Never before, never again – supporting Hull’s golden year07-03-2017
Last month, my company, James Legal, launched a campaign called James Legal – The Business 2017.
This will see us offering free quarterly masterclasses with experts and likeminded businesses, regular business blogs and news designed to inform and inspire, and a competition for two stand out businesses, with prizes worth more than £30,000.
All in all, quite an investment of time and resource, not just for me and my team but for the partners who’ve kindly come on board to support the initiative.
The answer to that is twofold.
Firstly, helping businesses to develop from the germ of an idea into something special, is one of my personal passions.
And last but not least, we believe being in business is as much about giving something back, as it is about achieving profitability. There will never be an opportunity like this City of Culture year for businesses in Hull and its surrounding region. Therefore, in our own small way, we hope to act as a catalyst for further regeneration and growth.
Opportunity around every corner
I have personally been in business locally for almost two decades and I can honestly say I have never seen anything quite like what is happening ‘round here’ at the moment.
Finally shifting away from its seemingly unshakable ‘Crap Towns’ image, the UK and wider world are waking up to what we have always known – that Hull is a unique and inspiring place to exist and do business.
Through the work we are doing with businesses, we are witnessing never-before-seen levels of investment coming into the city, in terms of commercial property, and firms from conurbations like Manchester deciding to set up new satellite bases here. Siemens’ massive vote of confidence, with its new plant off Hedon Road, has created a tidal wave of spin-off business for other companies, from trades to caterers and supply chains. For the first time, we are talking to investors in Europe and further afield, who are keen to capitalise on, what I have termed, the ‘perfect storm of positivity’ happening right here, right now.
And to cap it all, even Hull City’s new manager seems to be managing to transform its fortunes!
A vital leg-up
‘So why do we need a campaign?’, I hear you say. Well, the fact is that some opportunities are still being missed, through lack of knowledge or awareness. And it would be criminal to let that continue.
For example, we have Stephan Stahl, International Trade Adviser for Yorkshire & The Humber, with the Department of International Trade, speaking at our first masterclass in March, about the unmissable opportunities for our companies abroad.
Hull is uniquely placed to exploit these, thanks to our ferry links and position close to a major estuary and the sea. In his keynote presentation on 28 March at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Hull Marina, Stephan will be aiming to unlock these ‘International Trade Secrets for Businesses’, and tell them how to seize them.
At the end of June, we are planning to focus on our city region’s female entrepreneurs, with an expo-style event showcasing the many amazing businesses they run on our doorstep. Keep an eye on our website for more details of that one.
A lasting legacy
We work with lots of local SMEs and know from experience how much drive and talent exists in Hull & The Humber – from quirky caterers to innovative manufacturers. We also know that, very often, the hardest step for any business is not starting out, but taking the leap of faith required to grow from small to medium, or medium to large. To succeed at this, they need support and input from experienced providers of everything from HR and teambuilding services, through to marketing, funding and, of course, law.
I’ve been working with businesses since 1998 and what inspires me most is the opportunity to connect with people who have vision, creativity and the drive to produce something unique. There is nothing more satisfying than working with a client to help their business evolve from something modest to a larger entity which, in turn, creates positive opportunities for the people it employs. I love being part of their journey and helping them create something out of nothing.
Of course, law and making sure they have the right policies and procedures in place, is one aspect of this. However, we also offer more practical support with things like creating a business development and marketing plan.
As a businessman myself, I bring my own experience, and knowledge from working with other companies, to hopefully help owners get from A to B faster, avoiding some of the common pitfalls en route.
Help there for the asking
We’re acutely conscious that many growing businesses stumble because they don’t know what help and resources exist, or how to reach out for it. Perhaps they also worry whether they can afford to do so, in either time or money, or they don’t have the confidence to ask for help from experts who might seem a little aloof.
We’re hoping to reach out to some of them through James Legal – The Business 2017, and help catapult them forward. If there was ever a time for businesses in this area to stick their heads above the parapet, this is it. To be part of this positive forward movement is something really quite incredible.
We’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by the willingness of our campaign partners to offer their support. The consensus seems to be that this is the right thing, at the right time.
If you are at all inspired by my words, please get involved and help us spread the word to as many people as possible. You could become a campaign partner, participate in or attend our masterclasses, or even enter our competition!