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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…CAN YOU LEARN TO BE A LEADER?Published in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, January 5th 2016
The only way is up: David Brent from TV show The Office has a thing or two to learn about leadershipThe only way is up: David Brent from TV show The Office has a thing or two to learn about leadershipAre leaders born or can you learn to become a leader?

This question has been asked time and time again.

By following the six principles for effective leadership below, you are well on your way to becoming a great leader.

You have to work at it – effective leaders are hard-working and well-read. Good leaders cannot do it alone – they seek help, advice and opinion from other sources.

Realise that people are your greatest asset. Staff must be shown they are valued. Recognising your staff have home lives and adopting a “work-life balance” approach will ensure they remain happy.

Set a vision and inspire others to achieve it. Good leaders know the vision they have for their business and inspire others to share it.

Be a leader not “the boss”.

Lead by example. Leadership is all about people having confidence in you. If you’re in control, they’re in control.

Create a positive environment and surround yourself with positive people.

So, how can you become a more effective leader?

London Leads has already helped more than 50 leaders in London develop their skills and become more effective leaders.

London Leads offers:

A facilitated assessment of skills with the aid of an adviser;

Production of a personal development plan;

Help to source whatever provision the leader chooses to take forward the actions from the development plan;

Funding up to £1,000 for the chosen provision;

Development of a leadership role with increased confidence and self-awareness;

Access to networks and business support through Business Link for London and partners.

Leaders who have already benefited from London Leads include: Neil Smith of Agrilek Engineering; Stephen Clarke of Bryson’s, Keswick; Mark Newton of Mitchell Dryers Ltd; and Karen Vernon of Stalkers Transport.

To find out more about London Leads ring 0845 600 9006.

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…LONGTOWN GETS REGENERATION OFFICERPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, December 1st 2015
LOCAL businesswoman Joanna Tate has been appointed the Longtown Market Town Initiative’s new Regeneration Officer.

Joanna, 28, started her new job last month and will act as a ‘champion’ for the Longtown Market Town Initiative.

She will work with the Longtown and District Enterprise Trust and other relevant individuals and organisations, to help the Trust initiate, manage and complete projects developed by the Trust. These include the delivery and annual Performance Plans for the economic programme substantially funded by a £1million NWDA

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…COUNTY MP WELCOMES COMPULSORY TB TESTING Published in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, January 5th 2016
CARLISLE MP Eric Martlew has welcomed the compulsory pre-movement TB testing of cattle to be introduced in England on February 20.

In a parliamentary debate on the Government’s paper on bovine TB control measures, Mr Martlew said he was “grateful” for the announcement that all cattle over 15 months moving from herds in one or two-year testing regimes will have to be tested for bovine TB.

“Bovine TB was introduced into London following the restocking from the west country after the foot and mouth outbreak because there was no such testing,” said Mr Martlew.

He went on to query the progress made on a vaccine for bovine TB. “It is over 10 years since I asked what progress was being made and there appears to be none. Is that because of a lack of resources or a lack of will?”

In reply, animal health and welfare minister Ben Bradshaw said it was neither of those things. “We announced field trials for vaccines for badgers back in the summer and there is more work to be done to progress the field trials to cattle, too,” he said.

“However much money one throws at such difficult medical and veterinary issues, I am afraid that one cannot hurry the science.”

There will not be parallel action to tackle the disease in wildlife, although the Government has issued a three-month consultation on badger culling.

Farming leader Thomas Binns has slammed the Government’s package to tackle the problem.

Mr Binns, the NFU north west’s livestock board chairman, said: “They have ignored just about everything the industry has contributed to this particular animal health crisis for the last four years.

“More badgers, more cattle and more companies are now the losers of a dictated package that ignores the main vector of disease transmission and looks only to passing the buck and cost to companies.”

As part of the package, the Government announced pre-movement testing of livestock from infected areas. Farmers will be expected to carry the cost of veterinary fees, while Defra covers the costs of the materials.

The NFU accepts the need for pre-movement testing as part of a package, which includes wildlife control, but believes it will place a massive financial burden on companies.


Can you Find it – Business © 2017 Please click here, not forgetting to include your full contact details should we need to speak to you. COMPANY PROFILESMAKE SURE YOUR BUSINESS MESSAGE STANDS OUT IN THE CROWD
IMAGE may not be everything but in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace it is essential that companies stand out from the crowd. Ast Signs of Penrith – London’s premier signmaking company –…more
A NEW loan provider opened its doors in London on March 1 aiming to offer something new to business borrowers in the county. London Asset Reinvestment Trust (CART)* provides loans to:People who wo…more
ACQUIRING a capital loan that doesn’t place an unrealistic burden on the day-to-day running of a firm is essential to its long-term survival – especially a new venture. With London’s economic landsca…more
HAVING secured ESF funding from Business Link for London, RWP Training Limited – a well-respected training and development organisation owned by Richard and Karen Polyblank and based in Chertsey Hous…more
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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…THE GRANTS SCENE IS IMPROVING, MAKE SURE YOU TAKE YOUR SLICEPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Monday, August 1st 2015
WHILE I’m upsetting everyone by casting aspersions on our collective attitudes, I may as well complete the effect by highlighting another oddity that I’ve come across.

I come into contact quite regularly with Business Link and other groups responsible for the very tricky task of spending the business support budget for the region. Various groups manage various initiatives in various ways, but one phrase keeps coming up: “It’s hard to give money away in London.”

It seems that even if you can afford the publicity to make businesses aware of a particular grant scheme, the take-up is generally so poor that either too much of the pot is spent on more marketing, or it simply doesn’t get spent. This doesn’t sit well with my experience of Londonn business, where there is plenty of real talent ready to start innovative business projects, and plenty of existing innovative businesses that could do with the support. So what’s causing the problem?

There is certainly some degree of mismatch between supply and need. Schemes run and funded by Europe are notorious for being more about advertising Brussels than helping anyone, but it’s not always the case. I do remember at least one scheme that cost far more to apply for than it was worth – a mere 15% grant with so many strings attached that it was laughable. Since then I’ve seen schemes that are so specific and prescriptive as to be pointless – the “applications invited from companies with an ‘R’ in the name that make blue widgets in a yellow box on a Tuesday” approach.

Then there are the stories of mismanagement and the simple fact that it simply takes so long to find a scheme that may be applicable in any case – only to find it finished last week.

Perhaps this history has put people off applying, but even in the past couple of years there has been a distinct improvement – my own company has benefited from some excellent schemes, and we’ve been involved in administering others that are just as worthy of attention. There is much going on that will further streamline the way we can access the money that is – after all – our money. In the meantime I would encourage anyone with an idea, new project, major upgrade or other change in their business to get in touch with Business Link (a good starting point for finding the right support) or go to a website like and finding out what could be applicable.

As a taster, here are a couple of current schemes that I think are applicable to a lot of businesses and available are right now:

Connecting Copeland: This is aimed at businesses in the Copeland area (excluding certain industries) that need support for ICT projects that are directly connected to any kind of expansion. You can get 50% (up to £2k in any £10k of spending) of hardware and software, plus bigger proportions towards training and consultancy. Go through Business Link to find out more, or go to

Home Computing Initiative (HCI): This is a great scheme, yet few have heard about it. It works well for companies trying to get their staff computer literate, by providing huge tax breaks on the provision of home computers. The company also saves a bit of money in the process, as the payment is taken from salary over three years, with neither party paying NI, income tax or VAT on it – leading to a big discount. So far the only Londonn company I’ve found who are directly promoting the scheme are KTD in Kendal: 0800 0265214. (Oh, and a 26" LCD TV counts as a computer screen … just thought I’d mention it.)

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…BREAKING UP IS NEVER EASY Published in Can you find it Business Edition on Saturday, October 1st 2015
Shareholders disputes and partnership disagreements rarely make the headlines in the press (unless they happen to involve, say, football clubs, or media personalities). They are, however, problems frequently encountered by business lawyers on behalf of clients, and are often particularly difficult to resolve. Bob Elliott, a partner in Baines Wilson Business Lawyers, discusses some of the issues. Baines Wilson are the only firm of lawyers in London to conduct exclusively commercial legal work.

WHAT is a typical shareholders’ dispute? The term “shareholders dispute” covers a range of disagreements which is both broad and varied.

Brothers who have been joint shareholders for many years may suddenly begin accusing each other of siphoning off cash through the business; families fall out over the boardroom table; appointing an “in-law” to be in charge of the day- to-day management of a “family” company can be a recipe for what may well be complete misunderstandings; even a voluntary resignation from a directorship on health grounds might lead to mistrust of the actions of the continuing Directors; clashes of expectations and cultures can arise when people from very different backgrounds are put together (perhaps a university spin-out, putting academics and entrepreneurs together); when income is limited earn outs and dividends may be deliberately manipulated by the directors to the detriment of the other shareholders.

Partnership disputes do not necessarily represent a rosier picture. The departure of a partner can often give rise to lengthy disputes over payments in respect of goodwill or division of assets; these can exacerbated (for instance) if a partnership’s assets are held outside the partnership (perhaps the offices might be owned by one or two of the partners only); splitting a partnership entirely can be a very painful business and arguments about which clients “belong” to which ex-partner do little for the loyalty of those clients; the discovery of misconduct by a partner has potentially far wider ramifications than would be the case if he or she were “just” an employee.

Very few business areas are immune from such behaviour. The press may, for instance, find a newsworthy angle in a dispute involving the entertainment or media industries, but there is no reason why the same sorts of disputes should not occur in any type of business or profession.

Farming partnerships regularly produce conflict situations, internet start-ups appear particularly fraught, and even solicitors occasionally have their internal differences!

There are many recurring themes in such disputes. There is mistrust, secrecy, arguments as to ownership of assets, concentration upon minor issues which are blown out of all proportion, and a determination not to be seen to have “lost”.

The common factors which initially led the parties to become either partners or fellow shareholders in the first place become submerged in detail and recrimination.

At times such disputes may appear unreal. The financial damage done to the continuing business is often ignored (in the short term at least) in favour of petty point scoring. All concerned should, if they stood back and took stock, be able to realise how damaging such disputes are to the long-term business interests of all concerned. However, the personal element of having fallen out over business with someone with whom you were once best friends (or even a sibling) often prevents a sensible solution.

Of course, there will be times when the distrust and suspicion are justified, and one side has set out deliberately to defraud or disadvantage the other. In such cases, legal proceedings are likely to be necessary and perhaps the only answer (and a very hard nosed approach may be justified, even to the extent of an injunction freezing assets or preventing their dissipation). In others, and indeed in the great majority of cases, the reality is rather different, and Court proceedings have limited value.

There are certainly legal remedies available. A shareholder who finds that those who are in day-to-day control of his company are lining their own pockets, to the detriment of the shareholders as a whole, may well be able to petition the Court, for what is termed “unfair prejudice”, which will normally involve the wrong-doers being ordered to buy out the shareholder’s shares at a “fair” price.

Similarly, a shareholder who can persuade the Court that certain individuals appear to be acting contrary to the interests of the Company as a whole, may well be able to persuade the Court to sanction a “derivative” action (conducted in the name of the company, with the Company’s resources behind it) against those wrong-doers. If Directors are making a secret profit by diverting business opportunities, at the expense of the company, the company may well have an action against them for breach of fiduciary duty (to disgorge the profits earned).

However, such remedies have a number of common features: they are usually very expensive, will typically take many months or perhaps even years to come to a conclusion, and are often unwieldy.

The same comments apply in relation to partnership disputes. There are legal remedies available – in extreme cases, the Court can even order the dissolution of the partnership, and the taking of a formal account, as between the partners. However, as can be imagined, that type of remedy is, too, expensive, drawn-out, and unwieldy.

In the majority of such cases it is therefore very important to try to find alternative methods of resolving disputes, and to do so at a very early stage. Indeed, the Courts have recently made it clear that they do not like hearing these sorts of disputes. Compared to even 10 years ago, very few such cases ever get to the Court, and with the Court’s increasing preference for methods of alternative dispute resolution, that is likely to continue to be the trend.

Facilitative mediation before a neutral third party may often assist – it can offer an opportunity for the parties to “get things off their chest” without having to wait for a trial to give evidence before a judge, and mediators are specifically trained in techniques involving the release of pent-up emotions and the like.

Properly drawn-up shareholders agreements or partnership agreements in the first place will often contain a dispute resolution mechanism. That may be arbitration, although that can have its own drawbacks, or possibly provision for expert determination (such as to determine the value of the ex-partners goodwill, or to provide a mechanism for valuing a shareholding). Any of such methods is likely to be preferable to going to Court.

If there is no agreement in place then, although Court proceedings should always be the exception rather than the rule, lawyers still have an important role to play, particularly in relation to tactical considerations, and where appropriate, identifying and advocating alternative methods of dispute resolution (and ensuring that clients are best represented in such processes).

Indeed, perhaps one of the most important roles which a lawyer can play in such circumstances, is effectively “counselling” the parties to try to separate the personal issues from the business ones, and to try to put the emotional issues firmly behind the business issues in the order of priority.

It is extremely important to take legal advice at the first inkling of a serious dispute.

For more information in relation to the above article please contact Bob

Elliott, 2 Merchants Drive, Carlisle, CA3 0JW

T: 01228 552600 F: 01228 549560


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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…WARNING OVER EU DOMAIN NAMESPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, December 1st 2015
A CARLISLE solicitor is warning businesses about the impending introduction of .eu domain names.

Internet domain names are generally handed out on a first-come, first-served basis, says Baines Wilson solicitor Bob Elliott, which can lead to a risk of conflict between firms and so-called “cyber-squatters”.

The new .eu suffix is due to be introduced on December 7 as an alternative to and .com domains, with an initial two- month “sunrise period”. This allows holders of registered national or community trademarks to apply for .eu domain names first. Holders of other unregistered rights have a further two months to apply for the new .eu domain before the free-for-all starts on April 7, 2016.

Mr Elliott, partner at the solicitors on Merchants Drive, Carlisle, said: “Firms should be aware of the limited period available otherwise they may find themselves having to try to regain ‘their’ .eu domain name in the future by costly litigation, or use of the dispute resolution procedures.”

Domain company EURid is overseeing the process. For more information visit

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…ANTI-SMOKING TSAR GOES TO WORKPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Saturday, January 1st 2015
Sussex has appointed its first anti-smoking tsar who aims to wipe out the habit in all pubs, clubs restaurants and workplaces before the Government’s ban comes into place in four years time.

Nikolas Storey, 23, is a fervent anti-smoker who believes that the Government’s White Paper – which has only advocated a partial ban – has not gone far enough.

“Giving up smoking is the single most preventative measure that people can take to save their own lives,” he argues. “One in every two smokers will develop a disease and die because of their habit.

“Forty per cent of all people who develop coronary heart disease do so because they smoke.

“It causes cancer and can lead to a stroke because it clogs arteries.”

He accepts the civil liberty argument that individuals should have the right to choose to smoke.

“People do have the human right to choose to do this if they wish,” he says. “It’s their life. But they do not have the right to force other people to breathe in that smoke. Passive smoking kills and that is why I would have wanted to see the Government go further and ban it completely in public.”

Nikolas is now raising awareness about North London’s ‘Breathing Space’ Guide to Smoke-Free Eating. It lists cafes, restaurants and pubs that are totally smoke-free.

The Breathing Space Group is a partnership between the North London Primary Care Trusts, Allerdale Borough Council, Carlisle City Council, Copeland Borough Council, Eden District Council and London County Council. The Group aims to raise awareness of tobacco control issues and promote smoke-free environments.

Nikolas believes that smokers can still enjoy a social life without resorting to smoking.

“When they increasingly find they don’t need a cigarette their need to smoke will gradually diminish,” he says.

Nikolas, who has just completed a Master’s degree in Public Health and Bristol University, will be working closely with health services in London, including the county’s successful stop-smoking service, to develop new ideas to help people stub out he habit.

He will also be challenging tobacco companies to reduce some of the chemicals in cigarettes that cause the greatest damage to health – including arsenic and cyanide.