Fastest 50: View from the top... in quotes

The Yorkshire Post's Greg Wright speaking at the Fastest 50 Awards event
The Yorkshire Post's Greg Wright speaking at the Fastest 50 Awards event
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  • What the Fastest 50 companies really think of the issues affecting today’s business world
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They have succeeded in growing their businesses faster than their counterparts, but what do the Ward Hadaway Yorkshire Fastest 50 of 2017 make of the major issues of today? We asked a cross-section of Fastest 50 companies some key questions.

1. What are the biggest challenges you have faced in growing your company?

As you’d expect from such a range of companies, this resulted in a wide variety of answers:

“Continuously changing legislation in the sector.”

“Sourcing, training and keeping qualified staff to carry out the work we have obtained.”

“The fast pace at which today’s marketplace is evolving.”

“Team development – this covers recruitment, training and mentoring and motivation.”

“Finding talent to suit our unique business model.”

“The availability of quality resources, from suppliers, sub-contractors and more importantly experienced staff.”

“The biggest challenge to our business was that every part of it needed to be upscaled very 
quickly.”

“Poor broadband and mobile phone coverage in the Yorkshire Dales.”

2. As a place to do business, how healthy do you think Yorkshire is at the moment and what’s the one thing you would do to change it?

A lot of local pride came out in the answers here – with a suggestion that the message needs to be spread:

“Yorkshire has everything going for it – the trick is to convince folk that London (and other cities) aren’t the centre of the universe.”

“Yorkshire is a fantastic county – with a broad spectrum of abilities.”

“Yorkshire is a brilliant place to do business – we certainly wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the country.”

“Yorkshire is a great place to do business with a no-nonsense mentality. It doesn’t suffer fools gladly and is better for it.”

“We are very proud to be based in the Yorkshire region.”

“The region is a hotbed of innovation.”

“It’s booming.”

“Working with Leeds-based professional firms, we are impressed with the skill set that is on our doorstep”

“It is refreshing to see Yorkshire hold its own as a significant market for business.”

“The attraction and opportunities of Yorkshire are vast but hardly anyone outside its boundaries has any idea what they are!”

As far as improvements are concerned, the three that topped the wish list were better transport links, more investment from Government and… the weather:

“Snow in winter instead of the wind off the Pennines would be more welcome and a more consistent summer would let us all plan barbeques more in advance!”

3. What effect do you think giving Yorkshire more power over things like transport, skills and training would have on the region and on your business?

Devolution has been a hot topic in recent years. Here’s what businesses make of the idea:

“This could only be positive, more talent and better transport links are key to the region growing successfully.”

“It can only be for the better.”

“More power will only benefit the region if the region comes together as a whole.”

“If Yorkshire had more decision power, we think changes would happen more efficiently.”

“What’s really important to us – and to all businesses that are based away from the centre of Yorkshire – is connectivity within the region.”

“Any local decision needs to be set in the wider context and help grow not only Yorkshire but surrounding areas also.”

“It’s hard to predict, but if the right guys are in control then it could have an improving effect on the region.”

“The region has to be careful that devolved power provides the autonomy to make decisions and raise income.”

“Undoubtedly positive – but be careful what you ask for.”

4. Has the Brexit vote had an impact on your business (either positively or negatively) and how do you think it will affect it in the future?

It has dominated headlines since last June, but has Brexit affected business? Again the answers varied widely:

“Unfortunately Brexit will and has had an effect on our business as we purchase our new vehicles in euros.”

“Brexit has had a massive impact on our business. We have seen weakened exchange rates and volatile shipping costs add almost 30 per cent to our product prices.”

“Yes – fuel and equipment price increases.”

“Yes, the exchange rate has had a negative impact but ultimately it will force us to be smarter and more efficient.”

“Initially, decision making slowed down after Brexit, particularly at senior board level. But we’re now seeing that start to pick up again.”

“The short-term period of uncertainty and fear has now passed and been replaced with what at first glance appears to be a long-term positive outlook.”

“The initial effect in the North is business as usual; industrial and distribution is actually up.”

“Time will tell, we need to see what changes as a result.”

“Brexit has had no direct impact on our business.”

5. What is the one piece of advice you would pass on to a new company looking to grow?

This question led to a series of words of wisdom:

“Take time to listen and learn from successful people.”

“Be bold – put yourself out there to win the work.”

“Don’t be afraid to make a decision.”

“Look for the difficult challenges and take them on; that’s where there’s less competition.”

“Take and maximise opportunities as they come along.”

“Work hard, research your product and market well.”

“Never lose sight of the needs of your customers and clients.”

“Have a clear plan, communicate and keep communicating to your team so you are all on the same journey and buy into the same vision.”

“Find the right people.”

“Take your time.”

“Have a great team around you that all want to move in the same direction.”

Contributors: Amanda Hobson, MD, Easypay Services; Caroline Verity, creative director, Skipton Properties; Cheryl Woodhead, company secretary/finance manager, F&G Commercials; Craig Such, MD, Azzure IT; David Metcalfe, director, Metcalfe Farms; Debbie Bestwick, CEO, Team17; Glen Harding, CEO, headoffice3; James Appleyard, sales director, Dura Beds; Jason Adlam, CEO, Harris Construction Management; Malcolm Gough, group sales & marketing director, Natural Paving; Michael Schorah, group MD, the Harris Partnership; Stuart Welburn, MD, ALNO; Suzanne Burnett, MD, and Kerry Hope, director, Castle Employment; Victoria Woodings, global board director, Principle; Sigma.