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Is your business ready for the challenges of the future?

Are you working hard enough to protect your business against the challenges of the future? Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Are you working hard enough to protect your business against the challenges of the future? Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Matthew Peek, head of SME Anglia at Future50 partner Barclays, talks about the crucial importance of future-proofing your business.

Matthew Peek from Barclays.   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMatthew Peek from Barclays. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The very best days in my role are when I spend quality time with business owners.

I have been inspired in recent weeks with both Future50 businesses and others who represent all sectors.

Cisco research from 2017 suggests that one third of businesses today will not be around in 10 years’ time. It’s a fascinating statistic and something that is at the forefront of my mind and should be driving our thoughts, conversations and actions around future-proofing business.

At the recent Breckland Business Forum, which I chaired, I challenged the audience to start a second business which would be the biggest competitor to their current business. George Freeman MP spoke with passion about the opportunity for our region to prosper and challenged us to shake off stereotypical views of our counties.

He is right, and how great it is to see both Ipswich and Norwich taking two of the top five places for GVA growth in the UK for the first quarter of 2018, according to the UK Powerhouse study.

We also have our business parks in Norfolk and Suffolk – including Innovation Martlesham and Norwich Research Park, home to over 200 businesses with local, national and global business.

The one thing above all that I notice is that we remain reserved around sharing stories and successes. In the last month alone I have met the F50 cohort who will revolutionise and industrialise electric car charging, a firm of lawyers that started out with two employees in 2005 and now has 45, and a member who is soon to open a second site to increase reach for their log cabins business – but who else knows?

It is in the hands of our businesses to increase the profile of the region and help shake off some of the pre-conceived views. When we do that, we will attract more interest and increase our chances of investment.

Whether a football fan or otherwise, I reflected on Gareth Southgate’s leadership style during the World Cup. He is clearly building something for the good of the team as a collective and remained level-headed by never getting carried away, recognising that he is at best mid-project.

Waistcoats alone do not win football matches, but great leadership, professionalism and how you go about your businesses builds credibility and huge components of trust which is the bedrock of strong relationships. Let’s challenge ourselves to go forward as a collective to future-proof our local economies.

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