For families that own their homes or individuals that want to start a family soon and are looking for their first home, you have another option. Applicant Mortgage Brokers is offering affordable mortgage and protection solutions that meet the specific needs of each family. Even for people with adverse credit, multiple sources of income, or do not fit the profile of the typical high street lender, Applicant Mortgage Brokers may have a solution for you.
Families should not need to change their lifestyle because they have a mortgage. Clients are at different stages of their journey and have different needs. Therefore mortgage and protection solutions should be suitable for the family throughout their journey. It is also prudent for families to be protected for any possible financial risk that may result from the loss of income.
Daniel Baskerville founded Applicant Mortgage Brokers in the autumn of 2020. The Buckinghamshire based independent mortgage and protection adviser offers whole of market mortgage advice. With their long-standing experience and expertise in the market, they seek to find the right solutions for you even if you do not fit the typical high street lending criteria. Applicant Mortgage Brokers are dedicated and passionate about meeting the family’s needs and making sure they are fully protected from unforeseen circumstances.
“We are really passionate about our services to families. We want them to have the right mortgage solution and protection as well. Our range of protection products - Life cover, Critical Illness, Family Income Benefit and Income Protection are options that minimize the financial burden if there is a death in the family or major changes to the family’s circumstances that affect their income.”
“There have been situations where families only have life cover. When a breadwinner dies, the mortgage is paid off. That is great but what of the loss of income? Will the family stop having holidays or stop the kids music lessons? Will they have to substantially change their lifestyle as there are no longer two incomes instead of one? Assuming one parent worked part-time to help with the kids at their early stage, would their work arrangements change? There are so many different scenarios.”
“Our clients are at the centre of everything we do. Whether a first-time buyer or a homeowner, we offer the right information. As professionals, we get to know them and understand their circumstances to propose the right solutions. It could be adverse credit, they could be struggling to find the right mortgage product or they have existing protection and their circumstances have changed. We do our best to get the right solution for them.”
"Applicant Mortgage Brokers offers a dedicated and professional service that helps people. The mortgage and protection industry can seem complex. There is always new information and it can be challenging to keep up. Our clients must have a smooth journey from that initial contact, through completion and throughout the period they are paying off the loan."
Dan took a different path to a career as a mortgage broker. “I was working in customers homes on behalf of the Flooring department of a well-known retail brand. Engaging customers and helping them make the right decision is what I enjoy. In some cases, the customers had limited knowledge of the products they wanted to purchase. Helping them make the right decision for items they will have for a long period can be rewarding.”
“When I considered a career change, it was always going to be about helping people make the right decisions in otherwise complex situations. I decided to become a qualified mortgage broker. Since becoming qualified, I have also worked for a Specialist Master Broker. I also knew that I wanted the flexibility of working for myself. With the changes in market and industry, I thought what better time to strike off on my own.”
“Our office is in the business park in High Wycombe. We are getting more recognition and enquiries in the local area but can assist clients throughout the UK. The team will expand over the coming months as we add more clients. With all the uncertainty and movement restrictions, we are still getting our message out there through videos, social media and our website. At the moment, we do short videos addressing a particular topic as a way of educating and informing the public.”
“Our product range also caters for a wider demographic. For example, we can also advise on lifetime mortgages for over 55’s. Through our networks and other relationships, we enjoy working with families and those thinking of starting families. We want to help them get the best possible start. Finding the right house and an affordable mortgage are important. We are here to help.”
Contact Applicant Mortgage Brokers for independent mortgage and protection solutions.
Urben Technologies Ltd (Urben Tech) offers seamless efficient solutions that enable virtual collaboration in businesses and organizations. With a suite of well-designed practical video conferencing solutions, making key business decisions is easier, faster, cost-saving with minimal disruption. These solutions are flexible and easy to install making them perfect for businesses, the education, and healthcare sectors. Herts Review had a demo session with Mike Entwistle, the founder of Urben Tech.
Mike is passionate about technology and its use to make life simpler and tasks more efficient. He has successfully undertaken several key projects including designing and building meeting rooms and ideation rooms for Ford Motors in Basildon. The rooms facilitate group collaboration, sharing of ideas, and quick decision making. Ideas can be shared on screens easily, people are connected, there is more interaction and communication is simpler.
Some of the available tech hardware are extremely complex. It is not unusual to visit offices and see ideal video walls and audio-visual equipment abandoned either because end-users do not know how to operate them or troubleshoot when there are issues. It means that organization is not realising the real benefits of that investment. At Urben Tech, the objective is to design simple tech solutions for end-users to improve efficiency and productivity. Orders are fulfilled within 24 hours with excellent customer service and after-sales support.
Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdowns has accelerated hybrid working (working from home and the office). It is the new normal. Workspaces, meeting rooms, and collaboration areas are being redesigned in line with social distancing requirements. Fortunately, Urben Tech had anticipated these changes and has launched a range of solutions for reception areas, huddle zones, operation centres, e-learning, and meeting areas. These solutions are flexible and can be adapted for multiple purposes. For corporates, Urben is a brand with a different proposition.
The Urben Lite model is a perfect and affordable fit for the needs of SMEs. They help a business adapt while working effectively without any interruption to their operations. Within this package are 4 options namely:
Urben Tech also offers after-sales support for enquiries or troubleshooting. There are also training videos, helpdesk support, and a 24-7 helpline. The versatility and the ability to use any screen are additional benefits of the solution.
Urben lite solutions work well for flexible shared workspaces, virtual co-working spaces, start-ups with a tight budget, universities, other tertiary institutions, and the healthcare sector. They can also be used for virtual training programmes (for gyms, yoga instructors, training centres, schools). Networking groups will also benefit from these solutions with many physical networking events called off due to lockdown.
Unlike some other virtual conferencing solutions, with Urban Lite, more people can interact and see each other in real-time. To solve the affordability challenges to smaller businesses or organizations with tighter budgets, flexible financial payments are available to reduce the impact on cash flow.
Presently, there is a real buzz and excitement in the video conferencing and collaborative solutions industry as there will be more demand to create flexible workspaces and meeting rooms. Board rooms and larger rooms will be divided into smaller rooms as more offices adapt to the new normal. Huddle rooms will be ideal for local businesses.
A key challenge for the industry is explaining to customers that the service is not complicated and expensive. For most CIOs/CTOs, monitoring, measuring, and reporting on how successful the implementation of these solutions are to their organization has not been easy. It is about understanding the way tech is used and if colleagues are making most of it. The savings on travel, carbon, time, and the ability to make quick decisions are not easy to quantify.
Urben’s unique solutions improve the productivity of any business or organization. The user experience is excellent. Personalised solutions are also available for businesses or organizations that have specific needs. For enquiries, contact Urben Tech.
JPA Workspaces – Functional, Forward-Thinking Workspace Solutions for thriving Businesses and Organisations
JPA Workspaces is an award-winning furniture solutions provider offering creative and excellent workspaces for commercial buildings, the education, and healthcare sectors. Established as a contract furniture supplier for over 40 years, JPA continues to adapt to the changing needs of its clients by delivering flexible, functional, and sustainable workspaces. The family-owned company has a track record of excellent customer service and great after-care support to a long list of satisfied customers.
These days, JPA is in its second generation of ownership and is one of the largest contract furniture suppliers in the South East of England. Recently, Herts Review sat down with Fiona Edwards, Sustainability Director of JPA to discuss how the business is evolving and laying down the foundation for the next phase of its growth.
Founded in 1974 by John Pulsford as John Pulsford Associates, the company has been providing quality furniture solutions to customers in Hertfordshire, London, and surrounding areas. He aimed to be different and do things better. That meant offering better quality products, paying decent wages to staff, and doing good in the community. This legacy has continued to date.
Over time, the name of the business also evolved from John Pulsford Associates to JPA Furniture and now JPA Workspaces to better reflect its services, objectives, and the market it serves. The business is now owned and operated by John's children namely Graham Pulsford as Managing Director, Fiona Edwards, and Ian Pulsford as Directors.
As one of the largest contract furniture suppliers, JPA has extensive experience in the public and private sectors. It is known for its friendly, professional, and customer-focused services. The company sources its products from trusted suppliers offering a great mix of products that meets the needs of their customers. JPAs services cover furniture installation, repair, refreshing, reupholstering, and reconfiguration. Their objective is to make your workspace great while keeping your furniture lasting longer.
The company has successfully delivered projects at University College, London, Enfield Civic Centre, Macmillan Centre, Local NHS Trusts, and the recently completed Rothamsted’s iconic Russell Building amongst others.
In addition to providing great workspace solutions, having a positive impact on the community and environment is a priority for the company. JPA is committed to health and safety, sustainability, and waste reduction. Over the last decade, the company has been recognised at local and national levels for its excellent credentials in recycling, reduction in carbon use, rehoming furniture items in the community, and promoting zero waste. For JPA, sustainability is a big part of its customer proposition and influences all aspects of its service.
For this reason, the company is redefining how it works with clients by getting involved at the early stage of projects. That way, the team gets a better understanding of client requirements, audit existing furniture, work out what is reusable or what can be reconfigured. The objective is to always deliver long-term value by creating great environments to work in, where people flourish, build relationships, share ideas, and help the organization achieve its goals. You know the saying that ‘Furniture finishes off a house’. It is never only about the furniture although it is an important part.
JPA’s service also includes advising and consulting on workspace design, designing and optimising space, project management, maximizing existing resources, assisting with moves and relocations. According to Fiona, to deliver this great service you need the right people. For JPA, its people are its biggest asset. With a team of 20, the company rewards loyalty, hard work, and champions fair treatment. The average length of service is 11 years in the company. It is key to keep the expertise and experience of the team to consistently deliver that high standard of service.
With the covid-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown, the company is working on innovative solutions to create better spaces for the safe return of workers in offices, commercial workspaces, education, and healthcare institutions as well as the hospitality sector. It is common knowledge that a hybrid working model (working from home and the office) has come to stay. Therefore, JPA are offering great solutions for home working as well.
“We are exploring options of reviving the high street by converting empty shops, unused or underused space into flexible working environments. Parents with kids, start-ups, community groups can use these spaces while abiding by social distancing measures."
"This may be a good strategy for increasing footfall to local shops and gradually bring us back to normality. There has to be more flexibility from employers and employees. Reorganising how and where we work is key. We must think of the future and start laying the groundwork. We have to seize this opportunity to do better by society and community”.
“In 2021, we will be taking the sustainability message further. As an organisation, we will use technology to get slicker and efficient. This means updating our CRM systems, going paperless, and using automated devices within our supply process. It also means sourcing better ranges of furniture and going carbon neutral."
"Imagine if we had a school furniture swap in Hertfordshire. Furniture can be moved around based on demand as school admissions fluctuate from year to year. Hertfordshire has the potential for great things, and we will be playing our role in ushering that beckon of change.”
There is no better way of describing the heart and culture of JPA as the events over Christmas Eve last month. At 2.15pm when the company had closed for Christmas, an urgent call came through from one of their NHS Trust clients urgently requesting they get to London to help move furniture and create space for additional beds to accommodate covid-19 patients. The JPA team got to site at 6pm and completed the furniture move as needed. The client informed JPA that their prompt response had helped save the lives of 20 patients which left everyone teary-eyed and was the best Christmas present ever. JPA also had an NHS hotline open and in place over the Christmas break for new furniture enquiries, end of year spend and emergency work.
As JPA Workspaces approaches its 50th anniversary in the next 4 years, the leadership are working on several plans to usher in the next phase of growth. Investment in tech, more marketing, and networking will be the engine to drive growth and profitability. The covid-19 pandemic has simply highlighted that any organization that is not efficient and fully utilizing tech will be left behind.
JPA Workspaces commitment to sustainability, unique after-care support, experience, and expertise means they are the preferred contract furniture solutions provider. For enquiries follow this link.
Egnite-IT Ltd is an information technology company set up to provide enterprise-level IT business solutions to SMEs at affordable prices. The founder Raza Khan, with over 24 years’ experience in the IT industry had a long career working for global companies in the UK and Europe. With that experience, Egnite-IT can build and develop the infrastructure to keep its IT solutions affordable. Raza took out time to speak to Herts Review about the operations of the business and his aspirations.
Established in 2014, Egnite-IT Ltd provides managed IT services, consulting, and professional services to a wide range of clients. Its outsourced managed IT solutions include helpdesk support, co-managed IT services, computer support, network security, disaster recovery, business continuity, and cloud computing to name a few. For small businesses, Egnite-IT can take away the stress of having an in-house IT team while benefiting from high-quality support and reducing any incidents of downtime. As a business, you can focus on income-generating activities with the knowledge that your systems are secure and your data is accessible and always backed up.
The Hertfordshire-based company also offers IT consulting services for organizations that need immediate IT solutions but do not have the in-house capacity or have special projects that need additional resources. With access to a pool of highly skilled IT experts, they place IT Contractors in other companies where there are skills gaps. Egnite-IT offers a comprehensive suite of IT solutions to move any business forward so they can focus on growth and expansion.
“We adopt a practical approach to resolving IT issues. The first step is to identify and understand the problem. There is no one solution fits all. Businesses are structured in different ways, have different needs, and have their way of working. Each situation is different, so we spend some time diagnosing the problem before we come up with a solution or range of solutions. The solution must align with the customer's processes. Our objective is to become strategic partners and develop a long-term relationship.”
“Some businesses may not have the insurance of a strategic IT partner like us. They reach out when there is a problem. Maybe a cyberattack or data breach or they cannot access their data. Without realising, they may pay a higher price and the loss to the business due to downtime will affect their revenue targets. We are doing a lot to educate businesses to see IT support services not as a cost but as an investment that will help their business achieve their goals”
“We also look at a company’s IT spend and recommend efficiencies or cost reduction ideas. For instance, we help businesses save on telecom, security, and data back-ups. I have spoken to businesses that were ordering new expensive hardware (e.g., laptops). I have recommended refurbished or rebuilt systems at almost half the price which means they save money. People should not buy for the sake of it. They need to think about sustainability as well."
The family-owned business is targeting small businesses that have at least 10 staff for its managed IT services. There is the option of an IT expert on-site during business hours and a 24-7 support system in place. The team has successfully delivered many IT transformation and process optimization projects. The dedicated IT managed solution is for businesses located within an hour drive from its main office.
Egnite-IT Ltd has come a long way in the last 7 years. Starting as an IT contracting company, it evolved into IT consulting and now to offering a comprehensive suite of IT solutions for any business. Some well-known clients include DVSA, Cambridge University, Openreach, Morrison Utility Services, and Plymouth University. The team have also worked with global IT services companies like Accenture and Infosys.
The company is on a journey to get back to the same operational capacity it had in 2019. The covid-19 pandemic impacted a lot of businesses and has led to a cutback in IT spend across the board. “From a headcount of 15, we now have a team of 5. We expect to get back to 10 staff within the next 12 months. We are hiring people that are good at what they do, help them upskill, and offer them a competitive pay package. I am confident business will pick up and we will get back to 100% capacity and look at further expansion.”
An imminent move to new tech centre in Hatfield as the company’s new operational base will help with its growth plans. All 3 main divisions of the company are focused on attracting more clients to the business.
Whatever stage of growth your business may be in, you may need the support of the Egnite-IT team to get your business moving and growing. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Running a small business can be challenging. Keeping all aspects of the business running smoothly like sales & marketing, bookkeeping, customer quotes and admin tasks while fulfilling customer orders keeps a lot of business owners working round the clock. A solution to take care of all your admin tasks will free up more time to focus on income-generating activities to grow your business.
Platinum PA Ltd is that solution! Platinum PA Ltd is an outsourced personal assistant service that manages all your admin tasks leaving you more time to focus on building your business. Its services include small business support (e.g. invoicing and expenses) vehicle administration (servicing, MOT, taxing), business and holiday travel services (visa application, booking flights and taxis) lifestyle management (special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, theatre tickets) and more.
Founded in January 2020 by Tanya Dickinson, Platinum PA is a service designed to reduce the stress of busy business people and give them their life back. Tanya has over 17 years’ experience as a Personal Assistant in the corporate world working across various sectors. She is super organised, efficient and brings her wealth of experience as an office manager. It is always great when you have a trusted and reliable business partner supporting your business behind the scenes.
Based in Buckinghamshire, Platinum PA offers virtual PA services to a wide range of clients in various sectors including construction, building services, tradesmen, events management, high flying executives, busy working parents and start-ups. Tanya brings professionalism, attention to detail and personalised service tailored to your specific needs. While working remotely from her base she also attends meetings if required.
There are a lot of virtual assistant (VA) service providers. As working arrangements are evolving, with more redundancies and more people out of work, there has been an increase in the number of VAs available. There are more options although the quality is diluted. Handing over your tasks and sensitive information should be to a trusted and reliable company with a track record.
“Some people feel providing a virtual PA service is easy. With a phone, laptop and internet connection you are good to go. The reality is that this is not true. I have heard of some bad experiences. Without some experience working as a Personal Assistant or Office Manager, it can be quite challenging. You need certifications, liability insurance and knowledge of GDPR at least. A wide range of skillset and understanding of CRM systems is essential to work on tasks efficiently.”
“I started this business because I always wanted to do something for myself. I wanted to work to my own time and enjoy having that flexibility. I was thinking of work-life balance as I have a young son. With close to 20 years’ experience working in Consultancy, Retail, Finance and IT sectors, I bring a lot of experience, expertise and skillset to any business. I have worked in busy environments and delivered within tight deadlines. You are getting a great service delivered to a very high standard.”
The covid-19 pandemic slowed down business in the first half of the year. “A lot of business owners were impacted by the first lockdown. There was uncertainty with the restrictions in movement and some businesses could not trade. A few of our clients asked us to put a hold on their services which was understandable. Business picked up in the second half of the year with a few new clients added to our books.”
“For us, it was challenging. From March to June this year there were very few enquiries. I used that opportunity to upskill by going through various online training courses and getting more knowledge on CRM systems. So I am better equipped to provide a more efficient service to my clients.”
Tanya has big plans for Platinum PA Ltd. With the challenging year most businesses have had the objective has been survival first. Get through this year and plan for the future. Through a combination of networking, recommendations from existing clients, an active LinkedIn profile and improved online marketing, Platinum PA is expanding its client base. There are more service packages to attract more retainer clients.
“I am optimistic that a lot of businesses will pick up in 2021. The events and hospitality businesses will gradually come back. It’s an area I would love to have more clients. I am just glad that despite the tough conditions we have come this far. There is no restriction due to location. We can work with anyone anywhere in the UK. I am confident in our growth plans.”
For professional virtual PA service, contact Platinum PA Ltd.
Forward Trucking Services Group – Hertfordshire’s Reliable, Trusted & Professional Logistics Service
Forward Trucking Services Ltd (FTS) has been the preferred logistics company in Hertfordshire for over 50 years. The haulier provides round the clock logistics services across the UK and internationally. Based in St Albans, Hertfordshire, FTS Group provides round the clock logistics services for the UK and International markets. Its services comprise haulage, storage, and distribution. FTS Group operates a modern fleet of over 80 trucks with depots across the country. Peter Samuel, Group Managing Director of FTS Group spoke with Herts Review about the company’s operations and aspirations.
For most people based in Hertfordshire, you may or may not know that you have benefited from the services of the FTS Group. It could be a delivery from your online shopping, that new bathroom for your house extension project, or even a concert, exhibition, or event you attended recently. In one way or another, the FTS Group are behind the scenes contributing and enriching our lives.
Founded in 1968 by George Mackay Snr in Islington, London as Forward Traffic Services Ltd, the company delivered steel and paving to construction sites across London. His son George Mackay Jnr joined the business in the mid-1970s with George Snr retiring in the 1980s. George Jnr continued running the business until 2005 when he took a step back from the day-to-day operations but remained active in the decision making and direction of the business. Unfortunately, George Jnr became unexpectedly ill after Christmas in 2017 and sadly passed away in January 2018.
FTS Group now under the ownership of George Jnr’s children Jane Mackay and Stephen Mackay has remained a successful and thriving business. As the business enters a new phase, the owners have strengthened the senior management team by appointing Peter Samuel as Group Managing Director (former Commercial Manager) and Andrew Bull as Group Operations Director (former General Manager). Peter, with a background in Accountancy and IT Systems sales has over 25 years’ experience in commercial roles. He contributed significantly to the digital transformation of FTS Group over the last 5 years and has the mandate to lead the company in its next phase of development.
The group has witnessed unprecedented growth lately through the expansion of its existing operations and acquisitions. As supply chain requirements continue to evolve and to serve its diverse customers effectively, FTS Group has been organised into 4 divisions offering specialist logistics solutions to each niche.
The 4 divisions are:
Forward Trucking Services Ltd (FTS)
Founded in 1968. The flagship company specialises in linehaul and contract haulage.
FTS Logistics Ltd
Specialist in palletised freight in the UK and across Europe.
FTS Events Ltd
Provides logistics support for Events, Concerts & Exhibitions. Specialist in Event haulage in UK & Europe.
Stand & Deliver Transport Ltd
Founded in 1983, the Watford-based General Haulier was acquired by FTS Group in 2018. Known for General Haulage and iconic livery.
FTS Group also partners with well-known palletised distribution services Palletways, Palletforce, and Pallex.
The differentiating factor for the FTS Group is the level of service. Other logistics companies may offer the same service at a cheaper price but there is a reason why the FTS Group has been working with customers for 20, 30, and even 50 years. FTS offers clean efficient trucks, clean drivers, and timely service. The team goes the extra mile to ensure customers’ demands or requirements are met. The company is extremely proud of its record of delivering great customer service.
For the FTS Group, its employees are its biggest asset. The company invests in its people offering competitive salaries and bonus packages to keep them always motivated. They also reward staff that work hard and deliver a great service. For this reason, there is low attrition among its staff. Most drivers and staff are extremely proud to work for the company.
The business has remained resilient through the covid-19 pandemic this year. Although the events logistics business has stopped completely, growth in other divisions of the company has minimised the overall impact on the group. There have been more online orders, more home improvement projects, and overall higher demand for haulage services which leaves the business in a strong position.
As key workers, the business has operated all through the lockdown this year. “We have done a lot to reassure our staff and keep them safe. Investments in PPE, the use of hand sanitizers, cleaning and disinfecting our warehouses, offices, and trucks, and abiding by social distancing guidelines are some of the measures we have taken to protect everyone. Investing in technology, for instance, using handheld devices to sign off deliveries thereby minimizing human contact has been beneficial as well. Our drivers have been asked to minimize contact while on duty. The safety of our staff and customers is our priority.”
Looking forward, FTS Group wants to have a fleet of energy-efficient trucks across all its services as its way of reducing the overall carbon footprint. “We are keenly monitoring the situation, but we are not there yet. The technology and infrastructure are not available yet. To charge a 40-ton electric truck will take a lot of time. It just isn’t commercially viable for now. But when that time comes, we hope to be one of the pioneers. Nothing will give us more satisfaction.”
And what about the elephant in the room – Brexit. “Like everyone, we are following the news but are not anxious about it. Whatever happens in the next few weeks, goods still need to be moved from point A to B. Our job is to facilitate this process. For now, we will focus on offering the best service to our customers no matter the outcome.”
The FTS team wants to be known for their excellent service. They are neither the most expensive nor the cheapest. They offer safe, clean, secure storage, handling, and distribution solutions for a wide range of customers. They are recognised as a trusted and reliable partner for businesses and end-users. For your logistics solutions contact FTS Group.
Apex Stone Sourcing Ltd – Leader in Sourcing Natural Stone Products for Prestigious Residential & Commercial Projects
Apex Stone Sourcing Ltd is the go-to company if you are looking for quality natural stone products for your residential or commercial projects. With over 60 years of collective experience in sourcing natural stone for many high-end residential and commercial projects, the team can source any stone to suit your requirements. Apex Stone Sourcing Ltd offers personalised natural stone sourcing solutions that get you the right material for the right price. Jon Quinn, the founder of Apex Stone Sourcing Ltd gave Herts Review an insight into the company and his aspirations.
Jon has a wealth of experience and expertise in natural stone design, sourcing, and installation. Previously working in commercial roles for a national supplier and manufacturer of natural stone products, he was directly involved in the successful delivery of many commercial projects in London for Westminster City Council, the City of London Corporation, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, and the Royal Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham amongst others.
While taking on and delivering major projects for his employers at the time was great, Jon always wanted to have his own business. “I really enjoyed being part of teams that have delivered on these major and in some cases iconic projects. The experience, expertise, contacts, and relationships I have built over the years are so valuable. I always knew I wanted to do something for myself. Take the plunge as they say. It is an opportunity to offer exceptional customer service and implement the great ideas I have.”
According to Jon, it is important to understand natural stone and how it should be used. Not everything built is done correctly. The idea behind the design and how the area will be used are key considerations before choosing or recommending a product. This is one area Apex Stone Sourcing stands out. Their initial consultation is an important part of their service. “We ask a lot of questions to understand what the client has set out to achieve. They see our samples and we discuss the benefits of each product. We also highlight the requirements for those materials.”
From its base in Berkshire, Apex Stone Sourcing works on projects across the UK. The company does not keep stock, have a yard or lorries. Products are sourced from suppliers across the country, Europe, and Asia and delivered directly to clients. This simple and efficient supply process means you get products within agreed timelines. While the team focuses on the technical specification (drawings, scheduling the quarry to produce the material) and sourcing of the right stone products, they also recommend a network of experienced and competent tradesmen for installation.
Jon and the team have a lot of expertise in all aspects of hard landscaping for office projects, residential development projects, shopping centres, town centres, and high-end properties. Some of the stone products on offer include Yorkstone, Porcelain, Cast Stone, Sandstone, Granite, Limestone amongst others. With a wide network of contacts and suppliers in the UK, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Italy, India, and China, the team can source any stone product you need.
Apex Stone Sourcing Ltd officially started trading in July 2018 with a focus on residential projects which have a shorter turnaround time. The Apex team work with Architects, Interior Designers, and Landscapers to deliver many ambitious residential projects. For most projects, the team are involved in the early stage up to implementation.
Although the covid-19 pandemic lockdown slowed down a lot of commercial projects, the company has seen a strong demand in the residential sector as more homeowners have embarked on home improvement projects. Fortunately, there has been limited disruption to their services as a lot of consultation and negotiations are done on the phone. Overall, it has been a remarkably busy and successful year for the company with over 12 months of projects in the pipeline. According to Jon, Apex is on track to deliver on its 5-year plan.
Sourcing stone can be quite technical. Getting good quality products for the right price can be tricky. Samples are thoroughly scrutinised to meet requirements. The key is quality and affordability. What Apex offers is a one-to-one consultation with each customer. You are not asked to go to a showroom or e-commerce store to make a choice. People buy from people they like. Apex will hold your hand all the way and help you make the right choice for your project.
“We bring the same work ethic, dedication, and attention to detail whether we are working on a small project or a multimillion £ project. It is the same standard of customer service which is completely results-oriented.”
If you are after a reliable and trusted natural stone sourcing team that will help you deliver that residential project of your dreams or need expert advice for your commercial project, contact the Apex Stone Sourcing team here.
For the team at Uskuri Theobald Architects, good property design should stand out. It should be unique and offer a refreshing change from the property designs we see very often. People should be open-minded and try different things. Use different materials, have a different style, and look. Uskuri Theobald Architects are design-led residential architecture specialists that bring creativity and innovation into every project.
This inspired group of architects believes that there should be no gap between the interior and exterior design of a building for an enduring and elegant design. While designs should fulfil that aesthetical appeal, they should also fit with the lifestyle of the end-users thereby improving the way they live. Their goal is to design buildings that are durable, functional with great aesthetical value while using sustainable materials. The team has successfully planned, designed, and devised multiple building projects including self-build, new build, renovation, and house extension projects.
Founded in January 2019, by Leoni Uskuri, Oguz Uskuri, and Ryan Theobald, the St Albans based architectural firm has successfully delivered many wonderful residential design projects across St Albans, Radlett, Harpenden, and areas in and around Hertfordshire and London. They are flexible with budgets and always have design ideas or recommendations that will work with your budget. Whether you are after more living space or looking at how to get the best out of your property, the team has a recommendation for you.
Leoni and Oguz had been working for other architectural practices but felt they could not impose their style and creativity on some of the projects they worked on. Four years ago, they set up their architectural firm called Studio Uskuri Ltd. Starting a new design business meant a lot of hard work and long hours. Ryan Theobald had been working in London as an Architect. The three partners decided to bring their skillset and experience together under one firm to offer a better proposition to the clients. Working together has improved their work-life balance as they have young families.
Working with Uskuri Theobald Architects means you benefit from over 50 years’ experience in architecture, interior design, and construction expertise for your project. The team guides you on your journey to creating your dream home with inspirational ideas and designs. They also assist with site analysis, feasibility studies, planning permission, change of use, and permitted developments thereby offering an integrated design solution for a residential building project.
The team also factor in sustainability into their designs and encourage clients to use more eco-friendly materials, solar energy, and other energy-efficient solutions in their projects for the best outcomes. All designs and planning are creative and futuristic. For instance, a room in a house could be used for other purposes like a studio, play area, or study.
Like many businesses, the covid-19 pandemic slowed down the operations of the firm in the earlier part of the year as they could not physically visit clients for consultations. However, the team has adapted the way they work by doing virtual consultations while abiding by government regulations on social distancing and using PPE equipment for client visits.
Looking forward, Uskuri Theobald Architects has ambitious plans. Operating with a team of 5, they want to add 2 more designers to the team in the next 12 months. This will mean taking on more projects and winning more clients. There are already lots of projects in the pipeline including an amazing new build project. Through networking, recommendations from clients, and increasing their online marketing footprint, the team are confident they will achieve their goals. They also want to work on developments with clients and their firm's development projects.
It is hard not to feel the passion of the team about good design. Consistently educating homeowners and showing them what they can do with their properties is in the DNA of the team. This has been extended to homeowners that are not their clients.
Uskuri Theobald Architects recently set up the Facebook group called ‘All about house’ as a free service to educate and inspire more homeowners to have better designs rather than the common basic designs. If you are undertaking a home improvement or building project you can bounce off some of your ideas with the team and you are not under any obligation to become their client. Rather it is another opportunity of enriching the property designs in the area.
You can benefit from the excellent services of this young firm. The initial consultation is free. This is where they explain their services, the benefits, and how they can help you achieve your dream house. Contact them here or join the All about house Facebook group for design ideas and tips.
Redway HR is a Harpenden based professional Human Resource Consultancy providing a wide range of people management and development services that support SMEs and corporate organizations across Hertfordshire, London, and surrounding areas. Their services cover all aspects of Staffing, Training and Development, Compensation, Employee Relations, and HR Compliance. Liz Redway, the founder of the award-winning HR Consultancy gave Herts Review some insight into the business and her aspirations.
With an extensive background in Human Resources, Redway HR provides bespoke solutions to each of its clients. “We understand that each client's needs, goals, and situation is different. Some businesses are at the start-up phase and so need completely different solutions compared to a well-established business. We have tailored our proposition for each stage of growth. We aspire to work with businesses through their various phases of growth or development and help them achieve their goals.”
Redway HR officially opened for business in February 2019. “I had held various HR roles in the past. With a young family at the time, I was thinking of how I could use my experience to support local organizations and businesses as well as make a bit of money. I was a School Governor at the time and so my first HR brief was within Education. It subsequently grew from there. We have worked with the central government, businesses, and other public-sector organizations. From humble beginnings, we have grown rapidly in the last two and a half years and I am excited about the future.”
Liz has over 20 years’ experience in HR Management and has built a team comprising experts with a diverse range of skillset in key aspects of HR like employee relations, executive and career coaching, rewards and benefits, mediation, recruitment, and organisational structure. Starting as a single person HR Consultancy, Redway now comprises a team of 5. Liz wants Redway HR to be the one-stop-shop for Human Resource services by offering clients a wide scope of services to get their businesses or organisations to where they want to be.
“Our team is the most valuable asset of our business. Having a team means continuity of service for our clients. For instance, if I am not available, other members of the team will provide the same quality of support. Usually, with all our clients we have a designated member of staff that is their point of contact. That personal relationship is key to our service. However, we draw on the experience of the team when necessary to give them the best possible solution.”
This year the business environment has been extremely challenging for most businesses due to the covid-19 pandemic. “A lot of businesses have suffered this year. There has been a lot of issues around redundancy, furlough, and the future organizational structure of the business. Very clearly businesses have to adapt to survive. We have gained more clients over the period and will be playing a key role in helping them get the best out of their workforce so that the best interest of the company is realised.”
Redway HR has worked within a range of sectors including Charities, Children’s homes, Churches, Schools, and Businesses. As it expands its footprint over the next 12 months, it will focus more on employers that value the development of their employees and organisation culture. It is targeting more high-value clients, retainer clients, and businesses that have at least 15 to 50 employees. It will also be educating more companies about its services and how its valuable support could help them achieve their goals.
For a young business, its growth has been remarkable. With professionalism and a refreshing perspective it brings to Human Resource issues, it has many satisfied clients. Also, the business is consistently coming up with innovative solutions for its clients and the business community thereby differentiating themselves from other HR Services companies. The Managing Change webinar and Executive Coaching Webinar are examples of interactive programmes that have been well received in the business community.
Redway HR’s exceptional standard of service, innovation, and resourcefulness was recently recognised within the Hertfordshire business community. They are the 2020 Winner of the Community Business Awards organised by the St Albans District Chamber of Commerce. This followed nominations by clients and business leaders in the area. Congratulations to the Redway team of Liz, Julie, Louise, Katrina, and Lesley.
If you are a business or organization in or around Hertfordshire looking to grow and thrive and you need a reliable HR Consultancy to help you get there, then contact the Redway HR team here.
Network & Security Ltd is a Hertfordshire based IT Support Services company offering outsourced IT solutions to local businesses so that they can get on with the day-to-day activities of serving their customers. They ensure that a company’s data is secure, backed-up and recoverable so that the employees can carry out their tasks efficiently. Network & Security Ltd was founded by Neil Kemp and Colin Hill over 8 years ago. Neil spoke to Herts Review about the company and plans for the next few years.
“Our core business is our IT Outsource solution which means that we keep our client’s business up and running without any interruptions. We convey the feeling to our clients that their IT issues are fully taken care of and we are available to resolve any issues. The business owner does not need to worry about any IT related matters for their employees. For instance, it could be a case of an employee not being able to log on to issues relating to data security or transfer. We have invested in a responsive front-line team that deal with any IT matters no matter how small or big.”
“We work a lot with professional services companies – Legal, Accounting, Recruitment and other office-based companies. These companies on average have 15 to 20 staff. Our services include basic IT support (e.g. supply and set up of encrypted laptops for employees, IT hardware and software supply and configuration), hosting services and the next generation Anti Malware prevention services as the first line of defence from viruses and ransomware.”
“With the current restriction on movement and a lot of employees working remotely, online security is key for any business. Since the beginning of this year we have seen a sustained increase in cyber-attacks including malware, phishing attacks, eavesdropping attacks, and man-in-the-middle attacks (malicious actor inserts themselves into a conversion between two parties). Our security solutions to our clients have been proactive and not only reactive. While we help local businesses deal with these situations when they happen, we also pre-empt such situations and put in place robust preventive measures.”
Neil has been in the IT space for over 25 years. “I was made redundant from a company I was working for and started IT Contracting in 2000. The idea of having my own IT Support company had always been at the back of my mind as I knew I could not be moving to different roles indefinitely. I met Colin in one of my roles while he was working for an IT Reseller. I could see he was exceptionally good at what he did. I brought him on board as a director for Network & Security. Colin is really brilliant with IT stuff so we shared roles that I will focus more on business development and growing the business while he focuses on service delivery to our clients.”
“We started off with a big client that took up most of our time. However, we were always thinking that at some point the client may not need our services any longer. The risk would have been too high and so 4 years ago we changed our business model. For the last 4 years, our target has been to onboard other customers and diversify our customer base to reduce the overall risk. I will say it has worked so far but we are looking to expand our operations further. From our experience, while almost every business needs our services, we primarily target businesses that see the value of what we do. Fortunately, we are still working with the big client”
Network & Security Ltd is becoming an established IT Solutions company supporting businesses in London, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Bedfordshire. “We have a total of 9 people at the moment. We will be looking to add a few more in the coming years. We will be taking on another 3 employees next year. Our 9-year plan is to grow by 30% annually and see where we go from there. Now, the priority is to maintain a steady ship in these uncertain times.”
The covid-19 pandemic this year has brought mixed emotions for the company. “Like most businesses are experiencing there have been challenges. Some of our clients have done well out of this situation and have seen their business expand over the last few months. Others have not been so lucky especially our clients in the hospitality sector. Generally, businesses are careful about spending money and this has affected key IT spend. When the March lockdown started business slowed down but from July we have been recovering and are operating at 80% of our capacity. We added 3 customers in the last 3 months.”
“There are other IT Support companies out there offering similar services. We collaborate with them or refer work to each other, so we know them well. However, we bring a combined 121-year collective IT experience to any client we work with. We put a lot of time and effort into our frontline team so that they are responsive. In addition, we monitor your domain for mentions in the dark web and prevent any threats that may come up. These online threats and attacks keep evolving and the attackers continue to change strategies. Our team are on top of this.”
If you are running a business in London, Herts, Bucks or Beds, you could use the bespoke IT Support Services on offer from Network & Security Ltd. You can contact them here.