Posted by The PC Support Group

Mon 18th, Feb

An internet search on the business benefits of having happy employees throws up enough reading to last a lifetime! Hundreds of research projects tell the same story – that happy employees are great news for your business.

Happy employees stay longer, work smarter, are more committed, take more responsibility and are more productive and creative. They need less management, they support their colleagues - and customers love them because they provide better service because they’re, well, happy! In a nutshell, happy employees save you money, and make you money.

Did you know that flexible working tops the wishlist for employees working in UK SMEs? In a 2018 study by financial advisers Drewberry, 42% of respondents desired flexible working arrangements above any other employment benefit.

So, what does flexible working actually mean? Flexible working is working outside a normal working pattern which is typically in the same place each day during the same hours. Flexible working is a way to work that suits your employees’ needs and may suit your business needs too. 

Remote working is a type of flexible working which means working from anywhere and has become possible and a lot more common due to advances in IT.  With today’s technology, it’s never been easier to work away from the office – there’s a host of great, simple to use tools, such as Office 365, SharePoint, OneNote, Skype and many more – and, in the cloud, you can securely store and access everything you need to work 24/7.  In fact, remote working has resulted in 13% performance increase (Institute of Leadership & Management Research) – so it is a huge benefit to businesses.

So, if flexible working makes employees happy - and happy employees are golddust, there’s no time to lose! If you’re considering flexible and remote working arrangements for your people, what are the key things to consider? Here’s what we say when our customers ask us that very question:

  1. Firstly, prepare a business case examining the pros and cons, analysing the costs and benefits of implementing flexible working in your business
  2. Decide how much flexibility and remote working that you want to introduce and what suits your business. For example, remote working will probably suit a small, client-facing consultancy business more than a mid-sized manufacturer
  3. Talk to everyone who you think is interested, or would benefit from being able to work remotely. There isn’t a one size fits all strategy
  4. Communicate your decisions to all your staff
  5. If you’re concerned about losing control or visibility of your people, then set groundrules, times when they will be in the office or available electronically and, most importantly,  agree ways of measuring their productivity to ensure they meet their targets
  6. Talk to your IT support partner about the technology best suited for your needs, the most cost effective way of introducing it and the training available to make the most of it.

So, if you really want happy employees and would like to seriously consider successfully introducing or extending your flexible and remote working arrangements,  The PC Support Group  can help you.  Email us on info@pcsupportgroup.com , leave us a message here and we will call you straight back or call us on 03300 886116 for an informal and confidential chat.

https://www.pcsupportgroup.com/

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Carving a niche market through customisation, personalised detail, and social media

Posted by Liverpool John Moores University

Fri 08th, Feb

This is the third of a series of articles from the Liverpool Business School, Liverpool John Moores University, featuring contemporary issues for businesses.

Max McDonough, owner of Rawhide Custom (https://www.rawhidecustom.co.uk/) is a passionate manufacturer of leather goods in Liverpool, who is carving a niche in an extremely competitive industry. While studying for his law degree at Liverpool John Moores University in 2012 he became drawn to the manufacture of customised leather items that today include wallets, belts, lanyards, traveller notebook and card wallets, hip flasks, and dog collars.

Reflecting on those early days, he recognises that “it seemed a no-brainer to get into this industry, and take on the traditional stuffy, bloated leather goods market, where if you are not in in Knightsbridge in London with a fancy shop you’ve got no chance… Let’s do the things that they can’t, but we can by definition of size, attention to detail, and customer service.”

That focus on the customer is one of the key strengths of Max’s business, where he can provide unique, customised products in limited numbers, distinguishing him from competitors.

Max’s baptism of fire occurred while knocking on doors with a former business partner to procure customers. A visit to a Liverpool hotel provided a significant opportunity to manufacture hundreds of leather room key tags. This experience tested Max’s ability to adapt and cater for different customer needs.From the beginning, Max recognised the importance of social media and continues to look at ways to enhance his social media platforms, particularly highlighting the quality and symbolic value of his products: “I am using social media to document every little step… to get the word out there about things.” It certainly pays off as he receives international orders from enthusiastic individuals, such as one for a leather bag for a Mexican barman to store bar tools.

The combination of customisation, traditional manufacturing methods, personalised customer service, and social media helps convey very strong messages and interactions with consumers. To cater for individual tastes he uses a rigorous system of made-to-order, which helps to differentiate him from other, larger manufacturers, and allows him to gain competitive advantage. This fuels further orders and repeat sales.

Reflecting on the importance of social media for his business, Max also acknowledges the value of the reciprocity that this medium offers: “When I am sitting there, thinking that the cave man way of making leather products has never changed… that is really only true to a certain extent. Because without all the other things in the background, the customer would have never found the product and I would never have got the sale or had the feedback. The product would have been taken off the shelf and that would have been the end of it.”

Max McDonough has supported the Liverpool School of Business’s Business Management Program, conducting business presentations since 2016. Max’s engagement has not only benefitted students but also allowed his business to gain exposure, and in the process help him expand and widen his customer base. The team has also worked with Max to map a number of business development options, innovation and expanding his product mix.

The research team, Dr Abel D. Alonso, Dr Seng Kok, and Dr Seamus O’Brien, have completed a range of projects nationally and internationally (Western Europe, Oceania, Latin America) since 2006. Their research predominantly focuses on family, micro and small businesses in the areas of international business, innovation, socioeconomic development, and sustainability. For more information contact: a.alonso@ljmu.ac.uk

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Peter Taaffe, Managing Partner at Liverpool-based accountancy firm BWM

Posted by Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Fri 08th, Feb

What changes could improve or develop your sector?

We have invested huge time and resource in embracing new technology in digital accounting to help our business and our clients. I want to see those advances continue as I have seen how they can free up our clients’ time to allow entrepreneurs do the things they do best.

What does your typical working day look like?

One of the best things about my role is how incredibly varied it can be. I spend a lot of time speaking to clients as well as their other professional advisers, such as their lawyers and investment managers, usually in Liverpool but often in London or abroad. I also interact with our own team as much as I can. I am a frequent networker, too, although sometimes I’m a bit frazzled by the end of the day. Often at my side is my ‘labradoodle’ Emer. She is a wonderful companion and doesn’t care about office work!

Where would we find you on your day off?

I love what I do because I interact with such a wide variety of interesting people. But, like most people, I love to switch off and find some silence and solitude. We have a family cottage in the Dales. There is no broadband and it’s well-stocked with wine - it is a little piece of heaven.

Who, or what, inspires you?

My colleague Andy Oakes could successfully network in an empty room. He is hugely personable and approaches everything he does with tremendous dynamism and energy. I’m inspired by my whole team and by the diversity of our clients. It was a tremendous moment for me when I won the Business Personality of the Year award in 2017 at MIB. It was a recognition of the work I and everybody here at BWM puts in on a daily basis.

Why choose Liverpool City Region?

When I think back over the dark times we endured in Merseyside over the past few decades it is awe-inspiring to see what the city has now become. I love to walk through the city centre and along the waterfront to see a city transformed. We saw 1.2m people take to the streets for the Giants - that was an incredible weekend and I was bursting with pride. The resilience, strength and the talent for reinvention we have in Liverpool is what makes us a truly world class city region.

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Posted by The PC Support Group

Wed 06th, Feb

If you ask six people to define what hosted desktop is and how it’s organised, you’ll get six different answers because it means different things to different people!

We know this to be true because we’ve been having lots of these conversations recently, as we’ve been working with some new clients who came to us for help after suddenly finding themselves locked out of their IT systems and unable to access their data.

A hosted desktop is a virtual machine that hosts the operating system, applications, data and other system configurations of a physical desktop remotely from a server through the internet providing similar functions of a physical desktop.

What all these organisations had in common is that they were all using a hosted desktop service to operate their IT systems and equipment. Which is absolutely fine in theory. Hosted desktop is the future and can deliver huge benefits for SMEs, reducing investment and running costs and providing access to the latest agile business tools to boost productivity and enable flexible working anytime from anywhere.

The trouble is there are good hosted desktop solutions – and bad ones. A good one provides fast and secure access to your systems and data, on any device from anywhere in the world. A bad one is a ticking time bomb, and it’s only a matter of time before it fails, taking the hosting company down - and its customers with it.

The reason is because they are usually badly designed, insecure and often rely on cheap, old or outdated infrastructure and software. Rather than accessing the very best resources that the cloud has to offer, your entire company could be hosted in a server down the road, in demand by numerous other businesses, where you have to share resources that are prone to malfunction and vulnerable to attack.

But here’s the $64,000 question – when you’re trying to decide, how can you tell a good one from a bad one? The answer, as always, is to ask the right questions and, most importantly, if the service you’re being offered sounds cheap, be very, very careful!

Think of it this way, if you saw your dream house, you’d still have a full survey carried out wouldn’t you – to check that the boiler was sound, and the roof didn’t leak?

Making a fundamental decision on the future of your IT operating model requires the same caution. Before you commit to hosted desktop, when interviewing a potential supplier, make sure you get detailed, clear answers to these questions:

  1. Where and how will my data be stored?
  2. How much resource and capacity will we have, and will we always have access to 100% of that resource without sharing with other companies? Will we always be able to access our data, systems and emails? How do you meet that promise?
  3. If your entire system goes down will we still have access to our files and emails?
  4. Will we always be able to run the latest versions of Windows and Microsoft office whenever we need or want to?
  5. What are the background technologies and infrastructure which your services use?
  6. Can you provide evidence which shows that you do not have any single point of failure in the delivery of all services to us?
  7. What security, business continuity, disaster recovery and risk management provisions are in place?
  8. Which subcontractors or suppliers will you be using to provide our service?
  9. What happens if we no longer wish to use your service?

Always describe your business requirements and not your tech requirements and speak to the supplier’s technical and support staff as well as sales representatives. And remember that hosted desktop is only one of a range of options at your disposal - and it may be a mistake to put all your eggs in one basket. Procuring separate (though integrated) services for each business function ensures that if one fails, the rest can usually carry on working.

What’s important is to select the solution that’s right for your business. If you’d like to discuss hosted desktop or your IT requirements in general, leave us a message here and someone from The PC Support Group will get back to you, email us on info@pcsupportgroup.com or speak to our friendly team on 03300 886116.

www.pcsupportgroup.com

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Posted by The PC Support Group

Fri 25th, Jan

We’re often asked: “should we store our data in the cloud or on our own server on our own premises?”.  Quickly followed by: “which is more expensive?”, and “which is more secure?”.
 
At The PC Support Group, we strongly believe in providing our customers and prospects with all the information – to help them make an informed decision, based on what’s best for their business.  
 
So, let’s unpack this issue a bit because there are pros and cons with both cloud and on-premise data storage – and making the right decision for you depends on your own unique circumstances, your appetite for risk and what makes you feel most comfortable. Let’s start with the basics.
 
In a nutshell, on-premise data storage means:

  • using an in-house server, computers or other devices to store your data
  • purchasing your own hardware and software
  • regularly maintaining, upgrading and replacing your infrastructure
  • buying additional equipment if your storage requirements increase beyond current capacity
  • employing, directly or indirectly, specialist expertise to keep these assets fully operational

Advantages:
Security – by keeping your data within your own direct control, so long as you take sensible security precautions, it’s harder for hackers to attack.
Control – if you own the hardware, software and decide where the data is and who manages it then you are in complete control of every aspect of the system which may give you peace of mind.
Access – because you are not reliant on internet connection, all employees based at your site will always have access to the data, and if you are dealing with large files it can be faster.
 
Disadvantages:
Cost – buying, maintaining and regularly replacing your own equipment for the latest and best versions requires regular capital investment and ongoing operating expenditure.
Remote Access – unless suitable technology is implemented then remote access to on-site servers is often more complicated and slower than cloud solutions.
 
Meanwhile, cloud-based data storage involves:

  • using remote servers or hardware maintained by a third-party service provider
  • buying the use of specific quantities of storage space and bandwidth
  • accessing your data via the internet

Advantages:
Cost – cloud-based data storage avoids buying your own hardware and software and ongoing costs are often lower than the costs of maintaining your own systems.
Flexibility – you can access your data anytime, anywhere, all you need is an internet connection – and you can buy more storage space when you need it and pay less when you don’t.
 
Disadvantages:
Security – with flexibility comes increased risk. Data stored in the cloud often uses multiple providers, shared resources and may be more easily accessed by people outside your organisation. This can be reduced by using a private cloud, rather than a public cloud in which storage space is shared by many organisations.
Downtime – access to cloud servers is more susceptible to outages and downtime with it being reliant on the internet connection.
 

Tough decision? Well don’t despair as it’s just a case of going through your key business goals and drivers with your trusted IT advisor and they will be able to recommend the right solution for you. And remember, the solution doesn’t have to be one or the other, some companies decide that what is best for them is a dual approach or a hybrid data storage solution where primary data is stored on their own server with backup versions stored in the cloud.

If you’d like us to help you to decide what is the best option for you, leave us a message here or email us at info@pcsupportgroup.com and we'll contact you back, or call our team on 03300 886 116 for an informal and confidential chat.

www.pcsupportgroup.com

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Posted by The PC Support Group

Mon 21st, Jan

“There just aren’t enough hours in the day” we hear ourselves saying all the time especially if you are the owner of a SME.

We know that, with additional time, there’s so much more that we could achieve. Do you ever wonder what would you do with a few extra hours every week?

Today’s successful businesses are working smarter, not harder. They’re finding new ways to improve the productivity of their people – and technology is making it possible. Of course, every business is different and what works for one may not work for another. But we are totally convinced that those that embrace technology are the ones that are prospering.

And by technology we don’t mean the really techy stuff, we mean the easy-to-use, tools and systems that are available for all SMEs. Here are six key things (and there are more!) that you can do very easily that will free up priceless extra hours for you and your people – and improve efficiencies, team working and job satisfaction in the process.

You may already be doing some or all of these things, but here goes:

  1. The basics: A fast and reliable internet connection and an automatically-updated cloud computing platform will ensure that your business-critical tech is always on and doing what it says on the tin. Remember, downtime is a business killer!
  2. Switch to versatile cloud-based telephony: BT is phasing out landlines and with VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) you’ll cut costs and improve your mobile working capabilities.
  3. Collaboration: Make it easy for people to communicate, share files and documents, work together and stay in touch – using Skype, SharePoint and shared calendars for example – encouraging faster, more efficient team working.
  4. Consider remote working: Once you’ve embraced collaboration this is the obvious next step. Statistics show beyond doubt that remote and mobile working boosts productivity by giving people more control over their working life. Happier, more contented employees are more productive, it’s a fact!
  5. Update your management tools: This list is endless. For example, there are loads of easy to use tools to track the time everyone is spending on daily tasks, giving you the data, you need to manage more effectively. The latest automated CRM systems are saving time and improving services too, speeding up contacts with customers and improving conversion rates. And apps like Evernote capture, organise and share project notes, so that everyone is on the same page and actions and responsibilities are clear.
  6. IT support: Being able to call upon expert assistance when you need it will ensure that you’re making the most of your smart tools and systems, that your basics are running smoothly and efficiently, and that you have help on hand if something goes wrong.

If you’d like help to boost your productivity and free up some of your time – call our team at The PC Support Group on 03300 886 116, leave a message here or email them on info@pcsupportgroup.com for an informal and confidential chat.

www.pcsupportgroup.com

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Posted by Mark Booth

Director in KPMG’s Liverpool Deal Advisory Team

Thu 17th, Jan

Now, perhaps more than ever, planning and preparation is crucial when it comes to selling a business.

Nobody expects a first-time vendor to know exactly how the deals process will play out. This is why it’s critical to choose the right advisor to run the process, ensure that the business has identified all the data that a purchaser will expect to see, answered the questions they will expect to be answered  and to help ensure that data is of sufficient quality to go through a due diligence process.

Make no mistake, the due diligence process is tough. There will be financial, taxation and legal due diligence as standard, but dependent upon the nature of the business a purchaser may wish to carry out commercial, environment, operational, IT or HR due diligence, to name but a few. Without support, this places an enormous burden on a business’ management team who of course also have ‘business as usual’ to occupy their day.

With Brexit looming, there is a greater focus than ever on contingency planning. Buyers want to understand whether their target business has a contingency plan in place to deal with any fall-out from the UK’s exit from the EU particularly in respect of potential disruption to the supply chain. This is something that has been occupying our more operationally-focused colleagues on recent transactions.

That's not to say that vendors aren't getting a good deal - quite the opposite; there is a huge level of demand for high quality assets from various different sources:

  • UK corporates in certain sectors are finding organic growth more challenging than in the past and have access to cheap debt;
  • Overseas corporates still view the UK market as an attractive long term proposition and see the opportunity to benefit from the current weakness in Sterling; and
  • With interest rates having remained at record low levels, investors are looking to private equity (PE) funds. As such, PE has more capital to deploy than ever before and is under pressure from investors to get that capital invested.

Where we are seeing processes fail is where assets are rushed to market with a low level of preparation. If a buyer is not afforded enough time to clearly articulate the strategic rationale and get sponsorship within their own organisation, or if they cannot get the data they need to get comfortable with the risks in a business, then they will naturally need to discount the amount they are prepared to pay for that business. And that is often not acceptable to a vendor who has a differing view on prevalent risks.

Planning for a purchase: After the deal

Many corporates are not experienced in conducting M&A activity, and why should they be? It isn’t what they do day-to-day and it isn’t a core competency in delivering the great results they have been delivering and which have put them in a position to consider making an acquisition in the first place.

Whilst an M&A process is hard work on both sides, the hard work for a purchaser does not stop at the point the transaction is signed, there is then the whole process of integrating the new business and workforce into the parent organisation.

It is a surprising fact that two in three corporate acquisitions are value dilutive, with a lack of planning for post-transaction integration as a key factor in the failure to realise expected synergy benefits.

Purchasers should thoroughly consider and challenge themselves in respect of the synergy benefits they expect to achieve - are they realistic or aspirational? How are they going to be realised and what are the key dependencies? Is a plan in place to ensure that the culture of the target and parent businesses will be aligned and that everyone will be pulling in the same direction?

As ever, planning is key and this planning would ideally be done before a transaction to ensure that a purchaser is ready to kick on from day one.

Planning for success

Businesses today are under more pressure than ever to deliver better results for stakeholders. Whether you’re buying, selling, funding, fixing or integrating a company, the process can be complex and risky, and without the right strategy, support and insight, the deal can collapse. So that both sides get the maximum value out of the transaction, buyers should think like sellers, and sellers like buyers. As corporate finance and transaction services experts, we'll be here the entire time to take you every step of the way to reach a successful outcome.

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This is the second of a series of articles from the Liverpool Business School, Liverpool John Moores University, focussing on contemporary issues for local businesses.

Posted by Liverpool John Moores University

Mon 14th, Jan

The fears and concerns of Brexit have extended well beyond the United Kingdom’s borders, ringing alarm bells across governments and industry representatives. Europe’s wine industry, particularly French, Italian and Spanish wineries, have traditionally looked to the United Kingdom (UK) as an avid consumer. As the uncertainty continues however, they expect a significant impact on sales, raising the question as to where our wine come from post Brexit.

Three separate research studies conducted in 2017 among Italian and Spanish wineries provide preliminary clues around ways in which the industry perceives the impact of Brexit. The studies used data collected from over 450 different stakeholders in the wine industry drawn from Spain and Italy, identifying some interesting patterns.

Between 50% to 65% of participants expressed concerns relating to legal, economic and political issues and their future ability to trade with the UK, with 10% of participants already experiencing changing behaviours among importers, including discontinuing or significantly reducing imports. 15% had noted a drop in purchases due to currency fluctuations which had had a significant impact on prices.   

In response, winery operators are starting to look elsewhere and more specifically into the global marketplace. Despite the ever-crowded and competitive global wine market, there was a clear shift towards committing time and resources to either enter or increase activity in other growth markets. Interestingly this was also driving up quality as producers make investments in areas including vineyard management and equipment, grape selection and their promotion and marketing. In addition, there was also an increasing focus on small, high-end consumer markets. Amidst the uncertainty therefore, the focus seems to be on improving their products and investing in both tangible and intangible assets.

For around 20% of winery operators, the potential of one door closing creates opportunities that demand flexibility, creativity, resilience, and innovation. The importance of diversification, broadening operations and addressing logistical considerations emerged as the most sensible business philosophy to adopt in order to address the challenges of Brexit as well as other market trends. This includes more investment in foreign language skills and updating their marketing techniques to include online communications, to enable them to raise their profile to a wider group of potential consumers.

Interestingly 35% of the participants felt relatively secure either because they already had an established reputation, an agile distribution and supply chain network, or had concentrated on niche markets that were prepared to pay for high-end, high-quality products which appear to be least vulnerable to Brexit.

Uncertainties around Brexit rumble on but it is clear in this sector that one way to address this is through investing and diversifying operations to become more flexible and adaptable to change as well as focusing on quality. What does this mean for wine drinkers? Hopefully, more choices of top quality wine to pick from!

 

This is the second of a series of articles from the Liverpool Business School, Liverpool John Moores University, focussing on contemporary issues for local businesses. This comparative study provided practical insights to winery owners and managers, informing them of impacts to be expected from Brexit, as well as ways in which adaptiveness and resilience could be built to address this phenomenon.

The research team, Dr Abel D. Alonso, Dr Seng Kok, and Dr Seamus O’Brien, have completed a range of projects nationally and internationally (Western Europe, Oceania, Latin America) since 2006. Their research predominantly focuses on family, micro and small businesses in the areas of international business, innovation, socioeconomic development, and sustainability. For more information contact: a.alonso@ljmu.ac.uk

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Corporate solicitor James Pressley from Kirwans law firm looks at the key points to consider when thinking about selling your business.

Posted by James Pressley

Associate Solicitor, Kirwans

Mon 14th, Jan

You’ve shed blood, sweat and tears building up your business from scratch. But now, after what may well have been a long and painful decision-making process, you’ve decided to sell.

 So far so good – now the hard part really begins. Because long before you try and generate interest in the business, there are a number of important steps you might want to take . . .

1. Think about the best time to sell

Whether your reasons for selling are personal or business-related, choosing the right time to sell is crucial. Sellers can plan their exit strategy for up to several years before they actually put their business on the market, giving them time to make it as attractive as possible. If time is on your side, then you might want to avoid selling at a time of economic uncertainty. If you need a quick sale, however, make having a clear set of accurate and easy-to-understand financials your priority.

2. Structure for tax efficiency

If you have grown the value of your business, it is likely you will have to pay tax when you sell it. Your accountant or tax adviser can help you structure your business to minimise the amount of tax you will have to pay on a sale, but you need to do this before you start the sale process. There are also different ways to sell your business depending on the legal method used.  Most people selling a business will want to sell shares in their company, which is usually more tax efficient

3. Prepare sale documents early on

As far as buyers are concerned, clear financial documentation is key, so take as much time as is necessary to collate all the information you need. In particular, you’ll need to have the following documents to hand:

  •       Company reports;
  •       Last annual return;
  •       Profit forecasts;
  •       Key customer and supplier agreements;
  •       Details of business rates;
  •       Asset valuations;
  •       Property lease agreements;
  •       Insurance property;
  •       Employee contracts;
  •       Details of creditors and debtors.

Above all, ensure you have at least three years of trading accounts for any potential buyer to review. Having a detailed set of accounts demonstrates to the buyer that you’re organised and professional, and will also reduce due diligence time.

4. Don’t overvalue your business

Most sectors are familiar with the Earnings Multiples formula of valuation, multiplying the business’s annual earnings to value its worth, so the first step would be to find out what the multiple is for your sector in order to understand the sorts of figures you could be looking at. Comparing the prices of similar businesses listed on sites such as BusinessesForSale.com could also prove helpful. For a true picture of your business’s real value however, you’ll probably need to call in the professionals, such as an accountant. Ultimately, your business is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.

5. Ensure you’re not breaching your employees’ legal rights

Once you decide to sell your business, you’ll need to make sure you comply with employment law. If you are selling shares in your company, the position is a lot more simple, and your main concern will be the most sympathetic way to break the news to your employees. If you are selling your business (i.e. not selling shares in your company) then a law known as TUPE applies. TUPE means that all your employees will transfer to the buyer with your business.  There are complicated rules about when to tell your employees, needing to consult with your employees and what employee information you need to give your purchaser. Checking early with your legal adviser is essential to avoid unrest and the risk of legal action from your staff.

6. Check for loose ends that need tying up

If your business has grown quickly, the legal ownership of many of your assets may not be in the right place. A classic example is a company whose domain name is still listed as being in the personal name of its owner.  Another frequent problem is assets which tend to be on hire purchase or leasing schemes, such as vehicles or photocopiers. Check they are listed in the legally correct name and also check that you have not personally guaranteed payments on them without realising.

7. Consider the methods of marketing the business

Decide how you want to go about finding a buyer for your business, and whether you’re more comfortable using a broker or an online marketplace such as BusinessesForSale.com. If you’re listing it online, you’ll need to think about the sort of wording you’ll use to describe your business in order to make it attractive to the kinds of buyers you want to reach. If you are using a broker, there may be a broker who specialises in your area of business or, if not, you need to choose the broker most likely to reach your ideal buyer. You should also be aware that once you have signed up with a broker they will normally expect to take a percentage even if you found the buyer yourself, so check their terms and conditions.

8. Review your contracts

Whether it’s employee contracts that include restrictive covenants, supplier terms and conditions, or client contracts regarding the sale of goods or services, all contracts need to be watertight to reassure any interested parties that staff and clients aren’t going to just walk away once the business is sold. Appoint a legal expert to look over your current contracts and ensure there are no potential issues that could cause problems further down the line.

9. Consider your intellectual property

Many business owners don’t realise how much intellectual property they have or who owns it. For example, the copyright in your website might be legally owned by the person who built it. The same applies if you have a logo. If you own a trademark, you need to make sure it is properly registered and up to date. Perhaps most important since the GDPR came into force is your data; this is likely to be very important to your buyer and you may need your customers’ consent to transfer their data to your buyer. Check with your legal adviser to be sure.

10. Appoint a solicitor to draw up a non-disclosure agreement (NDA)

The very nature of going through the sale process means that potential buyers will insist on being given access to commercially sensitive information. Therefore, anyone viewing company data should sign an NDA to protect that information from being disclosed or exploited by the buyer.

11. Flag up potential issues

While there is a natural tendency to try and hide any negative elements relating to the business, it is vital to disclose anything that could pose a legal risk to the buyer if they complete the sale. As part of the sale process, it is very likely you will be asked to sign warranties (legal promises) that everything you have told the buyer about the business is true, accurate and not misleading, which could lead to legal liabilities. Employment disputes or any ongoing legal issues should be flagged up and explained as early as possible so the buyer understands exactly what they are taking on. 

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Wayne Blair – Senior Project Manager at Kier Construction North West

Posted by Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Fri 11th, Jan

Introduce yourself – name, where do you sit in the business, and what does the business do?

Wayne Blair – Senior Project Manager – Kier Construction North West

I was born and raised in Liverpool and have spent most of my adult life in this wonderful city. I began my career in construction as a shipwright and over a 22-year time-span have worked my way from joiner to senior project manager at Kier Construction North West. I have had the privilege of managing multiple construction sites in the North West area. One of the most recent and extremely successful projects I have managed involved the construction of £19.4m ParkLife football pitches in four separate locations across Liverpool. Kier Construction North West delivers construction projects in the range of £500K to £50m. The organisation has a strong construction presence in the North West region of England with key construction sites in Liverpool, North Wales and Manchester. Kier specialise and deliver projects in the health, education, residential, leisure, commercial, defence and retail sectors.

What Developments and Changes have you seen in the Construction Industry?

I have seen incredible improvements in the construction industry not only in build methods but also the usage of computers and communication.

Construction is all about team work and I work with some very intelligent professionals with excellent skills not just at the construction phase but with the planning, processing and sequencing the project so that we can deliver award winning schemes such as Chester Storyhouse Theatre and Merseygateway. The conditions and salary have improved and is now comparable with many other professional careers.

 What does a typical working day look like?

I don’t think I have a typical day which is why I enjoy construction so much. It is varied from practical actions such as hanging radiators to problem solving on site. I am constantly looking to improve the way myself and the team work, I like to identify opportunities of how Kier can support the community and how my skills set and knowledge can help. This is why I enjoy working with the client and my colleagues to deliver schemes which make such a positive impact in the region.

I enjoy supporting and developing people coming into construction new to the industry and I am thrilled to see that many of these students are now running their own sites and projects.

Where would we find you on your day off?

I don’t really stop, I am currently renovating my own “Blair Manor” so my joinery skills are always being used and I am also helping to build a timber framed extension to a listed building. I would love to do some more travelling and planning to visit the children in Chernobyl who we had the pleasure of supporting their visit to the UK with a fun football day at Jericho Lane Football Ground and maybe even speak in their language through some e learning.

I enjoy spending time with the family and walking in the countryside with my dog.  

Why construction?

I am a scouse man from the south end Liverpool. I attended Shorefield School and had a fantastic time growing up in the city so never had an urge to leave. I used to play football at Jericho and it’s great to be involved with is redevelopment and to see a large increase in positive projects and jobs around the city. I was involved with some very interesting refurbishment projects in Liverpool in my early years inkling one of my first jobs on a TYS scheme. When working as a shipwright I had the privilege of making a timber mast (using the traditional method), which is still flying the flag in the Albert Dock and is a replica of the one already installed facing the Liver Building from the early 80’s.

For me, construction has offered a varied career with many challenges and pressures that have made me a stronger person and manager. There is nothing more powerful that seeing a “finished product” that you have played a key part in developing. This might vary from constructing a large multi-storey building, to building a playground for the local children to play. Construction is also a very rewarding job that enables me to partake in charitable community work and have an extremely positive impact on the local people in the region.

Wayne was shortlisted for our Local hero award at our Annual Dinner and Awards 2018.

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