Tag Archives: business

One and one is one

There is often more than one way to view anything.

I could say that last weekend was wasted on work as I had to bring my business accounts up to date so I could file my value added tax (VAT) return.

Or I could say that we spent a relaxing weekend by the sea: on Friday night we walked our dog for four miles on a sandy beach before enjoying chips and local ice cream on the seafront at Woolacombe, on Saturday we paddled in the sea opposite Ilfracombe harbour, while on Sunday we strolled down a shaded valley on Exmoor, spotting butterflies and wild birds as we walked down to the secluded beach at Heddon’s Mouth.

Different aspects of life are always colliding. Especially when you run your own business, a statutory obligation can overrun your desire to have a weekend doing only what you want, but it doesn’t have to stop you enjoying life.

I chose to live by the sea.

It can be difficult because we are some 200 miles from London and being remote makes me work harder to gain business.

It is wonderful because instead of commuting on the Tube, I can paddle in the sea, walk our dog, work or just enjoy the two to three dead hours that decades ago I would have wasted on commuting.

They are all my life.

One aspect balances another: the pain from illness and loss in my family, which is natural and unavoidable, is relieved by the joy and wonder of people to whom I am close, dogs we have been so lucky to have with us and the breath-taking beauty of our environment.

I probably won’t remember doing my VAT return, which took up the bulk of my weekend, but I will remember walking along the sandy beach, paddling in the sea and the secluded valley.

Thank goodness for all the aspects of life.

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Life’s not always frothy

Life's not always frothy | robzlogLike most people, I can be happy, reflective or even depressed according to what’s happening in my life at any time.

Over the past 10 to 15 years, I’ve found what’s most important to me is spending time with family and friends, our dogs and being in the countryside.

But however contented you feel, life occasionally throws you a thunderbolt out of the blue. This August a close relative was admitted to hospital, we lost both our dogs and a tremendous volunteer friend died, all within several weeks.

Now one of these would be tough to deal with, but all three together meant that wherever we turned there was pain and often a great sense of loss. I think it’s especially tough when you run your own business and lead community organisations. Access to what sometimes appears an unlimited nuclear core of energy and motivation suddenly closes off. It becomes difficult to achieve even the simplest task.

To me, this is something that has to be worked through: it’s life. That doesn’t make it much easier. There have been times when I’ve just not what wanted to do anything.

What has helped has been people and dogs. Both people we meet in the course of our daily lives, even passers-by in the street, and dogs we have got to know over the years have been a great comfort. And now we have a new puppy too.

So we are grateful that my relative is now recovering at home and we are able to think about those we have lost in terms of the joy they brought us in life. Motivation and energy are returning.

The froth of summer disappeared suddenly and life turned dull for a while, but now the bubbles are forming again slowly.

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Thank you to all those who helped in 2011 . . .

. . . especially in the following activities:


After standing up and speaking at a public meeting, I was elected to the committee and then voted chairman of a new business group in North Devon. Thanks to my fellow directors and support from members, COMBEbusiness has established itself to promote business around the Ilfracombe, Woolacombe and Combe Martin area of North Devon.

This has been an inspiring year and the turnout and participation at our monthly meetings has been phenomenal. In 2012 COMBEbusiness plans to provide tailored support and training for businesses in the area.

Ilfracombe courteous town initiative

Again, the response from business and residents of Ilfracombe has been tremendous. This pilot initiative, run by pleaseandthanks.co.uk and the National Campaign for Courtesy, has trialled a campaign to recognise courteous businesses in the town and focus on the positive aspects of business and work.

During the course of the initiative, I have met hundreds of people in business in the town and have been amazed by the response when people realise that someone has nominated them for an award to recognise their courtesy: it means so much to them.

North Devon 101 Apprentices campaign

In my role as business writer for the North Devon Journal, I had no idea how the North Devon Employment and Skills Board’s campaign to sign up 101 apprentices in 101 days would succeed. As it turned out, the commitment from North Devon’s employers, jobseekers, schools, colleges and residents was impressive. We beat the target and will be repeating the campaign in 2012. Watch out in the North Devon Journal.

North Devon Journal Business Awards

This was the first time that the North Devon Journal had run its business awards and again the response was enthusiastic. We met some great businesses and judging the winners was very difficult. The awards evening was a contrast to many other events in this time of economic uncertainty in that it focused entirely on genuine achievement and success.

North Devon Business Alliance

As a founding member of the NDBA, I’ve always enjoyed its friendly, professional lunches and events. Blogging, discussion on LinkedIn and interaction on twitter help to bring this vibrant business community together and in 2011 I’ve got to know even more business people across North Devon through the NDBA. In 2012 I look forward to getting to know even more.

Studio Theatre car boot sales

I also organised six fund-raising car boot sales for Studio Theatre on the seafront at Ilfracombe. I know many people love these and come from Bideford, Barnstaple and elsewhere because the atmosphere is so enjoyable. I was considering giving these up, but this week bumped into a car booter who thanked me and pleaded with me to run them again in 2012. I shall have to think seriously about this.

So thank you to all who have supported these organisations and activities and have made all the hard work in organising them worthwhile.

I plan to do some more gardening, DIY and things for myself in 2012, but already there are many projects and events in the pipeline for some of the above organisations above.

Let’s hope 2012 is even more successful!

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Better business representation and support for businesses in Ilfracombe and Barnstaple

North Devon is a beautiful place in which to live and run a business, but it’s not always so easy to do the latter.

There are a number of initiatives under way to help businesses in Ilfracombe.

Ilfracombe Business Forum

After two public meetings, moves are under way to establish the Ilfracombe Business Forum to provide the town’s businesses with a voice.

Why is this important?

Well, at the moment, when a council or other agency makes a decision, there is no often no representation from the town’s businesses to express their views. A forum would enable businesses to voice both their concerns and requirements. Also, with public sector cutbacks, future developments in the town will have to be driven by business.

A further meeting is being scheduled for January 2011, but I have volunteered to help get details of as many businesses as possible so all can be invited to the meeting to decide how the forum should be constituted and what should be its aims.

If you would like to be involved or kept informed, please send me your email address at rob@z2z.com. You details will be forwarded to Transform, who are coordinating the process, although the Ilfracombe Business Forum is attended to run itself once established.

Workhubs research

North Devon+ is currently funding research into whether Ilfracombe needs a workhub. A workhub would provide office facilities, support services and other help to home-based business and new and other businesses.

Again, this research requires as many businesses as possible to participate, so please visit devonworkhubs.co.uk and complete the survey. (Devon Council County is funding research into Barnstaple and is asking businesses there to participate too.)

Participating in both programmes could help us move to building a stronger economy in Ilfracombe and North Devon.

Posted via email from robertz

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Sponsor Mack and Mabel at the Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe

Small Pond Productions and Studio Theatre are staging the North Devon premiere of Mack and Mabel at the Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe on Thursday 14, Friday 15 and Saturday 16 October 2010. This is the major production of 2010 and is being funded solely by the two companies.

However, the cost of staging such a big production – with a large cast, orchestra, a large backstage and support team and professional stage set – is considerable.

To help us bring this high quality production to North Devon, we seek sponsorship from local businesses to support it.

Sponsorship options

£40 sponsorship of principal cast member with business contact details printed in programme and repeated with a clickable link to sponsor’s web site from studiotheatronline.org.uk

£15 sponsorship of company member with business contact details printed in programme and repeated with a clickable link to sponsor’s web site from studiotheatronline.org.uk

Bigger sponsorship oppportunities – eg stage set – available by agreement.

Ilfracombe and North Devon businesses have always been generous in their support of the companies’ productions and we are grateful for all support provided.

To sponsor Mack and Mabel, please complete and return our sponsorship PDF below or call Robert Zarywacz on 07971 176044.

Production details

For details of the production visit Studio Theatre’s Mack and Mabel pages and to book visit northdevontheatres.org.uk

Posted via email from robertz

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