Spring Blog 2012

In this Spring Blog 2012, we look at a whole host of new ideas and developments.

At the end of February 2012 the Commercial Director, Caryl Reading, and I sat down to discuss the direction and goals of The Rural Business Community for the spring. We decided that this quarter should be centred on new beginnings, fresh ideas and firsts for the business. Our main focus was the promotion of our new conference centre, which offers a variety of rooms, modern technology such as LED screens, Wi-Fi and VOIP telephones, catering packages and local accommodation. We felt that a new conference facility for Rutland would help local companies achieve their own new beginning and provide a private, professional and cost effective space for them to conduct their business and impress their clients. We also aimed to drive forward the concept our ‘Hot Desks’. This type of office space is usually found in large cities, where workers, who don’t need a permanent desk, can hire a space for a few hours per week to focus on their work and complete tasks on the go. There are so many home-workers in Rutland and companies visiting our county that, prior to our centre, had limited working options. ‘Hot Desks’ provide them with an ideal balance of flexibility, professionalism and a peaceful, relaxed office space. I am pleased to report that we managed to meet our goals for spring, and I am delighted to say that the past three months have brought us much more than we could have hoped for.

Over the past few months, our meeting rooms have seen a variety of events, workshops and seminars. The centre has attracted a huge variety of delegates; from solicitors who require a secluded location to hold private meetings, to informal staff training sessions and public education seminars. The success that has stood out for me, is the ‘Hot Topics’ breakfast meeting hosted by Efficient Portfolio and other expert, guest speakers. These networking events have been specifically aimed at local professionals who want to add significant value to their client’s experience. There have been a variety of contemporary financial topics covered, which have helped to build awareness, knowledge and, in the long run, dramatically improve the level of service that the companies in attendance are able to provide. From the feedback that I have received, the monthly meetings have also been enjoyable for our local professionals- a chance to talk to likeminded people over a relaxed, complimentary breakfast. These ‘Hot Topics’ events will continue to run throughout the year and I hope that they continue to go from strength to strength.

Our ‘Open Plan Office’ and ‘Private Offices’ have also proved to be increasingly popular, seeing more new faces and welcoming new businesses to our community. This spring we welcomed ‘GTT Europe’ and ‘Summit Conferences and Exhibitions’ into ‘Private Offices’ at The Rural Business Community. Having them on board has been a real boost for us and our members, with more inter-business collaborations, sharing experience and knowledge and helping to create a professional hive of creativity and support. It really is great to see so many local companies working together to help boost the Rutland economy and keep local businesses within the county. The ‘Open Plan Office’ has also taken on a new lease of life, with three companies now permanently based here and visitors using our ‘Hot Desks’ as and when they need them. One customer said that she “was so grateful” of the ‘Hot Desk’ options that we provide, as it enabled her to “to get away from all of the noise and distraction at home” so that she could finish a crucial report.

I mentioned at the outset of this blog about how this spring has brought us much more than we could have hoped for. Well, that should actually read that May was the month that really exceeded our expectations. Firstly, we held our first ever charity night at The Rural Business Community. The evening comprised of live jazz music, gourmet canapés, a cookery demonstration and wine tasting. A charity auction also took place, where local artists kindly donated their pieces, a signed shirt was provided by the ‘Leicester Tigers’, a photo shoot was given by Michelle Wilson of White Photography and an ‘Ultimate Dinner Party Experience’ was the main prize, comprising of a hair cut by Simon Cawthorne and a three course dinner cooked by award winning chef Thierry Daugeron. The night was a real success, and everyone’s generosity blew us away. The evening helped to raise in excess of £2,400.00 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. To read the full story, click here.

Along with organising our first charity event, we were also given the opportunity to organise an event on behalf of Efficient Portfolio. Events organisation is one of the services that offer at The Rural Business Community and we relish the opportunity to do this. For Efficient Portfolio, we put together a golf day at Luffenham Heath Golf Club, which comprised of a 18 hole golf tournament, breakfast and lunch and an awards presentation. Efficient Portfolio was delighted with the results and really impressed with how stress free planning the event was for them. We managed everything for them, from initially contacting and inviting their guests, booking the course and menus for the day, to sending out reminders and chasing for responses- we even sourced some trophies for the winners! We were also really pleased with the results and look forward to helping another company plan their important day. Click here to see images from the day.

The final element that made this spring such a great experience for us was The Mercury Business Awards. We were absolutely speechless when we were told that we had been shortlisted for the ‘Best New Start up Award’. With so many successful companies emerging in the area, we felt incredibly humbled and honoured to be considered for this accolade. The evening itself was a fantastic experience and we really enjoyed meeting with other businesses, being incredibly well looked after by the staff at Greetham Valley and have the opportunity to celebrate as a team. I am absolutely thrilled to announce that The Rural Business Community was named as the Runners Up for the Best New Start up Award! Well done to all of the other winners and thank you to The Stamford and Rutland Mercury for a great night and this generous award.

After a great spring, we are all looking to the summer months with tremendous enthusiasm. So far, summer is already looking to be an exciting time at The Rural Business Community. We are officially launching our ‘Training Retreat at the Rural’ (click here for details) and many more seminars and workshops are set to take place. I am confident that this summer will be even better than the spring.