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Preparing businesses for the future

Adrian Reynolds, Duncan & Toplis managing director

At a time of political and economic uncertainty, it’s important for us all to adapt if we’re to meet the challenges we face in business.

This month, we held our 11th annual Directors’ Briefing, a conference of more than 250 business owners and directors from across the East Midlands, organised by Duncan & Toplis. Held at Belton Woods Hotel near Grantham, some of the country’s leading voices in business, finance, politics and technology discussed ways of preparing businesses for the future and shared some crucial advice we should all learn from.

With some of the region’s best known businesses in attendance, it was invigorating to see this area’s diverse and vibrant business community rising to the challenges they face with determination, energy and ingenuity. With so many changes throughout our society, running a business can sometimes make you feel like you’re floundering, helpless and unable to change course, but nothing could be further from the truth.

One of the businesses to lead a presentation at the conference was Lincolnshire-based e-commerce software developer, Orderwise. Over 30 years, the company has grown from the spark of an idea into a multi-million pound business with 200 employees and 15,000 customers. Speaking to the audience, senior sales manager, Jon Roberts explained how changing and adapting has been crucial to the company’s success. Whether your business is faced with changes in technology, markets, regulations or the economy, Jon’s message made it clear how business leaders need to believe in themselves and find a way to overcome every challenge they face.

Meanwhile, Kristin Gillon from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) underlined that point by explaining how technology has brought about the opportunity to deliver better services for customers and clients. But, as she explained, change doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen by itself – you have to predict, plan and, most importantly, act to deliver the changes your business needs.

Of course, culture is also hugely important when you need to bring about change in your business. Duncan & Toplis’ HR Director, Heidi Thompson gave some prudent advice on how to build and maintain the cultural values that will future-proof your business. Sometimes, change can be daunting, so it’s important to have your team behind you and working toward the same goals.

Listening to the speakers at the conference provided a great deal of inspiration and food for thought, but I feel all people in business can learn from the message that was shared by our closing speaker, Kyle Walker. Kyle is a personal trainer and martial arts expert who excels as a motivational speaker.

Explaining how psychology can determine our success, Kyle explained that we all have a tendency to hold ourselves back and have a mindset that focuses on our limitations rather than our strengths. In times like this, I think it’s especially important to remember just how much we can determine our own futures and that negativity, defeatism and complacency prevents us from achieving our true potential.

As leaders look ahead and ready themselves for whatever the future holds, it’s exciting to see that the East Midlands is an area where business confidence is holding strong. Change isn’t always easy but being able to adapt when circumstances change is essential not least because change can also open new opportunities for future growth and success.

Adrian Reynolds

Adrian is Managing Director of Duncan & Toplis in the United Kingdom and is the Kreston Board Director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. During his 34 years at Duncan & Toplis, Adrian has supported a wide variety of clients, the majority of which are medium to large owner-managed businesses in sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, professional services, business support services and distribution. He now leads a team of more than 400 professionals who support thousands of clients across the East Midlands region and beyond. Adrian became Managing Partner of Duncan & Toplis in 2012, and was appointed Managing Director when the company incorporated in 2014. Duncan & Toplis joined Kreston in 2011 and Adrian became Vice Chair of Kreston UK in 2016 when he was also appointed to the CBI East Midlands Regional Council. Adrian was the Chair of Kreston UK from 2018 until 2020 and has been a member of the Kreston International Board since 2018.

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