Learning that ‘must is a great master’

Recent economic developments are causing many companies grave concern and rightfully so. We are in the midst of an energy crisis while facing the consequences of the pound becoming uncharacteristically weak, and this is temporarily preventing us from being competitive in a global context.

Recent economic developments are causing many companies grave concern and rightfully so. We are in the midst of an energy crisis while facing the consequences of the pound becoming uncharacteristically weak, and this is temporarily preventing us from being competitive in a global context.

The biggest indication of where we truly are economically at the moment is undoubtedly the Bank of England’s intervention this week in an attempt to restabilise the financial institutions.

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Taking all of the above into consideration, it can be difficult for businesses to remain optimistic, especially with many still recovering from the hammer blow caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Micro and small businesses feel these shocks much quicker than most, with a lack of cash to see them through prolonged periods of difficulty.

Chris Gray

No matter what stage a business is at, focused growth can be the difference between succeeding and closing down altogether. However, it cannot be overstated that businesses which do not continue to progress and move forward on their own focused journey usually cease to exist. Businesses cannot afford to be shocked into inertia by macro factors. Smaller businesses should use the fact that they are nimble as an advantage so they can pivot and take advantage of any opportunities that may foster their own growth.

We have applied this mantra to our own company, Gray’s Marketing and Communications Specialists, as we move into our new office next week. In January of this year, we purchased a circa-4,000 square foot building which is over 100 years old and located in Clarendon Street, an area traditionally considered as prestigious in the professional services space. We have invested almost half a million pounds on this project between the purchase of the building and associated capital works. This is our largest investment to date but, more importantly, it is a signal of our ambitious intentions moving forward.

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The new offices for Gray’s have been equipped with state-of-the-art production facilities including a podcast studio, which has been carefully developed to broadcast standard specifications. In addition, we have invested heavily in creative spaces within the building to help stimulate idea generation, as well as areas that allow our team to relax and consolidate their thought process. These quiet spaces will provide solace from the busy and high-pressure environment in which we operate daily.

Our aspiration for the space is to ultimately open up the production facilities to those wishing to learn about the marketing and communications industry in due course. We believe this will help ensure the skills gap locally is proactively tackled from our own perspective in identifying talent that can deliver for Gray’s and on behalf of our clients.

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Readers may be wondering why we are doing this in the backdrop of a seemingly disastrous period economically. The answer, in short, is because somebody needs to. I have been fortunate enough to be guided and mentored by highly influential and proven people from the business community over the years. One of my favourite pieces of advice I have received is that ‘must is a great master’, i.e. when something has to be done, you will do it. This has guided our own decision-making process for years as a company and ensures we understand that we always need to be moving forward, regardless of what is happening around us. This approach to our business development ensures we remain consistently focused on the needs of our clients and steadfast in our own trajectory.

Importantly, we collectively felt that the move into the city centre would convey a strong message for an emerging business such as our own, as without private sector investment in the city centre, the area will ultimately continue to further regress. Having more businesses return to the city centre will animate what has become an increasingly stark environment, and hopefully result in hospitality and retail businesses benefitting with increased footfall.

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Encouragingly, no fewer than five buildings have erected scaffolding within close proximity to our own since we commenced works, and hopefully our project has acted as a catalyst in rejuvenating the area. We need more businesses to take this type of leap to help stimulate our local economy and once again showcase our resilience at a time when it is sorely needed. Collectively, we can demonstrate that must is indeed a great master after all.