What’s big, yellow and outstanding in its field?

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A JCB digger! (sorry about the pun) JCB diggers are iconic machines that are recognised all over the world, such is the remarkable reputation that they have. The reality, however, is that JCB manufacture a lot more than just diggers that can be used in a lot more places than just fields. Construction, agriculture, power generation, government & defence and waste & recycling are all industries into which JCB supply high quality products supported by first class post-sales service. But whatever the product, whatever the industry, underpinning the JCB strategy is a focus on innovation, ambition and sheer hard work,…

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The Business Route to University Expertise

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November 2017 marks the first anniversary of Keele University’s Business Gateway – the ‘one stop shop’ for businesses to be able to access the University’s full line-up of support programmes, expertise and facilities. Since its launch as part of the 2016 Festival, the Gateway has gone from strength-to-strength and has already supported more than 100 Staffordshire businesses in their product development, company growth and innovation advancement. Through the Business Gateway, businesses are able to access student and graduate talent, benefit from academic and professional staff expertise and utilise the plethora of research and business facilities available within the UK’s largest…

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Are you up to scratch?

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Keeping up to date in an ever-changing business world is tricky! Regulations change. Laws change. Business attitudes change. And then there are those things outside the business that have an impact inside the business, like the environment. In some cases, not keeping up to date doesn’t bring with it major consequences. But in other cases, the consequences of not being up to date could be dire on both the personal and business levels. The problem is, how do you know if you are up to date? How can you find out what you don’t know? One way to do that…

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Don’t you just love technology?!?

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The truth is that most of us do but we don’t really realise that we do! That’s because it’s transparent. We get on with our daily lives and technology just sits there in the background allowing us to do that. Add to that that technology is constantly evolving and getting more powerful and useful, almost by osmosis in a way, it just seems to get better without most people really paying much attention to it. But if something goes wrong with that technology, then people notice! Slow internet, server crashes, systems being hacked – they all get noticed. Those responsible…

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Who you think you are isn’t important. Who they think you are is what’s important!

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It’s all about perception. Regardless of who you think you are as a business, regardless of what you stand for as a company, none of it matters compared to what the outside world thinks of you. The perception of you held by past, present and future customers is the reality of what you are. The key then is to ensure that that perception is an accurate reflection of what you actually are, of what you want the world to see you as being. To do that requires a focus on personal and business considerations, from both internal and external viewpoints….

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How to lead well (or maybe just how to lead a little better…)

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Some people are born leaders, some people grow into the role and some people have leadership thrust upon them. Irrespective, though, of how the leader became the leader, it’s important that the leader leads well. However, perhaps what’s more important is that good leaders look to continually look at ways of being better leaders. Sometimes that progress is a great stride. Other times it’s a small step. Either way, it’s still progress. The leader is becoming a better leader. The hard part for leaders, though, is that they are at the top of their own organisation. Where do they go…

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Are you missing out on funding that could help your business to compete, grow and excel?

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It’s a simple question and the answer for most businesses is probably “Yes”. Why is it probably “Yes”? Because businesses don’t know that that funding exists! And that’s why we are holding this series of FREE workshops, so business can find out what they don’t know about funding and how it might be relevant to them. During the day, you can hear from several local experts on funding and grants including: the BIC: Funding for Innovation, R&D Tax Relief and the Patent Box Mitten Clarke: How to get paid faster and save time with cloud accounting Thompson Wright: How to access grant…

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To aim big you first need to think small

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Joe Clarke winning the gold medal in the canoe slalom men’s K1 at the Rio Olympics in 2016 is a magnificent achievement. In fact, it doesn’t get any bigger than that! It’s a million miles away from where he started paddling on a kayaking trip with the Scouts before he managed to secure a place at Stafford and Stone Canoe Club at age 11. Since then, there’s no doubt that Joe aimed big (and then went on to achieve big!) I’m sure we can all imagine the hard work that went into that achievement. We can picture hours and hours…

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You can’t be inspired on your own!

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It’s true – you can’t be inspired on your own. There must be some other third party involved, some catalyst to provide that spark of inspiration. Now sometimes, it just happens. I’m pretty sure that Sir Issac Newton didn’t think “Let me just sit under this tree and be inspired!” The unexpected apple had something to do with that “Eureka” moment. But not all occasions of inspiration are moments of happenstance. Sometimes they can be engineered or, at least, helped along the way. All you need to do is put yourself near someone or something inspiring and see what happens….

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Business and Culture: Worlds apart or two parts of the same world?

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If you were to ask many people how close together the world of Business was to the world of Arts and Culture, then many of them would say that they were “worlds apart”. However, if you take a closer look, the reality is quite the opposite, especially here in Staffordshire. Staffordshire has been, still is, and will continue to be an area where business and culture come together and thrive, as exemplified by Stoke’s bid to become UK City of Culture in 2021 (and it’s “out of this world” launch!). It’s clear from the bid that so many local businesses…

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