Surrey business people share their top lessons learned

PUBLISHED: 14:54 22 November 2012 | UPDATED: 22:25 20 February 2013

Surrey business people share their top lessons learned

Surrey business people share their top lessons learned

Surrey business folk share the best lesson they've learned in their careers, from picking the perfect people to communicating clearly with clients...

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2012

Surrey business folk share the best lesson theyve learned in their careers, from picking the perfect people to communicating clearly with clients...

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Martin Bamford
Managing director & chartered financial planner at Informed Choice Ltd

The best lesson Ive learnt in my business is to be consistent, says Martin. Consistency of proposition, service, pricing and brand results in confidence for clients, employees and suppliers. It makes it easier to do business with someone when they are delivering the same things, to the same high standards, year after year. Ive seen too many examples of people changing the nature of their business on a regular basis, making it hard to keep track of what they do and what they stand for. Continually improving what you do whilst remaining consistent is a key to successful business.

James Butler
Director at Cloud Business

Invest the time in finding the best staff, and dont compromise, says James. When the time comes to employ a member of staff, it can be a daunting experience. You will likely have high expectations and be looking for the perfect person; however, if you are struggling to find the right person it can be tempting to compromise as you are under pressure. My advice is dont; unless you are 100 per cent comfortable with the candidate, you must walk away. It will take more of your time but an underperforming employee will take more and cost more too!

Dr Peter Forrester
Medical director at The Cosmetic Doctors Company

Location, location and location... says Dr Forrester. Eighteen months ago, I decided to merge my three part-time clinics into one dedicated premises in Esher. We started our property search right in the centre of the town on the High Street, thinking that a prominent position would be good for business. Failing to find suitable premises, however, we happened across our current building that although close was not actually on the High Street. It offered all the space we needed and so, in spite of reservations about the location, we decided to take on the lease. Interestingly, we quickly realised that far from being a disadvantage, our new position afforded a degree of discretion that our clients greatly preferred. This has far outweighed any perceived advantage from a prime position.

Paul Nathanson
Director and founder of PNPR

The best lesson Ive learned after running PNPR for nearly 15 years has been focus, says Paul. After five years, I dropped writing for the FT and The Times and teaching undergraduates journalism to focus solely on PR. This has paid off as I then devoted all my time and energy to one thing. I learnt this lesson from being stretched in too many directions away from my core activity public relations. One needs to focus mind and energy and I now have a team of five and an award-winning agency with both local and national accounts.

Rhodri Whitlock
Partner at PKF Accountants & business advisers

I realised early on the importance of communicating clearly using language that is understandable to clients, says Rhodri. Its tempting for professionals to fall into the trap of demonstrating their knowledge by reciting paragraphs from the regulatory rule books. But how much does this actually help clients? Knowledge of the professional standards should be a given rather than a source of differentiation as a client told me early in my career: I want advice, not accounting regulations. If I wanted to know section numbers, I would buy a textbook. While there is a place for quoting paragraphs from the rule book, I endeavour to speak my clients language.

Richard Rose
Senior Partner at Morrisons Solicitors LLP

Listen and understand, says Richard. The best lesson I have learnt since I qualified in 1977 as a solicitor, is to listen to your client and understand their background and goals. In our business, giving clients the best advice for them means tailoring the advice to suit their individual needs and circumstances. No two clients are the same. Experience gained over the years in assisting clients through various legal transactions has led me to this conclusion. Also, clients can sometimes be under extreme stress or pressure and you must always be mindful of that when speaking to them and trying to understand their goals.

  • Morrisons Solicitors LLP, Clarendon House, Clarendon Road, Redhill RH1 1FB. For more information, call 01737 854500, e-mail or visit

Tony Parker
Private client development director at Jelf Group

The lesson I continually learn is to talk to people, says Tony. Its the best way to get to know clients and prospects, and can lead from Joe Bloggs on the street, who doesnt look like your typical client, becoming your highest paying fee. It also shows youre interested in getting to know clients and not just selling a product. Taking the time to keep in touch with clients nearly always leads to you being able to offer them more or gain referrals because youre fresh in their mind. It sounds so simple yet the value of a chat is so often overlooked.

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