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Gary's Christmas Preamble

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There’s a classic phrase ‘when things don’t go right, go left’ which seems highly appropriate in the year that the UK voted to exit the EU and America elected to have Donald Trump as its new president. What is going on I hear you cry?! …And truth be told, I’m as baffled as the next person! One of the things that makes life interesting and sometimes scary is not knowing what is coming next. I’m a planner by nature and surprisingly risk averse, even more so as I get older (the irony!) but there are some things that are simply outside of your control. Celebrating our 15th anniversary as a business, 2016 is a year where we’ve slowed down slightly and taken stock in order to plan for new ventures and the years ahead. We also launched our first apprenticeship programme, ALEX (Apprenticeship Learning Experience), taking on 30 employees fresh out of school in various roles with very little knowledge of working life but a bucket load of enthusiasm. If I were to do it all again I would tell my younger self this...

1. Planning can sometimes only get you so far, you must learn to think on your feet. Despite our best endeavours to map out our strategy we must also keep our plans fluid and remain agile in order to accommodate the various changes that life invariably throws into the mix – this remains true for us to this day and has been the key to us achieving so much in a relatively short time.

2. Embrace opportunity and keep going! We must all pull together and make the best of the changes that come and go. Years ago this was making new deals and turning my dreams into reality regardless of any ‘forks’ in the road. Now it is manoeuvring through tax increases, new regulation and economic uncertainty. Change can be good, after all – something that we can only really judge when the journey eventually comes to an end.

3. Be grateful. Never stop being grateful for what you have achieved and the people who have helped you get there. My hope for all of you is that 2016 has been a good year and 2017 is even better. I would therefore like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our partners. You help make our business great and the industry even better.

My final thought would be this - if a plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never the goal.

A very merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

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