Tetbury Garden Services

Tetbury Garden Services

With WordPress it is getting easier and easier to great website. Using a theme from Nexus Themes with a fount end editor I was able to knock up this gardening website for a friend in a weekend, but it looks really first class in quality. He wanted something that was easy to maintain and had good SEO qualities. The Nexus theme is perfect as most of the editing can be done direct from the home page. This includes moving widgets and adding new elements like social share buttons and articles.

The hardest bit is not the web design but writing the copy. Even though the site only has a few pages we wanted to make sure the copy met the Google guidelines for high quality content and had the basics of on-page SEO optimisation. More importantly as the site is developed in  WordPress he won’t have any trouble updating the posts and adding new pages.

My friend is very pleased with his new website at http://www.tetbury-garden-services.co.uk/ and is hoping that it will generate lots of significant new leads and business opportunities.

 

Why Use A Part Time Director?

The idea of using part time directors is not new one and many businesses have been using this method of working for many years. However, the demand for and move towards part-time directors across other functions is a more modern phenomenon which until recently has largely been met by experienced sole practitioners. Market research identified a clear need within businesses employing up to 250 people for part-time directors across a number of functions and with this in mind Part Time Executives Ltd was established. The business model was very simple, variable day rates to suit the client, with complete transparency in terms of cost meant an ability to provide all the benefit of a full-time director at a fraction of the cost.

What Type Of Business Would Use A Part Time Director?

The current economic climate and our experience to date suggests that businesses fall into 3 categories across a number of functions, the exception being engineering where specific sector skills are of paramount importance.

These 3 categories are best described as follows:

1.    Businesses that are growing or planning to grow and want the benefit of full time directors without the cost.

2.    Businesses that are stable but undergoing significant change which requires additional director level resources across one or more functions.

3.    Businesses that are down-sizing and can no longer afford the cost of full time functional directors.

4.     Businesses that a delivering project but lack the senior project management experience.

Why Employ A Part Time Director?

The benefits are plentiful but the phrase “part of the time, part of the cost and all of the benefit” encapsulates beautifully what a part time director brings to the business. By offering the services through a national network like Part Time Executives Ltd. there is a large pool of highly qualified multi – functional resource, which can operate on a flexible basis across the vast majority of the UK to bring strategic and operational benefit to the client. Every part time director is fully qualified, fully insured and operates their own VAT registered limited company. By providing the resource through Part Time Executives Ltd. the best match of client to director is always available but with the very necessary complete back-up and support of the national network.

One client explained that many of the benefits are described by “what you don’t get”:

•    No national insurance to pay.

•    No pension contributions to make.

•    No holidays to fund.

•    No company car to provide.

•    No annual bonus to pay.

•    No private health scheme to pay for.

•    No extended notice periods.

•    No over inflated severance deals.

•    No employment tribunals.

•    No long term redundancy commitment.

•    No equity to give away.

•    No recruitment fees to pay.

•    No politics.

It is very interesting to compare a Part Time Executives day rate with the full time day rate taking into account all the items above – you will be very surprised by the lack of difference and when you consider the fact that you only pay the part time director when you as the client want him or her, the part time director option wins every time!

How Does It Work?

Each assignment is managed as a separate project with a programme of deliverables agreed in advance with the client. A suitable part time director is identified and a proposal is presented to the client identifying deliverables, cost and a simple set of Terms & Conditions. The part time director begins work and the project deliverables are reviewed on a regular basis with the client.

In summary the service includes all of the following:

1.    A top quality professionally qualified director.

2.    A director for long term strategic impact on a part time contract.

3.    A nationally supported organisation.

4.    Access to other multi-functional directors.

5.    Access to a national network of Business Partners (accountants, solicitors, financiers etc.).

What Disciplines Does It Cover?

Market research has identified demand from SME’s for all of the following functions:

  1. Project Management
  2. Finance
  3. Commercial
  4. Marketing
  5. Sales
  6. Procurement
  7. Operations
  8. HR
  9. Health & Safety
  10. IT
  11. Non-Executive Director
  12. Coaching and Mentoring

Conclusion and Summary:

Employing a part time director is a very cost effective solution which brings the benefits of a full time director. It also has the secondary benefit that your part time director is gaining experience and knowledge within other businesses on the days he or she is not working for you. By operating a “virtual structure” Part Time Executives Ltd. ensures there are no large regional organisations, franchise fees or overhead costs to fund which keeps daily rates extremely competitive.

In the first instance, if you would like to learn more about being a client, business partner or part time executive/director please contact andrewmackenzie@parttimeexecutives.co.uk or take a look at the web site www.parttimeexecutives.co.uk.

A busy first week back can be a bit of a shock

Wow what a week, risk management, business development and designing a course for a new international client. It was lovely to run a workshop for Network Rail again. they really enjoyed the exercises. Especially tower build two. All smiles that they actualy came in under budget.

Progress continues with Parallel this we we got the course dates into the Google search results.

Tristan from Small Business SEO  is a real star. This is grabing lots of space in the search results, can’t wait to see what happens when we get this working on key words like PRINCE2. We have also re-launched our SEO blog http://www.smallbusinesssearchengineoptimisation.co.uk/, it looks really good.

Having a week off

It quite strange after almost two and a half years of almost full time work to the taking a week off. The intentions are good, I have set out of office on the e-mail and will tune of the iPhone for the week. Strating my own business has turned me into a full time workaholic. It quite motivational when you are not sure where the next pay cheque is coming from and the pipeline of work looks a bit empty. It’s going to be quite hard to actual stop for a week. I wonder if it’s like alcoholics trying to stop work, will I be able to resist charging up the phone and just checking on the e-mails. Our just running a few Google searches to check the website rankings. The odds are not looking very good, because we are going to visit Tristan for the holiday, and Tristan develops and looks after our website. Also I have some expenses that I need to claim before the end of the month, so that will be Monday working anyway.

Nevertheless it’s going to be interesting to spend a week without e-mail, facebook and twitter connectivity.

Schal brings award-winning £29M Exhibition Road scheme in on time and on budget

Project officially opened by the Mayor of London this February

The spectacular transformation of London’s Exhibition Road was marked with an official opening this February, following the implementation of a £29M project taking eight years of planning.

The completion of the mixed use pedestrian and vehicle zone along the major South West London thoroughfare Exhibition Road, saw construction management specialist Schal deliver this landmark project on time and on budget. The company has been a key player in the capital’s highest profile street regeneration this decade, project managing a development which has radically changed the appearance of the quarter and which will shape the experience of its many millions of visitors that will come each year.The reconceived space runs the entire half-a-mile length of Exhibition Road, from Hyde Park in the north to South Kensington Underground Station in the South, offering easy access to London landmarks including The Royal Albert Hall, The Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, V&A Museum and Imperial College, London.

The new, single-level road surface does away with kerb stones and traditional street clutter such as pedestrian barriers, instead delivering a single “shared” space, divided into pedestrian, mixed use and drivers’ zones. The three zones are tied together by a repeated bold diamond motif in granite, which runs the entire length and width of the project, creating a unique visual identity for the street. Tall, sleek street lighting masts have been designed to complement the grand buildings of Exhibition Road. Black cast iron drainage channel covers run along each side, about four metres out from the respective building lines. Beside the drainage channels, strips of ‘corduroy’ tactile warn blind and partially sighted people that they are moving into or out of vehicle free areas.In July 2011 the ambitious scheme won the “Placemaking” category in the New London Awards, before it had even been completed.

In winter 2003, following on from the very sucessful Kensington High Street scheme, the Royal Borough held competitions to seek out the best designer and project manager for the more ambitious Exhibition Road project. The architects Dixon Jones were appointed as designer and Schal, the project management division of TPS Consult (part of Carillion plc), as project manager, in the summer of 2004. Schal also had responsibility for cost management and planning supervision (CDMC) with the cost management being sub-contracted to consultant Davis Langdon.

“The object of the Exhibition Road project was to make a world class pedestrian friendly environment” says Schal’s senior project manager, Andrew Housam. “A single surface concept, in which pedestrians and vehicles can co-exist.”


Schal’s role included:

  1. Supporting the client secure funding from Transport for London (TfL), the National Lottery and English Heritage.
  2. Liaising with all stakeholders including designers, contractors and regulatory bodies to develop a strategy for the delivery of the project.
  3. Developing a cost control system, that included electronic invoicing, which ensured the project remained within budget.
  4. Developing and enforcing site safety procedures.
  5. Mobilising and managing the start-up phase for the main works, including establishing site procedures.
  6. Managing a two year highway project in the middle of a busy central London thoroughfare, including the alteration of a one-way system around South Kensington Underground Station.
  7. Monitoring progress and avoiding time and cost over-runs.
  8. Handing the project back to the client on completion, on time and operational for the Olympics (a key project goal).

 

“We were able to help the client achieve the funding,” says Housam. “In the early phases of the project the client built up good relationships with TfL who provided initial funding which led to the major support the project needed. Our reputation, from Trafalgar Square, and plans gave funders confidence that the project would be achieved within budget and on time.”

“The whole concept of the single surface road, although not entirely new, has been taken to a new level in terms of extent and use of materials, he continues. “Our role in managing the design process has ensured the design innovation has been rigorous and cost effective. We managed the risk with the use of contractor design elements.”

Schal’s innovations included a phased approach which simplified the project and reduced the risks. The company developed openness and co-operation among the team, using an NEC option D Target cost contract with a pre-construction services contract to successfully manage the risks.

The project involved input and co-ordination with a number of major complex organisations. Schal’s approach was that each organisation appoint a single point of contact (SPOC) for the project to co-ordinate their organisation’s input.

“The client is appreciative that we finished the project on time and within budget and recognises that our advice, management, programme and cost control was a significant factor in achieving that outcome,” continues Schal Project Manager Wayne Solman. “As well as being within budget the works costs compares favourably with the initial estimate produced in 2004, well before the budget was set or the design developed.”

As well as radically improving the street-space, Solman believes the project has given businesses and organisations on Exhibition Road an incentive to refurbish their own frontages. “Since completion, a significant number of museums, residential properties and shops have carried out facade improvements,” he says. “The whole road is looking remarkably bright and new. The street improvements have given the whole area a lift and clearly demonstrates the significant mutiplier effect of urban infra stucture investment.”

The completion of works was marked with an opening event
on 8th December, followed by an official opening attended by Mayor of London Boris Johnson this February. Mayor Johnson said: “Like the many other improvements we are making to London’s great outdoors it is projects like these that are not just creating fantastic new places to enjoy but which are supporting and delivering many jobs across the capital.”

Schal has been responsible for many similar projects, including the World Squares project in 2002, which saw this £20m project cover the environmental enhancement and consequent traffic management of Trafalgar Square and the surrounding area, and was intended to be the first implementation phase of Fosters and Partners World Squares for All Masterplan.