Occasionally I like to browse Eventbrite and such alike to see what is going on in the world and what might be fun to attend. With a name like Shropshire Business Live 2- "A 2020 Vision - Reasons to be Cheerful" how could I not attend?
Organised by Nick Jones Wealth Planning in the gorgeous venue of Netley Hall Estate and hosted by Shropshire Business editor and BBC Shropshire presenter Carl Jones, I thoroughly enjoyed my breakfast which was made all the more digestible by the positive attitude exuding from both the panellists on stage and the other businesses in attendance.
So what did I learn? (PART 1)
With regards to recruiting and retaining the best staff, Helen Spencer of Whittingham Riddell was keen to point out that gone are the days of placing a job advert in the local newspaper. It’s important to be using all the different online channels that the top talent are hanging out on/in. Apparently there is also an employer review website called Glass Door where your staff can give feedback on you so if you want to attract top talent make sure you are treating your staff properly.
The saying 'do as you would be done by,' springs to mind in this moment. Top talent are clearly going to want to work for the top employers, however in my humble opinion this isn't just about the highest turn over and fancy offices. Is it just me or are people yearning for there to be more meaning in their lives? Of course there are always going to be ambitious cut throat go getters but don't forget to think more holistically too, for when the shine fades on all the 'stuff' we strive for in our youth. How are you feeding the soul?
An emphasis was also made on the need for a hero’s journey. Allowing local talent to get grass roots training in their home town but encouraging them to head off on a quest to expand their horizons, learn new things and then bring their upskilled selves back into the fold of the motherland.
On the question of the weak Pound and how to capitalise on it?
Structural improvements need to be made with regards to roads and broadband provisions, the information highway. Obviously being at a Shropshire Business Live event the emphasis was on Shropshire but this goes for the whole country I'm sure you will agree.
The landscape has seemed uncertain for so very long that some of us are apparently getting nonchalant about it. When the uncertainty horizon seems a long way off into the distance that can be the case but when change seems imminent, which of course it does at the time of writing (for future readers it's December 2019, General Election/Brexit) The panel were keen to encourage us not to let short term uncertainty affect planning. Ignore the uncertainty horizon, at the end of the day if you have a good idea that people want then get on and do it. Strength and Value last. A brief reminder that world class business people will come, NOT because you are the least expensive.
I particularly liked the round up from Nick to say that opportunities are always going to be out there no matter the climate, bumps in the road don’t matter too much because that’s life. Don’t have ‘should'a, could’a' regrets when all this doom and gloom is simply a lot of hot air. No one really knows what is going to happen!
There was a real emphasis on the fact that Shropshire business folks are forward thinking, planning with confidence and ambition with a reluctance to look back.
Thoughts on Christmas – bah humbug, it’s going to be a tough year.
It was generally agreed that people are not spending as much as we would like on the high street. With this in mind panellists spoke of the importance of factors such as the cost of parking, ease and convenience of just popping in if you need to, and creating an experience to entice customers into town in the first place. Empty shops are not good for business and those who are running bricks and mortar enterprises need to also embrace the power of online selling to ensure their services are found, the two really need to go hand in hand. Plus once you have made a sale how can you turn that customer into a repeat customer? How are you nurturing your future sales? Point to note, please don't collect email addresses only to email your customer the following year with another Christmas offer, they will have forgotten you by then, it's important to nurture the 'know, like and trust' factor before hitting them with a promotion, don't be the drunk uncle that only turns up on the doorstep wanting money at Christmas only to disappear again for the rest of the year!
I was also interested to hear that there is such a thing as ‘high street champions’ within communities and that Wellington is in line for a Rising Star Award in the annual National High Street Awards. Further to that, the concept of getting more young entrepreneurs onto the high street and trading, and if we want young people to head into town to do their shopping rather than clicking away at their phones are the right brands and experiences available to entice them in? What kind of ‘vibe’ is your local high street radiating?
At the end of the day any true entrepreneur will tell you that challenges are golden opportunities that once solved lead to the ultimate success. An entrepreneurial spirit is a problem solving spirit.
Apologies for not being able to now attribute every great observation to it's rightful owner however it all came from the lovely panel consisting of:-
NICK JONES - Nick Jones Wealth Planning
HUGH STRICKLAND - Aaron & Partners
HELEN SPENCER - Whittingham Riddell
MARK NORTH - Barclays