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Meet the Boost team: Tony Openshaw

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Whether you’re starting a new business, in the early stages, looking to scale up an established business or simply looking for some great business support, the Boost Business Advice team can help.

Boost business adviser, Tony Openshaw, a specialist in business engagement, relationship building, project management and strategic marketing, talks about his role in supporting Lancashire businesses.

What motivated you to want to help other people in business and to become a business adviser?

I like helping people!

I get my job satisfaction from seeing others succeed. Being able to share my experience and provide insight to overcome challenges and unlock potential is something I particularly enjoy. Every business is different, and the support they need differs too. So, each day brings variety and things that I learn along the way as well.

Who has been your biggest business inspiration and why?

My grandad!

He ran away at 16 to join the army, was captured and escaped from a POW camp. He became a successful salesperson, working across the North West for companies such as Pears Soap and Gibbs SR.

He was one of the first field salespeople, and had a company car, which back in the 1930’s was a new thing! He had resilience, motivation and was a genuinely nice guy who customers liked.

Why is Lancashire a great location for a business?

If you look at the great businesses headquartered here in Lancashire, you see national and international brands. This did not happen by accident.

With a heritage often going back to the industrial revolution, these business have been built on a good location, with good people, good suppliers and a good growth proposition. These qualities still hold good today, which is why we see so many businesses starting up in Lancashire and wanting to tap into the resources available.

How do you like to start your working day?

With a list!

I have been accused of having lists of lists! Seriously, I like to plan my day to make it productive. Ideally, just a few minutes quiet time is nice. It doesn’t always happen though.

What do you consider to be the greatest challenge for Lancashire businesses in the current economic climate?

For many businesses, they’ve not had a ‘normal’ trading year recently. With the pandemic, Brexit and now the state of the economy, Lancashire businesses have had a lot to contend with. But the challenge is not to lose sight of the future direction and focus for the business.

If the short-term has had to be about survival, start to think about creating capacity as a business owner to plan ahead. It’s the businesses that plan, evolve and anticipate change that come out on top!

What are your three top tips for anyone looking to start or grow a business?

1. Have a plan. It doesn’t have to be 50 pages, but it does need to set out your business aims and how you are going to achieve them. There are a variety of models or templates, some very visual which are easy to use.

2. Be self-aware. Realise you may not have all the answers, but be prepared to reach out and ask questions of those that can help you. An advisor or mentor could be a good solution and offer that sounding board and business experience you can draw on.

3. You can’t do it all. Employ good people or outsource to good suppliers and delegate effectively. It’s your business, but good businesses have good teams that deliver results.

About the author

Bio Photo Tony Openshaw

Tony is a business support professional with over 10 years’ experience helping businesses perform better and achieve results. He is a qualified business adviser and business coach with strengths in business engagement, relationship building, lean business planning, project management and strategic marketing.

Tony previously worked in marketing roles across the tourism and cultural sectors and was marketing director for Marketing Lancashire for 10 years.

If you’re looking to grow, scale or start your business, use Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub. We offer a range of funded business support services. Call our Business Support Helpdesk on 0800 488 0057 to find out more or complete our enquiry form.

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