By David Sykes - Carrington Communications
While club Chair, Kerri Saxby was off building sandcastles in Skegness, Vice-chair Simon Shaw led this month’s meeting of Newark Business Club.
After a series of jam-packed meetings, this was the first meeting to have a grand total of 12 tables, which means we now have capacity for 120 business people from the area each month.
Sponsoring this month’s meeting was Kerry Hopkins from Baron & Hopkins PR agency which specialises in getting people onto TV around the world. After explaining what she does and who she’s worked with in the past, Kerry had the honour of announcing the winners of our monthly business card draw. The winning newcomer was Kevin Ellis from Made INN Magazine, who wins an advert in Newark Advertiser, while the winning established member was Francesca Tricarico from Future Cloud Accounting.
Future Cloud is a new accountancy practice in Newark which helps a wide range of businesses in the area. Established this year, Future Cloud helps companies win new clients and make their processes quicker, simpler and more fun. Directors, Francesca and Charlotte are specialists in cloud accountancy systems such as Xero and Quickbooks and they have a passion for helping businesses grow. You can find out more about Future Cloud on their Facebook page @FutureCloudAcc.
Newark businesses are more confident and more resilient
The first speaker of the meeting was Chris Hobson from the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce. Chris presented the latest figures from the chamber’s quarterly economic survey which tracks the opinions of business leaders nationally, regionally and locally.
The previous survey was conducted immediately before the original date for leaving the EU (March 31st) so this survey of the last quarter gives an interesting insight into what has happened since.
Overall, domestic markets have proven more resilient in Newark and the surrounding area than the wider East Midlands with 53% of businesses in the area saying that sales/custom/bookings have improved in the last three months. This compares to 43% in the region.
Overseas markets have fared less well however, with massive fluctuations between specific markets. North American and Asian markets have done well but Middle East markets have struggled and the EU markets remain constant. Overall, 31% of Newark-area businesses involved in overseas markets say sales/custom/bookings have worsened and just 25% say it’s improved. This compares to 16% and 31% respectively in the region.
Investment intentions are still subdued and are on par with businesses across the region. Largely, plans for investment in plant, machinery, equipment and training remain the same.
On the bright side, business confidence in the Newark area is high, with 73% saying that turnover is likely to improve and 50% saying profitability is likely to improve. Businesses are also more likely to be recruiting in our area, with 72% having attempted to recruit in the last quarter. Unfortunately, many have also had difficulty filling skills manual/technical and professional and managerial roles.
Money worries are affecting “one in four of your employees”
The next speaker was Jason Eaves from Nottingham Credit Union, which, as Jason stressed is not “the poor man’s bank” which people often take it for. Over 25 years, the Nottingham Credit Union has served the area as a not-for-profit lender that’s regulated in the same way as a high street bank. Staffed by 15 volunteers, the credit union helps people obtain short term loans with interest rates that are far lower than those from commercial lenders, particularly pay-day lenders.
Currently, Nottingham Credit Union has £1.5 million available for lending right now, which could be an enormous help to people working at your company. On average, one in four people that work for you are coming to work worried about money problems at home. One of the main reasons for financial hardship is a lack of savings, with 55% of people in work having less than £1,000 saved, meaning that any unexpected bills could push them into serious difficulties.
Unfortunately, if they aren’t eligible for low interest credit cards, high cost lenders are the go-to for most people when they need to make ends meet. These can have interest rates as high as 315%, whereas the credit union’s highest interest rate for a short term loan is 42.6%.
Jason explained that saving is the most effective way people can avoid financial vulnerability and the credit union has a very simple payroll savings scheme which can be especially useful. If you’re interested in helping your team look after their money, visit www.nottinghamcu.co.uk
Supporting jobs and supporting charity
For the last three years, the Future First Expo has provided a lively showcase of careers, training and education in the Newark area. Returning for 2019, this year’s expo at the Lady Eastwood Centre at Newark Showground is enabling local businesses and education providers to meet and engage with their future workforce and students. Veronica Dennet from Future First told club members that the expo is a great way to support the local community as good CSR, to build brand awareness and recruit new people. The event is held on Wednesday 7th November.
After a season of fundraising, it was time to present our first Charity of the Quarter with a cheque for £250. Members chose to support the charity, Me & Dee which helps families facing terminal illness to enjoy a holiday in a beautiful area at a number of holiday lodges and static caravans on the east coast. Founder, Maria Hanson MBE accepted the cheque and thanked members for their support. She also told members that just 17 miles away at Sherwood Hideaway, the team is setting up a new lodge which can help people closer to Newark. The charity is inviting businesses to sponsor sections of the new lodge and you can find out more atwww.meanddee.co.uk.
At next month’s meeting, members will be asked to choose a new Charity of the Quarter after hearing presentations from a shortlist of candidates. Those in the running are The Children’s Bereavement Centre, Newark Emmaus Trust and Newark Breast Cancer Support Group.
That’s it for August’s meeting. Next month, we’ll be meeting at Newark’s Everyday Champions Centre at 7am on Friday 6th September. See you next month!