10:15am: Phil Doyle, CEO, Kelway; Rob Kinder, associate, Spring Law; Graham Sumeray, CEO, Fine+Rare; Carmen Carey, CEO, Control Circle; and Nigel Brown, CEO, Microlease discuss “Staying Relevant, Growing Fast”.
“The only thing that really concerns me is, how relevant are we? It can happen so quickly: you can be very successful and continue to grow, then suddenly you find yourself out of ideas,” says Phil Doyle. “The only way you can understand what is relevant is you have to spend time outside your own business. I spend a lot of time talking to competitors, looking at lists like this, to understand why they are relevant.”
Graham Sumeray, of wine merchant Fine+Rare: “We see a lot of people setting up wine websites, thinking they have better ideas. But because of our reputation we’re always one step ahead.
Carmen Carey: “Relevance is a very key topic for us. Our company is a could services business. Our business has to start to bridge the gap between where we are today and what the future looks like. because we are fundamentally a service business we rely on technology to fulfil our service, but mostly on people. My view is that [technologists] are very difficult to find.”
Nigel Brown: “For me the toughest challenge is making sure that you find the right people. The skill sets you ned to manage a fast-growing business in a dynamic market is a big challenge for businesses.
“The UK has stood out with some phenomenal businesses. We should be very proud of our performance internationally.”
Matthew Rock asks how the panelists have brought their different sets of skills into leading a business that was founded by somebody else. Graham: “All of us who’ve come into somebody else’s business have come across some challenges. One has to change things slowly. One has to build on the things that are good; there are always some key facets.”
A comment from the floor: “For me the difference between great entrepreneurs and those who eventually don’t make it is that they recognise that they can’t do it all themselves. Some aren’t prepared to do that.”
Rob Kinder shares his thoughts in the main challenges businesses face: “I think an interesting topic is finding the right people to grow your business with.”
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