May 2015 saw the departure from the Forum of Private Business of its Chief Executive, Phil Orford. Since joining the Forum in 2008 Phil guided the Forum and its members through a difficult credit crisis and recession. He enhanced the organisation’s position as one of the UK’s foremost small business lobbyists, enabling it to continue providing business owners with the support, protection and reassurance they needed during the difficult times of the past seven years.
On leaving the Forum Phil commented: “It has been an honour and a privilege to lead an organisation which does so much to support its members on a day-to-day basis – those small businesses which make up the backbone of the UK economy. I am very proud of the Forum’s role in influencing successive governments to adopt policies and initiatives which support and nurture UK businesses. In recent years we have helped deliver significant change which makes running a business in Britain today easier and fairer. I would like to thank everyone involved with the Forum and I look forward to seeing the business moving forward and continuing as the supporting voice that small businesses need”.
Former Sales Director Ian Cass has now taken the reins and is certainly looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead. Ian lives in Cheshire with his family and he started his career in 1994 managing a UK sales team with a focus on strategic development and key account management. Ian then moved into a director role at Venture Team UK specialising in new ventures within the UK drinks market, again with focus on strategy, marketing and branding development. During this time Ian was approached by Phil in 2013 to look at the strategy and development of the Forum’s sales leadership team and to review the partner strategy for members. Ian took the challenge, accepting the role as Sales Director and moved the business forward to what it is today; a small business membership organisation that always has a solution, whatever challenges a business may face. The Forum’s efficient, knowledgeable staff believe that everything they do for a small business owner is about wellbeing, growth and profitability.
During his time in various roles Ian was also looking to building his own brand with the launch of Hunters Gin Limited. This was a joint business venture between friends Ian and Jon Jones who had an idea to create a high quality gin, full of character that fitted with Cheshire lifestyle. Slowly developing the quality they wanted with the adaption of a 300-year-old recipe. Hunters Gin is now an established local brand that you will see in and around Cheshire eating establishments along with other areas of the country. (UPDATE: Ian Cass has now moved away from Hunters Gin as of December 2016)
Ian comments: “A business needs to be well organised to help it reach its full potential, building great partnerships as you go along. Networking and research development along with sales and marketing are key attributes for a business to be at its best. I am passionate about planning the strategy to achieve business goals and I fully support the small and medium business sector being a business owner myself. I believe small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy and we need to support local as well as UK-wide small business owners. There are lots of entrepreneurs that want to be innovative and want to grow they just need the support to do so”.
The Forum now has eight recruitment consultants spread around the country building successful teams of agents who are networking and connecting with business owners. The support and protection that the Forum offers is invaluable for members and it makes great business sense to become a member when you look at the benefits that are available. The Forum is also working closely with selected business partners to offer the best membership services available for existing and new members.
The key areas that the Forum is focusing on over the coming months will be businesses complying with legislation and advising on how to protect their business. All businesses need peace of mind they are doing the ‘right thing’. The Forum of Private Business is about helping a business save money, make money and work more efficiently, as well as listening to business owners views and making sure issues are heard by the right policy makers.