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London – Safe Option for Commercial Investment

Derek Smalls - Thursday 10.07.14, 17:35pm

The property market may have seen a turbulent few years, but one area that is bucking the trend is the commercial sector. London remains a popular option, with large numbers of firms choosing to locate their businesses there. A recent survey by the British Property Federation revealed this investment is a significant factor in the continuing UK economic recovery.

Overseas investment

A large proportion of this investment comes from overseas, with the US, Asia and the Middle East being the driving forces behind the influx. The last year has seen some extraordinarily significant purchases by foreign investors, including the Kuwaiti government’s purchase of the Bank of America’s headquarters in Canary Wharf for an astonishing £385 million. Internet-giant Google’s new London headquarters in Kings Cross is set to be one of the capital’s most unique business premises, whilst Chinese life insurance company Ping An recently purchased the iconic Lloyd’s building in a £260 million deal.

A safe haven

Part of the attraction as far as overseas investors are concentred is that London is regarded as a safe haven. Whilst yields from bonds and cash have been unstable in recent years, investing in property remains a relatively safe bet, with this confidence in turn further bolstering the UK economy. In addition to the comparative security, London is also a good-value option for many foreign investors. The strength of their currencies against the pound mean the capital is regarded as a cheap option for those firms looking to invest overseas.

Unlike many cities, London is also politically and socially stable, making it a low-risk commitment for businesses compared to more turbulent locations. Property law is clear and transparent, without many of the legislative complications or limitations on foreign property purchases of other countries. London is also the ideal location for overseas companies seeking to establish a foothold in Europe, with great international transport links and a convenient position.

Prime locations

There are a number of reasons why commercial properties in London are so attractive to businesses, both from the United Kingdom and overseas. The well-established financial and media markets in the capital are a draw for many firms which understand that locating themselves alongside similar firms can reap great benefits. The cachet that a prestigious address for a business’s London headquarters imparts should also not be underestimated.

Contemporary buildings make up the office space Monument has to offer, and such centrally placed locations have many other advantages. Designed and built to the highest specifications, they include all the facilities that businesses would expect from their premises. The excellent local transport links and numerous amenities are attractive to staff, whilst the proximity of a number of international airports is highly beneficial for companies seeking to establish a global presence. In addition, many of the buildings are architecturally highly desirable, taking inspiration from the stunning surroundings.

For businesses seeking premises offering excellent facilities in a great location, London remains a popular option, with this investor confidence in turn contributing to the capital’s relatively buoyant economy. Digg Technorati Blinklist Furl Reddit
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Tags: Investments

Seller Beware – How Not To Sell Your Business

Terry Lane - Thursday 10.04.14, 05:29am

Seller Beware – How Not To Sell Your Business by Denise Barnes

Seller Beware – How Not To Sell Your Business

Denise Barnes showed an entrepreneurial streak from a very early age by selling knitted dolls clothes to neighbouring children that her sister had designed; and she was introduced to the idea of running her own business at the age of 12, when she helped out in her grandmother’s shop. She recounts in the introduction to her new business book, Seller Beware – How Not To Sell Your Business, how she was chastised for eating into her grandmother’s profit margins by helping herself to chocolate.

At first, I thought Seller Beware – How Not To Sell Your Business was going to be yet another self-help book to guide wannabe entrepreneurs and small-business owners with bigger dreams, nothing more than a step-by-step ‘how to sell your business and become richer than you could ever imagine’ manual – the type that have encroached upon the business shelves of every large bookshop.  But this thoroughly readable book is much more than a regurgitated set of do’s and don’ts.  This is a fascinating, insightful, and ultimately very interesting true story of ‘one woman’s road to ruin’.

In Seller Beware – How Not To Sell Your Business, Denise Barnes tells the true nightmarish story of how she learned to sell a business the hard way. After a successful career in sales she decided to start her own business and, in doing so, created a successful chain of estate agencies.  By managing the business through a four year recession and building up a glowing reputation she decided in 2004, the time was right to sell her business.  But rather than enjoy her retirement, what followed were three traumatic years of legal battles and personal nightmares that cost her tens of thousands of pounds.

Seller Beware is an unsparingly honest and often humorous book that uses Denise Barnes’s own personal story to illustrate and highlight the myriad pitfalls involved in selling your own business. It not only provides thoroughly researched practical advice that is accessible to the layman, but also offers a gripping insight into the mental anxiety and personal stress that selling a business can cause.

If you are a small business owner and you are considering selling your company, I urge you to read this tale of terror before you take another step.  Seller Beware – How Not To Sell Your Business by Denise Barnes is published by Biteback Publishing, priced £12.99, and is also available as an e-book for £3.99. Digg Technorati Blinklist Furl Reddit
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Tags: Business Books · Selling · Small Businesses

Wake Up And Sell the Coffee – the new book by award-winning entrepreneur Martyn Dawes

Terry Lane - Sunday 26.01.14, 20:01pm

Wake Up And Sell The Coffee by Martyn Dawes

Wake Up And Sell The Coffee by Martyn Dawes

Not to be mistaken with Ann Landers’ ‘Wake Up and Smell the Coffee’ or ‘Wake Up and Smell the Profit’, a guide to making more money in your coffee business – Wake Up And Sell The Coffee is the new book by an extraordinary entrepreneur who set out to build a high-growth business with a simple idea and the will to do whatever was required to make it successful; and just twelve years later sell the business for a cool £23m.

The entrepreneur turned author is Martyn Dawes and the company was Coffee Nation.

The company has sold more than 100 million cups of coffee, been ranked in consecutive years as one of the UK’s fastest growing private companies, was winner of the Sunday Times Fast Track Innovation Award and Martyn Dawes is an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winner.

Most businesses start small and stay small; only 1.5% of start-ups reach 20 employees. High growth companies represent only 6% of all UK companies employing ten or more people. In writing his new book, Wake Up And Sell the Coffee, Martyn Dawes gives helpful and candid to help more British start-ups start well, survive and get on the right track to becoming high-growth companies.

Through the course of a compelling narrative, Dawes starts by introducing the reader at the very beginning, at the very roots of having a good idea and how he set about turning that into a successful company.  He shares his experiences of growing a business and his knowledge of what you should and shouldn’t do. Mistakes to avoid are revealed just as honestly as the good decisions, making this is an unusually frank and valuable account for anyone looking to build their own business.

Along the way, among many highs and lows, there was the thrill of seeing an idea come to life, costly failed trials and false starts, countless business plans, learning how and when to raise funding, the personal journey of surviving when success seemed so distant and securing contracts with some of the biggest retailers in the world. This is the story of how a great British business was built – from a blank sheet of paper – and how it came to be one of the nation’s favourite consumer brands. It’s also a guide to help any aspiring entrepreneur put their business on the path to high growth.

Dawes says “What really encouraged me to write Wake Up And Sell the Coffee is the need to help more entrepreneurs not just start a business but to survive and grow. I noticed that so much of what is written and talked about relates to start-ups, not what comes later. Beyond survival towards growth gets little coverage.

He goes on to state:

“We need more ambitious entrepreneurs who want to start high quality enterprises that go on to become high-growth global success stories. There are just 12000 high growth businesses (employing 10 people or more) in the UK and these account for more than half the growth in jobs. Between 2005 and 2008 the average high growth UK company almost tripled their headcount. High growth firms attract and retain the best talent and advance society. Wake Up and Sell the Coffee distils what I learnt and may help you improve your chances.”

All areas from start-up to exit are covered in Wake Up And Sell The Coffee, including how to come up with an idea and know if it’s any good; researching and testing your business model; and when you should not write a business plan and why not.

Coffee Nation is a high-growth success story and Martyn Dawes’s book can only help an increasing amount of start-up companies survive and go on to become high growth companies. 70% of high growth companies are at least five years old. Dawes is adamant it is high quality businesses that survive long enough to become high growth ones.

About Martyn Dawes

Martyn Dawes is a successful and award-winning entrepreneur. He founded his first business in 1991, which continues to successfully trade today under the names Dawes Ryan Consulting and Coachmatch. Most famously, he grew an idea about selling coffee through convenience stores into one of the nation’s favourite consumer brands, Coffee Nation, and sold it for £23million in less than ten years. He has won numerous awards, including the Innovation Award at Sunday Times/Virgin Atlantic Fast Track Awards in 2006, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2005, and Best Business Leader at the Sage Business Awards in 2003, and regularly acts as a guest speaker at major business events.

Wake Up And Sell the Coffee by Martyn Dawes is published by Harriman House priced £14.99. Digg Technorati Blinklist Furl Reddit
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Tags: Business Books

Win a copy of Ethical Leadership: Creating & Sustaining an Ethical Business Culture

Terry Lane - Tuesday 10.12.13, 20:10pm

Ethical Leadership: Creating and Sustaining an Ethical Business Culture by Andrew Leigh

Ethical Leadership: Creating and Sustaining an Ethical Business Culture

Following the recent banking crisis caused by short-term greed and ignorance, a book on ethical leadership in business seems very apt; and though everyone may subscribe to the idea in principle, it’s apparent that not every business follows through with any level of ethical commitment when they may see it effecting profit margins or growth.

In Ethical Leadership: Creating and Sustaining an Ethical Business Culture, Andrew Leigh introduces the concept of both culture and ethics into the world of business and arguments their place with among a transparent, accessible and connected business sense.


You can win a copy of Andrew Leigh’s insightful book on ethical leadership, by simply submitting your details to our free book giveaway.  Send an email to with the subject line: ‘ethical leadership comp’ (other subject lines will not be entered) with your full name, address & contact number.

This competition ends on 10th January, 2014.

The editor will randomly choose one winner from the correct answers. The editor’s choice is final.

Click here to read a book review of Ethical Leadership: Creating & Sustaining an Ethical Business Culture by Andrew Leigh. Digg Technorati Blinklist Furl Reddit
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Tags: Business Books · Competition · Leadership

Premier League Teams to be affected by the implementation of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations

Derek Smalls - Wednesday 31.07.13, 10:21am

Chelsea football club are destined to be one of a chosen few Premier League sides, who will one way or another, be affected by the implementation of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations. Whilst the spend, spend, mentality is great if you are a fan, perhaps 10 years of age, but the reality is that a retention of financial stability and somewhat of a control being placed upon player wages can only be a sensible move for the health of the sport.

The idea of a level financial playing field is difficult one to argue against. The lack of rationality in football is as dangerous, as it is ridiculous. Never more so then when you see a player who is barely fit to wear a club’s shirt driving around in an enormous Bentley.

The consequences avoiding financial discipline is not just something witnessed in a car park. This insidious process has seen the devaluing and the near abandonment of youth sector and grass roots football. International duty, certainly as far as the English national team is concerned, has become has become something to be swerved or entered into half heartedly.

In the worst case scenarios, football clubs either go bust, or they bury themselves so deeply in a well of unscrupulous activity, as witnessed at Glasgow Rangers.

So what does the Financial Fair Play actually mean? UEFA say they are ‘Protecting the Game’:

• to introduce more discipline and rationality in club football finances;

• to decrease pressure on salaries and transfer fees and limit inflationary effect;

• to encourage clubs to compete with(in) their revenues;

• to encourage long-term investments in the youth sector and infrastructure;

• to protect the long-term viability of European club football;

  • to ensure clubs settle their liabilities on a timely basis.

The consequences of failing to adhere to this framework of rules will include fines, player transfers being suspended and a possible ban from European tournaments. Given that the clubs most likely to be flouting these rules will be those realistically seeking to compete in Europe, it is perhaps this ‘threat’ that carries the most weight and ultimately must be seen to be applied, if the new regulations are to be worth a damn.

So what of Chelsea? Despite Roman Abramovich having perhaps, fallen in love with his investment, the hundreds of millions he has pumped into Stamford Bridge cannot be swept under the carpet. Just how might one set about brushing £713m under a carpet, anyway?

Well, the future arguably looks brighter for the Blues than it might do for a good many others. Jose Mourinho certainly believes this to be the case as he told the BBC.

“With the current Chelsea squad, [Abramovich] was thinking ahead of the others. When Chelsea were buying lots of young players, but the young players were not yet ready to come to play for Chelsea, I was in Italy, I was listening and reading some of the critics.

You can see this season we have De Bruyne, Lukaku, Kalas. We’ve brought back three or four players with zero investment now because the investment was made before. If people want to follow financial fair play – and we will, I don’t know if others are keen to do it but we will – he was thinking ahead.”

Precisely this type of restructuring is required if Chelsea, and clubs at their level, are to retain their dominance. Chelsea fans have been well treated. With 11 major trophies in a decade, some might say a little spoilt. FC Chelsea tickets routinely sell out. They are still the London glamour side, just as they ever were. The capacity at Stamford Bridge really doesn’t equate to the size of the support or the standard of football it showcases. But now that particular revenue stream will suddenly be of genuine importance again. Clubs will be required to cut their coats according to their cloth  as the old saying goes.

Buy your football tickets here and as you do so, prepare yourself for a brave new world. Digg Technorati Blinklist Furl Reddit
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