Norma Thomas, based in Kent is Business Liaison Manager for RIFT Research & Development. In her own words Norma reveals that  if you’re overcoming challenges within your business, RIFT Research & Development can help maximise your R&D tax relief claim allowing you to reap the benefits of your hard work.

You can visit the RIFT website here

What are your main priorities and goals in your role?

To help businesses not only understand the R&D scheme, but how beneficial the rewards can be.

What are your biggest challenges?

Our biggest challenge surrounds enabling businesses to understand their eligibility. Often businesses don’t realise the full scope of the scheme and are therefore not maximizing their claim.

How has your business strategy been adapted in the context of the Covid-19 crisis?

We’ve done very well and I’m proud of how swiftly the team mobilised into this new way of working. We’re an agile bunch, which allowed the company to transition to a new norm in the space of a week, allowing our operations to continue right through the year.

What are the challenges facing your industry going forward?

The business development environment has changed drastically over the last few months, but we are always exploring new ways to reach out and stay in contact with people.

What new trends are emerging in your industry?

We are seeing a growing number of smaller claims, from startups to companies newly considering innovative approaches, particularly in relation to sustainability and ethical practices. This just goes to show that you don’t have to spend huge quantities to benefit from the scheme.

How will Brexit affect you, or have you started to feel the effects already?

There will be a growing dependence on the R&D scheme with the potential reduced access to EU funding. We are also expecting to see a rise in home grown innovation as we look to rely less on EU imports.

How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?

I think any success requires continual development, at a personal level I like to try and learn from both success and failure and apply that knowledge to future situations.   It is about doing my job well the drive comes from being recognised as someone who always does her best.  Outside of work I think success is cooking a good meal, pouring and enjoying the perfect glass of champagne! 

What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?

The best advice I would give is to always actively engage, listen and for me smile, whether this is with a colleague or customer. Its ok not to speak up early or often. I think in today’s high-tech, high-speed world, genuine listening is becoming rarer. It helps build relationships, solve problems, ensure understanding and resolve conflicts.

What have been your highlights in business over the past year?

A real highlight for me has been the way the team have adapted and in so doing are now providing a far more environmentally friendly and sustainable service. With face to face meetings now at a minimum, the team are using technology advancements to better connect with their clients and each other.

What’s next for your company?

Given the current challenges which are facing the business development community, we’re looking at new ways of networking and bringing people together in a virtual environment. Everyone knows about Zoom and webinar fatigue, but it’s clear that people still want to do business together so we’re looking at ways to facilitate this.

What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2020/21?

Developing the means by which to enable people to communicate and collaborate in a way that overcomes current constraints.

Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?

Jan Post founded the business in 1999 and since then it’s gone from strength to strength. We’re already looking ahead to 2021 where we hope to reach further and help more businesses than we ever have done before.

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