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A new report published by insurance and pension provider Standard Life has revealed the key drivers of success for UK SMEs over the next five years. Having polled both SME leaders and employees, the report highlights the fundamental trends of collaboration, empowerment and adaptability as central to growth

SME leaders said the number one priority is to empower the workforce, by building an environment that encourages creativity and innovation.

Employees agreed, stating that the most desirable quality in a business leader is the ability to empower and trust their colleagues.

The report also found that the traditional five-year business planning cycle is largely a thing of the past, with 82 per cent of SME leaders altering their strategy at least once a year and almost three fifths doing so at least every six months.

Meanwhile, 60 per cent of employees felt ‘adaptability’ is the most important attribute for professional success.

Stephen Ingledew, Standard Life Managing Director of Marketing, said: “SMEs are an important part of our client base, and we wanted to take a closer look at the behaviours these business leaders and their employees adopt to achieve success and fuel entrepreneurship.

“Our research shows that UK SMEs are strongly committed to building working environments that encourage and nurture flexibility and innovation.”

The report stated that business leaders believed that the most productive workforce can be achieved by offering employees flexible working conditions (41 per cent) and by investing in future potential (40 per cent), with training/upskilling the number one focus in the next half a decade.

Indeed, at McPhersons, our staff values our flexible working conditions. In fact, some cite this as the main reason they came to us. The work life balance is a key factor to consider and at McPhersons, staff are able to plan their working day around childcare, dog-walking, socialising and other interests.

With employees at every level of qualification and some with us for over 40 years, we understand that development and support with study and qualification are vital as well as necessary for staff retention.

The majority (69 per cent) of leaders also believe the role of CEO/MD will become more diverse and accessible to their workforce in the future, it is a position that is still seen as out of reach by many employees, with 56 per cent expecting promotion to CEO to become far more challenging over the next five years.

Stephen Ingledew added: “SMEs are generally very outward-looking and focused on retaining strong core values which help them attract and retain the best talent.

“The research indicates that they regard positive contributions to society as an important measure of success, and that they carefully consider how their decisions impact their broader industry, their people and their communities.”

Need more help?

This feature aims  to give some informal hints and McPhersons are offering small businesses free advice so get in touch now to arrange your free meeting on 01424 730000 or info@mcphersons.co.uk

Sussex Coast College Hastings has developed the following engineering courses for apprentices and management in the manufacturing sector in response to industry requirements, starting in September 2016. Manufacturing companies locally have been asking for years for somewhere to provide this training and Sussex Coast College has delivered these courses to cater for this need.

Check out the course flyer here

(click to enlarge)

its time o hire an apprentice engineer a stronger workforce

Passengers will face difficulty over Easter as there will be no trains running from Victoria to Sussex and Gatwick Airport.

There are plans for Network Rail to rebuild a critical junction at Battersea Park and as a result there will be no Gatwick Express or Southern trains from Victoria.

There will be services from Southern and Thameslink, which will run trains from London to the coast and Gatwick Airport. Trains will run from London Bridge and London Blackfriars.

Subject to improvement work further afield in Kent, Southeastern services from the station will run as normal.

Buses will replace trains on the Horsham line to Arundel in West Sussex. This is due to work to replace timbers on a railway bridge over the River Arun. Passengers are advised that this will add around one hour to their journey times on that route.Southern

The first conference for the award winning social enterprise, WayfinderWoman, will be held on April 22 at the East Sussex National. This supports women and young girls wishing to find volunteering opportunities, enter the workplace, pursue careers or successfully set up businesses.

The half-day conference aims to help businesses reflect on their recruitment and working practices in order to access a wealth of unrecognised talent to help them grow and increase their bottom line.

Designed with women and businesses in mind, the conference is open to all and aims to inspire and help organisations to develop.

At the event there will be seven speakers who will talk about their stories of regional, national and international success to an audience of 160+. There will also be time for networking and lunch.

The speakers are as follows:

  • Nus Ghani, Wealden MP talking about her time training women under fire in Kabul
  • Julia Barfield, entrepreneur responsible for getting the London Eye built and finalist for the global Stirling Prize
  • Penny Mallory, world champion Rally Cross driver
  • Anji Hunter, Special Adviser to Edelman, the largest PR company in the world & Head of Communications to Tony Blair’s government
  • Penina Shepherd, MD of multi-award winning Acumen Business Law who will be talking about following your passion
  • Daryl Gayler, Regional MD of RBS
  • Katy Bourne, Sussex PCC and ex-businesswoman who built her business up from scratch and sold it on

Tickets are £40 per person and can be booked here.

There are also a limited number of sponsorship packages available.


SEPnet (South East Physics Network) is a consortium of university physics departments – Hertfordshire, Kent, Portsmouth, Queen Mary, Reading, Royal Holloway, Southampton, Surrey, Sussex and Open University and organises an annual placement scheme for physics students from the above universities. SEPnet are seeking 8-week plus projects in industry or research in areas such as data analysis, mathematic modelling, product design and testing or science communication to place their undergraduates with.

If you’re in one of the mentioned sectors than this will be a great opportunity for you and them and in some case funding is available for SME’s too. Here’s some of the benefits of placement.

  • Early access to bright, numerate students with excellent problem-solving and IT skills
  • Enables you to carry out projects you would not normally have time for
  • Provides a fresh perspective on your business challenges

The scheme is aimed at any organisations interested in recruiting physics graduates, or who can offer valuable business experience, including large companies, research institutions, charities, NGOs, start-ups and SMEs and all the advertising, administration and placement support is handled by SEPnet

For more information:

Visit http://www.sepnet.ac.uk/students-employers/information-for-employers/  
for further information and to register your placement project, or projects, online.  Email veronica.benson@sepnet.ac.uk

Tesco announced that it will end 24-hour shopping at 70 of its stores due to the growth of online shopping.

Around one in six of those currently open around the clock but the company said that due to the rise in online shopping, certain shops had less customers overnight.

This decision will have minimal impact on employees as Tesco will still proceed with night time activities such as refilling selves.

Four hundred staff will see a difference as the affected outlets will close between midnight and 6am, but the business said that this will not mean 400 job losses.

Stores that are affected by this have not yet been named but there are currently a total of 400 Tesco stores that open 24 hours a day.

HSBC said that after two days of disruption for customers its online banking system is operating at full capacity.

Monday and Tuesday showed that business accounts were not running at its usual speed and some customers were unable to log onto the personal banking site but customers were able to log on since yesterday evening.

The disturbance which affected many customers was followed by John Hackett, HSBC’s chief operating officer, posting a video to Twitter apologising to customers for the hassle it has caused.

HSBC have said that the problem was due to a complex technical issue within its banking and mobile systems but has not given its 17 million customers a specific explanation.

All customers would be compensated for any losses caused by the issue and there was no personal data at risk during the disruption, Mr Hackett said.

This is not the first time HSBC has had a technical glitch as back in August 2015, 275,000 payments were prevented from going through.

Andrew Tyrie, the chair of the Treasury Select Committee, stated that he would question HSBC’s chief executive about why problems keep occurring.

Sussex is on the map for delivering great customer service. Paul and Louise Matthews, the Regional Directors for Shopper Anonymous Sussex, have been recognised for working with Sussex businesses at the National Shopper Anonymous Awards Dinner, which was held in Liverpool in early December.

Shopper Anonymous works with more than 900 independent UK businesses, from legal firms to farm shops to opticians, to help them improve their customer service and their sales and profitability.

Jonathan Winchester, Chief Executive, said: “Paul and Louise began their journey with Shopper Anonymous in January and have, over just a 10-month period, developed it into an extraordinary business.  Gaining a silver award out of 18 Regional Directors was a fantastic achievement. I am delighted for all the Sussex businesses that gain so much value from the services Paul and Louise offer.”

With almost 100 Sussex clients engaged with the mystery shopping, customer feedback and training programmes, Shopper Anonymous Sussex has offered more than 1000 Sussex staff members the opportunity to receive feedback and development on the service standards they personally offer.

“This process has not only seen individuals grow with confidence but it has also made a significant difference to each business’ bottom line, as they retain and delight their customers,” said Paul.

Working with local firms such as Jempsons, Barraclough and Stiles, Fuzion4, Birchwood Motor Group, The Sovereign Centre and Motcombe Pool to name a few, Paul is finding that many local businesses are genuinely keen to raise their standards as far as customer service goes, as they are recognising that customers expect loyalty, respect and quality in their relationship.

“We have big plans for Sussex in 2016, including developing our world class mystery shopper team from 50 to 120 members as we engage with more clients,” said Louise.

If you want to learn more about the services Paul and Louise offer to improve your customer service, or to join their team, please click here.

Morrisons is at risk of falling out of the FTSE 100 due to a severe drop in its share price and concerning recovery plans.

The supermarket chain has been in the list for more than 14 years but as sales have fallen its share price has reduced by 17% this year.

In the last quarterly reshuffles in June and September, Morrisons missed demotion and the final decision will be made by the London Stock Exchange. This will be decided on Wednesday based upon the closing price of the day before.

The new chief executive David Potts has been attempting to make sure the company’s fortune is not all lost but the supermarket has been under pressure through a tough trading period.

Morrisons announced a 2.6% drop in sales last month for the three months to November, which meant that there was a further fall in share price.

The supermarket also faced its worst result in eight years back in March when there was a 52% drop in annual profits to £345 million.

It is no surprise that Morrisons is struggling considering the current state of the sector due to price wars with the big four supermarkets because of the rise of the discounters.

Morrisons has had to make several losses and this included selling 140 “M” local convenience stores that did not make any profit as a result of needing to focus on the larger stores.



Pacific House is the first building on the Sovereign Harbour Innovation Park and will enable businesses to develop and become part of a new commercial hub.

This contemporary business centre have offices available to let, ranging from 627 sq ft all the way up to 4,000 sq ft. This means that Pacific House would be flexible accommodation for businesses that are small, medium and large.

Viewing the building is no problem as anyone can drop in between 9am and 5pm throughout the 9th to the 13th of November. The relevant information can be found here to get in touch and find out more about the offices.

Businesses would have light and spacious offices in an energy efficient building, along with 24/7 access to suit all needs.

Pacific House is located on the Martello Roundabout, Pevensey Bay Road (A259).