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    The thirteenth in the series of PM+M’s ‘Navigating the Now and Next’ virtual panel events took place on Thursday 24 February, facilitating discussion between a panel of speakers on the ongoing challenges presented to businesses and taking a positive and forward-looking view on how to overcome them.

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

    Dave Walker – Managing Director, +24 Marketing

    James Robbins – Partner, Harrison Drury Solicitors

    Amin Kamaluddin – Growth Consultant, SK Growth

    Dave Scholes – Director, Six Connections

    Following the opening introduction and welcome from Neil, Dave Walker highlighted some of the challenges he was facing within his business, +24 Marketing (a digital agency), including rising costs and recruitment, something which other business owners may find relatable.

    Dave then looked at a more positive change impacting business: the considerable and rising importance of digital transformation. He explained how his company helped a customer move from inputting orders manually to an online portal – saving thousands of hours. Dave went on to highlight how digital transformation can improve processes, reduce costs, and create more agile working. This also tied into the principles of process improvement and how research and development can play its part.

    Next up, Neil introduced James Robbins (Harrison Drury) who explained that although businesses received some breathing space during the pandemic through government support schemes, he predicts that concerns over insolvency are likely to increase over the next few years. James advised businesses that may find themselves in this position to obtain legal advice as early as possible to achieve the best outcomes. Transparency, honesty and a degree of vulnerability would better serve a business – the key message was to reach out for support. This was endorsed by attending guest Andy Platt of Simply Corporate.

    James also discussed the hospitality sector, explaining that although the relaxation of Covid restrictions is helping towards recovery, there are still major issues concerning staff retention and the impact of rising inflation. He viewed low-cost and higher-end offerings as being perhaps better positioned than those who inhabit the middle ground. Finding a differentiator perhaps being the key to survival and success.

    To finish up, James offered a forecast for 2022 regarding property tenancy, suggesting that we may be on the path to a return of normalcy with lease forfeits and landlords now be able to pursue rent arrears – a welcome change for property owners.

    Amin Kamaluddin of SK Growth, our next speaker, gave some insights into the world of SK Growth, explaining how they help businesses with:

    • Scaling up
    • Looking to grow, but have run into some barriers and need advice
    • Getting sale-ready

    Amin spoke about the importance of strategy in businesses – namely how implementing a strategy can be harder than creating one. He discussed the McKinsey’s 7-S model which focusses on strategy, structure, systems, shared values, skills, style, and staff – all of which should ideally be balanced for an organisation to perform well. The idea that culture tops strategy and the importance of this for recruitment and retention was also endorsed by guest and employment lawyer Emma Saunders (Napthens).

    Our final panellist, Dave Scholes (Six Connections), offered his agreement to Amin’s points by emphasising the importance of a company culture that prioritises employee mental health and wellbeing. Dave explained that a business which aims to genuinely understand the professional and personal parts of an individual can vastly improve a person’s wellbeing.

    Neil brought the panel discussion to a close and opened the floor to the audience, with additional comments and thoughts from Ceri Dixon (PM+M), Andy Platt (Simply Corporate), Roger Phillips (PM+M) and Andi Lewis (Six Connections) before thanking the panel and Claire Rhodes (The Landmark) for hosting the event.

    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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