April / May 2019 issue of the independent North Devon-based business magazine covering news about business and enterprise in Barnstaple, Bideford, Braunton, Chulmleigh, Combe Martin, Holsworthy, Ilfracombe, Lynmouth, Lynton, South Molton, Torrington, Woolacombe and more.
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people and companies from purchasing or leasing businesses or business premises. In fact, our pipeline is the strongest it has been in 10 years, so from a buyer’s point of view the confidence is still there that they want to purchase. “More of the difficultly might be in a few months time NEWS Commercial property and business specialists celebrate 10 years If ever there was a difficult time to set up a specialist estate agency in the sale and letting of commercial property and business, you would probably pick a few months after the Lehman Brothers bank collapsed, when the ‘Great Depression’ or ‘Financial Crisis’ was really at its worst. However, this is when James Doble established JD Commercial and now in 2019 the firm is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. James himself has been dealing with commercial property and businesses throughout Devon, Cornwall and Somerset for longer than this, with more than 20 years’ experience. He says that since establishing the business, “although the market remains challenging, there is seemingly a growing number of those who want to be their own bosses and run a business or those wanting to move to the area for a home and income lifestyle change, whether that is renting a workshop to establish a business or buying a going concern B&B, tea room or cottage complex.” With many of the challenges in the market at present appearing to come from issues surrounding Brexit, James says: “Although Brexit is still up in the air, this is not deterring Applegate Marketplace, based in Barnstaple, has doubled the number of transactions it handled in 2018 compared with 2017. The online marketplace matches buyers sourcing products and services with suppliers across the world. Jack Richards, marketing communications executive at Applegate, cites three mains reasons for the increase: repeat usage, word of mouth and artificial intelligence. “We have placed emphasis on retaining site users and encouraging them to place multiple requests for quotation on a repeat basis,” says Jack. “We know that not only does this mean the buyer’s purchasing process becomes habitual, but that this in turn increases the likelihood of them proceeding with the purchase from our supplier base.” James Doble of JD Commercial when these deals have gone through, as there does not appear to be the stock coming on the market to replace these soon-to-be-sold and leased premises. Maybe it is a case that buyers have more confidence and desire to purchase than prospective sellers think? If this is the case, now may be Online marketplace doubles transactions While Applegate invests heavily in technology, it also recognises how traditional advertising and PR add value, and, as well as working with global businesses and organisations, Jack works with businesses locally. This approach is generating significant numbers of referrals and recommendations which have contributed to the large increase in transactions. Complementing this human approach, Anneka, Applegate’s artificial intelligence tool, continuously searches social channels to identify possible leads. This AI tool frees up employees so they can follow up leads and strike while the iron is hot. “Our substantial transactional growth is not down to any one thing,” adds Jack. “We see buyers coming back to us in numerous industries, particularly in manufacturing/ engineering, promotional printing and digital agencies and web design. Often, we notice that these repeat within the same industry, but also in other industries too. As with many services, I believe that it is through providing a service people find useful and easy which will see them return.” Established in 1996, Applegate now employs a team a good time to consider a sale, when purchaser confidence is high but supply of stock is low. “For those who are considering a sale, we offer a free no obligation marketing appraisal, whether you put your property on the market straightaway or in five years’ time. We are happy to meet prospective clients and offer our advice with a view that hopefully we will do some business with them in the future. “Whatever happens around Brexit, one factor remains consistent: the quality and speed of response is something that is key to what we offer at JD Commercial, and something that clients and purchasers appreciate. Whether it is a voicemail, email, text, Facebook message or Twitter comment, who wants to be waiting 24 hours to be responded to? We find the key to offering first class service is client contact.” James is happy to discuss any aspect of buying or selling a business or commercial property in Devon, Cornwall or Somerset and is looking forward to JD Commercial working with clients old and new in the years ahead. ■■Details 01237 424053 or jd-commercial.co.uk of 31 at its office on Petroc’s Sticklepath campus. A technology leader, it launched its Applegate PRO eprocurement system in 2016 and in 2017 secured an Innovate UK grant to develop its artificial intelligence and machine learning technology. In partnership with the Institute of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Exeter, Applegate now develops machine learning systems, continually enhancing the matching of suppliers to buyers’ requests. Applegate is also a Strategic Partner of the US Department of Commerce International Trade Administration. While operating globally, Applegate retains its established base in North Devon. ■■Details 0345 600 7177 or applegate.co.uk 4 business action | April / May2019 | business-action.co.uk
NEWS Losing a family member is difficult at any time of life, but when James Dawson experienced a family loss, he realised there was a lack of interactive resources available for children and decided to create a solution. The result was Off To The Stars, a unique interactive kit to help children deal with the bereavement process. “I wanted to give children a pathway to manage their grief in an interactive and nonthreatening way, providing a positive outlook on life,” says James. “I started the business in 2017 during a college enterprise project but started to grow it in 2018.” Initially, James created the concept and built the brand and then built social media profiles and a web site incorporating a selling platform. The kits, which were developed alongside a child psychologist to ensure they are beneficial to children, include a children’s illustrated book, sunflower seeds, a wish string bracelet and an individual star certificate enabling the child to name a star after their loved one. The aim is to support All year 24/7 business services Contemporary meeting venue Great facilities & services Choice of packages Including activities Training events Call today for our business package prices & details 01271 862446 ilfracombecarlton.co.uk Banner 2.indd 1 20/03/2019 16:20:58 Family loss leads to enterprising solution children in understanding the concept of loss and how to deal with their emotions as YOUNG ENTERPRISE James Dawson of Off To The Stars they pass through the different stages of grief. “The products are sold online, which has reached great success,” adds James. “Customers can purchase their kits swiftly and without added hassle, which they do not need due to the subject. I have also had kits purchased by charities and stocked in small stores. “I market my products on Facebook mainly, but also use Instagram to boost day-to-day activities.” James, who is 18 years old and currently studying a Business Access course at Petroc, sees a bright future for Off To The Stars and hopes to expand products and stock them in larger stores to increase sales: “I have great aspirations and would love to build my career on it. However, I have another business which I would like to expand on, as well as future business ventures.” ■■Details offtothestars.com Are you a young entrepreneur? BusinessAction aims to support young people 18–30 starting businesses. Contact us with your story at firstname.lastname@example.org @businessactionm | April / May2019 | business action 5