The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Member Blog: Why feeding your workforce can make you money

By Laura Jones, Marketing and Communications Manager – Good Mood Food
At Good Mood Food we actively promote the importance of healthy eating and a well balanced diet on mental health. As the social enterprise leg of mental health charity Manchester Mind we provide catering for a whole range of occasions from corporate events and business lunches through to canteen catering, private dining, festivals and markets. Our menus are intentionally healthy as we recognise the impact this can have on our overall wellbeing.

The majority of people know the benefits that a good, healthy diet can have on their physical health including weight management and energy levels. However less people are aware of the positive impacts nourishing food can have on mental health. Most people will identify with the ‘mid afternoon slump’ after a carb-laden lunch or the mid morning mood swings and grumpiness after skipping breakfast, ultimately leading to an unhealthy snack from the office vending machine(!)

With many organisations looking to save money and increase efficiencies, investing and committing resources to ensuring employees remain well can actually save money in the long term. According to ACAS, with mental health issues costing employers in the UK in the region of £30 billion a year (through lost production, recruitment and absence) committing these resources can also prevent staff absence and increase productivity – so a business no-brainer.

Physical conditions can be a source of long term sickness but the majority of long term illnesses are actually mental health related. Most commonly depression, anxiety and stress, as employees are ever more asked for better results and quicker turnaround times plus the increasingly 24/7 nature of many jobs with smart phones and wi-fi. So the importance of preventing these should be paramount to businesses. In addition, poor nutrition is not just linked to mental health but of course can increase the risk of conditions such as coronary heart disease, some types of cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Businesses can easily help their employees to stay healthy both mentally and physically through promoting a good diet, perhaps healthy treats in the vending machine, a free fruit bowl or teaming up with local companies, (such as ourselves) for a healthy meeting buffet selection, including plenty of fresh fruits, salad and other buffet items.

An employee’s wellbeing is a main category in the Times Top 100 companies to work for. Those listed place a real emphasis on how their employees feel, including stress management and overall welfare, which includes things like offering a breakfast club, mid morning fruit rounds, ensuring employees take their full lunch breaks and ensuring canteens offer healthy and reasonably priced food

About Good Mood Food:

Good Mood Food is a catering social enterprise and part of Manchester Mind. We cater for a whole range of events and occasions and deliver across Manchester.  We can also cater for special dietary requirements from vegan and halal to gluten free and low carb.

As part of Manchester Mind, by placing your order with Good Mood Food, you will also be helping to fund vital services for those with mental health problems. We use all of our profits to promote positive mental health, teach new skills and provide volunteering placements.

Please visit for further information.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Member Blog: The importance of compliance with new waste regulations

Mick Ashall, Director at B&M Waste Services, warns Greater Manchester Chamber members of the importance of compliance with new waste regulations.

At B&M Waste Services, we are continually working to ensure the service we offer is at the cutting edge. 2014 saw the introduction of our new Refuse Derived Fuel facility, furthering our commitment to zero waste to landfill by generating energy from residual waste.

Our ethos is to always ensure that both cost efficiencies and the environment are at the forefront.

New legislation came into effect on 1st January 2015 whereby all businesses operating in the UK are required to introduce separate collections of recyclables (paper and card, metals, glass and plastic) when ‘technically, environmentally and economically practical’ (TEEP)*

The underlying principle of TEEP is to improve the quality of recyclable materials to continue to develop the resource recovery sector and progress the principles of a circular economy.

B&M already offer separate collections of paper, card, metal, glass, plastics and food in compliance with the waste hierarchy.

Our highly trained waste auditors can assess your waste, checking for both non-conforming items to ensure you do not breach your Duty of Care, and also looking for items that may be recoverable.
TEEP applies to all commercial businesses and at B&M, we are here to help you comply with this regulation.

Is it Technically Practicable? For example, you may have limited room for waste and recycling containers, therefore a mixed recycling container (of paper, card and plastic film) may be all that can be accommodated.

Is it Environmentally Practicable? Is there an added positive environmental benefit? An example: if you have a small amount of plastic bottles that are not separated at the moment but could be in a separate container, this would give a recycling benefit. However, this could be at the expense of virgin materials being used in making more containers and the fuel to undertake the separate collections. Therefore, the benefits need to be weighed up carefully.

Is it Economically Practicable? Would the segregation result in an excessive cost in comparison to a non-separated waste stream? There is normally a benefit in terms of cost per tonne on most recyclables over a general waste stream. However, this should be balanced against the cost of more containers and separate collection costs (i.e. fuel and wages).

Please bear in mind, this is not the kind of recycling you do at home. A lot of customers may have small volumes of canteen waste (e.g. yogurt pots, empty food tins) but often, these do not make up a substantial enough volume to pass any of the three tests noted above.

This is a general introduction to TEEP. If you feel that your waste streams, or type of waste, may warrant an audit please contact us on 0808 100 2434 or visit What’s more we aim to reduce your current waste bill by up to 10% if you decide to switch to B&M waste services for your business’ waste management.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Member Blog - Return On Investment: Still alive and well in events!

By Barry McTierney – Right Events

Events have played a key role in communications strategies, both internal and external, across virtually every facet of industry. Whether it be an exhibition, client focused incentive or a company sales conference; events have still delivered significant return on investment – when done right…

This seems fairly obvious, but the ROI associated with events has come under considerable scrutiny in recent years with the value of events to organisations being questioned. But the ability to generate revenue and engage staff and clients still lies at the heart of good communication and a well-developed event strategy can deliver results that are, not just tangible, but also rarely achievable through any other medium.

The principle concerns when considering your event ROI should not just centre on the cost of the events themselves, however, yes; events can come with a significant price tag, but the mistake is to assume that a high spend will achieve the results you require. With this in mind it is invaluable to consider the core message you wish to communicate and the goals you expect to achieve from running your events.

The mistake is to consider the event “delivery” without actually understanding what it is you want from the event itself. When you can outsource the delivery, take the time to consider what YOU as an organisation want achieve from your events. What is the goal, what do you want to communicate and what do you, inevitably want to achieve.

It is this consideration that should be taken into every company events strategy; whether it be an outward-facing client event or your staff Christmas party. The content, the image, the feel and outcome are important; not how much you spend (no matter how little), or how many meetings you had to get there.

Making your events pay for you and your organisation relies on a number of delivery methods as well as understanding and managing your expectations.

Events really can be the way forward for your communication needs but make sure you do them Right and with the Right people.

Barry McTierney
Right Events Ltd
t:  +44 (0) 7739 002 958

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Member Blog: Top ten tips for getting to grips with intellectual property

By Laura T West, Trade Mark Attorney at Mathys & Squire Intellectual Property

Getting a handle on intellectual property can avoid costly problems and deliver long-term financial benefits to your business. Here are my top ten tips on getting to grips with intellectual property:

1. Think of your intellectual property  as a business asset

Intellectual property is an important but usually underrated business tool.  It can be what differentiates your business proposition, why your customers buy from you, and how they recognise you. Intellectual property is an asset that can be bought, sold, traded or potentially borrowed against.

2. Take professional advice

Whether your business is just starting out or is growing and successful, cost-cutting is always a temptation, but usually a false economy. Taking advice from an IP expert will ensure your intellectual property is properly protected.  A good IP expert will also advise you on what not to invest in and why.

3. Keep your ideas to yourself

Think of your intellectual property as valuable secrets. The more people know about your ideas, the more difficult it becomes to prove who owns them. Secrecy is particularly important for inventions, as they can only be patented if there is no evidence of it already existing in the public domain or having been disclosed.

4. Do your research

There are a number of Government initiatives related to intellectual property that offer businesses funding, free advice and tax breaks, so a little research could go a long way.

5. Protect your identity

Many businesses mistakenly believe that because their business is registered at Companies House, they alone have the right to use all or part of that name as a brand.  Others think that as their business is small, or not related to consumer products, they do not require trade mark protection. Without a registered trade mark, it is possible for someone else to register your company name (or something similar) and take legal action against you for using it.

6. Don’t buy a lemon

When putting together a business deal, such as a merger or acquisition, most businesses scrutinise the physical assets of a company, but take intellectual property at face value. Get professional advice to clarify the validity, value and ownership of all intellectual property, so that its impact on the deal can be established.

7. Think global

Intellectual property rights are territorial, so if your business is expanding (or is likely to expand) its operation overseas, protection must be sought in all territories that form part of the international strategy.  If you are looking to export or import, conduct searches beforehand as the rights to your brand may already belong to someone else and you may be infringing other IP overseas.

8. Check the small print

Businesses will often outsource work that is not part of their core function, such as research and development or design work, but many do not check the small print regarding intellectual property on contracts.  Savvy sub-contractors will often state that they own the rights to any intellectual property they develop/create, and charge a licensing fee to the business that commissioned the work.

9. Treat all ideas (even the bad ones) as valuable

One person’s trash is another’s treasure, as they say.  Many ideas that end up ‘on the cutting room floor’ have value, perhaps in another sector or with a different application, but are often discarded during the development process.  An independent third party (particularly an experienced IP expert) may be able to identify value in rejected material that can be sold or licensed to others.

10. Spread the word

Mistakes regarding intellectual property are usually made through ignorance than by conscious decision. Businesses should educate their staff regarding brand protection and provide them with clear processes to avoid disclosing or discarding valuable ideas.

For more information contact: