris Lamont are the father and son team of Lamont Pridmore who talked us through things…
In a family business it can be difficult to discuss salaries, pensions and other forms of remuneration for family members. Yet, open and honest conversations about earning expectations and financial security are vital to protect the business and the family wealth. – Chris Lamont (second generation family business owner at Lamont Pridmore)
Identifying and recording what’s important to you, the family business and other family members in terms of your wealth goals is vital. Only by discussing these expectations, can you then develop a strategy to ensure these goals are achievable and ensure the business can deliver the desired lifestyle for all involved.
These issues become particularly important when planning any succession in the family business. It is essential for family members to discuss their expectations in terms of current or future remuneration, dividend payments and pension planning.
Some vital questions include:
- Is the business profitable enough to sustain all the family members who work in it?
- Can the older generation earn sufficient income to retire comfortably?
- Will the business pay an appropriate market salary to the younger generation while working in the business?
You may also need to consider how to secure the overall financial future of the business and ensure that non-family members and employees are protected. Ultimately, all family businesses would like to ensure continuing success and profitability for future generations.
Protecting the Family Wealth through a Life-Wealth-Plan
Lamont Pridmore has developed a family Life-Wealth-Plan to help you tackle some of the, sometimes challenging, conversations about business profitability, family wealth and investments and estate planning.
Your Life-Wealth-Plan will include:
- Assessing your wealth goals and developing a strategy to achieve them
- Benchmarking the family business against others in its sector and assessing whether it is profitable enough
- Reviewing your particular family circumstances
- Reviewing the protection and life cover of key members working in the family business
- Reviewing the performance of any investments
- Ensure the business and/or family members take advantage of the most tax efficient borrowing, income, growth and profit extraction
- Ensuring your pension plans are funded in the most tax efficient way
- Developing an estate and inheritance tax plan to protect the family wealth
- Developing a clear, fully costed succession strategy
- Reviewing and updating action plans and milestones as circumstances change
Whilst many business owners spend most of their time planning the affairs of their company, they spend too little time considering their own personal financial position. The development of a Life-Wealth-Plan could ensure that your family business, and those working within it, are financially secure.
Protecting the Family Wealth
If you’re interested in finding out more about this important issue for family businesses, join Graham and Chris Lamont at a Next Generation Round Table session ‘Protecting the Family Wealth’. This topic is ideal for senior family business members and the next generation – those who are already actively involved in the family business and those who are still considering whether to join – and will help you kickstart some of those difficult conversations.
Friday 23rd March 2018, 9.30 am – 12 noon, North Lakes Hotel, Penrith
The application deadline for Cumbria Family Business Awards is midnight 19th January. If you’ve been thinking about applying but aren’t sure where to start, then this summary of our Awards Application Workshops should help!
The Cumbria Family Business Awards are unique in that they are after that special mix of heart and business. The judges are looking to reward sustainable businesses that are built on family values and have a bright future ahead of them. Remember this is your business story, and the things that are personal to you are what makes it special.
- Keep it personal, consider writing in the first person.
- There aren’t word limits but please don’t go on and on and on. Consider your reader, so if there’s lots to say, break it down, use bullets and headings to help the judges easily find the salient information! The boxes are a guide, you don’t have to fill them all!
- However, overly short answers to open questions will struggle to be taken seriously. For example, the below simply will not cut the mustard (we honestly get a few like this so don’t let it be yours!) Q: Why Should you win CFBA? A: Because we’re the best.
- Remember your roots, the judges love to hear how a business began especially the values and ethos that were laid down at the time.
- Equally as important though is the future! The judges would like to see innovative businesses who have planned (as best as they can!) and what the vision for their business is in the years to come.
- Whatever the size or age of your business, you will have something brilliant to include. Questions like the Corporate Social Responsbility have thrown smaller businesses in the past so consider ALL the things you do. Even if things aren’t written down in a formal ‘CSR document’ it doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. So, if your dad helps referee the football at the weekend that’s still a valid way of supporting the community…tell us about it!
- Be proud of being a family business!
- Send some pictures if you can. Even a few can help paint a picture!
- Remember to include links to videos and your website, but these should be additional extras rather than replacements to the questions.
- ENJOY THE PROCESS! Win or no, the whole application experience is a great moment to reflect and give yourself a pat on the back about how far you’ve come.
- 19th October – application deadline at midnight
- 25th January – judging day
- 26th January – finalists announced and told which set of LIVE interviews to attend
- 7th February – first set of finalists meet the judges, short 20 min LIVE interview
- 8th February – second set of finalists meet the judges, short 20 min LIVE interview
- 9th March – winners announced at the awards ceremony
The Cumbria Family Business Awards are proudly supported by