29 Jul 2020



Some genuinely useful thoughts to get you through a crisis from Ultimate’s CEO: a pretty ordinary entrepreneur who found success, but did it the hard way.


Genuinely Useful Thoughts – Part 3

‘Welcome Forward’

It’s true. We’re only heading forward to normal, not back to normal. BUT rest assured-  we ARE going back to reality, so don’t get left behind.

For weeks now, I’ve heard people everywhere talking about going back to work or going back to normal and it’s got me thinking – we really aren’t going back anywhere. We’re going forward. It’s ‘Welcome Forward’. I walked through Manchester city centre the other day and everywhere you look the signs say, ‘Welcome Back’. And the word ‘Normal’ crops up constantly. But not much is, right now.

The thing is, we’ve been forced forward at breakneck speed, maybe even by years in just a few months. Overnight, we replaced physical with virtual and it literally changed the way we work, the way we communicate and the way we live. It really is exciting… if you like change that is.

Virtual is not reality

That said, we may not be going back to normal, but we are going back to ‘reality’. Don’t be under any illusions of this fact. I sense that lots of people think that isolation and virtual interactions are here to stay, but the longer they leave it to face up to the fact that ‘reality’ is returning, the more at risk they are of falling behind their competition in business, and in their personal lives too. Others are making gains in the ‘real’ world while many are missing out. You need to take action.

To give an example of what I mean, when Facebook exploded onto the scene and people built up hundreds of virtual connections and enjoyed digital interactions with contacts spanning back years of their lives, the world of real socialisation didn’t suddenly decline. Quite the opposite. People started meeting forgotten contacts and family in real-world settings, and friends understood more intimately the interests and beliefs of the people in their friendship networks. Today, I don’t think a real-life social gathering is organised in any other way than utilising such platforms. Technology has only enhanced reality, not hindered it.

So, when you think about our current time in history, I believe that everything that’s been forced upon us during the pandemic, from technology through to mobile and more flexible ways of working, is only going to accelerate real-life business performance moving forward. Welcome Forward, indeed.

How you do anything is how you do everything

I’m a real stickler for doing things properly, trying never to start a project or business relationship unless I know it’s going to get the attention needed to guarantee success. I know this trait can sometimes be hugely frustrating to the people around me, but I simply can’t bear knowing something could have been done better or more thoroughly. With this in mind, I’ve been thinking a lot about how the detail is even more important than ever now we’ve adopted more virtual ways of working. Now is not the time for a sticking plaster approach to anything. Especially your brand, marketing and sales. It’s not the time to cut corners and say, “that’ll do, just get something out there quick”. Now isn’t the time to panic.

Now is the time to strategically invest in your business. To think about what your customers want and need from you and to ensure you effectively communicate your place in the market and sales proposition, clearly, simply and of course with a brand that appeals to how your target audience now thinks.

‘Wanting to be someone you’re not is a waste of the person you are’

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, now is the time for the unique to shine. With the virtual becoming reality once again, it’s time to really stand out and understand that being different isn’t just good. It’s great. Trust is at the heart of every successful brand and being honest, authentic and true to who you really are key to creating your own brand. Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.