April/May/June 2020

Guiding the region’s businesses forward

by Phil Jones MBE, Managing Director, Brother UK.

Within this issue of GM Business Connect Magazine you’ll find a toolkit of invaluable insights and information. We’ve compiled this to help the city region’s business community to lean into the current turmoil and come out better equipped and stronger.

You don’t need me to tell you that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the business ecosystem has been unprecedented. I’ve seen how it has affected many successful firms and entrepreneurs in my own network and even my family. My daughter, a freelancer working in the events industry, saw around six months’ worth of delivery work evaporate in 48 hours as the nation ramped up its response to the outbreak. The impact on us all is very real.

Phil Jones MBE, MD of Brother UK

The saying goes that it is an ill wind that blows no good, meaning a loss or misfortune usually benefits someone, and sure enough there are opportunities right now if you think of the grocery sector, video conferencing providers or employment law. But for most, the path ahead looks difficult and uncertain.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when there are so many red lights flashing on your dashboard. What I found helpful in the previous economic crisis, the financial crash of 2008, was to recalibrate my sights around a three-point immediate action plan. It helped retain focus, drive decision making and quality thinking in amongst a storm of problems. For us at Brother UK right now, that’s:

The safety and wellbeing of our people whilst keeping our business moving.
Supply chain security so we can keep our customers’ businesses moving.
Supporting those helping others to keep our communities and the economy moving.

It’s this third point that leads us here to our contribution to this issue of GM Business Connect Magazine. When people are asking ‘where do I turn to?’ and ‘where is my community?’ we want to hold this up as a resource that can help them stay on their feet and get fighting fit for the future. Because all storms will pass.

At times like this there is a lot of noise and good insights are hard to come by. Like me, you’ve probably seen 100 LinkedIn posts on video conferencing etiquette or managing a remote workforce. I was keen we get something together quickly which was more practical for the regional business 
community, an essential read to help give clarity.

You need to keep your business moving, 
control your controllables and zero-in on the 
priorities that matter now. These are managing cashflow, legal requirements, reputation, 
resilience, engaging with your teams and, 
importantly, adopting the entrepreneurial 
mindset that’s needed to see opportunity 
even when the chips are down.

We’ve invited contributions from some of 
the region’s most inspiring leaders, 
qualified experts and energetic 
entrepreneurs to give guidance on 
these topics, alongside a contact book 
of some of the city’s most skilled 
freelancers that can assist you right now. I hope this guide will help you navigate 
these choppy waters. As leaders, we know 
everything is about decision making and now 
keeping calm when doing so is mission critical.

I like to follow the mnemonic below:

ompassionate (to your people)
Action Oriented (against your priorities)
Level Headed (evidence-based)
Mindful (of consequences)

Keep CALM, keep healthy and keep things 
moving for the benefit of everyone that 
depends on you. If we all manage to do 
that, then we can keep moving and get 
Greater Manchester back to its thriving self soon.

Phil Jones MBE, Managing Director, 
Brother UK