The tenth in the series of PM+M’s ‘Navigating the Now and Next’ virtual panel events took place on Thursday 26 August, aimed at helping businesses manage the ongoing challenges of the present and understand what support is available as we look to the future.
Hosted by our very own Neil Welsh, with digital hosting managed by our friends at The Landmark in Burnley, we welcomed panellists:
Nadeem Memon – Finance and IT Director, Panaz Group
Reta Rose – Associate Partner, Farleys Solicitors
Helen Hesketh – Financial Controller, Hesketh Jones Construction
Following the opening introduction and welcome, Nadeem Memon kicked off proceedings by discussing how his company, Panaz, has fared during the pandemic. He described how, prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, 60% of company turnover came from the hospitality sector, with the remaining 40% from the healthcare sector. Nadeem described their initial struggles as the hospitality sector shut down overnight, leading to the business accelerating their product launches to the healthcare sector. One of the key factors in Panaz Group turning a negative into a positive during the pandemic was through educating the health care sector on their products – which ultimately led to a successful increase in sales.
Digitalisation and technological advances in the business have also been factors in their success, as investing in software which allows clients to create their own designs which are automatically printed via a new piece of machinery, not only improves efficiencies but also creates a more collaborative customer journey.
Reta Rose went on the discuss how her role has evolved over the past 18 months, working in both HR and marketing in one of the most challenging periods. She articulated the importance of virtual meetings during the pandemic, both internally and externally, as a tool to improve relationships, reinforce company culture and simply just to keep in touch! Reta reinforced Nadeem’s point of collaborative working and highlighted how this has shone through during the pandemic. Multiple offices and departments have been involved in peer networking groups, cross-selling and sharing points of interest – it has been amazing to see everyone working together and collaborating in this way.
Reta also explored how client demands have changed during the pandemic, and the importance of service firms, such as Farleys Solicitors, demonstrating their human, emotive side when promoting their product, which is ultimately their people. Therefore, highlighting how looking after your employees should be at the forefront of your agenda.
The final guest was Helen Hesketh, who went straight into describing how COVID has affected her business, with staffing being the ultimate factor. As construction is a male dominated industry, Helen found that many tradespeople’s partners were key workers e.g. nurses, so they found themselves becoming stay-at-home Dads overnight! Helen also found that businesses who they were previously working with on a project were now unable to commit as, understandably, the pandemic was causing many uncertainties. Would building a new office in the city centre be a good idea now? Would people want to live in apartments when gardens have become such a huge commodity during lockdown? These uncertainties therefore caused delays in these projects moving forward.
Helen went on to discuss the biggest positive for her business over the past 18 months is how technology has allowed her to grow her network virtually. She described virtual events (such as this one) allowing her to ‘build an industry family’.
Neil brought the panel discussion to a close and opened the floor to the audience, obtaining further input and comment from Andy Platt (Simply Corporate), Ian McCulloch (Opus Restructuring and Insolvency), Dave Scholes (Mindsight/Six Connections), Mark Wiggan, (M65 Job Search), Chris Booth (Hine Chartered Insurance Brokers), Helen McVey (Pendleside Hospice), Julie Blinkho (Business Health Institute) and Claire Rhodes (The Landmark).
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.