About Me

The guy who designs and administers the websites for Kent Business Tweetups, Sittingbourne Swords Fencing Club, Expresso Mechanic's Workshop and Young Sounds. Anyone wanting to add a post to the blog, should contact me by email. No adverts, please!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Kentish Icons

The summer months remind me why I became a DFL (it's OK, I can admit it now). 19 years in sunny Whitstable.

It's not just the fact that the seaside becomes somewhere I do like to be beside - but the art scene flourishes;
My pick of the bunch though is the Culture Awards. They reached a glittering climax this month as the final winners were selected from 250 business and creative people from all across Kent

The Awards took place in the University’s Rutherford Hall in an evening that included live entertainment from Lucky Moyo and Swale Swings with the Canterbury Gospel Choir, Richard Navarro and Nicholas Thurston, plus performances from last year’s One to Watch Winner Luke Jackson and this year’s One to Watch winner, CoCo and the Butterfields, all stunning.
A record thirteen awards were given out in total including a special Award for Kent’s Cultural Icon created to celebrate the University of Kent’s 50th anniversary year.

Speaking for the award organisers, Canterbury for Culture, co-chairs Tim Deeson and Liz Moran said: “The Culture Awards now represent the digital, youth and commercial sectors, highlighting the world class collaboration that takes place in the region. It was also really exciting to be able to feature live performances from award winners during the event.”  

New for 2014, every award category was judged by its own individual panels of experts, which makes the level of consensus even more remarkable.  The shortlisted entries were all applauded for the quality of the work but the final winners shone out.

Jonathan Watts at Lenleys of Canterbury, long-time sponsors, said: "Every year it just gets better."   
International Film star Orlando Bloom took over 50% of the popular vote to become Kent’s Culture Icon. 
In a public vote, Orlando secured over half of every vote cast making him a convincing winner, against such big names such as , my own favourite Brenda Blethyn from Ramsgate.

Orlando, who is currently filming in the USA, sent a personal video message to the audience, thanking everyone who had voted for him, and explaining just how important it is for Kent’s cultural scene to stay vibrant and exciting. He recalled his days dreaming of being an actor and congratulated Canterbury on the richness of is cultural scene today. 

The award was collected on Orlando’s behalf by his mother, Mrs Sonia Copeland Bloom who still lives in the Canterbury area.  She added her own thanks to Orlando’s and confided that he was particularly honoured to have been chosen  by the public in  his home county.

 Who's your kentish Icon? Tweet me @julesserkin ; listen to my radio shows live Tuesdays 11-12 @SCOFFQUAFF & 1pm @businessbunker  on www.channelradio.co.uk    Tweetup: www.KentBusinessTweetup.co.uk 

Jules Serkin.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

That Friday Feeling...

The best thing about running my own business by a mile is being able to knock off just occasionally on a slow Friday.

It seems it’s an idea that’s also grabbing the imagination of bosses trying to make their workplaces appealing to the most talented people.

Fridays are notoriously the least productive afternoon of the working week, with most people’s minds wandering to their plans for the weekend. In the summer months the allure can be all too tempting, with lunch hours extending, extra walks around outside the office.

Pan Macmillan is letting staff clock out at 1pm as long as they make up the lost hours in other times during the week. Rival publishers the Hachette group and Penguin Random House, the cosmetics company L’Oreal and the online fashion firm Asos have also joined the ranks of companies embracing that Friday feeling. Kellogg’s have been doing it for years and say it helps motivation.

With the World Cup starting though – where will this trend end? I’m sure there will be bosses watching the footie nervously.

Jules Serkin.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Queen & I

It’s not often that the Queen impacts my business (much as I’ve tried pitching to HRH on the benefits of good PR.)

But the Queen’s Speech last week could really have a huge positive effect for small businesses owners.

I waited patiently for six months for one client to pay. They never did. We ended up in the small claims court. It’s a huge gamble. The cost amounts to several hundred pounds when you take into account lost time and the fees to the court.

But when it’s a big business failing to pay up, the odds weigh even less in favour of the small entrepreneur. The chances are they’ll have a legal brief, meaning you need to have one too. Both solicitors will be content to drag out the proceedings as they collect their hourly fee – leaving you to foot the bill as your business is neglected. Lose the case and your business is in the gutter.

The bane of every SME is chasing the bills. It’s part of the routine. You make allowances, especially when it’s another small business that’s struggling to make ends meet. A week or two goes by, that’s OK. Three, four weeks, I’m starting to get edgy. Over a month and I’m on the phone. But what then?

So, it was music to my ears to hear Queenie speaking up for us. The landmark introduction of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill could be a very significant piece of legislation. It’s the first time a law has been designed specifically to address the needs of small businesses.

The proposed legislation addresses directly the issue of late payments and the serious cashflow problems caused for businesses. It also seeks to reduce the impact of costly and burdensome regulation on small firms.

The package of measures is designed to create a fairer marketplace and improve the general operating environment for small businesses. It tackles issues around prompt payment, access to finance, employment law and procurement. And it’s fairly specific – for publicans there’s a section on rent increases demanded by large breweries and changes to beer prices.

The highlight is strengthening the Prompt Payment Code and forcing larger businesses to publish their payment terms to increase transparency on the ethical treatment of small suppliers.
The Small Business Bill will be published on June 16, followed by a Second Reading, Committee and Report Stages and Third Reading of the Bill in the Commons before it reaches the Lords and completes its passage through both Houses by March 2015, in time for the General Election.

Jules Serkin.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014


There can be few people in Kent who feel anything but relief that Pfizer’s bid to buy the British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca was thwarted.

There are many in our community that once commuted to Sandwich to the vast sprawling Pfizer site. The 2,500 boffins led the world in treating tropical diseases to erectile dysfunction. Their high-paid jobs were a boost to the local economy and inspired the idea of big business taking off in Kent.

Then suddenly three years ago the place was shut down and people were out of a job.

To have yet another American company take over a proud British institution is always choking. But when it’s one that pledges to invest in Britain while its track record is so blatantly abysmal is galling to say the least.

In the end, as these things always do, it came down to money. Politicians made noises about wanting to protect jobs, but it was all about the dollars and cents. Pfizer refused to stump up the amount being requested.

Good job.

Pfizer won’t be able to bid for another six months under the rules of corporate acquisitions. That’s time enough for AstraZeneca to dose itself up against any further bouts of infection.