Monday, 20 December 2010

Santa's SWOT Analysis

It's that time of year when everyone is in a rush. That may mean rushing to finish Christmas shopping or rushing to finish business deals before the end of the year... well, why not sit back, relax and take a light hearted look at Santa's Business Plan for 2011!

One of the world’s best known employers has turned to one of Darlington and County Durham’s longest-established law firms, Latimer Hinks, to help gauge the health of his business.

Santa Claus, a global manufacturer and distributor of gifts, employs a team of elves at his North Pole delivery centre, and is currently approaching his peak season of activity.

The owner-managed business has asked Mark Gardner, of Latimer Hinks Solicitors, to help establish a SWOT analysis, a strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a company.

Mark said: “Not only did Mr Claus come to Latimer Hinks for his advice, in a festive act of giving to the business community, he has agreed that we can release the findings of the SWOT analysis to give other owners an insight into the benefits that such activity can offer.

“By looking at a business as it stands, its future opportunities for growth and the challenges which it will face in the future, owners can pull together a more informed plan for development and, hopefully, success.

“As one year ends and another approaches, this is an ideal time to be looking to the future in this way.”

Mr Claus’ SWOT analysis is:

·        The business benefits from falling outside of competition laws within the Christian community, allowing it to monopolise the market in reindeer and magic-powered Christmas gift deliveries.
·        As the sole owner of a magical sleigh capable of delivering around the world within one night, Mr Claus is also in prime position to fend off any competitors which may arise.

·        Mr Claus relies on a single team of reindeer and only one sleigh. As magical sleighs are no longer in production, a mechanical problem could prove fatal to the business. Rumours that a new eco-friendly hybrid sleigh is in secret tests could provide a resolution, but the lack of current alternatives is a weakness.
·        The business is threatened by longer standing customers becoming disenfranchised. Despite centuries of successful service to his global client base, some customers have expressed lack of faith, particularly around ten to 13 years into the supplier/client relationship.

·        Perpetual growth in the world population allows for continued expansion in the distribution business. This allows Mr Claus to re-train some of the elves affected by the decline in the manufacturing operation (see “Threats” below).
·        Growing demand for larger quantities of gifts, particularly from the customer group known as the “advertising overload” or “want that one” generation is a source of growth for the distribution business.

·        A growth in the volume and popularity of children’s toys being manufactured across the world is a threat to Mr Claus’ own manufacturing business. Such lines as spinning tops and skipping ropes have all but shut down at the North Pole, with more expected to follow.
·        The business is currently considering its long-term plans for the location of its premises, due to the threat of global warming. The North Pole location is synonymous with Mr Claus’ corporate identity, while relocation costs for the elves and their families, along with a wardrobe allowance to cope with the more temperate climate likely to come with a move, are costs which will detract from the core business.

Mark said: “Once an analysis is done, we can start to look at aiding and advising on the various elements. These might include working on an exclusive research and development agreement with the hybrid sleigh manufacturer, client retention and satisfaction, or employment law as the workforce grows – notably in this case anti-discrimination legislation to bring non-elves into the company. Other areas of assistance could include establishing franchising opportunities, delivery contracts, new commercial leases and alternative ways of holding property, all of which would help to tackle the W, O and T of the SWOT.”

Latimer Hinks wish you all a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

North East Property Forum Meet Again

The North East Property Forum met again to discuss how a new report can help plan for future housing needs across the region. The forum also discussed the current market and expectations for 2011.

To see the discussion please visit North East Property Forum November 2010

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Latimer Hinks Recommended by Legal 500 & Chambers UK!

Latimer Hinks' partners have been recognised as experts in their particular fields by the Legal 500 and Chambers UK - I think we need to give ourselves a pat on the back!

Legal 500 - Published for over twenty years, the Legal 500 Series provides the most comprehensive worldwide coverage currently available on legal services providers, in over 100 countries. Used by commercial and private clients, corporate counsel, CEOs, FDs and professional advisers - as well as by other referrers of work both nationally and internationally - the series is widely regarded as offering the definitive judgement of law firm capabilities.

Corporate & Commercial (Nick Poole)
Latimer Hinks advised on the sale of a number of architectural practices based in the region and also the South East.

Commercial Litigation (Mark Gardner)
Latimer Hinks has a debt recovery and bankruptcy specialist in Mark Gardner

Agriculture & Estates (Anne Elliott)
Latimer Hinks' "evident commitment to the farming community" has significantly enhanced it's reputation for agricultural work. Clients particularly highlight Anne Elliott, who "combines a clear grasp of the issues, passionate commitment and an ability to communicate in clear, everyday language."

Agriculture & Estates
Tim Haggie is also recommended for agricultural property development (Tim Haggie)

Personal Tax, Trusts & Probate (Anne Elliott)
Anne Elliott at Latimer Hinks recently assisted on the administration of an estate worth £3.9m involving complex family matters and farming, business and IHT issues

Real Estate (Mark Clayton)
Mark Calyton's team at Latimer Hinks advised a local business on the £1m acquisition of new industrial and office premises at Newton Aycliffe

Chambers UK - The UK Guide lists both solicitors and barristers in over 70 specialist areas of law. Since 1989, Chambers have been researching the UK legal profession, identifying the leading lawyers and law firms through interviews with thousands of lawyers and their clients. Their reputation is based on the independence and objectivity of research.

This Darlington team advises on a range of agricultural matters, including sales and purchases, agricultural holdings, and succession planning. More recently it has advised on an increasing number of wind farm developments. The team has a loyal client base who praise the firm for having “a fantastic appreciation of the common concerns held by farmers and landowners.”

Client Service “The team provides a very personal service; it is always accessible and very approachable.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Anne Elliott is “extremely thorough and very knowledgeable,” according to sources. She is commended for her advice on succession planning.

Real Estate
Nicola Neilson heads up Latimer Hinks' residential property practice. One source said: "She is very efficient – she knows what we want and delivers."

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Family Business Week - planning for succession - top tips

Anne Elliott, Partner at Latimer Hinks Solicitors
Nov 1st - Nov 6th is the inaugural Family Business Week and Anne Elliott of Latimer Hinks is recommending family businesses to plan for succession.

One of the most demanding and difficult tasks undertaken by any business is planning the succession of management and the passing of assets on to the next generation. The process can be especially complicated because of the close relationships and emotions involved.

Most people are not comfortable discussing topics such as ageing, death, and their financial affairs.
Many families have spent their working lives building up their businesses. Naturally they want the business to thrive after they have retired or died especially if the business is to remain in the family for future generations.

Succession planning helps you protect your assets and helps you take control of how you pass on the business when the time comes - planning today can make the world of difference to how the business operates in the months and years to come.

Anne's action points are:

  • Set the targets and objectives you want to achieve from the succession process.
  •  Divide the process up into stages and identify a timescale for each phase from pinpointing who will take over the running of the business to the final handover of control of the company (it might be a five year plan).
  • Establish if the people you would like to take over the business have the right skill sets and abilities.
  • Find out if the potential successors are willing to assume the role you have identified for them.
  • Ask yourself, would it be better for the business for a member of the family to take over or to bring in someone from outside?
  • Alternatively would the best course of action be to sell the business?
  • Enlist expert advisers to make sure that any plans are legally watertight, are tax efficient and minimise the potential for challenge by or conflict among family members.
Seek good advice and seek it early. To ensure a smooth succession it is vital to start planning several years before your retirement date or death (a date no-one can anticipate!) Delay planning and your family and your business may all suffer as a result. If you and your family are prepared to put aside time now to prepare for the future the rewards can be very significant and you can make sure that the transition happens the way that you want it to.
Further details can be found on the fact sheet Succeeding at Succession

Monday, 1 November 2010

ASSIST Event - Women's Enterprise Day, 17th Nov

ASSIST is a networking group for professional ladies in Tees Valley and on the 17th November the Group is meeting for an event based around Women's Enterprise Day.... therefore the content is all about business enterprise and the cycle of a business.

It is also, Global Entrepreneurship Week – 16th – 22nd November - a celebration of enterprise and new ideas.

The morning will start with a networking game to break the ice. We will then bring together business ladies that are at different stages of the business cycle
ASSIST hope that the event will help to build confidence and inspire you to have ideas and make them happen.
  • ASSIST Meeting: 17th November 2010
  • Venue: Parkmore Hotel, Yarm
  • Time: 8:45am for 9:25am
If you are interested in attending please return this email with confirmation to:

 The cost is minimal – only £5 for members and as we are celebrating Women’s Enterprise Day the cost for non-members will also be £5!

 Once you have been allocated a place simply bring along payment on the day.

  • 8:45 – 9:25am Registration and informal networking
  • 9:25 – 10.10am Introduction and Networking game
  • 10.10– 10.40am Entrprenuership Speakers
  • 10.40 – 10.45am Business Card draw and Charity raffle
  • 10.45 - 11.00am Opportunity for further networking 
We look forward to seeing you there

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

A Visit from LawNet

Yesterday representatives from LawNet travelled to Latimer Hinks to discuss/inform us of the services LawNet offers.

Latimer Hinks is a member of LawNet.

LawNet's aim is "to help win and retain clients, reduce costs and increase profitability" so it was a good idea for their team to come along and update us.

The talk was to be held at our offices in Priestgate, we arranged lunch (courtesy of LawNet). The finger buffet provided by Ray Wade catering was excellent!

This was the first lunch for LawNet. They wish to carry out the same process with other member firms - we were very gentle with them!

It soon became apparent that we really did not know much at all about LawNet.
  • members can enjoy online specialist groups (knowing that other law firms would not be in competition)
  • LawNet can write text for a particular service we would wish to provide
  • we can use standard leaflets and drop in our logo
  • there are free pdf's available that can be tailored to requirements
  • they are considering offering training in the North (sometimes fee earners would like to take up training but most courses are based in London)
Many other points were discussed, and will continue to be discussed. Now that we have met the LawNet team it feels that we are now building a relationship and can contact them for advice/information. It's also good to put a face to a voice or email!!

The LawNet team were:
  • Helen Hamilton-Shaw - Director of Services
  • Myriam Stirling - Events & Networking Co-ordinator
  • George Coombes - Marketing & Services Executive


Thursday, 7 October 2010

CANCELLED! FREE Breakfast Presentation - Employment Issues

Nick Poole, Latimer Hinks Solicitors
Are you an employer? Do you worry about your employment documents? Are you aware of what you should be doing to comply with the law?

Nick Poole of Latimer Hinks Solicitors is hosting a free breakfast presentation on 20th October at Darlington Football Club.

Nick will be speaking about various hot topics in the work place including legal representation at disciplinary hearings.

Nick will also be offering a free initial health check which will covering your employment documents.

For further information and an opportunity to attend this presentation please visit Latimer Hinks - Free Breakfast Presentation

Two representatives from Garbutt & Elliott chartered accountants will also be speaking - their topic, remuneration and tax planning for businesses.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Debt - it has it's Problems

Many individuals and businesses face financial problems, especially in this continuing recession.

The worry of debt can lead to extreme reactions, illness, stress, suicide!! At these times unscrupulous debt management companies can take advantage.

Mark Gardner, Partner at Latimer Hinks advises on the issues of bankruptcy, debt recovery and insolvency.

The office of fair trading recently highlighted the problems of bad debt companies. Read Mark's comments on this report.

If you find youself in a desperate situation, please speak to someone...citizens advice, legal advisers etc. By speaking you are sharing and by sharing you are "lightening the load."

Thursday, 23 September 2010

ASSIST Ladies Networking Event - 29th September

ASSIST is a networking group for professional ladies in Tees Valley.

Our September event speaker is Anne Pink of New Horizons Coaching & Consultancy.

Anne has over 30 years experience in sales and will discuss the function of sales in business as well as providing some key tips.

The morning will start at 9:30am with a networking game to break the ice.

After the game….. we will then have the presentation -

After the presentation you will then have the opportunity for further networking.

If you are interested in attending (it's very informal and we have around 20-30 ladies at each event) please return this email with confirmation to:

The cost is minimal – only £5 for members and £7.50 for non-members.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Once again! Brilliant Acknowledgement from the Legal 500

The Legal 500 is the most widely used legal directory in the UK and is considered to be "the bible of the legal business". The Legal 500 ranks law firms in terms of their expertise and performance.
Latimer Hinks has once again achieved recommendation.

Corporate and Commercial

Latimer Hinks advised on the sale of a number of architectural practices based in the region and also the South East. Nick Poole heads the department.

Dispute resolution
Latimer Hinks has a debt recovery and bankruptcy specialist in Mark Gardner.

Agriculture and estates
Latimer Hinks’ ‘evident commitment to the farming community’ has significantly enhanced its reputation for agricultural work. Clients particularly highlight Anne Elliott, who ‘combines a clear grasp of the issues, passionate commitment and an ability to communicate in clear, everyday language’. Tim Haggie is also recommended, for agricultural property development.

Personal tax, trusts and probate
Anne Elliott at Latimer Hinks recently assisted on the administration of an estate worth £3.9m, involving complex family matters and farming, business and IHT issues.

Real estate
Mark Clayton’s team at Latimer Hinks advised a local business on the £1m acquisition of new industrial and office premises at Newton Aycliffe.

Legal 500 Recommendations 2007

Legal 500 Recommendations 2008

Legal 500 Recommendations 2009

Our local newspaper, the Northern Echo also published an article.

Latimer Hinks: leading role for more than 130 years

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Supporting our Heroes - Freedom of Darlington for the 3 Rifles Brigade

Latimer Hinks have raised £5,500 for Help for Heroes through a charity ball supported by local businesses, friends and families.

Yesterday saw thousands of well wishers from Darlington and beyond turn out to salute 150 soldiers from the 3 Rifles Brigade on their return from Afghanisatan.

The 3 Rifles Brigade suffered heavy losses on their tour of Afghanistan - we KNOW that the money Latimer Hinks raised will go directly to soldiers in need.

Well done lads!

Town Salutes 3 Rifles Heroes

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Divorce - could a new ruling be considered a "Cheat's Charter"?

In January 2010 a business tycoon’s estranged wife (Lisa Imerman) won the right to use 20,000 documents stolen from his computer in her battle for a slice of his £300 million fortune.

In July 2010 Lisa was told she now cannot base her claim on thousands of documents downloaded by her brothers from her husband’s computer.

The recent judgment effectively says that helping yourself to documents belonging to your partner for use in divorce could become a thing of a past with many spouses now being able to hide assets which would otherwise be brought into account in the divorce settlement. Spouses who find documents or emails revealing their husband's/wife's wealth cannot use them in divorce trials. It is now considered unlawful, could breach a person's rights and also be a crime.

Divorce lawyers are calling this judgement and a ‘cheat's charter’.

Judith Middleton, Family Lawyer at Latimer Hinks said speaks out

Multi-millionaire Divorce Sparks Law Change

Thursday, 29 July 2010

More Donations from Latimer Hinks - this time to Farmers!

Latimer Hinks Solicitors, among other services, advise on agricultural law.

In fact Anne Elliott, partner at Latimer Hinks is top ranked (2nd) in Chambers UK for Agricultural and Rural Affairs - quite an achievement!

So, we were very keen to support the Farm Crisis Network.

Back in May, Latimer Hinks organised a charity ball and a total of £11,500 was raised. It was decided that we woudl donate some of the funds from the ball to FCN

Anne travelled to the Great Yorkshire Show to present FCN with a donation of £1000.

Here is the full press release Latimer Hinks Shows Support for Farmers

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Latimer Hinks Joined with Local Businesses to Raise over £33,000

Latimer Hinks and other local businesses were tasked with a challenge from Vantis Plc. Turn £50 into as much money as possible (legitimately!) for three local charities. St Teresa's Hospice, Zoe's Place and Hartlepool and District Hospice.

How could we resist? A programe of fundraising activities was quickly devised...

Preparing to take part

  • Dress down days
  • Balloon release

  • Car boot sale

  • Cake baking - not great for the waistline, but I certainly did look forward to Monday mornings when cakes were sold

  • Ebay - my office was due a clean out se we thought the charities might benefit from the proceeds of an old exhibition display, some toner cartridges not in use etc..

  • Quiz and raffle - yeah, i was on the winning team (by luck rather than my expertise in general knowledge - did you know that a female polar bear is called a sow)?

  • Sold Organic Rhubarb from colleague's garden

  • Silent auction

  • Cricket match

  • Jewellery party

  • Come dine with me - some great nights with great food

  • We also received donations of £75

A total of £1,749.97 was raised by Latimer Hinks.

The Vantis Challenge (59 companies took part) raised a grand total of £33,724.19

Well done to all that took part and supported the challenge!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Latimer Hinks Solicitor Voted onto Council of the Agricultural Law Society

I mentioned in a previous post that Latimer Hinks has "girl power." Well, I am about to repeat myself again.

Rosanne Green is a solicitor in our agricultural department as well as our private client department and she has been appointed (by a vote of the members) to the Agricultural Law Association.

Rosanne is from a farming family and is about to marry a dairy farmer - so Rosie has practical hands on knowledge as well as legal!

Well done Rosie!

Here's a little more about Rosie and here's the full story Rosanne Green Elected to Council of Agricultural Law Association

Monday, 12 July 2010

Latimer Hinks Solicitors Has "Girl Power"

Nicola Neilson joined Latimer Hinks Solicitors in 2000, qualified in 2003 and was made partner in 2007. Quite a meteoric rise!

To add to this timeline Nicola is now President of the Tees Valley Law Society - one of only three female presidents in the history of Tees Valley Law Society - she is also the youngest!

Nicola joins Jenni Bartram who became the first female President of the Yorkshire Law Society - go girls!!
Update: Nicola has made the Law Gazette

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

ASSIST - Top Tax Tips for Small Businesses

I've just returned from an event run by ASSIST - a networking group for professional ladies in Tees Valley (i'm on the committee).

As this event Carolyn Pedersen of Duffy Pedersen provided some Tax Tips for Small Businesses.

Did you know:
  • £150 per head for a company Christmas party is deductable for tax purposes?....but £151 is not!
  • a £45 pen as a customer gift with a logo is deductable but without a logo it is not!

Well, now you do.

If you'd like to come along to an ASSIST event you're more than welcome - as long as you're female and a professional lady based in the Tees Valley area!

Our next event will be at Crathorne Hall on the 29th September.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

How Many Solicitors Does it Take to Paint a Room?

It makes a refreshing change to step out of the office and take on something that you wouldn't normally do in a working day.

On the 23rd June (England V Slovakia in the World Cup) five members of the Latimer Hinks Private Client Team (+ me) popped along to Age UK in Darlington to redecorate their main meeting room.

Arriving in the room we were struck by the very orange 70's decoration which was to be transformed into a cream, calm oasis....then we noticed the working portable tv in the corner. Multi-tasking was the key word of the day - tea and biscuits, painting and watching the world cup! AND England won! What a great day!

Photo LtoR: The Latimer Hinks Private Client Decorating Team - Helen Booth, Nadine Sweeney, Natalie Palmer, Gillian Ibbotson, Daniel Williams, Andrew Way

Monday, 28 June 2010

We Raised a Record Amount at the Latimer Hinks Charity Ball!

In spite of the recession and with the help of gernerous local businesses, HSBC and guests Latimer Hinks managed to raise £11,500 for charities Help for Heroes, St Teresa's Hospice and smaller local charities.

Thanks to all of our supporters!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Advice for Employers Facing Workplace Football Frenzy

It's great to see England supporting the England Football Team in the World Cup.

I even ventured out to the pub to watch the England V USA. Surrounded by painted faces, flags and St George hats the atmosphere (especially after Gerrards goal) was fantastic.

However, it's not as easy for employers to accept the World Cup and the problems which can result.

Nick Poole of Latimer Hinks Solicitors explains how it's a no-win situation for employers.
How to Avoid a World Cup Employment Law Own Goal

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Apologies for the delay...

Apologies, apologies -I have been so busy that my Social Networking Guineapig blog has been left unattended - a terrible sin when considering that social networking is about keeping in touch on a regular basis!

Anyway, the Latimer Hinks Charity Ball was a great success - confirmation of total monies raised will follow shortly. The 21st May was a fab, sunny day which helped to enhance the evening. Guests took advantage of Wynyard Hall's extensive terrace and great views.

Monies raised will be distributed to St Teresa's Hospice, Help for Heroes and smaller local charities. Guests have already requested tables for the next ball (in 2 years time, thank goodness!)

Monday, 10 May 2010

North East Property Forum & Policiticians Meet

The North East Property Forum and POLITICIANS met to discuss the property market. Tim Haggie of Latimer Hinks Solicitors chaired the meeting.

The politicians faced tough questions about their plans to help boost the housing market.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Latimer Hinks Charity Ball - Dare I say it - we're nearly fully organised!

Am I tempting fate by suggesting that all entertainment is organised?

I do hope not. So far I have booked a band and disco - HUGE. They look like great fun and have played for the likes of Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz!

As we have 275 guests I have booked two magicians (both have very different styles) to ensure that every table is entertained as least once.

The Casino, White Rose was recommended by St Teresa's Hospice (they have used them for the past 14 years!)

Our photographer, Keith Blundy came along to the ball in 2009 to document the start of the ball. This time around I want Keith to capture the fun and enjoyment as well as the entertainment. He is therefore going to be around for much of the evening.

The tombola will be manned by a couple of volunteers from St Teresa's (we're very, very grateful) and Latimer Hinks people throughout the evening.

I've also roped in various people from Latimers to help with the auction. Our auctioneer will be Graham Robb of Recognition.

And of course HSBC representatives will help with the Backward Bingo (HSBC will be matching £1 for £1 up to £1500)

Phew - it think it's all wrapped up!

Thanks to:
Band - HUGE
Magicians - Mike Driver, Dillinger
Casino - White Rose Casino
Photographer - Keith Blundy
Auctioneer - Graham Robb

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Freezing Photo Shoot in the Name of Charity

If you read my blog then you already know about Latimer Hinks raising money for Help for Heroes and St Teresa's Hospice by way of hosting a Charity Ball.

If you don't know, then please click this link Latimer Hinks Charity Ball

In order to promote the event locally it was suggested a photo shoot was in order. Our PR company organised a jeep from the TA (for the military connection). Fine, no problems with that... but then they hit us with.... "perhaps some glamorous ladies from Latimer Hinks dressed in evening wear would like to pose with the jeep to provide a juxtaposition of images!"
It took a little convincing but I managed a trio (2 ladies and one gentleman) to agree. I was also roped in providing 4 representatives from Latimer Hinks, as well as representatives from Help for Heroes, St Teresa's Hospice and the TA!

The day of the photoshoot dawned and it was freezing! The TA representative was fine, dressed in his khakis ready for whatever the weather might throw at him. Also, Help for Heroes and St Teresa's were sensibly dressed.

Enter the Latimer Hinks team "dressed to the nines" in glamourous evening wear. Not the type of attire suitable for spending 20mins posing in the cold weather (i swear my hands were purple!). Add that to the request that we sit ON the jeep - have you ever tried climbing in an evening gown? - not a pretty sight! and nigh on impossible without the help of the TA!!

The resulting photo should be worth it! It better be!!

We've received more donations for the Latimer Hinks Charity Ball, our thanks go to:

Thursday, 25 March 2010

The Charity Ball Donations Keep Rolling In

I'm overwhelmed with the support from businesses far and wide for the Latimer Hinks Charity Ball.

Most recently we've received (and I would love to win this) a luxury Audi for the weekend. The resulting publicity from this donation should greatly benefit Teesside Audi. The Ball provides a very targeted audience for Teesside Audi including local business men and high profile "movers & shakers" in the area.

The Audi will be displayed at the magnificent entrance to Wynyard Hall (the venue for the ball) a perfect setting for any car salesman!
All I need now to increase the value of this auction prize is perhaps.... a luxury hotel break!
If you wish to donate a weekend break for me to tie into the auction prize of the Audi please let me know. The more money raised on the evening the greater the benefit for Help for Heroes and St Teresa's Hospice

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Social Media - How it can Work for You

I've just returned from a presentation for the ASSIST group by Jonathan Wheatley of MC Ware entitled - Social Media - How it can Work for You.

The presentation was targeted to small owner/managed businesses just starting out into the daunting world of social media and the social media "language".

For help understanding "some of this language" please check out my post In Plain English

The slides of the presentation (when i receive copies i will post a link) showed logos of social networking sites as well as a screen shot of what to expect once you have joined these sites. I thought this was a great way to introduce (to some attendees) this "alien" world.

Alien? may be, but one of the greatest benefits of these sites is that they are FREE to use, so use them! Start a blog, post links from the blog to your website, post links/information/videos/images to Facebook, bookmark your webpages/blogs to bookmarking sites such as Digg, Reddit etc. Most importantly, regularly update. The more effort you put in the bigger the long term benefits.

LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Blogger, Google Buzz, Squidoo, Gather, Digg, Reddit, Stumble were a few of the sites covered.

As a result of the presentation I have given myself some homework - Squidoo, Google Buzz (soon to be launched) and Gather are social media sites which I have not yet looked into. This is my homework, if they are useful i will let you know

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Great News! The Latimer Hinks Ball is Virtually a SELLOUT!

I must admit when given the task to organise a Charity Ball for 2010 I was more than a little worried.

The recession of 2009 took its toll on many local charity events. Balls were cancelled due to lack of guest numbers, donations for raffle and auction prizes rapidly dwindled....BUT I can now report that the Latimer Hinks Charity Ball should be a resounding success!

Almost ten weeks to go (May 21st) and only 20 tickets remaining out of a total of 270! Three of the companies taking tables decided to take two tables! Is this a sign that the recession is finally over?

I have also received a great number of donations:
  • A £500 Pandora Bracelet from Bramwell Jewellers (already made up, but the winner can change charms/colours etc to suit)
  • 10 bottles of champagne from Northumbria Water
  • £400 worth of tooth whitening or facial aesthetics (botox to you and I) from Elliott McCarthy Dental Care
  • A 12 day Spa Membership (over a year) from Headlam Hall Hotel
  • Rounds of golf from 2 local golf courses in Darlington - Stressholme and Blackwell
  • A meal for 4 at Stressholme, tickets for the theatre, signed Middlesbrough Football..... the list goes on - and i will update the list regularly
All I need to do now is organise entertainment (hoping for some form of military entertainment), a magician, a disco, a photographer... as before, the list goes on... and on

The Latimer Hinks Ball is in aid of Help for Heroes and St Teresa's Hospice (Darlington), plus smaller local charities.

Our thanks also go to HSBC for matching £1 for £1 up to £1500.

It should be a GREAT night - if you would like to donate a prize or an experience - a holiday, a weekend break, something money can't buy.... please feel free to contact me

Monday, 8 March 2010

What is the state of the North East Property Market?

The North East Property Forum meet again to discuss the state of the commercial, agriicultural and residential property market.

Check out what they are saying about unfair banks charges, the difficulty in closing deals and raising the finance for those deals.

North East Property Forum, February 2010

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

ASSIST - Social Networking & How it can Work for You

I believe i've mentioned before (a few posts earlier...) that I am on the committee of ASSIST (a support and networking group for professional ladies in the Tees Valley area).

For March, our event is entitled Social Networking and How it can Work for You

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogs…..Social Networking is changing the way we market/promote business and we want ASSIST members to be aware and partcipate in these changes.

Jonathan Wheatley Managing Director of MC Ware Ltd & HD Forensics (sponsors of ASSIST), will give a short presentation on the benefits of Social Networking.
Jonathan will explain how social networking can help:

· build loyal customers with online communities
· market your product/service
· find partners to enhance your product/service and enhanced creditability
· find employees

The morning will start, as usual with a networking game to break the ice. ASSIST believe the networking game to be a unique selling point of the group. Many members have commented on how the games enable you to feel more comfortable and lessed "stressed" in a networking environment.

If you are a professional lady from the Tees Valley area and are interested in attending simply visit ASSIST and register. Places are limited

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Alcoholism in the Workplace - how to help your business and your employees

Coronation Street is currently running a storyline on alcoholism in a work environment.

Peter Barlow who has a history of alcohol problems opens a new wine bar (not the best idea in the world) and once again he begins drinking.

Being drunk will eventually create:

  • loss of productivity and poor performance;
  • lateness and absenteeism;
  • safety concerns;
  • team morale and employee relations problems;
  • bad behaviour or poor discipline;
  • adverse effects on company image and customer relations.

    And, as Peter is the owner/manager untold problems will unfurl - which is exactly what the writers for Coronation Street want!

    However, for a more serious point of view Nick Poole of Latimer Hinks explains what to look out for and how to deal with these problems from a legal perspective - Alcoholism in the Workplace

    There is even a blog dedicated to this subject Raise the Bottom.

    HSE produce a leaflet Don't Mix It - A Guide for Employers on Alcohol at Work

    Alcoholism is a serious problem, please take relevant advice from professional advisers

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Latimer Hinks Charity Ball - Donations and Relationship Building!

Every two years Latimer Hinks organise a charity ball and this year it is to be held once again magnificent Wynyard Hall, Tees Valley on May 21st 2010.

I can hardly believe it's been two years since the last ball!

The 2008 Ball raised £10,000 and we would like to think that we can increase the amount we pass on to the charities who, like so many, have been affected by the economic downturn.

For 2010 our main charity is going to be “Help for Heroes”. No-one can fail to be impressed by the courage of the armed forces and we feel that “Help for Heroes” and all that the charity does should be supported. We will also still be supporting a number of local, smaller charities including St Teresa’s Hospice..

In 2008 we raised nearly £10,000 and intend to dramatically increase the figure for 2010


1) HSBC have very kindly offered to match £ for £ monies raised on a fundraising menchanism (up to £1500). Their generosity is greatly appreciated.

2) A Charity Auction. If you feel you could donate an auction prize - perhaps a weekend break, use of a luxury car, a holiday.... etc etc we would of course be extremely grateful AND your support will be promoted in all literature, press releases, blogs (where we can also direct people to your website). We have already received a donation of tooth whitening or facial aesthetics (botox to you and I) from Elliott McCarthy Dental Care- thank you.

3) Tombola. Everyone enjoys a tombola, it's a great fundraiser and anyone can take part. Donations, again, would be greatly appreciated.

UPDATE: Our thanks go to Compugift for supplying a number of quality items for the tombola - your help and support is gratefully acknowledged!

4) Backward Bingo. Fun game, everyone can take part. Guest can purchase a bingo ticket, numbers are called out. If your numbers are among those called, you sit down. Last three standing win a prize.

5) Networking Contacts. Hopefully I can call on contacts made throughout the year through networking events in the hope that they will support/sponsor the ball. Mike Challands of MT Print has also offered to provide the design and print of tickets, program etc in return for a few tickets to the ball! Mike will benefit from exposure to around 300 high net worth business representatives at the event and will obviously have his quality print work on show and acknowledged AND we can pass the money saved on print to the charities.

This is what relationship building/networking is all about - we don't necessarily need to give business on every occasion but we can provide opportunities to expose new contacts to our networks.

If anyone reading this would be interested in sponsoring/supporting the charity ball, please let me know.

If you or your business would like exposure/ackowledgement at this prestigious black tie event, talk to me (you can use comments) and i will call you to discuss suggestions further.

Don't forget it's all for good causes!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The Art of Networking - a talk

I believe i've mentioned before that I am on the committee of ASSIST (a support and networking group for professional ladies in the Tees Valley area). At the moment I am helping to organise an event entitled "The Art of Networking".

The event is going to be held jointly with Women Into the Network, a group dedicated to supporting, connecting and promoting women in business.

Wendy Parvin - owner manager of Conversations with Purpose will be facilitating

The session is for anybody who:
  • needs to make new contacts
  • join new groups
  • meet new people
  • wants network confidently and effectively.

  • The presentation will cover :
    Making networking work for you
  • Understanding networking and what it is
  • How to recognise networking opportunities

We'll also hold a networking game to "break the ice"

If you are a professional lady from the Tees Valley area and are interested in attending simply visit ASSIST and register. Places are limited

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

First Published Deal of the Year

Business success stories/commercial deals always go down well with the press. Particularly, when all around us businesses are finding it difficult to cope with the economic downturn.

A recent Latimer Hinks success story gained coverage almost immediately. In previous times (before the economic downturn) this type of press story may have been passed over as not being "big" enough. We believe all of our press stories are worthy of press attention!

Jill and Paul Jackson bought a freehold rural pub which had been empty for 2 and a half years.
Latimer Hinks Expertise Helps Re-open Historic Pub

Well done the Jacksons! and well done Nicola (partner at Latimer Hinks) for ensuring that the Jackson's dreams have a good start!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

New Year, New Us

Latimer Hinks was originally established in 1892 and last year it was decided that the Latimer Hinks image required an update, a new corporate identity. I believe that this is only the third image change in nearly 120 years! Hopefully you can tell from the photos that the left image is previous signage.

A modern, fresh, clean image which would sit well with our private as well as corporate clients was required. This was the easy bit - the hard bit was having 10 very different partners agree on an image!!

The challenge was on! Everything was due to roll out on the 4th January 2010. Partners evetually agreed on a logo and we were off!

All the stationery, pop up displays, folders etc were delivered in the run up to Christmas ready for use on the Monday we returned to work.

The shop front and reception signage was to be replaced during the Christmas holidays by Signs Express in Darlington. Whilst on Christmas leave I heard an announcement that Priestgate (the street on which Latimer Hinks sits) had been closed due to a hole appearing in the road!! Luckily our contractor liaised with the council and managed to "get the job done."

So far so good - but the job still continues! I will keep you updated on the rest of our ptomotional update!