Posted by The PC Support Group

Fri 19th, Oct

Suddenly being unable to access data and systems is the nightmare scenario for all businesses.  For most, it’s a frightening experience. For those providing time-critical or confidential services, it can threaten their very existence.   A crazy thought when 93% of data loss incidents are avoidable1.

Almost all organisations experience some form of downtime whether it’s a critical hardware failure, a flooded office or the latest cyberattack.  Any one of these can happen when you’re least expecting it.

Sadly, there are many stories of successful SMEs being hit by an unexpected crisis from which they have been unable to recover. That’s not surprising when:

  • the average cost of one hour of downtime is £6,500 for a small business or £64,000 for a mid-sized company2
  • for those without a disaster recovery plan, downtime is even longer, taking on average 18.5 hours to get up and running2 – critical time no business can afford.

When The PC Support Group suffered a complete power outage at our offices for half a day very recently, we were able to continue supporting our clients because we had robust business continuity measures in place. It’s a model that we’d be delighted to share with you.

Our six-step plan helps you to assess your risks, identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities and put practical, proactive measures in place to deal with these challenges and recover. And the fact is, by planning for the worst you can make your business stronger and more resilient for the present. Just on the issue of your back up alone, here’s a quick check list for you:

  • Do you know what your business-critical data is and where it is held? Is it being backed up at all?
  • Is your backed-up data kept separate from your live system, in a secure place with restricted access?
  • How regularly is data backed-up – daily, weekly, monthly?
  • Is the back-up process automated and regularly monitored?
  • How soon could that data be restored to an alternative system – hours, days, weeks?
  • Do you know where you would restore the data to if your current live system failed?
  • How long could your business survive without access to its data?

The PC Support Group can help you to protect the business that you’ve worked so hard to build, with practical, real world advice and guidance for you and your people, combined with cost-effective technologies and solutions. Speak to our team on 03300 886116 for an informal and confidential chat or email them on info@pcsupportgroup.com

Best wishes

Phil Bird, Managing Director,

The PC Support Group

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Michelle Cameron, Senior Policy and Communications Advisor at the Chamber

Posted by Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Fri 12th, Oct

Introduce yourself

I am Michelle Cameron, Senior Policy and Communications Advisor at Liverpool & Sefton Chamber of Commerce.

What do you enjoy most about working in the Chamber?

It has been a really exciting time in the Chamber over the last 12 months as we have restructured and refocused on how we can not only support our members through our information provision and networking opportunities, but also through the more strategic work we do around policy and advocacy. One of my priorities has been taking forward the responsible business agenda which we are once again celebrating at our Annual Dinner Awards this year. From being a civil servant in the Whitehall bubble, I really enjoy the opportunity work with businesses face to face, hopefully making a tangible difference where we can.

What changes would you like to see to improve or develop your sector?

As an ex civil servant I still find Whitehall's silo approach to policy development and delivery frustrating. Transport is an excellent example. It impacts on every aspect of our lives - how we access employment, deliver essential goods and services, our health, our environment and our economic well being. We need a much more collaborative approach, at both local and national level, to maximise the impact of available resources. Having a Metro Mayor with devolved powers should hopefully make a difference at city region level.

Where would we find you in your day off?

My perfect Sunday morning is curling up on the sofa with the Sunday papers listening to the Archers Omnibus! I also have to admit to enjoying some retail therapy especially as we now have a brilliant choice in the city region ranging from Liverpool One to amazing independents.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Frankly I didn't listen to any advice when I was younger! The positive side of that of course is that you act spontaneously and make your own opportunities. When I graduated I answered an advert in The Lady and after one telephone conversation, bought an open return and flew to New York to be an au pair for 12 months - it was an amazing experience! So my advice would be don't overthink it - just do it!

Who do you admire in business?

I come from a family of "shopkeepers" going back to my great great grandmother who ran a grocery shop next to Goodison Park so I really admire anyone who sets up their own business as I know how difficult it can be. Our Chamber Awards this year celebrate excellence in business and the applications have been such a positive endorsement of what has been achieved here in the city region. Our Local Hero nominees are inspirational and I really don't envy the judges in making the final decision!

Why choose the Liverpool City Region?

I went to University in London and returned to work there in the mid 80s not only because I loved the place but also because it was the only way to develop my career. Since I returned to Liverpool in 2004 it has been amazing to watch the transformation of the city and the growth in confidence and pride in what has been achieved so far. My friends from London love visiting me now!

To find out more about how the Chamber can support Members through our the work we do on policy and strategic communications please contact Michelle michelle.cameron@liverpoolchamber.org.uk.

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Ergonomic working practices are not being extended to home workers

Posted by BHSF

Fri 12th, Oct
  •        37% of home workers say they have experienced new back pain since they began working from home.
  •        58% of employees say they received no help or guidance from their employer on how to set up a workstation at home that supports healthy posture.
  •        Just 22% of employees who say they’ve had this help received an ergonomic assessment in person.
  •        Only 35% say they have a dedicated office.
  •        27% work at a table, 11% work from a sofa and 3% work from their bed.

UK home workers are being let down by their employers, who are failing to ensure that their employees are working in a way that supports healthy posture. While organisations are spending millions of pounds to make their offices as ergonomic as possible, they appear to be neglecting to do the same for their home workers. This could be storing up serious musculoskeletal problems for the UK workforce.

New research from health and wellbeing provider BHSF, commissioned to coincide with Back Care Awareness Week (8 – 12 October), has highlighted a serious oversight by many employers (58%), who are not providing support to their home workers on how to set up their workstations correctly.

According to the research, with employees who work at least two days a week from home, only 36% received this kind of support. Of these, 60% received an ergonomic assessment – 22% in person and 38% online.

Women are being particularly let down, with just 30% having help to set up their workstations, compared to 45% of men. Given that women are also much less likely than men to have a dedicated office in their home (30% to 43%), this means they could be highly susceptible to musculoskeletal problems.

In addition, only 26% of those aged over 50 could remember having this type of help from their employer. As this age group is much more likely to suffer with back pain, employers are leaving this section of their workforce particularly vulnerable.

The research reveals that this lack of support from employers may already be taking its toll, with 37% saying that they have suffered from new back pain since they began working from home. (The impact is being felt more keenly in certain regions, with 47% of home workers in London reporting new back pain, 45% in the North East and 44% in the West Midlands.)

The cause of this pain could stem from the lack of a proper workstation, as 27% work at a table rather than a desk, 11% work from the sofa, and shockingly 3% work from their beds. Working like this means that the back is not supported correctly, which could lead to serious conditions developing.

Another contributing factor behind this back pain could be that employees are not building any exercise (such as a brisk walk or visit to the gym) into their working day. 26% say that they rarely or never take this kind of break, meaning they could be sitting for hours on end at a computer. While in an office, the day is naturally broken up by meetings and discussions with colleagues, this does not happen at home. Regular movement is crucial to maintaining good physical health, and employers should be doing more to encourage this in their home workers.

Stuart Nottingham, physiotherapy lead for BHSF, said “While some employers are doing an excellent job providing ergonomic assessments in person and revisiting these biannually, the majority are failing their employees badly on this issue.

“There is a lot more that employers could be doing to help prevent back pain in their employees, from ensuring their home workstation is set up correctly to providing them with guidance on active working strategies such as getting up from sitting on a regular basis, or advice on simple exercises they can do to prevent back pain and other musculoskeletal problems.”

Dr Philip McCrea, Chief Medical Officer at BHSF, said: “Back pain is a serious burden for the UK economy, costing more than £10.7 billion a year and it’s a condition that’s on the increase.

“As more employers embrace the benefits of flexible working practices, they need to think about how they can help prevent an even sharper rise in musculoskeletal issues, which could lead to an increasing level of sickness absence.”

To find out more about BHSF and its occupational health services visit: www.bhsfoh.co.uk.

(Research conducted by OnePoll with 897 UK employees who work at least two days a week from home.)

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Posted by The PC Support Group

Fri 12th, Oct

Many businesses stick with suppliers even when they’re unhappy with the service they’re receiving.

Busy people running an SME find the prospect of finding suitable suppliers, evaluating them, making a selection and then organising the transition, just too daunting. “Better the devil you know” is often the conclusion – and one often prompted by the incumbent supplier!

This is an especially familiar scenario in the IT support sector. Losing our tech or our data is unthinkable, ramping up the fears associated with making a change even further.

But why should you jeopardise the future prosperity of your business by staying with a supplier that’s simply not providing what you need? The fact is you don’t need to because making a switch to a new IT support partner has never been easier.

Most importantly - don’t be put off by scare stories.  If you’re worried that moving email or cloud systems is too difficult, with the right people working with you, supporting you every step of the way, switching is usually quite straightforward – and more importantly the benefits can be swift and game-changing for your business.

And the value goes beyond potential cost reductions. The right supplier will provide more expertise, experience, innovation, the latest technology and processes.

If you’ve decided that your current IT support supplier is not right your business and you want to make a change, here are some simple things to consider that will help you achieve a seamless transition:

1. Check the conditions of the contract with your existing IT support company.

Before you give notice of your switch, make sure you are legally able to make the move.  A lot of companies tie you in for a year or more, require a number of months’ notice and even automatically enrol you into additional years if notice is not given. Even if you’re not ready to change now, make sure you understand your contract terms.

2. Pull together all your documentation about your IT network

Make sure you have collated all the IT documentation that you can, so you can pass this on to your new IT support company and make backups of all your data if possible. This may not be something you have to hand so arrange for your current supplier to provide it in advance of giving them notice.  Examples of the documentation that will help include your current website domain host, passwords to servers and other important systems, and information about where data is stored and backed up.

3. Do your homework on the IT support provider you are switching to

Thoroughly research your new IT support provider, ask them lots of questions and be clear about your expectations of the service you require. Tell them about your business requirements rather than your tech requirements – your tech is simply an enabler. Getting a strong and transparent relationship in place from the outset, with open communication channels, will stand you in good stead for the future.

We have devised a simple guide with 20 key questions to help you choose the right IT support provider, once you have decided to switch.  Please feel free to download this here.

4. Check the new supplier has migrated systems like yours before

Most issues arise due to a new supplier’s lack of experience migrating cloud and email systems. Check that the new supplier is familiar with your systems and has migrated other similar ones. Do they have a dedicated project manager and team to ensure the transfer is well planned and goes smoothly.

If you would like to discuss how The PC Support Group can help grow your business, then contact us on 0330 0886 116 or by email on info@pcsupportgroup.com for a confidential chat.

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Posted by Glenn Lyons

Mott MacDonald Professor of Future Mobility

Fri 28th, Sep

Transport planners must embrace changing social attitudes and adopt new professional practices in the face of electrification and automation, argues Mott MacDonald professor of future mobility Glenn Lyons.

Some of us are connected – to work or social networks – from the moment we wake up. Through ubiquitous ICT there is a sense of seamlessness in life these days, and transport systems are starting to catch up. Transport is moving from the simple task of getting people from A to B to something more complex. It’s increasingly about connectivity. Looking at how people use their time while travelling debunks the idea that we have activities on one hand, and travel on the other, because the two have been brought together.

I’ve been referred to as a transport sociologist but once was a civil engineer. Travel demand derives from people’s lifestyles, goals and activities. Transport planners need to understand society, people’s social practices. It’s about placing transport in its social context.

Now that many countries have announced a future ban on the sale of petrol or diesel cars, society is primed for a technological breakthrough: the move from internal combustion to electric vehicles. We’re still at the very early stages of that transition, but motor manufacturers are geared up for it.

Potentially a burning issue is how EVs and autonomous vehicles (AVs) are going to fit into the existing infrastructure. With EVs, I can reflect on my own experience, living near a sleepy market town where charging points are emerging within the car parking infrastructure. They’re retrofitted and unobtrusive and one can easily imagine that there will be an ongoing permeation of charging infrastructure into the built environment over time as people’s engagement with the EV agenda increases. The transport industry is already talking about contactless charging, and charging on the move.

A much bigger question is around AVs. All the motor manufacturers are chasing automation — they can’t afford not to. But there are many questions to be asked about how far and how fast we are to be swept into an AV future. Some pundits predict urban and interurban infrastructures will be dominated by AVs in the near future.

But it’s likely we are still some decades away from AVs being transformative in their penetration into the fleet. If we’re talking about Level 4 autonomy — fully autonomous in some but not all circumstances – you will still have a steering wheel and vehicles which are humanly controlled at some point in the system. If this is the case, a radical transformation of infrastructure won’t be practical.

Of course, if we’re moving to fully autonomous (Level 5) vehicles then infrastructure can be rethought. AVs offer the prospect of empowering significant parts of the population, currently unserved by conventional private vehicles: teenagers with no driving licence and those (young or old) with mobility impairments.

In urban areas changes to the way people travel and connect are happening without EVs and AVs. On a normal day in Liverpool, it’s remarkable how many bikes pass by. It makes you realise that comparatively low-tech solutions can have big impacts. Meanwhile, in Cornwall or Devon reliance on individualised car-based transport exists and may endure.

Different models of connectivity are to be expected and embraced, rather than resisted. And that includes connectivity through our devices, which offer an accompaniment to or substitute for physical mobility.

With changing social and travel behaviours, professional attitudes and practice will need to change too. It’s going to be an evolution, rather than a revolution, just as those cyclists passing my favourite coffee shops will gradually increase in frequency and numbers over time.

In 10 or 15 years, we’ll look back and see this as an important era in the transport profession. Right now, transport planners are hidebound by precedent and compliance with rules. But increasingly, providing connectivity will involve multidisciplinary, cross-professional working. Future mobility will be just one system within a system of systems.

Part of me is excited by technological advance and the use of big data in transport and telecommunications systems. But, there’s a risk that we get seduced by the siren call of technology and my caution is ‘beware of the hype’.

Many years ago, I was seconded to the DfT to help deliver an IT project called Transport Direct which became a world-first door-to-door, multimodal journey planner. That was all about data and turning data into information. However, the remarkable achievement was less to do with building a web service and much more to do with unlocking the availability of data across multiple organisations through collaboration and formal agreements. The groundwork was laid then for what is now being called smart mobility or mobility as a service.

The goal of smart mobility? Technological sophistication is just an enabler, not an end in itself. Smart mobility’s goals should be to connect people in a way that’s affordable, effective, attractive and sustainable.

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Posted by Neil Ashbridge

Fri 28th, Sep

This month is the tenth anniversary of the collapse of Lehmann Brothers and reminds us all of the long term financial, social and political impact of the 2008 financial crisis.  The anniversary has also prompted commentators to make comparisons between the current economic climate and that leading up to 2008.

Notable was the Bank of England Governor Mark Carney's warning that the impact of a no-deal Brexit could be just as catastrophic for the UK as the 2008 financial crisis, impacting on unemployment, house prices and transport links with the EU. His comments were of course welcomed by anti-Brexit campaigners, and greeted with scepticism by those on the other side.  Neither side however pointed out that this was not a prediction but a worst-case scenario.

Looking back over the last decade it hasn’t been without sizeable economic shocks.  Such shocks would include the Eurozone debt crisis, a Japanese earthquake, a US/China growth soft patch and, more recently, President Trump’s protectionist threats (some of which are turning into reality).

Despite these economic shocks meaningful and quick support from policymakers across the globe has meant that the world economy is in far better shape than it might otherwise have been.  Clearly a lesson learnt from the 2008 financial crisis when more timely and synchronised intervention, especially by the ECB, might have been more effective in kick-starting the upturn and moving on from the crisis.

A second key lesson has been the importance of fiscal stability.  Over the last decade there have been co-ordinated global efforts to ensure that banks and other financial institutions are sufficiently robust to withstand major economic shocks and to continue to support the real economy in a downturn.  The economy is only healthy if business and consumers have confidence in financial institutions, markets and infrastructure.  In the UK the 2017 stress test showed that the UK banking system is resilient to severe domestic, global and market shocks and highlighted that banks were three times stronger than they were before the financial crisis.  It was also judged that the UK banking system could support the real economy through a disorderly Brexit.

The third lesson is the need for fiscal responsibility: in short it pays to repair the roof when the sun is shining.  While growth has been patchy since 2008 and governments continue to labour under large deficits, the need to take an aggressive policy approach during the recovery period is crucial i.e. removing support to create a higher base from which to provide support again when the need rises

While lessons have been learned in the last ten years, the effects of the 2008 financial crisis will take significantly longer to overcome.  And, the impact of Brexit –- deal or no deal – adds another uncertainty for the UK and the rest of the EU. 

In my experience, however, UK businesses tend to be pretty resilient.  But, what most businesses need, to continue to thrive and support economic growth is certainty, clarity and above all, the confidence that their voice is not only being heard but also heeded.

And finally...

This year's Chamber Annual Dinner Awards will be celebrating excellence in business. Our keynote speaker is Liverpool born Mike Moran, Chief Executive of Proton Partners International whose inspirational vision to create a better future for cancer patients on an international stage, is exactly what makes our business community amongst the best in the world. We hope you will be able to join us on Thursday 1 November to hear more about Mike's fascinating story. For more information on the dinner please visit here.

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Mike Moran, CEO of Proton Partners International

Posted by Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Fri 28th, Sep

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

Mike Moran, CEO of Proton Partners International

Proton Partners International is at the vanguard of advancing cancer care, building a series of oncology centres known as the Rutherford Cancer Centres, and partnering with world-leading providers to equip each centre with the very latest cancer technology, including proton therapy.

What changes would you like to see to improve or develop your sector?

The healthcare sector in the UK is clearly dominated by the NHS which is an incredible institution and the envy of the world.  However, it is far removed from its origins 75 years ago, then it employed 144,000 staff and had a budget of £437m (equivalent to £15bn today).  In 2018 the NHS is one of the biggest businesses in the world, it employs over 1.5 million people across the UK, making it the World’s fourth largest employer along with China National Petroleum Corporation and McDonalds, it has an annual budget of £124bn and yet it doesn’t think like a business. 

In order to improve the healthcare sector in the UK I would like to see more engagement with the private sector.  Particularly in areas where the NHS is performing badly, like cancer and elderly care.  We need to set politics aside and focus on where the patient can be treated best.  I would also like to see more emphasis on patient choice, but more importantly, we need to hear the patient’s voice in the choice which is often drowned out by clinicians. 

What does a typical working day look like?

I work on a five-hour sleep pattern which I have maintained from my time in the Army.  Then it was about having time for fitness training, now its more about volume of work.  I tend to work away during the week where I can work much longer hours which allows me to keep my weekend free for family and football

The role of CEO is punctuated with meetings, travelling to meetings, endless emails and networking events.  It is difficult to have the space to think which is why I enjoy my weekends sat on the lawnmower, this provides a few hours of thinking time while concentrating on straight lines.  I do take time out of my working day to sit with patients and their families at the cancer centre in South Wales.  I like to listen to the patient’s stories and their experiences of cancer and their interaction with the Rutherford Cancer Centres.  It is important as a CEO to seek out ground truth and use it to shape improvement.  I also think that the patients and their families enjoy the interaction too, it sends out a strong message that the man at the top cares, listens and acts for them.  

What advice would you give your teenage self?

The same advice my father gave me as a teenager, live life without fear of failure.  It has served me well and will continue to do so.  Failure often shapes success and it’s so energising when you are able to pivot from something that fails to something that succeeds.

Where would we find you on your day off?

My preference would be to be on a ski slope which isn’t practical for a day off, however, it would make for a great day off.  At weekends, you would find me on the lawn mower at home or tending to the garden.  If Liverpool are playing at home I can be spotted in the Main Stand alongside my Son, James, me reliving my youth, him enduring stories of the glory days, and both of us lending our voices to the atmosphere at Anfield.

What is the best advice you have been given in your career?

The best advice I was ever given was to disrupt, disrupt and disrupt.  At school I was told that I was disruptive in class, who’d of thought that one day it would be an asset.  I have always believed that if you want to see change then make it change, don’t wait for somebody else to do it, you may die waiting.  There are great examples of disruptive companies such as Apple and Amazon who couldn’t accept that what was available was what was required so they challenged the norm and disrupted the market to drive change.  We have done the same at Proton Partners with the Rutherford Cancer Centres, what was available wasn’t good enough and it wasn’t what was required.  Therefore, my focus now is on ensuring that we continue to innovate so the disrupter doesn’t become the disrupted. 

Who is your role model in business?

I am not sure that I have a role model in business.  However, I certainly do like to look at the careers of successful business people and try to understand what made them so successful.  People like; Karen Brady, Alan Sugar, James Dyson, Jack Ma and Steve Jobs.  When you really get under the skin of what made them so successful it often boils down to two things; disrupting the norm and sheer determination to succeed.  Persistence overcomes resistance and there is no short cut, just hard work.  

Why choose Liverpool City Region?

I didn’t choose Liverpool, Liverpool chose me.  I was born, raised and schooled in Liverpool and have always been passionate about the City, but more importantly, the people within the City.  Liverpool has always been a City of influence around the World and the people of Liverpool are renowned for their resilience and determination to succeed.  Without Robert Morris (a Son of the City), the USA may not have been created.  Without the Liver Buildings, the skyscrapers of New York may not have been built.  Liverpool has a rich history of commerce and this is now resurgent across the Liverpool City Region.  This City is an incubator for success; whether that be in business, sport, music or the arts, if it’s created here it’s appeal will be global.     

 

Want to hear more? Mike will be our Keynote Speaker at our Annual Dinner and Awards on November 1st. Find out more about the event and book your tickets here.

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Posted by Phil Bird

Managing Director, The PC Support Group

Fri 28th, Sep

Right now, this minute, everyone in your business, from your CEO to your admin assistant, could be the victim of a successful phishing attack. We’re all just one click away from potential disaster.

Your business bank account could be compromised, confidential customer data stolen – or even worse, your entire IT estate paralysed by ransomware.

Make no mistake, phishing could kill your business.

For anyone who doesn’t know, phishing is a technique used by criminals in which bogus emails are sent to individuals to fraudulently obtain usernames, passwords, credit card details and sometimes even money usually by clicking on a link.  While some fraudulent emails are easy to spot, the majority look very convincing. 

It’s boomtime in the world of phishing because it works. And SMEs are as vulnerable as big businesses, possibly even more so, as many operate on tight budgets, without the resources for sophisticated defences.

But while every one of your employees is a potential target, by sharing the problem with your people, you can build a team of committed defenders, united in a common cause – preventing cybercriminals from damaging their livelihoods and your business.

Your best defences are education and motivation.

Helping your people to spot the dangers, providing some essential day-to-day dos and don’ts, instilling the need for caution and vigilance and sharing with them the consequences of taking risks, could be the most valuable investment you ever make.

At The PC Support Group we can help you build robust defences against cybercriminals, by combining best practice advice and guidance for you and your people, with the application of cost-effective technologies and solutions to help you keep your business safe and secure.

Whatever you do, don’t do nothing! If you are concerned about the risks your organisation is facing, then  email our sales team  on info@pcsupportgroup.com, click here and leave us a message or you can speak to our team on 03300 886116  for an informal and confidential chat about your current security arrangements, and how we can help you to protect your people and your business. Stay safe.

Phil Bird, Managing Director,

The PC Support Group

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MSIF Investment Director, Simon Thelwall-Jones, discusses one of the biggest issues facing local SMEs

Posted by Simon Thelwall-Jones

MSIF Investment Director

Tue 25th, Sep

We recently commissioned some research which showed that there are well over 20,000 SMEs in the North West and North Wales in which their Directors are aged 55 or over.

Whilst some of these businesses will be passed from one family generation to the next, there are a large number where succession planning (i.e. who to hand the business on to when the current owners wish to retire) is a significant issue.

Over the past 25 years, MSIF has provided finance to over 2,000 businesses, including a large number of Management Buy-Outs (MBOs) and Management Buy-Ins (MBIs). This was achieved by way of debt (loan) finance and equity investment, which can be the solution to the succession planning problem.

Often we find when talking to business owners, there is a misconception about whether their senior or middle-management can afford to buy the company from them, and/or whether those managers have the skills necessary to take over the running from the current owners.

In terms of tackling the first concern, the reality is that we provide most of the finance to fund the MBO or MBI deal, with the managers having to put in a small contribution from their own money (in some instances they have been promised bonuses for assisting with the sale of the company and these bonuses are used to fund their shareholdings).

MSIF has completed many multi-million pound deals where 90% plus of the funding has come from us.

As far as the calibre of the senior/middle management team is concerned, we work with a number of highly experienced business men and women, who often balance the skills of the existing management team. This enables the managers whom work for the business take it over whilst continuing to benefit from on-going guidance and wisdom, which can be lost during the transfer of ownership.

Funders can be wary about backing MBIs but we’ve had some great successes! Last year we backed the Management Buy-In of Delta Rock (North West) Limited, providing £750,000 of loan finance in support of the takeover of the company and, I’m very pleased to say that we’ve been repaid already, as the business has gone from strength to strength.

But that’s not the only way we play “The Generation Game”.

We’ve found in our experience that a lot of businesses are re-invigorated by the next generation once they take the reins.

Whether it’s a family business passing from Mum and Dad to their Son and Daughter, or non-family members slowly being given larger and larger stakes in the business they work for, we regularly see companies which have shown fairly modest or no growth over the past few years, suddenly start to grow by 20-30% year on year. Particularly where we’ve provided them with development capital (again by way of loan or equity) to assist with them with their expansion plans.

A great example of this would be Forshaw Group, in which we provided a £500,000 investment through a Management Buy-Out deal. Since the takeover by second-generation directors, they have doubled their turnover, employed 36 new staff (plus 150 subcontractors) and again, repaid MSIF early due to their success.

If you would like to find out more about what we can do to help you and your business, whether that’s assisting with your succession plans or growing your business post a change of ownership, please contact us 0151 236 4040 or via our website www.msif.co.uk.

We would love to help if we can.

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This week, the Migration Advisory Committee published its report and recommendations for the future of the UK’s immigration policy. Gordon Irving, Solicitor at Broudie Jackson Canter shares his thoughts on the report.

Posted by Gordon Irving

Fri 21st, Sep

Whilst some of the proposals from MAC are positive, there is the possibility that employers will be burdened with an unforeseen administrative burden which could have a massively negatively impact.

Employers currently benefit from free movement for EEA workers as they are not required by law to undertake checks on these employees to ensure that they have permission to work.

If the government implements the MAC’s recommendations that EEA workers do not receive ‘preferential treatment ‘ post Brexit ( as Theresa May herself has hinted), then employers will have to navigate the Home Offices sponsor licence system to employ EEA nationals and ensure that the EEA nationals that they employ are allowed to work in the UK. They will also be exposed to the risk of incurring a civil penalty if they employ EEA nationals who do not have permission to work.

In addition, if the sponsors licence system is expanded to ensure that employers must have a licence to employ EEA nationals, employers will be forced to comply with a myriad of ongoing checks to ensure that they are meeting the obligations under the terms of their licence.

My concern, having worked with employers previously to ensure compliance with their sponsors licence obligations and in avoiding civil penalties for employing illegal workers, is that the implementation of MAC’s recommendations will ultimately have a hugely negative impact on employers. If a company loses its licence to employ overseas workers then the consequences can be extremely damaging.

It is noted that the MAC itself recommends a review of how the current sponsor licensing system works for small and medium-sized businesses and consults more systematically with users of the visa system to ensure it works as smoothly as possible.

It is essential that the government work with the Home Office to ensure that any implementation of the proposals is firmly underpinned by rational and coherent strategies to avoid yet more business being exposed to the currently dysfunctional sponsorship licence system.

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5 minutes with...

Fri 12th, Oct

Michelle Cameron, Senior Policy and Communications Advisor at the Chamber

More than a third of remote workers report new back pain since working from home

Fri 12th, Oct

Ergonomic working practices are not being extended to home workers

5 minutes with...

Fri 28th, Sep

Mike Moran, CEO of Proton Partners International

The Generation Game

Tue 25th, Sep

MSIF Investment Director, Simon Thelwall-Jones, discusses one of the biggest issues facing local SMEs

Immigration policy recommendations risk further red tape for employers

Fri 21st, Sep

This week, the Migration Advisory Committee published its report and recommendations for the future of the UK’s immigration policy. Gordon Irving, Solicitor at Broudie Jackson Canter shares his thoughts on the report.