What Should a Modern Workplace Look Like?

From the pandemic-induced shift to working from home and the debate around flexible working policies to the much ballyhooed Great Resignation, we are living and working in a different world.

Employers who want to attract (and retain) a productive and engaged workforce are facing some big questions and considerations. How will they boost business agility, productivity and efficiency while also protecting the health and wellbeing of employees? Combine this with the increasing pressure on businesses to embrace sustainability and carbon neutral working practices, and then also consider how they will stand out against competitors in the recruitment market.

All in all, modern workplaces need to strike a near-perfect recipe of technology, interior design, people management, wellbeing provision, and culture. When considering, planning or executing a workplace transformation, here are some of the key factors to keep in mind.

What’s the purpose of your office?

When the world returned to work, many if not all businesses were tentative in their approach. Some businesses had made such a success of transitioning to home working that their employees continued to do so full time. Some businesses insisted on a return to the office, but many left the decision to their employees, assuming their productivity and engagement had not been impacted. The result is a wide range of approaches and a great deal of choice for employees.

The job market is highly competitive at the moment, and businesses that do not listen to what people need or want risk losing  or failing to hire the best people. Whether you call it the ‘Great Resignation’ or something less grand, there is no denying the trend of employees resigning to find a work environment that matches their lifestyle and preferred working practices.

Many employees are no longer prepared to travel to an office every day out of habit. Your business needs to give employees a reason to work from the office, if that’s what you want them to do. The reason might be to take part in meetings, to collaborate, to share ideas, or simply to connect with others in their team on a social level. Does your workplace offer them something that they cannot get when working from home or meeting virtually?

Have you empowered your employees?

Of course, countless businesses have given their employees the choice whether to work from home, the office, or a hybrid of the two. Giving employees the autonomy and flexibility to manage their own working routine alongside their personal life and family commitments can be a wonderful move, but to do this well requires a considered approach.

It is one thing to tell employees that they are free to work from home, but have you given them the technology and communication tools they need to be able to work effectively? They may be using old and inefficient laptops or operating in an unsafe working environment. They might have inadequate security systems in place, or they might struggle to communicate with customers and/or colleagues due to out of date software.

Don’t be seduced by the latest technology

Modernising a workplace is often wrongly lumped in with digital transformation projects, and digital transformation is often wrongly assumed to mean upgrading to the latest versions of the technology that is already in place. This is a trap to be avoided at all costs.

Bringing in new technology for the sake of it, i.e., replacing an existing setup with new like-for-like technologies without a strategy in place, is not a digital transformation. Instead, businesses should be taking a step back, examining their existing processes and culture, and identifying where change is needed to support employees in their work.

Will your digital investments make it easier for your team to collaborate from wherever they are working and to access the same resources? Will they be able to communicate in real time? How fast and reliable is their internet connection? Can they share and edit documents with their team members? Is the customer experience as efficient and positive as it could be? Could sales or revenue be increased through a digital upgrade? Are employees engaged? It is questions like these that should drive digital transformation, not technology, to ensure businesses continue to strive towards their KPIs.

Reimagining your physical space

Collaboration, creativity and communication are some of the key motivators behind employees coming to the office. It is therefore vital that you create a workspace that reflects these needs, including a variety of spaces for groups of all sizes to come together and technology that enables remote employees to be included.

And then, of course, we have to consider wellbeing when designing a work environment. You may want to rethink your lighting, the colours and designs on the walls, the flooring, the furniture and, ideally, access to natural light. The needs of your teams and the business may change from day to day, so adaptability and agility might be key considerations. Breakout areas and social spaces are crucial not only for employee wellbeing but also help when building a strong and well-bonded team – whether team members are working in the same location or remotely.

Sustainability in the workplace

As a responsible employer, you have a duty to both your employees and the environment to adopt sustainable working practices wherever possible. This will mean different things to different businesses but might include replacing traditional lighting with energy efficient LED lighting, installing solar panels to generate clean (and free) electricity, committing to recycling policies and using sustainable materials and resources, promoting greener commutes, or switching to a fleet of electric vehicles.

Financing your modern workplace

Of course, modernising a workplace requires investment which is often a big reason why businesses delay making badly needed improvements. The team at Bluestone Leasing can spread the cost of getting what you need today through tax efficient and affordable finance…

  • Interiors furniture and fitout
  • IT hardware and software
  • Printers, scanners, copiers, etc.
  • Telecoms
  • Audio visual equipment
  • Commercial vehicles
  • EV charging points
  • Solar panels
  • LED lighting
  • Low carbon heating
  • Recycling equipment
  • Air conditioning
  • Security systems.

If you are interested in modernising your workforce through flexible finance options, get in touch at info@bluestoneleasing.com.

Introducing Bluestone: Steve Bretherton

Regional Account Manager for West Midlands

Steve joined the Bluestone Leasing team in early 2021 with more than 20 years of experience in the financial industry in his back pocket, the last 5 of which were focused on finance leasing. Despite his relatively recent arrival, Steve has already made a name for himself not just for his financial knowledge, but also his helpful and friendly attitude.

“I do not see myself as a salesman – I come up with solutions to people’s problems and I enjoy helping them to make the right decisions for their business. In many cases, that means unearthing ideas they have not heard of or suggesting alternatives to their traditional finance strategy.”

The early days

Steve was born and bred in Solihull, a town outside Birmingham. As an only child, he was very close to his parents and grandparents, but also learnt how to “make fun” for himself and his group of friends.

“We liked to play outside in the fresh air building rope swings and go-karts, and exploring in the woods. My dad was a self-employed builder, and I think he hoped that I might become a footballer or a bricklayer like him one day, but I was more interested in clothes, socialising, spending time with my family…and ‘Star Wars’!”

Steve’s father has been a big influence on the man and father that he has become, and he says that the most important lesson he learnt in his childhood was to always tell the truth. This is a mantra that he continues to follow both personally and professionally.

The world of work and joining Bluestone

Steve’s first experience of work was washing pots in a local nightclub.

“I would cycle there every Sunday for £2.50 an hour, and I loved it. The money I earnt was mine to do what I wanted with, and that independence was great.”

After school Steve started an apprenticeship with a car manufacturer. However, after one week it was clear that it was not the right fit for him, so he left to go to college before beginning his career in banking and finance.

“I was attracted to working for Bluestone as I liked the ethos of the company, I could tell from my interviews that they look after their staff. The office is a welcoming and nice place to be, and they put a lot of time and effort into making sure they hire the right people with the same values and ethical approach.”

Steve’s days are spent meeting with clients, finding out what they need now and in the future, and creating bespoke financial solutions that enable them to get there.

“Trust is key, and you will win more respect from others if you are honest. I have clients that have stuck with me for many years, even when I have moved to a new company, because they trust me. I do not overpromise or under deliver – if I say I can do something, I will do it, and if I can’t do it, I will be upfront about it.”

The future

So, what does Steve do in his free time, and what are his hopes for the future?

“I’m pretty good at cooking and singing. I like to have a go at karaoke and my daughters always ask me to sing around the house. A few bands have asked me to perform with them, but I don’t have the confidence!”

Steve has always wanted to visit Thailand and is determined to make it happen in the future, but his perfect weekend is one spent with his partner and daughters on a caravan holiday, cooking on a BBQ in the fresh air.

Steve can help businesses in his region to finance a wide range of assets across multiple sectors, but with three young daughters at home, he particularly enjoy being able to find funding for projects that make a real difference to the community. 

“I love being able to fund a project that makes a positive impact in the world. Life is short, so we need to live in the best way we can and make the best of what we have. If there’s a way I can help someone or simply put a smile on their face, I will go out of my way to do it.”

If you would like Steve to help your business to move forward with a bespoke finance solution, get in touch today at steve.bretherton@bluestoneleasing.com.

How Much is Cash Worth to Your Customers?

When it comes to running a business, it’s not an overstatement to say that cash is oxygen. Without a healthy cash flow, businesses slow down, struggle to function, and will eventually shut down completely.

However, in order to operate and grow, businesses need to acquire assets. This creates a financial and strategic dilemma, but it’s a dilemma that you can help them overcome by offering them the option to pay for assets on finance.

In this article we take a closer look at the cash vs leasing debate, the pros and cons of both options, and the reasons why your customers would choose to pay via finance rather than with cash.  

Cash vs Leasing: The Pros and Cons

Buying an asset outright with cash

If it is important that the business owns the asset(s) and they have the capital available, buying an asset outright can be a sensible decision, particularly if the assets are going to retain or appreciate in value. Having said that, buying assets with cash carries both advantages and disadvantages which businesses should be aware of. 

Advantages of buying assets with cashDisadvantages of buying assets with cash
Customers will own the asset fully.Customers have to pay the full cost of the asset upfront which can cause a dent in its cashflow.
Customers can claim capital allowances on the asset.Their choice of assets may be influenced by restricted cash flow, i.e., they may buy what you can afford, not what they need.
Customers avoid entering a financial agreement that may be difficult to terminate.Customers may have to take out a loan or overdraft to fund the purchase, and in some cases early repayment of the loan could be demanded at short notice.
 Customers will be responsible for the maintenance, repair or replacement of the assets.
 The value of the asset may depreciate over time meaning it will be worth less than what they paid for it.
 They will not be able to take advantage of the tax benefits of deducting the leasing costs from taxable income.

Leasing assets

Leasing enables your customers to use assets for a fixed period of time in return for regular fixed payments. In some cases leasing enables businesses to acquire assets that they would not be able to afford if they had to pay in full upfront, but that is not the only reason why businesses choose to lease assets.

Advantages of leasing assetsDisadvantages of leasing assets
They don’t have to pay for the full cost of the asset and so can retain cash in the business.A deposit or some payments in advance may be necessary.
Customers may be able to access a higher quality of asset than they could if buying outright.As leasing agreements will include interest, they may end up paying more for the asset than they have had you bought it outright.
The regular payments are easy to budget for, and as rates are fixed, there will be no surprise costs to cover.They will not own the asset, although some agreements will give them the option to purchase at the end for a fee.
Spreading the cost over time enables customers to match the costs in line with their income/return on investment.They will be committing to making the payments for the term of the lease.
In many cases the costs of the assets are fully tax deductible, and sometimes capital allowances can also be claimed on the assets.They will need to ensure that they fully understand the terms of lease, including any end of lease obligations or payments.
In the case of operating leases, they are not responsible for the maintenance of the assets. 
The leasing company carries the risk of the assets breaking down or malfunctioning. 
It is sometimes possible to upgrade the assets during the lease by making a small change to the regular payment rather than having to pay a large lump sum. 

The main point to take away here is that there is no right or wrong way to fund a business’ operation and growth, but many no businesses should dismiss the option of leasing assets before they have weighed all their options, and certainly not before they have done the maths.

But, surely only cash-poor businesses use finance? Nope.

There is a misconception that the only businesses that would choose to lease are those that cannot afford to pay in cash. Some businesses might even avoid offering the customers to option to pay via finance as they do not want to risk causing ‘offence’ by suggesting they might be low on cash.

A possible consequence of this, unfortunately, is that businesses part with their cash unnecessarily, causing themselves cashflow problems that prevent them from being able to invest in further growth and often missing out on tax savings. This point of view is made even more ironic when you consider that many of the world’s most successful, cash-rich businesses opt to lease assets and use leasing regularly in their financial strategy.

By leasing the assets that their business needs to operate and grow, customers will spread the cost over time via fixed regular payments and keep cash in the bank. At the very least, this gives them breathing space and flexibility, so they can put their mind – and cash – to the task of building their business’ future.

What’s in it for you?

Modern customers want flexible payment options, and more and more businesses are responding to this shift by proactively offering finance. By doing so, they are not just meeting demand, but also unlocking significant benefits for their business:

  • Overcome customer cost objections, as £300 per month sounds much more appealing than £10,000 upfront.
  • Increased order values, as customers typically spend 30% more when they lease compared to using capital.
  • Protect margins, as customers lose sensitivity to unit costs when presented with a total cost per month.
  • Retain customers as leasing makes renewals much easier than when dealing in cash transactions.
  • Differentiate yourself from your competition and add value to your proposition.
  • Enhance your cash flow as payments are made within 48-72 hours of the agreement being made live.
  • Remove the risk of not being paid by the customer as you are paid by the funder upfront
  • Develop more strategic relationships with customers by getting involved with longer-term investment plans.

How much sales revenue could you be missing out on?

Our sales experts have developed a scorecard to identify how you could improve B2B sales performance through offering finance as a payment option.

You simply answer 11 quick fire questions in under 2 minutes and you’ll receive a tailored report based on your answers.

It’s a completely free assessment and you are under no obligation to use any of the sales-boosting solutions that we recommend…

Introducing Bluestone: Hannah Dixon

Regional Account Manager, Wales

Our regional account manager for Wales, Hannah, joined Bluestone Leasing in early 2021 with more than eight years of experience in the asset finance industry behind her.

“My favourite part of working in asset finance is being able to find finance for clients that have been refused it elsewhere. It can sometimes take an ‘outside the box’ approach to solving problems, but there is nothing better than seeing my client’s reaction when I can say yes when others have said no.”

Where it all began

Hannah was born and raised in Newport, Wales, where her creativity and friendly nature were evident from the beginning.

“I loved drawing, and anything to do with art and being creative. I have a wonderful memory of sitting at a school table with a queue of children in front of me, each of them asking me to draw them a different Pokémon character. I even wanted to be a cartoon animator for a while, but once I had completed my A levels, I knew I wanted to be out in the world of work as soon as possible.”

The world of work

After her first weekend job in a toy factory (which is apparently not as fun as it sounds), Hannah launched her career in finance with the help of the Jobs Growth Wales programme.

“When I was offered the chance to enter the finance industry I grabbed it with both hands. I started in data administration, but soon progressed to sales, managing an internal team and finally to partner/supplier account management […] Prior to joining Bluestone I worked with clients all over the country in different industries, helping them to grow and thrive, but often with the telecoms and technology sector.”

Hannah’s approach to asset finance is to develop long term relationships with clients, and this has often resulted in those clients becoming “more like friends”.

“One of the main reasons that I wanted to come and work for Bluestone was their friendly and engaging approach to asset finance. I could tell from my first conversations with them that they were different to other finance companies, and that my consultative and personable style would be a great fit here. […] My role with Bluestone enables me to focus my attention on businesses in Wales, a region very close to my heart, and also to offer finance for just about any asset in any industry.”

The future

When Hannah is not making cakes for her friends birthdays or dreaming of seeing the Northern Lights from the comfort of a glass igloo, she likes nothing more than camping near a beach with a roaring fire. While she lives in Somerset (luckily, “near some lovely beaches”), Hannah is passionate about helping businesses in her homeland of Wales to grow and succeed through a personal service.

“It’s so important that I get to meet my partners and customers in person where they operate their business, so I make a point of getting out on the road in Wales as much as possible. Plus, I can usually squeeze in some visits to my family during my trips, which is a big positive for me.”

If you would like Hannah to help your business to move forward with a bespoke finance solution, get in touch today at hannah.dixon@bluestoneleasing.com.

Starting Out in Your Finance Career: Bluestone’s Top Tips

We know that entering the workplace as a young person can be challenging at first – and the financial services industry is no exception. Here to share their experience and their top tips for young people joining the finance world are some of our very own staff.

Patrick Iyoyin

Regional Account Manager, Greater Manchester

“I joined Bluestone having previously worked in a role focused on new business rather than account management. My first role within the business was a Business Relationship Executive, which was supporting the account managers with projects and partner relationships. I did the role for almost 3 years which was a great grounding in finance, transacting a deal and working with introducing partners and customers. I moved in to my current role in January 2020, and whilst it took longer to establish myself than expected, all the experience is now starting to pay dividends and I’m growing a really valuable territory.

My top tips:

  1. Stay patient – There is a lot to learn which takes time and building relationships with potential partners and clients takes time. Just focus on doing what you are asked to do the best you can each day and eventually you will look back in a few months and have confidence from seeing tangible progress.
  2. Ask questions – We have many experienced individuals at the business that are keen to answer questions. We are in a unique position that we are an established business but small enough still to have access to everyone in the business. Always feel free ask people for their opinion, advice or knowledge and don’t feel bad if it has to be explained a few different times in different ways. We all take in information differently.
  3. Stay Consultative – A huge misconception in sales is the assumption that you are convincing people to buy from you. A huge turning point for me was the realisation that our job is actually to ask the right questions from our partners and clients to uncover challenges they may have and suggest the most appropriate solution. If you keep that in mind, clients will thank you for solving their business challenge and you make the sale. No convincing necessary.”

Louise Harris

Key Account Director – Interiors

“I joined the business 14 years ago as a Business Relationship Manager, specifically within the Interiors world. My background had been in the motor industry, so entering both an interiors and financial sector was a little daunting, although exciting at the same time. Albeit there was so much to learn, and even today there are always new regulations and/or fashions that change so life is never dull – every day is a learning day! I love getting to know different clients in all sectors, understanding their needs and wants and being their go to finance partner. Seeing each client grow and develop and helping them on their journey, is amazing.

My top tips:

  1. There is so much to learn, don’t apply too much pressure to yourself if after a few months you haven’t grasped everything. It takes time but you will get there.
  2. Ask questions, this is how you learn, and I can assure you I asked so many questions over the years and don’t be afraid to ask for help if needed.
  3. Carry a pen and notepad with you. You never know when you will want to take notes but the way to help me on my journey, was definitely taking notes!!
  4. Always make sure that if you say you will call someone, you do. This will leave a lasting impression.”

James Joiner

Credit Team

“I joined Bluestone as a Business Relationship Executive, conscious I was joining a sector I had very little knowledge in. Luckily, there was a diverse mix of experience within the existing team, with not only colleagues that had been in the very same position I found myself in but also those with considerable involvement within the business finance sector over a very substantial period. I spent 3 years in tat role before moving in 2021 to work on the Credit team.

My top tips:

  1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – Invariably you will get something wrong at some point, and although it’s easy to take things personally and assume the worst, the important thing is how you recover and what you learn from the process. Take something from what’s happened and it will make you a stronger and more rounded person!
  2. Ask questions – We work in a sometimes-complicated sector, with multitudes of customers, banks and suppliers who all will have their own way of working. Ask most people, and they would much rather be asked a question than you get something wrong! Once you have your answer, note it down so you have a reference for the next time a similar query crops up.
  3. Make connections within other areas of the business – It can be easy to become insular and work only within your team on a day-to-day basis, but you’ll find that the better your relationships throughout the business, the easier your role becomes. Take time to understand how other departments work and try to work with this in mind, by consciously trying to work with consideration for others, the same will happen in reverse. Also, make the most of team events and establish good connections with people you normally wouldn’t speak to!”

Kate Walker

Regional Account Manager, Anglia and East Midlands South

“I was hired through a recruitment company, having no previous experience in the finance sector. I started as what was then a BRE, now known as an IAM, in the interiors team, and after about 6 months moved into the technology team prior to changing the sales structure. I worked as an internal across Jo’s team, and was promoted to Internal Regional Account Manager a couple of month ago for Midlands South & Anglia, which brings us to today.

My Top Tips:

  1. Talk to people – this job takes months to learn properly, so talk to people across the business, both sales & ops, to gain better understanding and to learn faster.
  2. Get to know the other new people in the business to find out where they have been successful/struggled and exchange knowledge and ideas.
  3. Spend time getting to know the person/people you will be supporting and how they work – most sales people in the office have a slightly different way of working, so getting to know how your KAM works will be helpful for you.”

Ben Howe

Key Account Manager – IT

“I joined Bluestone Leasing from the IT reseller industry, already working within the funding sector for IT assets. While in the IT industry I wanted to specialise within 1 subject matter and instead of knowing a little about a lot, become and expert in 1 subject matter. During my time I learned about the go to markets on offer in the industry working with mainstream funding partners. I joined Bluestone as a Business Relationship Manager working with IT partners. Since then I have expanded into the Key Account Manager role being a go to contact for many within the IT space. Bluestone was great in assisting me in this progress helping with my knowledge, and gaining a diploma with the London Institute of Banking.

My top tips:

  1. The only silly questions are the ones you never ask – never be afraid to ask a question
  2. Take an interest in the market, publications, industry news, podcasts. On car journeys I often listen to multiple podcasts and pick up many tips and tricks
  3. Have a short term, medium term and long term plan – what do you want to achieve in the next few weeks, months and years. Make it realistic and measurable
  4. Personally I always like to ask where I can improve – I often ask my divisional manager what she thinks I can do better and how to do this better too.”

Mark Johnston

Key Account Manager – Reprographics

“I started my finance career working for NWS bank, which was the finance arm of the Bank of Scotland.  It was a call centre and my role was arranging appointments for the account manager to discuss new financing opportunities.  I was driven to prove I could also do the external role and was promoted after 2 years, and given the opportunity.

I then worked for Lombard and then Alliance and Leicester, followed by an equipment finance broker.  This gave me experience across a wide range of sectors, and a huge variety of customers.  I preferred dealing with partners, and building long term relationships and chose this sector rather than personal finance or customer finance

My top tips:

  1. Never judge a book by its cover, I know it’s an old saying but so true.  Some customers you meet come across as never being able to finance anything and turn out to have the best credit.  This is just as true the other way round.
  2. Have patience, everyone learns at different speeds and works at different paces.
  3. Spend time understanding other parts of the business, and how their roles work alongside yours.
  4. Try and ensure you have tried every angle to secure the customer credit and know you have done your best.  Loosing opportunities is never personal but when you do, at least you know you tried and did everything you could.”

Bluestone 365: Protect Your Business from the Microsoft 365 Price Rise

On August 19th 2021, Microsoft announced big changes to their commercial pricing for Microsoft 365. It is the “first substantive pricing update” Office 365 was launched a decade ago, and is being introduced to reflect the development and subsequent “increased value” the product now delivers to customers.

What’s changing?

From March 2022, the way commercial organisations pay for Microsoft 365 will change.

Customers will have to decide whether to pay a variable price or paying a fixed price upfront in full. Microsoft 365 customers who don’t pay upfront in full for their licences will be subject to price rises which could be up to 30% over the term of their agreement.

In addition, Microsoft have announced that an organisation’s user numbers cannot be altered after an agreement is signed.

These changes could have a significant financial impact on businesses that rely on Microsoft 365 for their communication and collaboration, but there is a solution.

Lock in your Microsoft 365 prices with Bluestone 365

We have created a bespoke software financing product, Bluestone 365, which enables you to lock in your Microsoft 365 prices for a multiple-year agreement while still paying via affordable monthly instalments.

Bluestone 365 also enables you to scale the product as your organisation grows by entering into new agreements.

Plus, if you are also upgrading your IT hardware, you can roll all the costs together into a single monthly cost that is easier to budget for.

Benefits of Bluestone 365

  • Retain a low monthly cost
  • Easily scale your number of users
  • Spread cost across agreement length
  • Spread risk
  • Combine with a hardware project into a single monthly cost
  • Potentially save some tax.  

Thousands of businesses will find themselves out of pocket with the upcoming changes to Microsoft 365 licensing agreements. Take the scorecard and we’ll send you a personalised report with feedback on the steps you can take to ensure you don’t lose out. It only takes 1 minute and it’s free.

  • It takes just 1 minute
  • It’s completely free
  • Receive customised results instantly

Click here to take the scorecard.

Bluestone 365: Protect Your Customers from the Microsoft 365 Price Rise

On August 19th 2021, Microsoft announced big changes to their commercial pricing for Microsoft 365. It is the “first substantive pricing update” Office 365 was launched a decade ago, and is being introduced to reflect the development and subsequent “increased value” the product now delivers to customers.

What’s changing?

From March 2022 the way commercial organisations pay for Microsoft 365 is changing. Your customers will have to decide whether to pay a variable price or pay a fixed price upfront in full. The new billing system will also affect suppliers as the liability of customers not being able to pay their license fee now falls on their supplier.

This means your Microsoft 365 customers who don’t pay upfront in full for their licences will be subject to price rises which could be up to 30% over the term of their agreement. Not only this, if a customer of yours goes out of business, you could be liable for their costs.

Offer Locked Monthly 365 Prices with Bluestone 365

Bluestone 365 leverages our bespoke software finance enabling you to continue offering your clients a fixed monthly cost for their 365 licenses for up to 3 years.

Remove yourself from risk

Bluestone 365 allows you to remove yourself from the added risk these changes bring, as the bespoke software finance agreement shifts the risk onto the lender.

Receive full payment upfront

As customers will be entering into a bespoke software finance agreement you will be paid the full amount within 72 hours of the paperwork being signed, rather than receiving your fee on a monthly basis.

Incorporate 365 into wider projects

Bluestone 365 is not just for financing Microsoft software. We can roll any project into one manageable monthly cost including IT hardware, green technology and even new office furniture.

Benefits of Bluestone 365 for your customers

  • Retain a low monthly cost
  • Easily scale your number of users
  • Spread cost across agreement length
  • Spread risk
  • Combine with a hardware project into a single monthly cost
  • Potentially save some tax.  

Thousands of businesses will find themselves out of pocket with the upcoming changes to Microsoft 365 licensing agreements. Take the scorecard and we’ll send you a personalised report with feedback on the steps you can take to ensure you don’t lose out. It only takes 1 minute and it’s free.

  • It takes just 1 minute
  • It’s completely free
  • Receive customised results instantly

Click here to take the scorecard.

Introducing Bluestone: Alex Judd

Regional Account Manager, South London

Alex joined Bluestone in 2020 and, as our regional account manager for south London, spends his time advising and supporting customers and partners on the best finance solutions for them.

“Every client is different and there are so many financial solutions out there, my main job is to get to know them as well as I can to ensure I match them with the right finance for their project or purchase. That might mean meeting them at their offices or via a video call, whatever works best for the client, but keeping two-way communication open is key.”

The early days

Alex grew up in Swindon in the south west, but his earliest memory is from a holiday abroad when he was just three years old.

“I remember being on the beach at the shore line, and the sand had become burning hot. I couldn’t walk on it, so I was calling and calling for help. I can still see my dad hobbling towards me as fast as he could like he was running on hot coal.”

His experience by the sea could not have been too traumatic, however, as he later developed a childhood ambition to become a shipwreck explorer, mainly because he liked the idea of scuba diving all day. Alex also played a lot of football and tennis, and at school he discovered a talent for art, design, as well as a passion for music that would stick with him for life.

“From the age of 15 music took over my life, and as I also loved art, I thought designing album covers could be a great career. I completed my GNVQ in art and a BTEC in graphic design at college, but when it came to choosing a degree course, I decided that classical art was not for me and chose to study multimedia production instead.”

The world of work

After university, Alex took his multimedia degree in to the IT industry for an Apple reseller, mainly working in sales and account management.

“I never had aspirations to work in sales, but I found that it suited my personality as I like meeting new people, and as I had an interest in technology, my career has evolved naturally.”

With his experience in sales, account management, and IT, Alex’s move to Bluestone was a natural one. Alex takes pride in a consultative, helpful approach to working with clients, sharing knowledge and exploring multiple options to arrive at the best result. He also makes a great cup of tea, which makes him a popular guy when he is in the office.

The future

In his free time Alex produces music and enjoys taking city breaks, exploring the history and impressive architecture before relaxing in a bar, or sitting on an empty beach with an ice cold beer. One day, he hopes to take a first class trip to Japan’s futuristic cities as well as the rural landscapes, mountains, and ancient temples.

When asked what his biggest pet peeves are, Alex mentions people who drop litter, and when asked what he would change about the world, he says climate change and poverty. It is no surprise, therefore, that the person he most admires is Sir David Attenborough.

His accumulated knowledge and experience and his passion for protecting the planet are incredible. He will be remembered, and when he eventually passes away I think everyone in the UK will remember where they were.”

But what does Alex want to be remembered for?

“Being a funny, caring guy who made a decent beat.”

If you would to speak to Alex about your business and find out how a bespoke finance solution could help you to move forward, get in touch today.


Is it Time for Your Green Transformation?  

Sustainability, greener workplaces, carbon footprint, COP26, climate change… If you are the owner of a business that still has a significant carbon footprint, you are probably feeling a little overwhelmed right now. There is a lot of work and change ahead of us if we want to slow and stop the effects of climate change, and sticking your head in the sand really isn’t an option anymore.

The government has released the following statement:

“At COP26 and beyond, the UK government is calling on all businesses, of all sizes, to pledge to go One Step Greener and sign up to the globally-recognised UN Race to Zero Climate Commitment, which helps organisations become more energy efficient, switch to electric vehicles and active travel, and become landfill free. By doing so, they can protect the planet and their business, and help us start a green business revolution.”

Here are explore why and how UK businesses can take action on climate change and kickstart their green transformation.

The Motivation to Go Green

The COP26 summit produced what is being called the Glasgow Climate Pact, an agreement between 197 nations of the world to reduce the impact of climate change. The aim is to keep the planet’s temperature rise below 1.5C – this is what scientists say is required to prevent a “climate catastrophe”.

Key points that have been agreed in the pact include:

  • There is an explicit plan to reduce use of coal, which is responsible for 40% of annual CO2 emissions, but some countries would only agree to “phase down” rather than “phase out” coal after a late intervention by China and India.
  • The world’s biggest CO2 emitters, the US and China, pledged to cooperate more over the next decade in areas including methane emissions and the switch to clean energy.
  • Leaders from more than 100 countries – with about 85% of the world’s forests – promised to stop deforestation by 2030.
  • A scheme to cut 30% of methane emissions by 2030 was agreed by more than 100 countries.
  • The countries will meet again in 2022 to pledge further cuts to emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) – a greenhouse gas which causes climate change.

However, despite what may appear to be steps in the right direction, the Glasgow Climate Pact is not a legally binding agreement, and there are many who believe the targets set out do not go far enough. Even if every country was to achieve what they have pledged to, scientists estimate that we will only limit global warming to about 2.4C.

So, where does that leave us? Essentially, with plenty more work to do if we want to, quite literally, save the world and businesses want to show their customers that they are doing their bit.

Are UK Businesses ready to move ‘One Step Greener’?

Carbon footprint has become the standard  when measuring the environmental impact that any activity has on the environment. It represents to the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by performing an activity. From the emissions produced by your fleet to a member of staff drinking from a non-recyclable plastic bottle of water on your premises, every act leaves a carbon footprint.

We have created a free scorecard for businesses called ‘Is your business futureproof?’ which asks 12 quick questions about your workplace, technology and any environmental measures you’ve taken. According to the results we have collated in the last two months, with the exception of LED lighting installations, UK businesses have a way to go in their green transformations.

The Results

Overall Environmental Scores

  • 51% scored low
  • 43% scored medium
  • 4% scored high

How does your business compare? Click here to find if your business is futureproof.

If your score is lower than you would like, here are some ideas that could get you on the right track…

8 Ways to Go One Step Greener

Reducing your business’s carbon footprint means reducing the carbon emissions going into the atmosphere, and significant change has to start with the business leaders while being embraced by the entire team. While it is not something that will happen overnight, every journey has to start with that first ‘step greener’. Small changes can make a surprising difference over time. Here are some ideas on how to reduce your business’ carbon footprint.

1. Calculate your current carbon footprint

Before you start reducing, you need to understand what your carbon footprint is now and, crucially, which areas of your business are responsible. There are online calculators that will give you a rough estimation, but renewable energy companies will be able to provide a more accurate result and recommend the best ways to reduce.

2. Reduce, reuse, recycle

One of the simplest changes you can make is to reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as possible. From office supplies and packaging to the amount of electricity or water you use, the more you can reduce your consumption the less you will send to landfill and the smaller your carbon footprint will be. You could consider banning single-use plastics from your premises like plastic cutlery, bottles or disposable cups and plastic straws.

3. Install LED lighting

Switching to LED lighting in your business could reduce your carbon footprint and save you a significant amount of money on your energy costs. LEDs (light emitting diodes) use less energy, last longer, and produce a better quality of light than traditional lighting. In fact, LED lighting could reduce your annual energy consumption by at least 50%. 

Click here for more on the benefits of LED lighting.

4. Install solar panels

Solar panels convert natural energy from sunlight into free electricity for your business. Unlike electricity generated through traditional methods, solar electricity is carbon free. This not only reduces electricity costs in the present but will also protect businesses from future rises in energy prices.

Click here for more on the benefits of installing solar panels.

5. Switch to an electric fleet

If your business has a fleet of petrol or diesel vehicles, switching to an electric fleet could slash your emissions overnight. Electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions and are usually significantly cheaper to run than their fossil fuel counterparts.

Click here for more on switching to an electric fleet.

6. Promote greener commutes

If all your staff are travelling from home to work in separate vehicles, their carbon emissions will count towards your footprint. Consider ways in which you could encourage your staff to adopt a greener commute. This might mean offering discounts on public transport, a cycle to work scheme, letting them work from home where possible, or even providing them with a band new electric vehicle via a salary sacrifice scheme.

7. Support environmental community projects

Find out if you there are any community groups in the local area that are working to help the environment. Even the smallest activities can make a difference and set an example for others to follow, whether litter picking or restoring an area of wildlife. You could organise a team to help a community group during work hours, give staff additional holiday to volunteer elsewhere or even offer rewards for environmental work.

8. Educate your team

You can put lots of policies in place and give people the tools they need to change, but if they are not motivated to support your efforts, change is likely to be slow and ineffective. Any changes that you introduce should be done alongside education and cooperation from your team. It might take some time, but positive reinforcement and regular reminders will help to make green working the norm.

Funding Your Green Transformation

Another pledge made in the Glasgow Climate Pact is that financial organisations controlling $130tn have agreed to back “clean” technology, such as renewable energy, and direct finance away from fossil fuel-burning industries.

It looks likely, therefore, that in the coming months and years that many funders will show a preference for funding green projects, making it possible for UK businesses of every size to reduce their carbon footprint.

At Bluestone Leasing, we are also committed to helping UK businesses to cut their carbon footprint by buying or leasing renewable technology or upgrading to more energy efficient premises. If you would like to spread the cost of solar panels, electric vehicles and charge points, LED lighting, renewable heating, or any other asset that will reduce your carbon footprint, get in touch today.

Introducing Bluestone: Billy Preston

Regional Account Manager, South West

Billy, our regional account manager for the south west, has been helping businesses to grow through asset finance since 2017, but he also has the somewhat unique perspective of having used asset finance as a business owner. With both personal and professional experience to draw from, Billy is firmly on the side of his clients when it comes to finance.  

“My job is not to talk at clients or sell finance to them – I am there to listen and consult. Every business faces unique challenges which require a unique solution. Once I understand how their business works, I can introduce the most appropriate finance option. One that is suited to their exact needs, at that precise time, to give them the confidence they need to move their business forward.”

Before Bluestone 

Billy was born in Dublin where, in his own words, he spent a lot of his childhood “feeling restless”. When he was 6, his dad moved to London for work which is where he and his brother attended school. Billy’s time in Ireland could not have been too off-putting, however, as when it was time to go to university, Billy chose to return to Dublin.  

After graduating from Trinity College Dublin, Billy worked across multiple media disciplines including roles in PR, journalism and public affairs. However, his boldest move was opening and running a restaurant with his wife.  

“My wife is an incredible cook and although it was the hardest two years of my life with long hours, no wages, and plenty of personal and professional strain, opening the restaurant is still my greatest professional achievement...

Ultimately, we decided to sell the business, but from finding the right site, to the fit out of the premises, to finding the best local suppliers, designing the menu, training the staff, to the day to day running and balancing of the books, I saw how tough it is to make a business work, especially in the hospitality industry.’

It was Billy’s experience of using asset finance as a customer that led him to his next career move.  

“My friend was already working in asset finance, and he suggested that it could be a good fit for me as I had a solid understanding of asset finance from having used it as a customer, and I am good at listening to people, thinking creatively, and enjoy problem solving. So, in 2017 I started working in an asset finance brokerage in London, specialising in the hospitality and leisure industry.”  

Why Bluestone?  

“My decision to join Bluestone was an easy one as the company’s reputation in the finance industry is exemplary. Some finance brokers have a bad name for putting their own profit before what’s best for the client, but Bluestone are well known for their ethical approach and high customer retention. In fact, when employed by a previous company I attempted to lure a particular client away from Bluestone to be told, ‘No thanks, we’re happy where we are.'”

The Future 

If I could change one thing about the world, it would be for the human race to stop destroying the planet through selfishness. I have a young son, and his future is always on my mind. In my free time I enjoy gardening and growing my own produce, and the best weekends are those when we get to pick or buy fresh local ingredients to prepare and cook a meal as a family.

Billy’s green ambitions extend past his personal life and into his work at Bluestone as he is passionate about funding the circular economy and renewable technologies. 

“I can help businesses in my region to fund just about any asset, but a big motivator of mine is to promote green and circular economies; I want Bluestone to play a part by funding projects that make the world a cleaner and better place now and in the future.

If you would to speak to Billy about your business and find out how a bespoke finance solution could help you to move forward, get in touch today.