It’s Hard

Office Move

Downtown recently held a fantastic half day conference in association with the government’s flagship business support initiative Growth Accelerator.

The event was entitled ‘Limitless – developing a hyper-growth Mind-set’ and focussed on how successful business leaders and entrepreneurs from across the UK had ‘done it’.

Inevitably the contributions from the speakers were upbeat and positive, but almost to a person, every keynote speaker and panel member warned would-be growth ambitious businesses that taking your company forward is challenging, at times frustrating, and it’s hard!

Downtown has been evolving and growing, relatively steadily, for just over a decade now. On Monday we are moving offices, so that the team at our Liverpool HQ have a better working environment. It is also a facility that provides us with space and collateral to offer our members a more diverse range of events and business support services.

In 2015, you would think that an office move would be relatively simple. However, we have needed to find additional hours and resource from our existing team, and use some external help too, over a period of a few months, to make it happen. Telephones, internet services, the office fit out and new furniture are among a long list of things that were on the ‘to do’ list, and I can’t say I’m looking forward to the actual physical move next week. I’m sure though that the old adage ‘short term pain for long term gain’ applies here.

This is the latest ‘hard to do’ in my personal business growth journey and it would be nice to say that UK Plc, with its love of an enterprise culture and entrepreneurial spirit, has at least been there to help me through it.

Sadly not. There is no ‘one-stop-shop’ for a small business to seek guidance on who the best suppliers are when you’re moving office. There is no robot within HMRC who will accept that moving office to grow your business and secure, hopefully create, jobs, is deserving of some lee-way in terms of tax returns and VAT payments. There is certainly no business book, manual or course that can take you through the ‘office move’ project – or indeed many of the other issues you will face as an ambitious business owner.

This is why business support initiatives such as Growth Accelerator, and a few others that are genuinely private sector led, are so invaluable. It is also why public sector agencies, quasi-public sector organisations and failed middle managers should not be allowed anywhere near business support – but that is a rant for another day.

For now, I will get on with the latest ‘challenge’, and simply take on the chin the hefty fine imposed on me this week by HMRC for my VAT payment being a day late!

Make Downtown top of your ‘resolution’ list


Well here we go! Another New Year has arrived and we are all busy trying to maintain our ‘resolutions’ of cutting back on chocolate, ‘dry’ January, starting a new fitness regime, or whatever it might be. Good luck to all of you who have made a commitment and commiserations to those of you who have given up already.

The New Year is also an opportunity to review ambitions and plans for your business, and I hope part of your plan includes engagement with Downtown in Business which is planning a fantastic twelve months of activity, in terms of the events programme that we will offer; and the involvement in an increasingly interesting political landscape that will include a General Election and continued discussion over devolution and the Northern Powerhouse.

Helping business influence government thinking, and offering a genuine business voice for the North of England is a key Downtown objective, but equally important is supporting our members to maximise the potential of their business, and we are determined to build on the £800m plus worth of deals that we have facilitated for our network during the past decade.

That is partly about the quality introductions we can provide through our business support managers who are on the ground in each city, but it is also about enabling you access to intelligence and advice from some of the most successful entrepreneurs from across the UK.

To kick off what will be a series of Downtown events that will bring together members with a high growth mind-set and business leaders who have completed the high growth journey, we have a half day conference in Liverpool entitled Limitless – Developing a hyper growth Mind Set

Among the speakers will be two of the regions’ best known business mentors and coaches Andy Bounds and Michael Finnigan. There will also be a range of business owners who have ‘been there, done that and got the T-shirt’.

This is the type of networking that allows you to meet quality people and learn a thing or two as well. It is what Downtown does best, and if one of your resolutions is to grow your business in 2015, then it would be daft not to take advantage of what we will be offering this year. I look forward to seeing you at a number of our events this year, and wish you all the very best with your hopes and aspirations.

Happy New Year!

To learn more about Downtown CLICK HERE