Q3 2020

Q3 2020 Also in this issue: The Importance Of Training Two-thirds of businesses say skills training is crucial to post-COVID business recovery.

A quarterly digital publication aimed at those who own, run or assist in the running of small and medium-sized businesses within the UK. SME News, by way of its digital magazine, website and social media outlets, provides a valuable tool to SMEs and their leaders for running their business day to day, seeking the best advice and for growing and succeeding in their endeavours. Subscribe here: www.sme-news.co.uk

Q3 2020 | 3 Contents A note from the Editor... Welcome to the Q3 edition of SME News magazine. These past few months have been a challenging time for many, with restrictions being eased then implemented, it has tested the capabilities on how firm’s handle unexpected obstacles. Which is why in this issue of SME News, we cast a light on a number of businesses, both big and small, showcasing how they have blossomed during these uncertain times, and found innovative ways to continue providing their services and deliver an impeccable customer experience. With some expanding the range of products they provide, to others finding alternative ways to deliver their services, these businesses have turned these unprecedented times we find ourselves in into opportunities to further establish a solid reputation within their respected industry. Whilst this is just a small glimpse of what is featured within the pages of this inspiring issue, we hope that this edition provides you with an insight into what is possible, despite the challenges. In the meantime, we hope you are doing well and staying safe, and we look forward to hearing from you. Jessica Daykin | Editor +44 (0) 20 3970 0037 j.daykin@aiglobalmedialtd.com 4. News 6. Marketing Brilliance 7. An Engineer’s Best Friend 8. Boundless Bantham bags success 10. Blind with Envy 11. Modular Marvels 12. Dealership Drives Higher Standards 13. Eyes on the Prize 14. Amazing Administration Achievement 16. By Sea, Land and Air 17. Innovative Heating Products from Essex manufacturer 18 Family-Oriented Care 19. Bolstering Marketplaces With Youthful Vigour 20. Winners’ Listings

4 | Q3 2020 DMALINK andWeOwn are pleased to announce a key strategic partnership in the institutional DeFi space. This ambitious partnership is set to be a game-changer for decentralised finance (DeFi) for digital assets. Initial plans revolve around combining low latency trade execution and real-time settlement and clearing via a decentralised multi custodian hybrid blockchain. The objective is to develop a solution based on WeOwn’s and DMALINK’s existing technology stack, where client assets are held by custodians and tokenised onto the custodial blockchain ledger thereby integrating into the full lifecycle of a trade. Manu Choudhary, CEO at DMALINK says: “The vast majority of DeFi projects are built on Ethereum (ETH). ETH, however, is not a stable and enterprise-friendly protocol and has shown itself to be incapable of scaling for institutional purposes and larger financial markets. Which is why we are so excited to work with WeOwn, who took the bold move to build their own stable and scalable protocol. Our goal is to develop a hybrid platform that is highly-scalable, performance-driven and focussed on transparency & decentralisation.” Sascha Ragtschaa, CEO of WeOwn explains: “We are excited that this collaboration with DMALINK will ultimately result in the creation of the first European cross-asset decentralised exchange (DEX). With this novel structure, our ambition is to eliminate all counterparty, clearing and settlement risks and be able to execute and settle trades within milliseconds between multiple custodians. By removing intermediary costs, we can pass on those savings directly to our clients. This is a great initial use case and will bring major volume onto our platform and exchange from day one and greatly enhance our service offering for existing partners, clients and the SME market we are serving.” DMALINK is a data-centric ECN for professional Foreign Exchange traders streaming anonymous and bilateral, proactively tailored and sustainable pricing with particular focus on Emerging Markets, Scandie crosses and CE3. We serve industry leaders, including Banks, Funds, Corporates, and Proprietary Trading Firms who have a particular demand for sustainable liquidity access across non-G-7 pairs. WeOwn is a ground-breaking digital platform that helps SME’s to better manage their investors and stakeholder engagement. Far more than a ‘quick fix’ solution, WeOwn enables companies and investors to conduct their entire relationship – including voting – securely online. For businesses looking for funding, WeOwn provides access to peer-to-peer lending and equity financing. WeOwn offers SME’s the benefit of end-to-end digital capital solutions and a secondary marketplace for increased traction with investors. Redefining Decentralised Finance

The Importance Of Training The UK workforce gained a potential 94.2 million training hours earlier this year as entire sectors came to a standstill. As the total number of hours worked plummeted across the country, research collated by Hays Thrive shows a strong link between businesses who took advantage of these training hours and those who expect to recover quickly post-COVID. This is based on recent ONS data which revealed the total number of hours worked in the UK in June dipped by 8.9% compared to the year before. Link between business recovery and skills training The pandemic has severely impacted 71% of organisations in the UK, but there is a strong link between businesses bounce back and training. According to The Open University, 68% of companies confident in their post-COVID recovery have invested in training during lockdown, while 53% of those who are not confident did not. Two-thirds of organisations have revealed that learning opportunities were crucial to keeping their workforce agile throughout the pandemic. While many companies relied on the digital skills of their staff during lockdown, many say continued training is vital for business growth strategies as we head into the last half of 2020. Potential training hours across UK sectors Comparing April to June 2019 and April to June 2020, average actual weekly hours fell by 6.3 hours. With a few exceptions, industries across the board experienced a decrease in actual weekly hours during this time. • The accommodation and food service sector saw the largest decrease in actual weekly hours worked year-on-year – a drop from 28.3 hours to 13.0 hours per week, leaving around 15 hours available for skills training a week. • Those in education also felt the impact, falling from 28.0 to 21.6 hours per week, resulting in 6.4 potential training hours available every week. • Information and communication gained 3.6 possible weekly skills training hours, as actual weekly hours dropped from 35.5 to 31.9. Two-thirds of businesses say skills training is crucial to post-COVID business recovery. Leadership, tech & marketing skills in high demand When asked which technical or specialist skills their organisation needs most, Hays research reveals that 35% of UK employers put managerial and leadership skills at the top of the list. The sectors with the highest demand for these skills currently are: • Finance (41%) • Human Resources (40%) • Healthcare (39%) • Office Support (39%) • Supply Chain & Logistics (39%) IT infrastructure skills are also in demand, with 20% of UK employers overall naming this as the skill their organisation needs most. This skill is mostly in demand by large or very large organisations (24%), compared to SMEs at just 15%. Meanwhile, 15% of UK employers say they need data and analytics skills, 12% are on the hunt for software development skills, and 11% require marketing know-how. When it comes to soft skills training, the most needed across the UK workforce right now include ‘problem-solving’ at 33% and ‘critical thinking’ at 30%. Businesses investing in training are more confident of recovery Companies that have spent time focusing on upskilling their teams are seeing their investments start to pay off, as teams adapt to the changing workplace and the skills gap becomes smaller. Developing talent from within is often more beneficial and costeffective than replacing existing employees with new talent. At the same time, re-training those whose roles have become redundant helps to close and prevent other critical skills gaps from arising. Hays Thrive provides a few tips for kickstarting skills training: • First, assess where the most significant skills gaps in your business lie, and identify which skills are most needed. • Make sure your hiring process is aligned with these needs from now on. • Start by helping your team to develop soft skills, like communication, people management and problem-solving.

6 | Q3 2020 Sep20017 Marketing Brilliance Your Marketing Guy (YMG) is dedicated to providing their customers with the easiest and most pleasant digital marketing experience. Not only do they provide affordable digital marketing packages and services, but their services are delivered in the most consumer-friendly form possible. A previously award-nominated digital marketing agency, YMG are the winners of Chelmsford’s Most Creative Digital Marketing Agency, 2020. We took a closer look at this award-winning firm to discover how the firm exudes brilliance in everything they do. With their motto of “the services you need, for as long as you want, at a price you’ll love”, it’s no surprise that their revolutionary new approach to digital marketing has taken the industry by storm. The Buy It Now Digital Marketing Store offered by YMG provides every service a business could need to enhance their online performance, from copywriting to website design, and everything in-between. Not only this, but YMG list the pricing of most of their services on the store – a rarity in their industry. When asked why this was the case, founder and managing director Nathan French had this to say: “Our aim for YMG is to provide the most customer-friendly and easy to use service possible. We know that many businesses won’t pursue digital marketing services, as the prices aren’t listed online. It’s usually something along the lines of ‘leave us your details and we’ll get back to you’, and we understand many business owners don’t like to waste people’s time, as they’re unsure how much these services cost. So, we wanted to cater to the businesses and their owners. After all, that’s why we do what we do. Our job is to help businesses reach the heights they deserve, and we want to provide that in the clearest and most convenient way possible.” Currently comprised of 25 different services, the Buy It Now Digital Marketing Store breaks them down into six areas: Web Design, SEO, Social Media, Content, Google Ads, and Lead Generation. Easy to navigate and welcoming to newcomers, this approach to providing digital marketing services is truly unique and creates and extremely pleasant service from start to finish. The opening line of the ‘about us’ section of YMG’s website states “Complete control is now back in your hands. No ifs, ands, or buts. No hidden fees, no strings attached.” With prices displayed upfront, clear information on if a service is monthly or a one-off, as well as a list of features and benefits for each service, we’re inclined to agree! Alongside their Buy It Now Digital Marketing Store, another standout feature presented by YMG is their Jargon Buster series. Jargon Buster consists of a series of blogs, all of which are designed to explain commonly used digital marketing terminology. Each entry highlights a term or phrase used by digital marketers, explains what they mean, and how they effect a business, the point of which is to help business owners understand what they’re buying into. This provides business owners and clients with a way to educate themselves about digital marketing in their own time, allowing them to make informed decision when committing to a purchase. Jargon buster is added to regularly, in line with YMG’s ambition to constantly and consistently help their audience gain a better understanding of digital marketing. Founded in 2018 by Olympian, Nathan French, YMG continues to help business up and down the country. From growing their online presence to reaching new customers, to helping educate business owners, YMG continues to push boundaries in the digital marketing industry and will do so in the years to come. As such, we simply can not wait to see what the future has in store for Chelmsford’s most creative digital marketing agency. Company: Your Marketing Guy (YMG) Telephone: 01245 943096 Email: hello@yourmarketingguy.co.uk Web Address: www.yourmarketingguy.co.uk

7 | Q3 2020 An Engineer’s Best Friend As the majority of technical steel suppliers limit themselves by holding only ten to twenty grades of material, Corrosion Resistant Materials Ltd (CRM) is blowing the competition away, offering practically any material an engineer or contractor may need. While the demands of the modern-day steel industry become increasingly challenging, CRM is able to offer a supply chain solution unparalleled by any supplier within the sector. Established in 2015 as a supplier of technical services to companies within the oil and gas, aerospace, Powergen and many more sectors besides, CRM have since ratified their position as one of the first specialist technical materials suppliers of its kind. Supplying nickel, stainless, duplex, super duplex, low alloy, titanium and aluminium grades of material in bar, sheet, plate, tube and pipe form. CRM also offers full technical services such as testing, heat treatment and first stage machining. CRM’s philosophy has not only remained consistent since the company’s inception five years ago but strengthened too. Their mission is simple; to be a one-stop shop for clients that offers a full range of products and services to clients within the UK and across the globe. While many of CRM’s competitors limit themselves by having a concentrated stock of ten to twenty grades of material, CRM stocks and supplies over seventy, fully released to specification. This allows the company to offer full packages to machine shops and end users, meaning CRM has become the supplier of choice for many. Being able to find and supply hard-to-find grades of material and to achieve hard-to-hit specifications is why CRM is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. Having established a loyal client base, CRM see approximately fifty customers who have developed a relationship with the firm over the years returning each month, making up a large part of business activity. Meanwhile, the reputation for excellence and marketing via online platforms attracts between seven to ten new customers each month. Whether the customer is an old friend of the firm or a new face, they are treated with the most conscientious levels of care. Being a family run operation, the CRM team take pride in delivering exceptional service that places the customer and the supplier at the heart of everything they do. Despite setbacks presented by a decline in Oil and Gas prices and the economic downturn caused by Coronavirus, CRM is positive about the future. The team has doubled in quantity over the last two years, with hopes for more like-minded and enthusiastic people to join the company in the near future. Having taken on two apprentices, CRM is keen to support those who wish to grow a longterm career within the company and also the wider steel industry. While CRM may already be a leader of technical services and materials supplier, they still have big plans for further development. Already exporting to thirty different countries, which accounts for more than 50% of the company’s turnover, CRM is looking to extend this even further over the next twelve months. There is no doubt that exciting developments lie ahead of this ambitious company. Contact: Adam Bradley Company: Corrosion Resistant Materials Ltd Web Address: www.corrosion-resistant-materials.co.uk “Being able to find and supply hard-to-find grades of material and to achieve hard-to-hit specifications is why CRM is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.” Jul20048

8 | Q3 2020 Aug20646 Boundless Bantham bags success At a time when the world is becoming increasingly digital, the necessity for digital data and working environments has become more apparent than ever before. At the same time, the world is facing a climate crisis like never before, compounded by a viral pandemic that has sent much of the working world into isolation and lockdown. Yet, one firm has stood true to what it does and has continued to deliver success after success. Join us, as we take a closer look at Bantham Technologies and why it is a worthy winner of this years’ SME News Environmental Impact Award 2020. Established and founded in 2017, Bantham Technologies is a UKbased firm that specialises in digital data capture and information sharing. Its cloud-based platform is capable of getting information from anywhere to anywhere, both securely and in real time. Each solution that Bantham Technologies delivers for its clients are tailored to them and the organisation as a whole, with its employees working out in the field who may need to collect signatures and information from customers. Ensuring that these important documents are uploaded correctly and safely into the business systems is incredibly important to the smooth and swift running of day to day business, and it is there that Bantham Technologies comes to life. Never has it been so easy to convert any existing documents and business forms into intelligent digital templates, enabling total control and visibility for the user and the organisation as a whole. Data that is free from errors can be validated, audited, and uploaded into a back-office system in real time from anywhere, whether it be from a tablet, smartphone, or a digital pen and paper. That is what Bantham Technologies enables with its remote working solutions for organisations all over the country. At the firm’s heart is a dedication to simplicity, and it is now efficiently digitising current working practices for so many other organisations. Bantham Technologies also works with businesses large and small to provide remote working and virtual workspace solutions, building on the wave of current working practices that the United Kingdom is moving towards and protecting the environment whilst it does so. Bringing people together in spite of the distance between them has never been so easy. Working in virtual workspaces enables an organisation, a department, or even just two people to work together in real time, on any device. These virtual workspaces are breeding grounds for sharing ideas, careful project planning, and outstanding project delivery. Totally secure and live working environments, these virtual workspaces are what Bantham Technologies has aimed to provide for its clients. Since its establishment just a few short years ago, Bantham Technologies has been resolutely focused on its goal of helping clients capture their remote data in a manner that is both secure and simple. The ongoing mission has always been to maximise its own positive environmental impact by delivering digital technology which has a direct impact on the business community’s carbon footprint whilst saving time, increasing efficiency, and reducing costs. Environments all over the world are suffering because of human activity, and Bantham Technologies is leading the charge to help make businesses more sustainable from an environmental standpoint. This desire has also fed into the firm’s values of sustainability, integrity, customer centricity, innovation, agility, leadership, and simplicity. Each of these values brings something different to the table, and enables Bantham Technologies to be the firm that it is today. Without these values guiding the firm, it would not be as successful as it is today, or as pioneering within the environmental sustainability industry. This is a firm that is wholly focused on the environment, easy to do business with, keen to see digital transformation occur in all businesses, embracing of driving change, striving to shape a better future, honest, transparent, ethical, and fair in everything. It may seem like a lot to be focused on, but Bantham Technologies understands the need to be each and every one of those things for its clients, and for the environment. One of the ways in which Bantham Technologies is helping businesses all over the United Kingdom and further afield with their own environmental impact is through its Environomics reporting tool. Environmental impact is important for many businesses, yet it is often difficult to obtain clear metrics. The Environomics report is a very useful tool when it comes to helping businesses in the United Kingdom, particularly those whose industries seem to be detrimental to the environment, to report tangible reductions in their environmental impact. Bantham Technologies’ Environomics reports are based on actual utilisation of its platform in 2019, and give out information that includes paper, CO2, water, time, and money savings that a client’s business is making, or could be making. Clients that Bantham Technologies partner with take all kinds of different forms, but one client in particular is a real privilege to serve for the team. The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust is the client, and Bantham Technologies serves it best by accessing and capturing patient data in a fully compliant manner before being stored on the N3 NHS secure cloud. As far as other clients go, Bantham Technologies enables them to utilise field engineers and teams to collect data and signatures for electrical and air conditioning installations and maintenance, gas servicing and deliveries, pest control services, estate agencies, and surveyors to name but a few. Staff at Bantham Technologies live out the promises that the firm makes on a daily basis, approaching each and every project with a forward-thinking mindset that is environmentally aware, customer centric, honest, and focused on growth for client and company alike. The whole team works tirelessly together to build the brand that Bantham Technologies has just set about creating, whilst also supporting clients in the best ways for them. Ultimately, Bantham Technologies is an outstanding firm that delivers on its promise of innovation and simplicity. At a time when working remotely is high on many agendas around the country, these solutions from Bantham Technologies are truly exceptional. Company: Bantham Technologies Contact: Chris Sheppard Email: chris@banthamtechnologies.com Website: www.banthamtechnologies.com

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10 | Q3 2020 Blinds manufacturing and installation company, Blind Envy, has managed to achieve the perfect equilibrium of classic and contemporary style in each window shade within their extensive collection. With a firm belief in the power of exceptional blinds in transforming a home, Blind Envy is on a mission to inspire, advise and create the dream home for each of their clients. The Blind Envy philosophy is that a home is so much more than its windows, therefore they are so much more than a manufacturer and installer of designer blinds at affordable prices. Achieving a timeless and harmonious blend of classic and contemporary styles in every product, Blind Envy specialises in bespoke window blinds that work well with any décor, as single window coverings or with additional drapery. Operating from Crossgar, Downpatrick, and with a client-centric approach, Blind Envy’s principal aim is to work closely with their customers to achieve the look they are seeking by offering a wealth of advice and expert guidance. The Blind Envy team are on hand with their installation consultants and friendly staff to guide customers through the entire process, from the initial consultation, to the step-by-step measuring process, to the finished result. Each homeowner has their own unique vision of how they want their home to look, and Blind Envy’s extensive portfolio has something to suit every taste, whether it be the luxurious and textured appearance of Roman and roller blinds, to the superior insulation and light control of cellular shades, to the protective benefits of UV-blocking solar blinds. By offering high quality products and expert advice, Blind Envy is able to achieve an exceptional look that completes their clients’ homes. As a family run business, collaboration is central to the successful growth of Blind Envy. The internal culture of the business means this is a supportive environment in which ideas are created and developed as a team. The positivity and loyalty of the Blind Envy team radiates through the brand image, and guarantees every client is dealt with in a warm and professional manner. Externally, creating long-standing relationships with clients enables consistent business activity, and while the 99% customer satisfaction and 90 Facebook recommendations that represent positive reception and referrals are a valuable asset in Blind with Envy growing a customer base, constructive feedback is even more vital. This allows Blind Envy to continually improve the range, quality and image of their products through innovation, so as to consistently match and exceed customer expectations. Working with interior designers is also a crucial element in the evolution of the Blind Envy brand, as collaborating with both residential and commercial customers via designers facilitates fantastic opportunities to think and be creative. Blind Envy also spotted an opportunity to form partnerships with the giants of the property industry; estate agents. Providing agencies with discount vouchers to give customers on completion of their new homes benefits everyone, from the customer who achieves a finished look to their home for a discounted price, to the estate agents who add values to their sales, to Blind Envy who is able to strategically build brand awareness. Alongside their notable seasonal marketing campaigns, Blind Envy has reaped the benefits of careful strategies, including 400% growth in two years. This is not to suggest that the company has not faced challenges, for example in obtaining skilled members for their workforce via growth periods. In addition, the fast rise in housing development in Blind Envy’s local area has created a gap in the market for a younger generation of businesses, increasing competition. However, with careful monitoring of trends and regular staff training, Blind Envy is working hard to stay relevant and continue development. Most recently, this has included developing the retail side of the business, as the company expands into their own pillow and candle range, in an effort to increase their impact in the home decorating sector. Their most exciting initiative is the decision to invite local artists to exhibit their work within Blind Envy’s new show room, both supporting the local community and setting themselves apart from the crowd. With innovative thinking and continued excellence in both production and customer service, Blind Envy is well equipped to thrive as a brand as they evolve and expand. Contact: Christine Jones Company: Blind Envy Web Address: www.blindenvy.org “With innovative thinking and continued excellence in both production and customer service, Blind Envy is well equipped to thrive as a brand as they evolve and expand.” Jul20275

11 | Q3 2020 Modular buildings are used in a variety of settings, playing a vital part in many different industries. The team at SiBCAS Ltd have earned a reputation as one of the foremost providers of these constructions in the UK. Recognised as Best Modular Building Provider & Transport Specialists 2020 in the UK Transport Awards 2020, we profile the firm to find out more. Forty years’ experience has led SiBCAS to this point. The firm is a leader in the country when it comes to the manufacture and the rental of modular buildings. From raw material to the finished product, they have an intimate knowledge that is fed into each and every design. With offices across the UK, they are the first choice for many when there is a need for a modular building that has been built to the highest of standards. Key to the company’s success are the buildings themselves, each carefully assembled by master craftsmen at the firm. With many different demands on these sorts of building, it takes a great deal of care and professionalism to ensure that a client gets just the building that they asked for. Modular Marvels The company has recently completed work on a new production facility which allows for prompt service. The team work to the exacting BS 9001:2008 quality accreditation, which ensures that no detail can be overlooked. Whether a standard building or bespoke unit, the team apply rigorous procedures throughout. Modular buildings are immensely versatile, which is one of the many reasons that SiBCAS is in such high demand. Used as everything from a base on construction site through to classrooms at a school, the team ensure their buildings have all the comfort of a permanent space with the flexibility that relocation allows for. The flagship product that SiBCAS provides is Permaspace, a high standard of temporary modular cabins that have a wealth of different uses. Once designed and assembled, it can be delivered or installed on site. The potential for linking or stacking these buildings makes them the ideal choice in a wide variety of different circumstances. The benefits that a modular construction can offer are numerous, with low capital costs, quick and easy removal and ease of expansion if required, and the team at SiBCAS are the ultimate in providing these services. Drawing on a long history of construction, there can be no better choice than a company that has achieved, and continues to achieve, such amazing success. Company: SiBCAS Ltd Contact: Stephen Dunn Web Address: www.sibcas.co.uk “From raw material to the finished product, they have an intimate knowledge that is fed into each and every design. With offices across the UK, they are the first choice for many when there is a need for a modular building that has been built to the highest of standards.” Mar20247

12 | Q3 2020 The challenge for those looking to buy a new car is not just to find the ideal option, but to find it at the right price. The team at Revento Motors have made their business in finding and selling only the best possible vehicles. Now named as the Best Car Dealership & Credit Brokerage – Devon in SME’s UK Transport Awards 2020, we delve more deeply into one of the South-West’s most impressive success stories. For some, cars are a means to an end, a way of getting from A to B. For the talented team that make up Revento Motors, it’s a passion that brings numerous benefits to customers. At the core of the business is a determination to get the best cars out there to customers at a price that’s right for them. Much of what Revento Motors does is based on the buying and selling of quality cars that have a great service history and as few owners as possible. The team take huge pride in ensuring that each of their vehicles meets exacting standards, buying, preparing and presenting them as if they owned them themselves. Needless to say, anything that fails to meet this stringent system does not make it to the showroom. Customers at Revento Motors only see the best. Dealership Drives Higher Standards Based in Plympton, the team make the process of buying a car a dream for customers, including full dealer facilities such as debit card payments up to £500. A wide network of leading car finance providers allows the Revento Motors team to offer an exceptional range of payment options that are not only flexible, but incredibly affordable. The team are happy to explore possibilities for part exchange, making the process that little bit easier for customers. Each car leaves the showroom with three months warranty, twelve Months MOT, Oil and Filter Service and a full valet service. All cars are HPI clear as well, meaning that nothing is overlooked when it comes to ensuring that customers leave with the best possible car. Far from a cheap flash in the pan shot, any vehicle from Revento Motors is in peak condition, ready to work for several years to come. Customers often credit the team for their expertise in the field and their ability to not just sell an excellent car, but to find the right car for their purposes. With so many exceptional options on offer, the team feel no need to pressure customers into the most expensive choice. Instead, they are guided through the process and the car is allowed to do the talking for itself. It’s an approach that has paid dividends in an environment that is often heavy on sales jargon, setting the team apart as something different. The success of the firm can be seen in its ability to turn over stock regularly. This means that if you want an item secured, it’s best to make an appointment and double check to avoid a wasted journey. Of course, with such a finely stocked showroom, it’s little wonder that this sort of event is more common than in other dealerships. Passion for cars is at the heart of Revento Motors, with the team able to express themselves through what they sell. It’s an approach that benefits customers as they pass on their enthusiasm in the room. With a commitment to excellent service, superb products and perfect flexibility, it’s little wonder that the team have been able to make such an impact on Devon’s dealership scene. Company: Revento Motors Contact: Shaun Young Web Address: www.reventomotors.co.uk “A wide network of leading car finance providers allows the Revento Motors team to offer an exceptional range of payment options that are not only flexible, but incredibly affordable.” Feb20511

13 | Q3 2020 Eyes on the Prize In 2013, musician Stephen Tighe experienced career-threatening vision problems which high street opticians were unable to correct. Alarmed about the lack of aid he could find, Stephen eventually consulted friend and fellow musician, Sheryl Doe, whose expertise of optometry and understanding of performers’ needs enabled her to help Stephen and save his career. In 2016, the pair went into business and established Allegro Optical, a specialist optician providing bespoke eyecare to musicians and performers worldwide. Since then, Sheryl and her team of opticians have scooped up prizes and accolade, placing Sheryl as a leader of her specialist field. When musician Stephen Tighe encountered career-threatening vision problems in 2013, he turned to his friend and fellow musician Sheryl Doe, who was able to help him where his regular high street opticians were not. Realising there was a need for specialist eyecare for performers and musicians, the pair began Allegro Optical in 2016, a bespoke optician dedicated to providing care to the performance sector. Operating in Meltham, Holmfirth and Greenfield, Saddleworth – the latter strategically placed in the heart of Brass band Country and the home of the Whit Friday contests – Allegro has won numerous awards since the company’s inception. In 2019 alone, these included the National Best New Business Art and Entertainment Business of the Year, FSB Chairman’s Award and more, whilst Sheryl has personally been awarded the Best New Business Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 and Dispensing Optician of the Year 2019. As a leader of her specialist field of Ophthalmic Dispensing, Sheryl and Allegro have invested a great deal of research in specialist eyecare for performers. As a result of their registration with the British Association of Performing Arts Medicine and their work with the Royal College of Music on the Healthy Performers Project, Allegro is now recognised as a world leader in the field of musicians’ and performers’ eye care. With major plans for growth over the next few years, and a vision to be the optician of choice for musicians in Europe by 2022 and worldwide by 2025, one might easily forget that Allegro is a family run operation simply born of passions for music and optometry. However, this passion and combined expertise as players, conductors and optical professionals is what has enabled the company to thrive, giving them the edge over their competitors. Providing custom lenses, frames and contact lenses that are able to extend a customer’s visual parameters, Allegro are now recognising the opportunity to extend into other customer bases that require specialist eyecare, such as dancers and sportspeople, as well as presenters and lecturers. With these opportunities for expansion, the opening of a second practice in January 2019 in Greenfield, and brand promotion created by countless awards and recognition by prominent institutions, Allegro is developing at an exponential rate. Fundamental to this growth however is the staff who exist at the heart of Allegro. While many members of the team are actually related, the whole team is an inclusive family unit that shares the same passions as cofounders, Sheryl and Stephen. A supportive and collaborative environment, many of the team members are encouraged and often financed as they seek to develop their own career paths, earning qualifications for themselves and further prestige for the firm. The unity of this team has rarely been so apparent as when Stephen fell seriously ill in 2017, being hospitalised for nearly three months and out of action within the company for six months. Responsibility over Allegro fell wholly to Sheryl, but every member of the team pulled their weight to ensure the detrimental effects on the business were as minimal as possible. Except for one poorer month in September, business continued to flourish and even develop during Stephen’s absence. It was a true testament to the effectiveness of the Allegro team, and the incredible journey of recovery was rewarded by the FSB Chairman’s Award in May 2019 and a feature in The Times newspaper. More recently, while the outbreak of Covid-19 this year has meant that many companies have been forced to slow down, Allegro has taken the time to consider how they can adapt their business to continue operating safely and effectively. As a result, they have maintained excellent customer service that provides bespoke products to perfectly fulfil a client’s specific requirements, all while following strict safety measures. Having already served over 300 musicians and performers and provided their local community with high quality, professional eyecare with that personal touch for four years, we have no doubt that the best is yet to come for Allegro as it continues its exceptional international expansion. Contact: Sheryl Doe Company: Allegro Optical Web Address: www.allegrooptical.co.uk “As a leader of her specialist field of Ophthalmic Dispensing, Sheryl and Allegro have invested a great deal of research in specialist eyecare for performers.” Jul20458

14 | Q3 2020 “...the team have been able to offer an extensive range of services that have been invaluable during the current crisis...” Aug20646 Amazing Administration Achievement The world of administration has been in a constant flux over the last few years, with the COVID-19 pandemic transforming how all businesses have worked and operated in very short order. For many, it has been an opportunity to showcase what they can do. This is certainly true of the team from The Administration Hub, named in SME News’ Business Elite awards as Most Reputable Virtual Business Support Service, 2020 – London. We profile the firm to find out more. Founded in 2017, The Administration Hub has rapidly grown into an essential lifeline for businesses and individuals. Under the inspirational leadership of Amy Watmore and Katy Moroney, the team have been able to offer an extensive range of services that have been invaluable during the current crisis and will continue to be so as the international situation continues to develop. The Administration Hub provides an allencompassing approach to business operations, taking a holistic view to how work is done. Each client has their own specific needs, and the team aim to meet these needs with great precision. With services on offer that include PA, admin, finance, HR, social media, marketing, compliance and e-learning, a Virtual Assistant from The Administration Hub could transform the way in which a business works. In these challenging times of redundancies and remote working, the team provide virtual or in-person support on a flexible basis to suit a range of needs and budgets. It’s possible to buy a set number of hours that allow an individual from The Administration Hub to cover a range of different areas. The benefits to businesses are clear from the start. Some of the most in-demand professionals that are chosen for outsourcing work to are Virtual Assistants, administrators, bookkeepers, content creators, sales professionals and marketers. These are areas in which The Administration Hub excels. Businesses have started to feel more comfortable with freelance support on flexible terms for ad-hoc or longterm requirements. An administrator hired on a £24,000 per annum salary can cost an employer over £40,000 overall. The same amount of productivity can be bought per hour or on a project basis at just under £20,000 when working with a bespoke administrative solution from The Administration Hub. Each client meets with a member of The Administration Hub team face-to-face, as they believe this is crucial to establishing and maintaining a long-term working relationship. Even in times like these when meetings must be done virtually, it is the best way of seeing what challenges have arisen for a company and how these might be addressed. The needs of clients can vary enormously, changing quickly according to circumstance. This variation is clearly reflected in the bespoke proposals that The Administration Hub submit, carefully adapted to every case. YOUR BUSINESS MATTERS THE HUB YOUR BUSINESS MATTERS THE HUB

Q3 2020 | 15 As the world changes rapidly, it’s important that businesses find a way forward that is flexible and beneficial to all parties. For the team at The Administration Hub, the way forward is obvious. Their way embraces the benefits of remote working and bespoke solutions to make a difference when it is needed most. Committed to delivering the highest of standards every time, everything that the team does is designed to take business administration to the next level – a worthy aim which has allowed them to achieve great success. Names: Amy Watmore & Katy Moroney Email: info@theadministrationhub.co.uk Website: www.theadministrationhub.co.uk Amazing Administration Achievement This personal approach plays a huge part in the reduction of workload and overheads. It pinpoints any problem areas and allows the team to find a clear solution. Those who work at The Administration Hub have been able to apply their knowledge to a range of different industries, adapting easily to new approaches and sectors as well as bringing in fresh ideas to revitalise companies of all sorts. The team have been able to play an invaluable role in many organisations, establishing new systems that follow best practice in every respect. This careful approach has ensured that the team are always in high demand and why they are so highly regarded by many. It has helped the firm to stand out from the competition is why they have achieved such enviable success in SME News’ Business Elite awards. A good reputation is built on strong results, and the team at The Administration Hub deliver strong results each and every time. They manage this, because at the heart of The Administration Hub is an incredibly strong team of highly qualified professionals who work tirelessly to put all this work into practice. To guarantee the best quality workforce, potential employees must undergo a rigorous recruitment process. This ensures clients receive support that can truly make a difference to the company. At uncertain times such as these, the ability to outsource support in the short-term and the long-term to a trusted partner is an invaluable commodity. The Administration Hub is able to provide clients with someone who can alleviate time constraints, reduce costs and improve your work life balance. The high quality of these Virtual Assistants is guaranteed thanks to a diligent Operations Manager who oversees their work. With a strong heritage of success providing virtual assistants, it’s little wonder that the team have adapted well to the brave new world of remote working. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have embraced the flexibility, reduced costs and improved work life balance that remote working offers, but some are still finding challenges in the field. To help businesses make the jump, The Administration Hub are now offering an impressive Remote Working E-Learning Course for those who have yet to discover the full potential of working online. The course is designed specifically for organisations and/or individuals who are looking for their employees to work from home as part of their role or for an individual who is preparing to, or are working, from home and requires the understanding of what the expectations are from an employer or client. It is a certified course which not only enhances skillset, but gives confidence to employers, clients and the trainee. The course is designed to be modular, once the bite size 13 modules are completed the user is then ‘Certified In Remote Working’ and is able to download a certificate and digital badge to display on their email signature and marketing material for confidence in what they now offer on a remote basis. Remote working is not something that everyone is instantly adept it. It is a skill that requires self-motivation, understanding, being able to prioritise, manage expectations and the ability to communicate with ease. Some people are better suited to remote working than others, but this innovative course from The Administration Hub provides clients with a wealth of knowledge for how to work in a new situation, alongside practical tools and a new-found confidence that could transform the way your business is run. The Administration Hub are partners with Xero and BreathHr in order to ensure that the team are always using the best procedures at every step. This partnership exemplifies how the team is forward thinking and able to take advantage of what is currently available to transform how businesses operate.

16 | Q3 2020 Mar20320 By Sea, Land and Air From foodstuffs, to toys, to aircraft equipment or even, in more recent months, vital PPE, LILA International Logistics is the go-to company for importing, exporting and cross trading goods on an international scale. With nearly 15 years in the industry, Managing Director Ian Antonio established LILA in 2018 as a ground-breaking freight forwarder firm that took an innovative, client-centric approach. Almost two years after the company’s inception, we took a closer look at this exciting young company. In a sector that many consider wellestablished and even commonplace, LILA International Logistics is a welcome breath of fresh air. Formed in late 2018, LILA is bringing innovation and enthusiasm to the table, and changing the way customers perceive the UK freight market. Operating from London Heathrow and offering bespoke importing, exporting and cross trading services via air, road and sea, LILA may be a young company, but it is one that has already witnessed exponential growth in the two years since its inception. Their establishment within the UK has been so successful that they recently won multiple contracts with the Department of Health and Social Care on behalf of the UK government to ship crucial PPE equipment from overseas, as part of the combative efforts against Covid-19. LILA’s mission is simple; to provide stress-free, economic and highly efficient freight forwarding and logistics services to their invaluable client base which extends across the globe. Offering tailored personal service and exceptional flexibility that is lacking in many larger companies within the forwarder industry, the experienced and dedicated team at LILA ensure reliability and customer satisfaction, being contactable at all hours and providing superior solutions to every member of their client base. Whether a customer be new to the business or a longstanding client, LILA ensures a great experience that is both timely and cost-effective. With nearly 15 years in the freight forwarding industry, Managing Director Ian Antonio is well aware of what makes the perfect team. By employing attentive and proactive staff who are fully committed to the company’s central ethos, LILA have been able to cultivate a team that is dedicated to providing excellence. For LILA, working as a supportive collaboration breeds enthusiasm, teamwork and cooperation that facilitates the highest standards of operation. LILA is able to pack and transport practically anything, from toys to brewing equipment to fabrics to e-liquids. In particular, LILA pride themselves on their specialist packing services for foodstuffs, for which they have a skilled warehouse team who chill pack foods for export before shipping to ensure goods stay at the required temperature range for 72-96 hours, regardless of the climate of the final destination. The other major industry LILA works closely with is automotive, with a large number of clients being leading suppliers of motor vehicles and parts within Europe, the Middle East, Caribbean, North America and South-East Asia. Offering HAZ packaging for shipping specialist goods such as these, LILA is well equipped to offer the highest standard of care when transporting clients’ goods. As a young company, LILA is still working hard to continue their exponential growth. Alongside approachable, helpful and informative staff that builds their client-conscious reputation, LILA constantly identifies potential new clients to further grow their business, by attending conferences, business meetings and industry events. At these events, the LILA business development team is able to pitch services and expertise as part of the efforts to expand their client portfolio. While the outbreak of the Covid-19 presented many challenges for the freight forwarder industry, Antonio and his resilient firm looked for opportunities to continue business activity. Being selected to handle and move specialist PPE equipment and goods worldwide on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care established LILA as a vital company within the freight market and allowed the business to continue thriving despite the global pandemic. As LILA looks to continue growing its team and client base in 2021, there is no doubt that the successful growth of this year will be significant. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for this ambitious freight forwarder firm. Contact: James Mumford Company: LILA International Logistics Ltd Web Address: www.lilalogistics.co.uk