12 episodes

Business Insights Chat, presented by Larking Gowen, is a series of interviews with successful business owners and leaders from a variety of sectors throughout Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

Each week, we feature special guests who share their views, insights and experience in business over recent months.

We share with you , what drives them, their experiences, and what they are looking forward to, as well as how they’ve had to adapt during COVID 19.

www.larking-gowen.co.uk
podcasts@larking-gowen.co.uk
(c) Larking Gowen LLP

Business Insights Chat Larking Gowen

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 6 Ratings

Business Insights Chat, presented by Larking Gowen, is a series of interviews with successful business owners and leaders from a variety of sectors throughout Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

Each week, we feature special guests who share their views, insights and experience in business over recent months.

We share with you , what drives them, their experiences, and what they are looking forward to, as well as how they’ve had to adapt during COVID 19.

www.larking-gowen.co.uk
podcasts@larking-gowen.co.uk
(c) Larking Gowen LLP

    Cambridge United Football Club - CEO Ian Mather

    Cambridge United Football Club - CEO Ian Mather

    In this episode, Ian Fitch chats with Ian Mather, so it’s less a tale of two halves, and more the tale of two Ian’s! Sit back and listen to them ‘kicking around’ thoughts on what it really means to pursue a second career. Ian Mather is a retired solicitor and former partner at Mills & Reeves, but decided that retirement wasn’t for him, especially once the job of CEO of Cambridge Football Club presented itself.
    Ian specialised in employment law and was an advocate of mediation over expensive litigation throughout his career. With the skills he learnt in how to mediate successfully and to manage his own company and staff, Ian felt he had a sound basis to step in and guide the football club to promotion.
    Ian talks about the benefits of having a clear strategy and the importance of communicating this with your teams, especially when you‘re new to a business. Ian looks back to the beginning of lockdown and reflects on how important it was to develop quick decision-making skills; which led to developing the idea of fan bubbles and Cambridge FC being the first club in the UK to welcome back fans.
    Ian considers the key to his ongoing success is treating people decently and listening to them. During his first few months with the club, he focused on observation; what was working well and what wasn’t, and he developed his relationships with the team which helped guide them out of a turbulent time.
    Ian believes passionately in clubs engaging with their communities by actively taking part in youth groups, adopting sustainable practices, engaging fans and helping out with community work.
    The club signed up to Fair Game, a regulatory initiative supported by Government, to make clubs more accountable. This involves closer financial monitoring to avoid closures, and creating a sustainable business model for football clubs. Ian discusses how the current financial model in our national game is broken, and provides insights into why more and more clubs are signing up to Fair Game.
    This episode is a fascinating listen for business leaders and football fans alike and provides a great example of how taking risks by transferring your skills and talents to a new role you are passionate about, can be fruitful and fulfilling.
    There are no red flags in this episode, only golden boots, so join us in this peek behind the scenes of the beautiful game and learn from a man working to turn its financial credibility around.
    We would love it if you could subscribe wherever else you get your podcasts, so you don't miss out on any future episodes! If you could also leave us a review we would love to hear from you, and it helps others find our podcast. 
    Show notes
    Fair Game
    Cambridge United FC
    www.larking-gowen.co.uk
    podcasts@larking-gowen.co.uk
    (c) Larking Gowen LLP 

    • 40 min
    Parkrun - Nick Pearson, CEO

    Parkrun - Nick Pearson, CEO

    Chances are that your local park is swamped with runners every Saturday morning. Parkrun has become the world’s largest physical activity provider, operating in 23 countries, with 7 million members worldwide and over 2000 weekly events.
    This charitable organisation prides itself on being an accessible access point to exercise for everyone. It works with local communities, relying on volunteer participation to make the events happen. You may wonder how these free-to-attend events make money and Nick gives a fascinating answer by discussing what it’s like to say no to giant corporations like Pepsi and navigating the ethics of commercial sponsors, making sure they fit the message and ethos of Parkrun.
    As part of government initiatives to improve wellbeing in communities, Parkrun works with local authorities across the world to make these events happen. It’s not just about physical health, they are huge advocates of the mental health benefits that come from volunteering and taking part at their events.
    Parkrun’s success comes from the flexibility it offers and its informal arrangements. Organising this many people every week takes serious people skills, especially when your global team consists of only 45 staff! Nick tells us how his retail background gave him the perfect skill set for his role, using his customer service experience to help create the culture and PR strategy at mission-based Parkrun.
    Nick reflects on lockdown, and how although the financial future of the business was secure, there was a great deal of uncertainty around events starting again. He talks openly about being caught up in UK bureaucracy as restrictions were being lifted and his involvement in applying pressure to cautious local authorities to reopen events, when the Government had advised that Parkrun should go ahead but had handed down the decision-making to local levels. Nick didn’t want the attention, but with Parkrun’s high profile, it meant that this ‘spat’ was in the spotlight. Nick persevered because he knew it was important for the mental health of so many members, particularly those who access Parkrun, in part, because they can only afford ‘free’.
    This is a great peek behind the scenes of a huge, not-for profit organisation, and a fantastic place to pause series 2 of Business Insights Chat for the summer. We will be back with more guests in the autumn!
    You can learn more about Parkrun here.
    We would love to hear from you, get in touch with us on podcasts@larking-gowen.co.uk.
    If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe and whilst you are there, we would really appreciate a 5* review, as this helps other people find our podcast!
    Show notes:
    Fish! A remarkable way to boost morale
    www.larking-gowen.co.uk/lg-insights
    (c) Larking Gowen LLP 

    • 50 min
    Mediapro - Maria Veronese, Owner & journalist

    Mediapro - Maria Veronese, Owner & journalist

    This week’s chat is a real eye opener. Engagement with media can be make or break for some businesses – ever wondered what it suggests when you say “no comment”? Experienced journalist, and owner of Mediapro, Maria Veronese lets you in on what the journalist really thinks when you say that, and why it’s always best to try and take control, particularly if you find yourself at the centre of a PR disaster! Mediapro offers media training to help business leaders learn how to talk confidently on the record, sticking to key points, and how to get your point or story across effectively. As Maria explains; “an interview is just a conversation with a purpose”.
    As a regular face on BBC Look East, Maria offers insight on the difference between what she calls ‘PR puff’ and an actual news story, and how it’s always important to be transparent. Maria is also passionate about flexible working, particularly for working parents, and those with caring responsibilities, something she embraces in her role on the Board of Directors at the East of England Co-op.
    Ian also asks Maria about the approach local news took during lockdown, and she explains how it was so important to help keep communities informed and connected. She also looks back on the stories in her career which were hard to cover, and how these stories can impact the journalist, including the times she covered a catastrophic earthquake in her hometown in New Zealand, and when she covered the Ipswich ‘Suffolk Strangler’, and Soham murders.
    Learning how to embrace the media in your business will be key as we move out of lockdown, and into the new normal, which includes the world of 24 hours news, which has been bolstered by the events of the last year. You might find yourself in need of some media training one day, and Maria offers a peek behind the curtain into what you need to consider, and why.
    You can learn about Mediapro and their services here
    Catch Maria’s ‘Auntie’s Bloomers’ moment, and encounter with the ostriches here!
    You can visit the Co-op here
    Maria's views are her own, and are not those of the BBC.
    We would love to hear from you, get in touch with us on podcasts@larking-gowen.co.uk.
    If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe and whilst you are there, we would really appreciate a 5* review, as this helps other people find our podcast!
    www.larking-gowen.co.uk/lg-insights 
    (c) Larking Gowen LLP

    • 38 min
    McDonald's Franchisee - Kevin Foley,

    McDonald's Franchisee - Kevin Foley,

    “For any business leader—if it wasn’t for the staff, you wouldn’t have a business.” This is a direct quote from Kevin Foley, the franchise owner of 9 McDonald’s restaurants across the region, and a statement that is intrinsically tied to his success as a businessman.
    Ian chats to Kevin about how his passion for people, and his investment in his staff, have helped to grow his role as a franchisee. He took the historically derogatory term of “McJobs” personally, as Kevin can testify to just how hard his teams work, and how much they need to learn and implement in order for a site to run efficiently.
    He reflects on the impact COVID-19 has had on recruitment, and on keeping his teams safe at work whilst continuing to secure jobs, and develop his staff, where Kevin thinks outside of the box and has recently appointed a Cultural and Wellbeing Officer!
    Kevin is an advocate of the life skills that a role in this industry can provide and believes in the value of apprenticeships.
    Ian and Kevin also chat about the role technology plays in the future of McDonalds, and how they definitely won’t be replacing people with robots. Kevin tells us his secret to becoming a franchisee, and a successful one at that! He discusses why it’s important to keep on top of trends and move with them; why mystery shopping, and customer feedback is so important; and lets us in on the history of franchising in his family.
    This chat is a fascinating peek behind the scenes of someone working in one of the world’s biggest and best known companies, serving over 70,000 people a week, and what life is like when every person you meet is able to hum the theme tune at you!
    You can find Kevin on LinkedIn, and learn more about how to become a McDonald's Franchisee here
    We would love to hear from you, get in touch with us on podcasts@larking-gowen.co.uk.
    If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe and whilst you are there, we would really appreciate a 5* review, as this helps other people find our podcast!
    www.larking-gowen.co.uk/insights
    (c) Larking Gowen LLP 

    • 48 min
    Archant - Lorna Willis, CEO

    Archant - Lorna Willis, CEO

    We were delighted to welcome Lorna Willis, CEO of Archant, as we launch series two of Business Insights Chat.
    As we move out of lockdown, and start to navigate back to some semblance of normality, the theme of this series steps away from a focus on 2020 and its challenges, as we try to understand what makes successful business leaders in the region tick. We go behind the scenes, and ask what they have learnt from the last year that will take them, and their businesses, forward.
    Ian chats to Lorna about the role Archant plays locally in the ever-changing technology landscape, and how they are adapting, including their new mantra of ‘counting every customer’; how the relationships with their sales teams changed over lockdown; and how even their key performance indicators have changed to include things like ‘customer happiness’!
    People are now time-poor, and Lorna lets us in on how the press is changing and adapting to how people now consume their news, and how they’re approaching the new value exchange in delivering local news.
    Lorna also talks in detail about the unprecedented ‘talent war’ that now exists post COVID, particularly within digital-based businesses; competitor poaching and how this has impacted recruitment; and how this will impact wage inflation.
    Whilst new to her CEO role, Lorna has years of experience within Archant, and is keen on promoting learning and development within her teams; having “skill and will”; changing a stale Board mentality; promoting the significance of mentors; and maintaining healthy staff engagement. Lorna also reflects on how she still has work to do in creating a fully diverse workforce, and how to get women to overcome ‘imposter syndrome’.
    Lorna believes that a person’s career is now better off for having Archant on their CV. Customer feedback is at an all-time positive high, which is something that Lorna is proud to have achieved, rebuilding and pushing past a formerly aggressive reputation.
    Lorna also discusses the future of office working, including ‘bringing your dog to work day’, and how Norwich City or Ipswich Town winning is great for business… fingers crossed! Going forwards, the feel-good factor is key all round.
    You can contact Lorna directly by emailing lorna.willis@archant.co.uk 
    You can check out Archant here. 
    We would love to hear from you, get in touch with us on podcasts@larking-gowen.co.uk.
    If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe and whilst you are there, we would really appreciate a 5* review, as this helps other people find our podcast!
    www.larking-gowen.co.uk/insights
    (c) Larking Gowen LLP 
     

    • 43 min
    Castle Colour Packaging - Mark Ferguson, MD

    Castle Colour Packaging - Mark Ferguson, MD

    This week, Ian Fitch speaks to Mark Ferguson, managing director of Castle Colour Packaging, a specialist packaging manufacturer in Norwich. They produce packaging for well-known brands including Pritt Stick and Eat Natural, among many others. The business has a focus on being the best it can be, while leading in sustainability and recyclable products.
    Mark’s insights into lockdown offer a unique perspective in this series, as they were identified as an essential business at the start of the first lockdown. They were able to continue trading, albeit with new safety measures in place for staff, while also having to adapt to new and changing demands for their products. He describes how it was all about feeling safe at work and staying efficient.
    Mark reflects on their government COVID spot check, and how the resilience and commitment of his team played a huge part in their successes during the last year. He also explains the measures that the company put in place to aid the wellbeing of the team.
    He discusses the opportunities they identified for Research and Development through their work on sustainability; what his personal weaknesses are, and how he strives to make everyone around him better than him; the benefits of having a non-executive director on your board; how promoting from within is good for business; how running a business is like playing a game of rugby; and how experience outside family businesses is key, citing his time as a young man spent working for McDonald’s as a fantastic opportunity to learn about processes and discipline.
    Mark’s personal journey, as a man at the top of a key part of the ‘pandemic economy,’ and the success he has had building Castle Colour, make for a fascinating listen.
    We would love to hear from you, get in touch with us on podcasts@larking-gowen.co.uk.
    If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe and whilst you are there, we would really appreciate a 5* review, as this helps other people find our podcast!
    Show notes:
    Legacy by James Kerr: What the All Blacks can teach us about the business of life
    You might like: Impromptu Business Chat – special interview with BBC Radio 4’s Simon Mundie, on how sport is a metaphor for business
    www.larking-gowen.co.uk/insights
    (c) Larking Gowen LLP

    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 Ratings

KARookie ,

Great insights on the importance of the team and putting people first

I really enjoyed this podcast and Paul’s insights into his team and how they managed through the pandemic. Definitely worth a listen on your next walk.

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