Over the last few weeks two of Cascade’s Directors have featured in local newspapers. We wanted to share these articles with you…
Acknowledging the continued expansion of our Yorkshire-based company and our ever-growing nationwide customer base, The Yorkshire Times interviewed Cascade’s client services director recently, to learn more about her business views. If you missed the resulting article, you can read it here, in full.
Name: Heather Vitty
Company: HR software specialist Cascade HR
Job title: Client services director
Headquarters: Pudsey, Leeds
How long have you lived in this fine county?
Over 50 years now.
In your opinion, what is the best thing about doing business in Yorkshire?
It is great to work (and live) in such an affordable and beautiful place, which has fantastic transport links. For us, we are ideally situated to attract new business from clients all over the UK because we have such flexible rail services and motorways, on our doorstep. Yorkshire is a brilliant location for businesses with national ambitions.
How would you describe the Yorkshire business climate at present?
There is a definite buzz at the moment, and the fact that Le Tour De France will be hosted by Yorkshire, really signifies how much our county has to offer. It is also great to see previously undeveloped areas such as Bradford moving forward with projects such as the multi-million pound shopping development.
And the outlook for the next 12 months?
I think Yorkshire will bask in the spotlight of Le Tour and I hope people will return to the region once the cycling event is over. This should help a wide range of companies.
From our perspective, the future looks bright for technology companies like ours and, given our recent acquisition by the IRIS Software Group, we are now well placed to offer an abundance of new employment opportunities to people in the region.
Why does a business like yours thrive here?
This is a very easy question to answer – it is all down to the people. Many of our employees are from Yorkshire, and their friendly, flexible and energising approach to business is often noticed by clients based in other parts of the UK. So much so that when it comes to providing software training, an increasing number of customers are asking if we can provide it from our own offices, so they can meet more of our Yorkshire-based team! We have always had an open door policy so this is great to hear. I don’t think all software suppliers have the same approach.
You tend to find that the people of Yorkshire are honest and have a ‘can do’ attitude. If you combine this with a wicked sense of humour, you have the perfect combination.
What advice would you give to someone relocating their business to Yorkshire, or setting up a new company in the county?
Choose a location that is right for you, and your staff. It is not just the layout and facilities of your office that are important – it is where the office is situated too. Our office for example, is on the outskirts of the city centre, close to a train station, bus stop, shops, café and we have a free on-site car park. These factors are all so important for employees, so when relocating or setting up your own business in Yorkshire, try to find somewhere you think your staff will enjoy coming to work.
Where in Yorkshire would you go to switch off from work?
It would have to be Whitby. Steeped in history, with its quaint streets, the sea breeze and lots of great restaurants and pubs…bliss!
And your favourite restaurant?
For a treat I would recommend San Carlo in Leeds, but for ultimate comfort food it would be Whitby’s Pie and Mash Shop. With over 20 choices of pie, served in a giant bowl with a huge scoop of mash, peas and gravy, what’s not to love?
Is there a hidden gem in Yorkshire that you feel deserves a special mention?
I am almost reluctant to share this gem as not a lot of people know about it, but, continuing the Whitby theme, there is a superb ice-cream parlour there called Teare Woods. They sell so many mouth-watering flavours, all homemade, and their ginger and lime cheesecake is to die for. They even have tapas nights on a Friday which is a must for anyone looking for the perfect start to the weekend. I just hope me sharing this hidden gem doesn’t make getting a table difficult…
Can you sum up Yorkshire in five words?
Good, honest, friendly fun, with beautiful surroundings. Well, it was nearly five words – not bad for a chatterbox!
Earlier this month, Cascade HR’s managing director Alan Jones spoke to renowned newspaper The Yorkshire Post, to share some of his business knowledge and investment advice. If you missed his interview, you can read Alan’s thoughts in full here…
Alan Jones is Managing Director of Leeds-based software specialist Cascade HR.
What was your best investment?
The time, money and effort I have put into Cascade over the years, is for sure my best investment. Supporting the growth of my employees, and giving them the confidence and freedom to flourish, has been a major part of that investment.
Are wise investors born or made?
‘Made’ definitely. Investing is a skill that has to be learnt, and you only really learn through experience and by making mistakes. The rules to investing are pretty simple and anyone who follows them can become successful – it doesn’t require any particular personality traits or in-built skills.
Do you believe it’s become harder for entrepreneurs to make prudent investments since the crash of 2008?
I actually think it’s become easier. Plenty of opportunities exist because, in the current climate, many people cannot secure finance. They give up too easily, leaving the better investment opportunities for people who either have cash or who are prepared to work a little harder to obtain funding.
What’s the worst investment you’ve ever made?
I bought a lot of dot com shares in the boom of 1999-2000, and saw them end up worthless a year or so later.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to make a major investment?
Many so called entrepreneurs are actually ‘gamblers’ who don’t understand the risk/reward ratio of the investment. Know your subject, understand it fully and do your sums. Being an entrepreneur is about taking action when a good opportunity arises, whilst minimising the threat to your capital.
Which sectors are likely to offer handsome returns for business investors?
In order to achieve good returns you have to be an expert in the field you are investing in. My background is IT, so I can see plenty of opportunities here as my eye is attuned to what I know. I’m sure someone working in a different discipline will see their own opportunities there.
Are there any sectors you feel should be avoided?
I’ll personally avoid anything I don’t understand. If something interests me, I will put in the time and efforts to learn about it fully, but if I am disinterested I’ll avoid it.
What lessons did you learn from your worst investment?
Don’t follow the crowd and don’t believe the hype. Make your own investment decisions, underpinned by personal detailed research.
What was the best piece of investment advice you’ve received?
If it looks and sounds too good to be true, it most certainly is.