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    The twentieth in the series of PM+M’s ‘Navigating the Now and Next’ virtual panel events took place on Thursday 1 December, facilitating discussion between a panel of speakers on the current challenges faced by businesses and highlighting support, guidance, and best practice to navigate these going forwards.

    Hosted by our very own Neil Welsh, with digital hosting managed by our friends at The Landmark in Burnley, we welcomed panellists:

    Neil Evans (Veka)
    Richard Few (Sales Geek)
    Kate Ingram (Burnley Borough Council)
    Mark Hague (Farleys Solicitors)
    Andi Lewis (Six Connections)

    Following the opening introduction and welcome from Neil Welsh (PM+M), Neil Evans (VEKA UK) kicked off proceedings by discussing challenges the business has faced over the past few years and the further challenge a recession is going to bring next year.

    Neil went on to discuss how diversification is key and how important it is to look at your key competencies which may well lead you into different markets. He also touched on the differences in single use plastics and those which are designed to last for years to come from a CSR perspective, and the importance VEKA places on recycling.

    On the subject of recruitment, Neil explained how he strongly values non-industry experience and the variety of skills employees from outside the industry can bring, considering authenticity and personal values as more important.

    Richard Few (Sales Geek) was up next and discussed seeing some businesses looking to reduce costs to help in these challenging times, but others who are looking to take a more aggressive approach. Offshoring is something people are looking to explore more in terms of service delivery, and they are seeing this work well for some businesses.

    Richard also explained how we are now living in a ‘review’ world due to increased online usage, where people are more focused on the product and the value it brings than the branding behind it. This can provide many opportunities for smaller businesses who have a great product offering.

    Down to the key events that have taken place over the past few years, Richard highlighted that although history can provide some useful data, consumer behaviours have changed massively, and this should not be ignored when planning for the future.

    Next up, Kate Ingram (Burney Council) shared valuable insights on some of the complex projects she has been involved with in her role and challenges faced. She also touched on funding and the need for ‘doing more with less’, discussing how outsourcing can be a great tool for utilising key skills which you may not be able to afford in-house.

    Kate then went on to outline why she feels Burnley Bondholders has been the success it has, putting this down to demand from the private sector, a shared vision with everyone involved and Burnley being a special place which people feel passionate about.

    Mark Hague (Farleys) then discussed the role of an insolvency lawyer and the difference in the role of an insolvency practitioner. He mentioned seeing an increase in insolvency cases since support put in place by the Government during the pandemic stopped. He also outlined the steps that should be taken if you discover a business who owes you money has entered insolvency. His biggest piece of advice is to always speak to an expert early, whether you’re a business facing insolvency or looking to recover money owed by an insolvent business.

    Our final panellist, Andi Lewis (Six Connections) added further insight on some of her ‘light bulb’ moments from the past year, including how precious time is, the power of partnerships and how being ourselves is key.

    Andi discussed the business forming many great partnerships through word of mouth and telling their story. Looking to the future, she said the business plans to be radical and progressive, building on the great connections they already have, with a focus on the real issues people are facing. It’s always about being real and relevant.

    Neil brought the panel discussion to a close and thanked all for attending and The Landmark for hosting.

    If anyone would like to be introduced to members of the panel or audience, included in the invite for next month’s event or wish to speak to one of the PM+M team about our services, please get in touch with Neil Welsh via the button below.

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    For more information about anything in the above article, please get in touch using the button below.
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