October / November 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.
This issue includes the event guide for the BBxpo business exhibition and networking event in Bideford on Thursday 24 October 2019.
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IN THE HEADER HOT SEAT Mike Matthews of Lineal Software 1. What was your first job? When I was five, my first job was stacking pinions, ready for assembly in my father’s small factory which made motors and precision gearboxes. It kept me out of mischief, and I got given two pence. It’s still a point of argument that my sister got a shilling! 2. What is the best business advice you’ve ever received? Two lessons have stuck with me: If you want something, save up for it – don’t go completely mad with credit because it’s not really a shortcut. Most importantly, do everything you can to make sure your customers succeed: their fate is tied to yours and if they’re winning, so will you. 3. What do you enjoy most about business? The joys have changed since the start. From the beginning it was simply the moments of seeing a valued client succeed that were always the most heartening, because you know you’ve made a real contribution beyond just your own business. After 35 years, the same applies to seeing your own staff make progress and develop as people. 4. What essential technology could your business never be without? A MacBook – but really any computer! Lineal is a sophisticated technology business now, but I bought my first Apple ‘Personal Computer’ in 1982. From that I learned to program robotics, learnt stock management, and accounting, Each issue we put a North Devon business personality in the hot seat and ask them 10 questions. This issue we asked Mike Matthews of Lineal Software and then built the first version of our SQLWorks business management software, and on and on and on. We owe everything to the tool that makes learning and skills development possible. 5. Describe your business management / style Give the staff the ability to do it for themselves on your behalf. As you go forward your role in leading a business isn’t to do acrobatics anymore, it’s simply to stand underneath with a big safety net (and enjoy the applause!). 6. How do you go about personal development? Read and read and read. I’ve found too that you need to encourage a culture of testing and experimentation and wait for the ‘lightbulb’ moment of inspiration when it comes. Unfortunately, the more advanced in years you become, the rarer those moments are, so you increasingly need to practise cultivating good ideas from others. 7. Is there anything about yourself that you would like to change? Although caution is wise, I wish I’d been a little more ambitious earlier! Pick the right team and your firm can be something entirely different Lineal Software Solutions is a multi-disciplinary IT solutions provider based in Barnstaple. We exist to be your trusted technology partner. Every day, our team provide accessible expertise, solve emerging business challenges, and deliver exceptional IT solutions. We offer business to business (B2B) IT support, hardware, technical upgrades and repairs, network infrastructure, cybersecurity, cloud-based and telephony five or ten years from now, in a way that would surprise you. I wish I had the perfect foresight to see a person’s full potential, because that’s what will drive the future success of a business. 8. Social media: yes or no? Preferred network? Yes – I find LinkedIn helpful for work, but each platform is useful in its own way. Facebook feels more fun for photography because it pulls in the wider community. There’s no substitute for real-world interaction in my opinion, but these networks are an important part of many people’s lives now – so when Lineal publishes educational content, like cybersecurity guidance, it’s great to see people engaging with it voluntarily. Communicate with people via a medium they enjoy and they’ll come back for more. 9. How do you wind down when not working? Reading and photography (including for Barnstaple Gig Pilot Gig Club.) Gardening too because it’s ‘off the grid’ – nontechnology time is important! 10. Do you have a motto or favourite quotation? Several really: “You snooze, you lose” and “If our clients succeed, we succeed” are common refrains in our offices, but my favourite is Isaac Asimov’s “Violence is the last resort of the incompetent” – one for the computing buffs out there! Oh, and “Mind the paint!” of course. ABOUT LINEAL SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS services, in addition to software development – to a diverse range of public and private sector clients. With over 30 years in the industry, and as one of Devon’s only certified Microsoft Gold Partners, our priority is to provide specialist IT support, ERP software development, and technology services with an honest, professional and approachable manner. ■■Details 01271 375999 or www.lineal.co.uk 20 business action | <strong>October</strong> / <strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> | business-action.co.uk
NEWS From vine to bottle in Devon It was at the North Devon Show that I found Torview Wines. We had been on the <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Action</strong> stand all day when I realised I hadn’t seen many other exhibitors, so I headed for the food tent where I met Tim Gowan. Delighted to have discovered a local wine producer, Tim booked me on to a tour of his vineyard at Sheepwash to see how the vines are grown, harvested and processed to produce Torview’s range of award-winning English red wines. Originally, Tim studied leisure management and became interested in farm Lots of people have ideas for businesses and products, but turning ideas into reality can be very difficult. Denise Anstey of Heartfelt Products has considerable experience of business and product development. She designed her first product, the Slik Stik walking stick, in 2006, for which she was named ‘British Female Inventor and Innovator 2009’. The Slik Stik is a walking stick which used ‘wind-up’ technology and was developed after Denise was injured in a car crash. Drinking wine was once a headache for <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Action</strong> editor Robert Zarywacz, but after discovering English wine made with fewer chemicals, his head cleared. This summer he visited Torview Wines’ vineyard at Sheepwash to see how wine is produced diversity, which fired his interest in wine-making. After a two-year search for a suitable site, Tim and his family moved into Beara Farm and began planting vines. They added a second field in 2010 and now have some 7,000 vines with four grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Dornfelder, Rondo and Acolon. These help to produce characteristics in the wines including subtlety, softness, fruitiness, easy drinking style and hedgerow fruits flavours. Now Denise has launched Heartfelt Products, which produces products to aid people in their daily lives. These include the ICE Alert Wallet to alert hospital staff to your medical records should you be taken ill, and Memory Mats to help stimulate the minds of those suffering with dementia and eco-friendly bags. Denise commits to achieving the highest standards and Heartfelt Products has obtained Trading Standards’ Trusted Trader status with five stars and was a Twitter #WOW <strong>Business</strong> Winner of the Week selected by Jacqueline Gold CBE. Denise believes it’s important to “keep a sense of what’s real, appreciating input, understanding what the customer really wants and knowing that These are also helped by the slower South West ripening conditions, with harvesting sometimes extending into mid-<strong>November</strong>. All Torview wines are produced exclusively from its own grapes. Unlike large producers required by major retailers to sterile-filter their wines, which loses much of the character, colour, fruit and tannin, Torview only lightly filters its wines to maintain their character and style. While the vineyard is not organic, Tim aims to keep production as natural as possible. Living on site helps to identify any disease early so intervention can be minimised. Torview sells 80% of its wines in Devon and supplies a number of local restaurants. You can often catch Tim selling wine at markets or, even better, book yourself on to a vineyard tour and tasting, which run between April and <strong>October</strong>, and learn more about how the wines are made. You can also buy from the web site. ■■Details 07977 408829 or torview.co.uk Bringing business ideas to life if I can make the difference to just one person then I have achieved what I set out to do”. “It’s about changing a person’s life for the better, supporting Britain’s economy whilst looking at environmental impact.” Denise will be part of the Enterprise Panel discussion at BBxpo and exhibiting Heartfelt Products at the event. ■■Details 01237 476005 or heartfelt-products.com VISIT STAND AT BBXPO Beautiful candles – Handmade in Devon SHOWROOM & STUDIO Lyn Candles . Lynton . N. Devon . EX35 6BS Tel: 01598 753321 www.lyncandles.com e-mail: email@example.com @businessactionm | <strong>October</strong> / <strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> | business action 21