What does winning an award do for your company?

Interview on Tone FM

Spencer Blackaller from BootUp PC is the previous winner of the forerunner to the new awards, Taunton Business Incentive. Spencer tells us about the benefits to his company when he won the award in 2014.

Listen to the interview with Spencer and one of our sponsors Pam Knight of White Knight Marketing Ltd at Tone FM about how the process was for him and how the awards have evolved.

Guest Blog from Sponsor, Francis Clark LLP

Martin Lock, Partner, Francis Clark LLP shares some insight

Francis Clark are the region’s largest independent accountancy firm, providing a full range of award-winning accounting, taxation, and corporate finance and fundraising services to businesses of all sizes.  In my role, I see businesses at all stages of their business journey, in all sectors of the economy.  Who says accountancy is boring!

One thing that unites all businesses I see is their desire to succeed.  However, success means different things to different people; to some it may mean taking over the world, to others it may mean being able to support a good work/life balance.  Whatever your ambitions, I can support and guide you with a Partner-led, relationship-based service, whilst also being able provide access to my Firm’s many specialists in areas such as taxation, VAT and corporate finance.

In this blog I will aim to address issues that, on first appearance, may seem to be applicable only to new businesses; however, they are also issues that would be beneficial for all businesses to review on occasion.  I overview briefly four of the areas where I am regularly asked to support new and growing businesses, hopefully complementing the drive and enthusiasm of the owner with pragmatism and a focus on getting the ‘boring stuff’ right in an efficient manner, so that it does not become a distraction and a barrier to growth – or worse still a cause for business failure.



OK, I have started with the most boring aspect of running your own business – and consequently the item most often left until tomorrow!  What I have seen work well is early establishment of a ‘system’ consistent with the complexity of your business and your financial information needs. These may well need re-examining as your business grows.

I work with many start-ups and growing businesses advising on appropriate systems for recording transactions and paper/ electronic record keeping.  Sometimes I am asked to provide support with  transaction posting, but in most cases when the entrepreneur moves away from posting items themselves, a bookkeeper is engaged (possibly part-time). I will then work with the bookkeeper to turn financial records into meaningful financial information for the entrepreneur and for others (e.g. a potential funder and/ or HMRC).


Tax Compliance

All start-ups should appreciate they will be brought into the “tax system”.  This may encompass PAYE or VAT and certainly either Income Tax or Corporation Tax.  As with ‘bookkeeping’, it is essential to establish systems for dealing with your obligations early on. The ideal is to be able to provide required information at the ‘press of a button’.  This aim should drive the structuring of financial and other record keeping. Be aware of tax thresholds (e.g. for registering for VAT) and in particular mechanics for mitigating liabilities.  Diarise preparation of required returns, and ensure funds are available to pay any liabilities on time.


Business structure

With decisions on business structure, as with many aspects of business, detailed discussion and specific advice is required.  But I would always say “start with the end in mind” – if you know that your proposition is going to require equity finance to take it to the next level, then a company structure would be the most appropriate.  Understand the options and the implications, including tax and legal aspects. One of most overlooked aspects in a business operating as a limited company is that the company is its own legal entity, different from the individual who may run the business.  This means, for example, matters such as intellectual property ownership and extraction of funds have to be carefully thought through.


Employing and engaging with others

Our payroll bureau deals with more than 1000 payrolls, indicating that for many entrepreneurs the processing of PAYE/NI payments and returns is a (necessary) evil that can be outsourced cost effectively.  The recent introduction of Auto Enrolment is a further payroll burden that needs careful consideration – do you really have the time to deal with this yourself?

As your business grows, so will the support that you need from your accountant.  That is why you should have a good relationship with your accountant, and in particular, you should be talking to them on a regular basis as your business evolves over time.  Try not to be scared of the cost of talking to your accountant – a short conversation now could save you huge amounts of money down the line!

Business Awards: “What have the Romans ever done for us?”

Business Awards offer an excellent opportunity to promote our businesses for free, so why do many businesses not take advantage of this excellent PR opportunity? 

This question got me thinking, why do we so often take opportunities for granted, and as a result miss out? And this reminded me of the classic scene from The Life of Brian where Reg (John Cleese) of the People’s Front of Judiah is addressing an audience of masked Activists plotting against the Roman Empire:

“All right… all right… but apart from better sanitation, medicine, education, wine, irrigation, roads, a freshwater system, baths, public order, and public health… what have the Romans ever done for us?”

If you haven’t seen the film clip it is one of the funniest and best known Python scenes:

The point I am making is that business awards offer a fantastic opportunity for businesses to show case their successes, celebrate their team, and much more.  Yet, many unsung heroes in our business communities don’t take advantage of these events.

Last year two of my clients won business awards which had a huge impact on their businesses.  The PR in the local press and on social media generated more enquiries and new customers which resulted in huge growth in business.

New Business of the Year & Entrepreneur of the Year; Inese Stepanova from Inova Studio:

Best New Business Award Winner 2015. Alan Marriott from Property Press:

Benefits to your business:

So if you or your business would benefit from additional PR, an opportunity to mix with other local aspiring business owners, or being recognised as a local leading business, why not look out for the Business Awards in your area. Your Chamber of Commerce would be great place to start.

Taunton Deane Business Awards:

For businesses in the Taunton Deane boundary area the Taunton Deane Business Awards are now open for entries, the final entry date is 5pm 31st March 2016.  The Somerset Business Awards will follow later in the year. https://www.tauntondeanebusinessawards.co.uk/

Free Training for Local Businesses:

To help local businesses I am offering a free training event to any business that enters the Taunton Deane Business Awards.  This interactive 1/2 day workshop will provide 2 benefits for businesses:

  1. It will enable you to make a high quality application for the TDBA Awards
  2. It will also give you a bunch of ideas to help you further improve your successful business

The workshop will: 

  1. Simplify the application process, saving you time
  2. Assist you to showcase your business in the best possible light
  3. Provide you with information that will help you take your business to the next level in 2016 and beyond, including:
    • Destination & Business Planning – setting the future for your business
    • Business Mastery – what are the fundamentals needed in business
    • Sales & Marketing – how to generate predictable cash flow in your business
    • Systemisation & Delivery – why consistent delivery ensures business growth
    • Team development – how to create the team you need to run a successful business
    • Time management – create the time to work ON not IN your business

You will leave the workshop with: 

  1. A clear understanding of the application process
  2. Knowing how to complete a high quality application
  3. Plus:
    • Energy, vision and focus for the next level in your business
    • Ideas and inspiration to take your business to the next level
    • Skills and tools to get more done in less time
    • Practical strategies that you can use tomorrow!

So, if you are a business in the Taunton Deane area follow the link and take advantage of this fantastic business opportunity

Deborah Meaden to present Commendation Award

Deborah MeadenWe will be welcoming a very special guest at the Awards ceremony on June 16th at the Castle Hotel.

We are delighted that Deborah Meaden has kindly agreed to present the Commendation Award at the Taunton Deane Business Awards. This prize will be given to the business which is clearly the overall deserving winner.

We are very grateful to Deborah for taking time out to present this brand new award on what should be an exciting night for Taunton Deane Businesses.

The Awards are now open for businesses based within the Taunton Deane boundary. Categories include:

  • Micro Business of the year – 1-3 employees
  • Small Business of the year – 4-10 employees
  • Medium Business of the year – 11 plus
  • Start up  (up to 2 years)
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Retail shop front –
  • Commendation Award

There will be a workshop on the 11 February to help applicants develop their entry for the awards.

Entries are coming in!

Entries to the brand new Taunton Deane Business Awards are already coming in!

Keen Taunton Deane based companies are already putting their names forward as contenders for the prestigious awards, which will take place in June.

Two special training workshops on how to bring out the winning points for your company have been organised to help those less confident, and bookings for those can be made by clicking on the button below.

Coming up very shortly will be two exciting announcements sure to get even more companies running to their computers to fill out the online application form, but you will just have to watch this space for the BIG news! In the meantime take this brilliant opportunity to learn how to showcase your business in its best light by booking your place now.

Hear more about the awards

One of our sponsors, Pam Knight from White Knight Marketing and Taunton Forward, spent a bit of time with co-sponsor Darren Daley from ToneFM going into some detail about the various award categories and the idea behind the initiative.

You can listen again to the interview here:


Time to Shine

 Time for Taunton Businesses to Shine!


Taunton businesses are to get their very own awards thanks to a group of civic minded people.

The Taunton Deane Business Awards are being launched off the back of sponsorship from 10 local firms plus Taunton Forward, Taunton Chamber and Taunton Deane Borough Council. The 13 collaborators have come together to sponsor the Awards which will be held at the Castle Hotel in June next year.

The Awards are being launched on Small Business Saturday on the 5th December 2015, and will be open to any business within the Taunton Deane Borough boundaries.

There will be 6 categories to enter depending on the size of your business and you are free to enter as many as you qualify for. There will be one overall winner chosen from across the categories who will receive a special commendation.

There will also be opportunities for companies who are serving the community through corporate social responsibility programmes to enter and share their commitment to the people of Taunton Deane in a special award aimed at recognising the impact this has within our community.

An award for the best shop front will give everyone an opportunity to vote for their favourite window display with a free online poll on the events website.

Speaking on behalf of Taunton Forward and her own company, White Knight Marketing, Pam Knight said,

“This is a great opportunity to celebrate the success of the many brilliant businesses we have based within Taunton Deane. There is far too much modesty demonstrated around our achievements and it is time for businesses within this area to have the spotlight turned on to them; a time to shine!”

TDBC Cllr Mark Edwards, Executive Councillor for Business Development said:

“Taunton Deane has a strong track record in growing enterprises – over 300 new businesses have been established in the Borough in the past 5 years.

“The Council offers grants, advice and a range of other services to support start-ups.  We are delighted to sponsor these Awards which recognise the value of small businesses to our economy and the vitality of our towns and villages.”

The event website will be launched on the  5th December and the online application form awaits any ambitious business who would like to enter. To aid businesses in preparing their applications, sponsor John McCarthy of Action Coach will be holding 2 workshops early in the New Year for those that would value guidance on the process.

Other sponsors include Amicus Law, Carly Press, Francis Clark, The Castle Hotel, Fox Brothers, Somerset Web Services, Santander and Tone FM.



Pictured: L-R John McCarthy – ActionCoach, Sarah Berry – The Castle Hotel, Douglas Cordeaux Chair of Taunton Forward and Fox Brothers, Richard Haste  – Amicus Law, Pam Knight – White Knight Marketing, Kevin Smith – Santander, Steph Leonard – White Knight Marketing, Hettie Rodgers – Carly Press, Ruth Warren – Francis Clark – Hattie Winter – TDBC, Darren Cullum – Tone FM, Tim Church – Somerset Web Services.



Award categories:

  • Micro Business (1-3 employees)
  • Small Business (4-20)
  • Medium Business (21+)
  • Start-up-(up to 2 years)
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Retail Shop Front (public online Poll)
  • Commendation Award






Training Events


The dates of these events will be announced shortly.

2014 Winners

The Taunton Business Incentive awards this year were held on the 2nd December 2014.

The winners in the 2 groups were as follows:

Group A – (business with Annual Turnover from start-up to £100k)

Winner of the first award was BootUp PC, an IT solutions company set up by Spencer Blackaller with the aim of providing affordable solutions to businesses using the latest technology available.

BootUp PC, Winners of Group A

Group B – (business with Annual Turnover from 100k to £1m).

In the category for larger businesses the winner was Mastergen, a new business which specialises in supplying dairy and beef genetics to farmers, using semen from two of the largest bull studs in Europe.

Mastergen, Winners of Group B

Rebecca Pow, prospective Conservative MP for Taunton Deane was amongst the guests attending the Taunton Business Incentive awards at The Castle Hotel.

Rebecca said: “The Taunton Business Incentive awards event was a real success. By highlighting excellence amongst our small to medium sized businesses in Taunton Deane it helps to illustrate just how important these businesses are to our local economy.

Without exception all the businesses who entered this competition report that they have recently expanded and have been taking on more staff, which of course is really beneficial in terms of providing jobs and boosting the economy in Taunton Deane. Amongst those with inspiring stories of progress were Boot Up PC, Main Event Security, Geneis PR, Apple Campers, Townley Insurance and Mastergen. All winners in the two entry classes. It shows what can be achieved with the right economic framework in place nationally, something this government has worked hard to achieve, together with the right support locally in terms of grants, advice and opportunities.”

For more information please read the Somerset County Gazette article about the awards night.