2016 has been a year of remarkable achievements with the growing membership ‘flying high’.
As 2016 draws to its close, I have been inspired by the achievements of our growing membership this year.
There have been many noteworthy successes. These have been recognised in a wide variety of ways.
The Let’s Do Business event at Uttoxeter Racecourse will long be remembered for its increased numbers of visitors. The diversity of the stands across all three halls powerfully illustrated the popularity of the Expo. The date will be also be remembered as the day when the British Public decided that it was ‘time for change’. This was later endorsed by the new Prime Minister. Fortunately, I don’t think that our planned 2017 Expo will be accompanied by such an auspicious event.
Then in October, the Burton Mail Business Awards exceeded many expectations. Again, it was a sell-out before the entries closed. The widest ever cross-section of submissions showed how Burton and District continues to develop flourishing businesses.
The economic prosperity of Staffordshire in general, and East Staffordshire, in particular, with its innovative start-ups, rapidly expanding SME’s, and world leading brands, appears to be increasingly well positioned for the future. The District is probably more fortunately placed and effectively responding to change than many comparable areas that spring to mind.
This is an interesting context.
A Chamber member recently remarked that ‘revisiting’ can be a useful approach to assisting the management and development of a business.
He continued with an analogy which struck a chord. He pointed out that when you return to a favourite holiday location, your third and fourth visits after are each different.
Whilst, the basic things remain the same as on your initial holiday, other situations and circumstances are likely to have changed. These are probably outside of your control or influence. Whilst, the key elements that attracted you in the first place still exist, you will still enjoy the marginally altered situation.
His careful, yet simple, analysis really got me thinking, especially after the momentous last six months.
I wondered how many businesses really identify with the situations and the changes that are likely to affect them? It is a cliché, but true that many try and avoid change rather than embracing it. Have you ever considered the opportunities that may be on offer?
Of course, change can mean disturbance and potential disruption to your business and your staff. However, on the other hand, it often provides unexpected opportunities. Can you manoeuvre your business, and its products/services, to exploit the new environment? Or, are you just prepared to sit back?
Returning to my concept of ‘revisiting’ such a process will provide you with the structure to assess where and how you should go forward. And, it will assist you to incorporate into your thinking and evaluation of how you can make best use of your changing situation.
I am convinced that many Chamber members will agree that some form of business planning is beneficial.
From the entries in the Yee Group sponsored ‘Customer Service Award’ category at BMBA 2016, (and talking with other judges and the organising committee), there are examples year on year of businesses accepting change; and making plans for the future.
The end of the calendar year provides one key time when you can revisit your plans and reconsider the next 12 to 18 months. It is probably one of the points in time when many business owners actually take the plunge to re-assess their plans. But within your overall plan, I believe you should be revisiting your plans more frequently.
At Yee Group, we have fixed dates in our calendars for ‘away days’ when the senior management can take time to review, reassess and agree our plans. I can recommend the process. You will be amazed at what these days away from the front line of your business can offer. I recommend them and the contribution that they offer.
For one thing, your plans can and I believe should include entering business awards. They will achieve deliver definitive recognition for your business. As judges, we have spotted the new trend of summarising plans. They add significantly to an entry. It offers the company and those reviewing you entry some solid facts. Then, you and the judges can discuss them on their visits.
At the Chamber, our team are always keen to hear from members about their latest business developments and information that you would like to publicise to wider audiences. Our weekly emailer is available to promote your business and details can be sent to [email protected]
At this Festive Season, I would like to wish the business community of Burton, East Staffordshire and South Derbyshire a Happy Christmas and a successful and prosperous 2017.
I welcome feedback and comment on this column and the work and activities of the Chamber. You can contact me at [email protected]
President of Burton and District Chamber of Commerce
Managing Director, Yee Group Limited