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Blogs

Check out our blogs section where Chamber representatives, members and high-profile business figures write about a range of topics. If you are a member and want to submit a blog, please click here.

Why second phase of HS2 is crucial for Birmingham and the UK as a whole

By Paul Faulkner | Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

2017 witnessed a number of momentous landmarks in the lifetime of HS2. Royal Assent for Phase 1 saw construction work begin and turned the project from a possibility to a reality. In July, the Queen’s Speech revealed that legislation relating to Phase 2A (the start of the extension of the line northwards from Birmingham) had been brought forward in Parliament, which again underlined the national significance of this major investment in infrastructure. As a Chamber, we have fully supported the project from inception and backing for the programme is especially high amongst our membership. For example, surveying from our recent Quarterly Business Report revealed that 70% of businesses in our region...

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Learning about marketing in these turbulent times

By Simon Chapman | Yee Group Ltd

From recent events, we have all now been reminded that the power of mice and men can have very little meaning. The unexpected begins to be more like the expected. This can deliver surprising results, which can alter the shape of things. Right now; and well into the future. Immediate questions might be - Are you prepared? How do you handle the unexpected? And what can we learn that will be of benefit? My blog takes a look at some of the facts. Sorry, but some of these facts you may find disturbing. They may even challenge your current thinking, particularly with regard to your marketing strategy. According to the latest research, more than 50% of the population of the UK are users of Facebook....

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Innovative thought-provoking marketing

By Simon Chapman | Yee Group Ltd

I was asked the other day to list what I thought businesses could do to improve their marketing. My focus has always been in two areas - innovation and execution. Coming up with a creative idea is a great way of cutting through what other businesses are doing; and the 'noise' that they are creating. Many are simply bombarding customers with facts and information. Much of this is said to be done to satisfy their customers’ insatiable appetite for facts and detail. This so-called noise generated in so many marketing channels is becoming a distraction. Great marketing campaigns achieve their greatness through being seamlessly executed. From my experience, much can be achieved at the planning...

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Five tips for a successful commercial business relocation

By Stephen Burke | FBC Manby Bowdler

It’s said that moving to a new house is one of the most stressful events of your life. If you’re moving your business, then you have a completely different set of things to worry about. Rather than ‘Where’s the kitchen box with the kettle gone?’ it’s more ‘Where’s the box with the server gone?' But FBC Manby Bowdler’s Stephen Burke says you’ve also got to make sure that a move doesn’t cost you more than just the price of the removals van and that your business doesn’t suffer as a result. Business relocations should be smooth transitions with barely a ripple and here are Stephen’s top 5 tips to make sure your relocation is a success. 1) Get all the legal paperwork done A change of business...

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How to avoid a freightful forwarder

By Paul Hull | KMB Shipping Group

With over 1500 freight forwarders in the UK, you may find yourself spoilt for choice when choosing who to trust your cargo with. At KMB, we’ve put together a few tips to help make the journey as smooth as possible. Proven Track Record In the freight forwarding industry the length of time a company has been trading is a good indication of their success. As with any business, happy customers equal repeat customers, so if a freight forwarder has been around for decades rather than months, chances are they know what they’re doing. SUITABLE INSURANCE You wouldn’t go abroad yourself without insurance, so why risk sending your goods abroad without it? Ensure the freight forwarder you select has...

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The introduction of T Levels

By Emily Stubbs | Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

On 11 October, Education Secretary Justine Greening announced that the first three T levels in Digital, Construction and Education and Childcare will be taught from 2020. The full set of T levels will be introduced by 2022. This follows directly from an independent panel review last year, chaired by Lord Sainsbury. The review concluded that the existing education system was too complex and included too many qualifications which didn’t provide young people with the necessary skills to enter the workforce. Criticism of the existing technical education system has often included discussions that it is unresponsive and suffers from a lack of engagement with employers. The Sainsbury report also linked...

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Impact of Apprenticeship Levy funding on employers and training providers

By Emily Stubbs | Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

The Department of Education has launched a short survey on the impact of recent reforms to apprenticeship funding. The survey focusses on the impact of Apprenticeship levy funding on employers and training providers. It  can be found here, and closes on 3rd October. We would encourage all businesses to complete it, so that the Chamber can improve our understanding of the impact the levy is having in the Greater Birmingham region. There has, for a long time, been serious concern regarding skills gaps - particularly in the Greater Birmingham region. It is the hope of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce – and many others - that the Apprenticeship levy will help fill these by reinvigorating...

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The future of dispute resolution – a call for clarity

By Steve Allen | Mills & Reeve

Mills & Reeve dispute resolution partner Steve Allen considers the implications of the Government’s paper on ‘Civil judicial co-operation framework – a future partnership paper’ UK government’s publication of its policy paper on resolving cross border disputes published this week should receive a welcome but guarded response from West Midlands businesses. The principle that post-Brexit, Whitehall hopes to agree a process close to the current reciprocal system, which allows for simpler and faster resolution of cross-border disputes, is of vital importance – especially to Midlands firms with EU trade relations. The EU is the region’s biggest trading partner and at present, 47% of exports from...

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Public consultation – the Directive on Security of Network and Information Systems

By Emily Stubbs | Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

A public consultation document has been published on the implementation of the European Union’s Directive on the Security of Network and Information Systems (NIS). The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce are now looking to collate a response from our members. The NIS directive addresses the increase in the frequency, magnitude and impact of attacks on network and information systems, given the economic and societal impact such a security incident could have on Member States and the European Union as a whole. Recent crises have included the 2017 worldwide WannaCry attack, the 2016 attacks on US water utilities, and the 2015 attack on Ukraine’s electricity network. Network and information...

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Volunteer mentoring benefits all round

By Debbie Griffiths | Aston University/Ideal Worldsmiths

Aston University is proud to be a Patron of both the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce. This blog was written by one of our mentors on the Professional Mentoring Scheme, Debbie Griffiths, Managing Director of Ideal Worldsmiths. I can’t believe it’s been three years since we first applied for Aston University’s Professional Mentoring Scheme. How time flies when you’re having fun. And how different each mentoring relationship can be. At first, I was more nervous than my partner about mentoring. He had way more experience than me of one-to-one coaching, whereas the former teacher in me was happiest training a group. So why do it? Lots of reasons,...

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