Game Over

Nothing can match the stomach churning, sweat inducing panic that you feel when you know you have lost all your data. Think of the lost hours, the lost money and the lost information and what that could mean for your business.

If that hasn’t made you squirm a little, let me tell you a story of how the digital animation giant Pixar almost disappeared. Not with a magic spell but with one tiny bit of code.

/bin/rm -r -f *

toystory2bd-01

Back in 1998 a small crew of Pixar’s animators were working against a hard deadline to produce Toy Story 2 in time for launch. In a project like this every animator is working on the same computer network. One person may be altering the lighting of a shot, whilst another is adjusting the movement of Woodie’s hat in the same scene. As the animators worked, elements of the scene started to disappear. First a texture looked odd, then a character’s face disappeared and then the whole world started to crumble as bodies, props and scenes vanished. By the time the server plugs were pulled only 10% of the original film survived. By mistake someone had entered the master delete code. As the animators’ screens froze and they went to lunch, the gravity of the situation had not yet sunk in.

Every company which holds data should have a backup system. However, according to the Guardian 48% of UK small businesses admitted that they had no regulated plans in place and 78% said they didn’t have a mobile data recovery plan. According to the British Chambers of commerce 93% of businesses who suffer data loss for over 10 days file for bankruptcy within the year.

Fortunately, Pixar had a backup system. Back in 1998 backups were stored on tapes – when one tape was full this would trigger an alert to replace it. However on this occasion no alert was triggered. This meant that as newer work was written it began pushing the older work off the tape, deleting the older more fundamental structures on which the newer animations were based. When this came to light the panic started, the cold sweat ran and an emergency meeting was called.

Today backing up your files is easy. Many online services can backup your data to their own servers and provide a guarantee of data security and quality of service. If you cannot spare the budget for a paid service or would like to organise your own data the UK Data service and ready.gov  provide guidance on how to back up data and what to do if you lose it.

Back at Pixar, with the Toy story 2 project and the fate of the entire company hanging by a thread, one employee shouted “I have a machine back at my house”. It so happened that the Supervising Technical Director on Toy Story 2 had been returning from maternity leave, and working on the film from home, where she had an almost complete copy of the film saved on her hard drive. A team was sent out to collect the machine which held the fate of the entire company on its memory banks. Pixar didn’t go bankrupt that day, but went on to produce some of the most magical films of the last decade. The story could have ended very differently.

Will you be this lucky?

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How Prepared is your Business?

Any business can experience a serious incident that prevents it from carrying out its business as normal. For example cyber-crime, power failures, floods, fire, major transport disruption, or even acts of terrorism.  It may not happen to you directly but it may be an occurrence your business becomes caught up in and affected by.

‘The Federation of Small Businesses and Climate Ready at the Environment Agency found that a third of businesses in the UK have no business continuity insurance and nearly 60% have no plans in place to deal with extreme weather – despite two thirds having been affected by snow, drought or floods in the last three years.’ Source: BITC.

For small businesses in particular the impact of a serious incident can be devastating. To help a business cope in an emergency it is advisable to prepare a continuity plan. A business continuity plan describes the practical steps your business needs to follow if a particular problem arises.

As FedEx rather bluntly  put it, ‘Do more than cross your fingers’!

Cyber-crime has been identified as a growing problem but help and advice is available for businesses. Check out the events programme at Denbighshire’s website HERE. Or contact the Superfast Broadband team at Business Wales. See their recent BLOG post on steps to help protect your assets.

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However cyber-crime is just one example and businesses should prepare by having an overall business continuity plan in place. This makes a business better prepared to cope in a crisis, and should help speed up the recovery process making the businesses more resilient.

The Business in the Community website has practical advice and a series of hints and tips and ‘ten minute templates’ that are aimed at small and medium sized enterprises. Things such as keeping a list of emergency contacts and back-up copies of key information are a starting point. You can find more help and information HERE.

Business Wales can also provide advice on Business Continuity Planning and they can be contacted on 03000 6 03000 or visit the website http://www.businesswales.gov.uk/.

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Welsh in Business

The Welsh in Business pilot project has made a big difference to a number of small businesses around Denbighshire. By bringing an awareness of how bilingualism can benefit a business’ bottom line the Welsh in Business project has produced a change which we hope will last. Here is just some of the positive feedback we received:

 

In September 2016 the Economic & Business Development Team commissioned IAITH: the Welsh centre for language planning to deliver  a ‘Welsh in Business’ pilot project that aimed to test the business benefits of bilingualism by promoting the use of Welsh as a business tool to improve economic performance. The pilot project worked with businesses in Prestatyn, Llangollen and St Asaph for a limited period of time in order to understand the need and appetite for Welsh language assistance within businesses. It will be following up with those businesses later in 2017 to test what difference the actions taken by them have made to their bottom line.

Early finding s from the pilot project suggest that the Welsh language gives businesses an overall competitive advantage through being able to communicate bilingually with customers. More specific benefits revealed by the pilot include:

  • The use of Welsh provides a business with a unique quality of authenticity. If you see a product or service which relies upon location for its value, using Welsh will reinforce the feeling of authenticity.
  • It is courteous and often essential to provide Welsh language translation in a business for those whose customers’ first language is Welsh.
  • Speaking Welsh and providing Welsh signage can open up new markets.
  • Use of the Welsh language shows an advocacy for local produce and can create associations with wider attempts to market Welsh / local produce. E.g. LoveLiveLocal, Welsh Lamb etc.

 

As part of the Welsh in Business project IAITH undertook a number of actions in order to firstly understand the amount of Welsh spoken in our towns and then recruit businesses eager to learn how bilingualism can benefit their bottom line.

Face to Face initial meetings within each town gave the project a baseline from which to work and gave a feeling for how Welsh is already being used in our county.  This work began to give useful insights from the start, indicating that many businesses already understood the connection between Welsh language and an authentic tourist experience, but many did not have the language skills or confidence to use them in order to make a difference in their business.

The project then recruited businesses from each town to take part in a number of Welsh language and business workshops focusing in the spoken language, bilingual signage in store and use of the Welsh language online and on social media. These sessions brought a number of new ideas to many businesses and left them with tools to continue to use in their day to day business.

These workshops concluded with a final workshop open to everyone as part of March for Business.

 

Since these workshops concluded a number of the lessons learned by businesses have been implemented. The most impressive is from Oriel house which is a hotel located on the Upper Denbigh road near to St Asaph. The staff in this hotel now wear the cymraeg lanyard to show that guests can converse in Welsh, and Oriel house now also offers a Welsh wedding package as a new service.

 

There is now a new programme designed to support and deliver Welsh language training for the workforce.

 

Work Welsh offers fully-funded, flexible Welsh language training. From beginners to fluent speakers, Work Welsh has something for everyone.

 

Work Welsh consists of four elements:

 

Information and advice for employers.

Online welcome/reception courses.

Intensive courses.

Tailored residential courses to improve confidence.

High Street Rate Relief for Denbighshire Businesses

Earlier this year we told you about the Welsh Governments High Street Rate Relief Scheme. This targeted relief scheme is new for 2017/18 and has been designed to help high street retailers, including those which have seen an increase in their Business Rates bill as a result of the 2017 revaluation undertaken by the Valuation Office Agency.

Denbighshire County Council have now successfully applied the Welsh Governments High Street Rate Relief scheme to all eligible properties in the County. In total, 638 eligible Businesses in Denbighshire have saved £528,812 from their bills. Individual businesses will have seen relief of up to £500 (Tier 1) or up to £1,500 (Tier 2).

 For more details on the scheme and eligibility criteria read the High Street Rate Relief Guidance.

If your business is eligible you will have received a revised bill with the discount having been automatically applied to your account.

If you have received an amended bill and do not wish to have the HSRR applied to your premises, you need to fill in and return the opt-out form enclosed with your bill.

Alternatively, if you believe you should have qualified but have not received the relief and want us to review your case please contact the Business Rates Section at: businessrates@denbighshire.gov.uk / Telephone: 01824 706326

Welsh Government are currently devising the new rate relief scheme(s) for 2018/19 onwards and we await further guidance with more detail expected in Autumn this year.

Denbighshire business survey 2017

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The Denbighshire Business Survey is our annual landmark analysis of business needs in Denbighshire. By collecting data from 496 businesses all over the county we can take the temperature of the county economy and use this information to direct our efforts to help businesses grow over the coming year. For instance this latest research shows that since last year confidence in sales has increased by 7%, and 54% of businesses are looking to invest in their business. Among other things we can now see what business people think are the biggest issues facing their town centres and what barriers are faced by businesses when trying to hire the best staff. You can see a snapshot of the 2016 Denbighshire Business survey results here.

We carry out surveys such as these to help us with our work on developing the local economy and use the results to direct what we do next. Without research like this we would not know that St Asaph produces the most exports of any town in the county or that half of businesses would like more social media training. Every year we concentrate hard on improving what we do for local businesses and you will have seen many of the responses to the survey issues covered in our annual March for Business programme.

Today we are launching the Business survey for 2017 and need your help to spread the word far and wide. If you are a business owner complete this survey for a chance to have your voice heard and the possibility of winning a new iPad.

complete-the-denbighshire-business-survey

 

LinkedIn Masterclass, Denbigh June 26 2017, 2.00 – 5.00 pm

LinkedIn Masterclass, Hwb Denbigh, Smithfield Road LL16 3RG June 26 2017, 2.00 – 5.00 pm

Book your place

Cost £199 plus vat per person


This comprehensive half-day training course will provide an overview of effective marketing through LinkedIn, plus a practical guide to making it work for your business. You’ll learn how LinkedIn can be used to generate strong lead generation funnels for your business and how you can use this social media platform to nurture these leads for conversion to customers.

Who should attend?

The LinkedIn Masterclass course is ideal for anyone looking to really ramp up their social media through using LinkedIn as a key lead generation tool for their business.  It is suitable for business of all sizes from all industries as well as agencies.

Suitable for all levels.


The course will focus on achieving 3 key objectives;

Learn techniques & tools used for effective social media marketing

Learn practical and proven strategies to generate leads & ultimately increase business profits

Gain the ability to apply a LinkedIn social media strategy and framework to your business


This LinkedIn course has been accredited for CPD hours within the Chartered CPD Programme by the Chartered Institute of Marketing. You will receive a certificate after completing the course, which can be used as evidence for your CPD record card. 

Course Trainer Dawn McGruer FRSA, Business Consort Ltd

This training course will be hosted by Dawn McGruer FRSA. Dawn is a strategic digital & social media marketing trainer, practitioner, consultant, author and blogger who has over 15 years’ experience in the digital marketing arena.

Dawn is also the Director of Business Consort which was established in 2005 and has developed it into one of the world leading training organisations which is accredited by The Chartered Institute of Marketing. With over 2 million subscribers Dawn has become a key influencer in this area and provides Social Media and Digital Marketing Training Courses including the CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing.

What will you learn?

Navigating LinkedIn

Do you understand the basics?

Creating the perfect LinkedIn profile

Grow your network, control your privacy and search

Protect yourself from snooping competitors. Understand who can see your footprints on LinkedIn, why sometimes it is a great idea for people to see you looking at their profile and learn how to become totally anonymous on LinkedIn.

Communicating on LinkedIn: How to get it right and when to do it

Building rapport, connect and build those leads

Groups on LinkedIn

Designing a high impact company page

Optimise your profile for maximum visibility

Using keywords effectively for your profile

Benefits of having paid or premium accounts versus free


Book your place


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Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020

Details of this programme and the various schemes of assistance can be found at this website:

http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/farmingandcountryside/cap/ruraldevelopment/wales-rural-development-programme-2014-2020/?lang=en

To help you navigate the schemes Cadwyn Clwyd have produced this handy summary. Windows for applications for grant funding open and close during the year.  If you have any enquiries about applying for assistance then Cadwyn Clwyd would be pleased to help.  They can be contacted on 01490  340500.

Rural Community Development Fund

The Rural Community Development Fund (RCDF) offers grants that are primarily for capital investment projects led by community-based organisations. The grants will provide investment funding for a wide range of activities to help meet local needs and strengthen communities so that they can grow and thrive.  Key areas for support will include: drawing up of community / village development plans; investments in small scale infrastructure including renewable energy; investments in ICT including broadband and digital inclusion; improving access to services such as childcare, rural transport and  financial advice; investments in recreational, tourist infrastructure and activities to improve health and quality of life.  The maximum grant contribution per project from RCDF is £128,000 and the minimum is £2,400.  Applicants must secure 50% of the total eligible project costs (for 7.1 and studies under 7.6) and 20% of the total eligible project costs (for investments under 7.2 – 7.7).

http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/farmingandcountryside/cap/ruraldevelopment/wales-rural-development-programme-2014-2020/rural-community-development-fund/?lang=en

 Food Business Investment Scheme

The Food Business Investment Scheme (FBIS) is designed to help primary producers of agricultural products and businesses that do first and/or second stage processing activities in Wales. The scheme can provide capital investment and other support to projects where at least 90% eligible agricultural products are processed. The scheme is open to applications from a wide range of enterprises involved in primary and/or secondary processing of agricultural products, including:  sole traders, voluntary sector organisations, private and public limited companies (SME and Large Enterprises), farm businesses that want to process their own agricultural products, and new businesses, including start-up businesses. The maximum grant threshold per enterprise for any individual investment project is £5,000,000 and the minimum is £2,400. Varying grant rates depending on size of enterprise.

http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/farmingandcountryside/cap/ruraldevelopment/wales-rural-development-programme-2014-2020/food-business-investment-scheme/?lang=en

Co-operative Forest Planning Scheme

The Co-operative Forest Planning Scheme aims to support proposals seeking to facilitate, develop or establish new collaborations and activities and to help potential new collaborations develop project proposals, which work to improve the management of our natural resources and contribute to the well-being of our rural communities. Examples of eligible activities under the scheme include: the development and co-ordination of collaborative groups; communication and dissemination activities; technical and feasibility studies; and monitoring and evaluation activities. The maximum grant threshold per enterprise for any individual project is £180,000 and the minimum is £10,000. The maximum grant rate is up to 100%.

http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/farmingandcountryside/cap/ruraldevelopment/wales-rural-development-programme-2014-2020/co-operative-forest-planning-scheme/?lang=en

Sustainable Management Scheme

The Sustainable Management scheme will provide financial support for a range of activities that will improve the management of our natural resources and in doing so contribute to the well-being of our rural communities. The scheme offers grants to collaborative groups looking to: improve our natural resources and the benefits they provide, take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve business and community resilience to the impacts of climate change. Grants can range from a minimum of £10,000 to a maximum of £5,000,000 to help start up and facilitate new collaborations through to landscape-scale ambition co-ordinating actions and input from several parties to achieve lasting benefits across our communities.  The maximum grant rate for any individual investment project is 100% of the total cost.

http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/farmingandcountryside/cap/ruraldevelopment/wales-rural-development-programme-2014-2020/sustainable-management-scheme/?lang=en

Co-operation and Supply Chain Development

The Co-operation and Supply Chain Development scheme (C&SCDS) is designed to help make new things happen. It will provide support for a broad range of matters and for all aspects of a project, from the initial stages through to delivery and into dissemination and evaluation. The scheme cannot support joint activities that are already taking place but can support an existing group in undertaking a new joint project.  The scheme aims to support the development of new products, practices, processes and technologies in the agriculture, forestry and food sectors, including:  small businesses working together to share production facilities and resources, short supply chains and local markets including promotion activities in a local context, and pilot projects where the information is made publicly available and widely disseminated. The maximum grant threshold per enterprise for any individual co-operation project is £10,000,000 and the minimum is £2,400. Varying maximum grant rate.

http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/farmingandcountryside/cap/ruraldevelopment/wales-rural-development-programme-2014-2020/co-operation-supply-chain-development-scheme/?lang=en

Sustainable Production Grant Scheme

The Sustainable Production Grant (SPG) scheme is a capital grant support package aimed at farmers. The SPG Scheme aims to provide capital investment in facilities and equipment that relate to: animal health and welfare; crop storage; production housing and handling; renewable energy production; and soil and crop management.  The maximum grant rate for any individual investment project is 40% of the total investment cost, regardless of the size of the enterprise and location.  The maximum grant threshold per enterprise for any individual investment project is £400,000 and the minimum is £16,000. The maximum grant rate for any individual investment project is 40% of the total investment cost regardless of the size of the enterprise and location.

http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/farmingandcountryside/cap/ruraldevelopment/wales-rural-development-programme-2014-2020/sustainable-management-scheme/?lang=en

Timber Business Investment Scheme

The Timber Business Investment scheme provides funding for capital investments that add value to forests by enabling woodland management activities, timber harvesting and/or timber processing. The scheme is open to private forest owners, local authorities, certain other public sector forest owners and small/medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and  community organisations or forestry contractors.  Investments supported by the scheme must be related to improvements in value in forests, for example by enabling woodland management activities, timber harvesting and/or in-forest or small-scale timber processing. The maximum grant threshold per enterprise for any individual investment project is £5,000,000 and the minimum is £2,400.

http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/farmingandcountryside/cap/ruraldevelopment/wales-rural-development-programme-2014-2020/timber-business-investment-scheme/?lang=en