Birmingham Press Club is about to welcome the launch of a new print product in the region. Here, former Birmingham Mail editor STEVE DYSON provides a sneak preview of his BQ West Midlands magazine.
As the economy bumps along the bottom of what’s been such a painful recession, there’s never been a better time to launch an inspirational business magazine. That’s because in the good times, it’s almost too easy to find success stories and to throw praise around willy-nilly. During those booms (remember them?), readers sometimes see such reports as too self-congratulatory, and often dismiss them as mediocre business chiefs patting themselves on the back when, actually, they would have had to try damn hard to stop the money rolling in.
BQ West Midlands will be sent out direct to around 10,000 top business leaders at the end of February. What we’ve tried to provide them with is a selection of winning stories across a range of industries. Find out how the sixth generation of a family firm of metal-bashers in Birmingham city centre copes with downturns. Read all about the human side of one entrepreneur whose child’s near-tragedy contributed towards her current role leading a Midlands charity, increasing revenues by 25% in the last three years. And discover how a musician became an inventor – now selling tens of thousands of his new instrument.Take the piece on an old Rover executive, for example. He didn’t quite know what he was letting himself in for when he left the car giant to join a Black Country parts firm. As the recession started to bite, the banks grabbed back all their loans – leaving his company with just £50 in the bank, dwindling orders and nearly 200 workers to worry about. And that was when he sprang into action, remembering all the training he’d had over 30 years at Rover. For anyone in industry, his story is a thriller – yes, restructuring and cutting costs, but also taking the brave decision to insource a variety of processes, invest in new machinery and transform the very nature of the company. His firm, by the way, is now set for annual revenues approaching £40 million.
The in-depth analysis doesn’t end there, as we’ve also great exclusives for the first edition of what will become top business folk’s favourite quarterly read. We’ve interviewed three of the region’s most memorable candidates on BBC1’s The Apprentice. Not the winners, mind, but those who came close. Did the gruelling TV experience with Alan Sugar help or hinder? And what do they think of the support young entrepreneurs get in the West Midlands? They tell all in a riveting ‘20 questions’ section.
We’ve also commissioned the chief executive of one of the region’s leading football clubs to describe what it’s like running a sports business during a recession – especially when the team itself is struggling. And we take a top business leader out to lunch – to find out how he and Lord Heseltine plan to put membership business organisations’ noses out of joint this spring.
So where’s this BQ West Midlands all come from? Well, to cut a long story short, my first editorship was at the Evening Gazette in Middlesbrough. My managing director at the time, Alastair MacColl, has since left and his company now owns Room 501 Publishing, which has successfully launched three BQ editions in the North East, Yorkshire and Scotland. He plans to expand the brand further, and so approached me to launch BQ West Midlands. BQ, by the way, stands for Business Quarter – it’s not just a Brummie take on the cheeky GQ magazine!
And so there you have it... the spring edition of BQ West Midlands will be out soon. My role as editor is part-time, by the way. Dyson Media, my media training, advice and strategy business – continues as before. Go towww.dysonmedia.co.uk to find out more.