Home / Graft&Grow: Bouncing back? Don’t believe the hype…

Graft&Grow: Bouncing back? Don’t believe the hype…


There has been much talk of pivoting, innovating and bouncing back in recent months – enough really, to make any leader sweat.

But, breathe easy. You aren’t falling behind.

Our research for Midlands: Graft & Grow reveals three quarters (78%) of Midlands’ businesses have not bounced back, but are working hard and looking ahead to growth in 2021.

The West Midlands is among the worst hit regions from COVID-19 in the UK – with the economy contracting by 10% during the first lockdown and a quarter of businesses reporting a decline in trade.

However, in true Midlands style – a region of grafters – we’ve cracked on.

When Story spoke to senior decision makers, the feeling was that come what may, we pick ourselves up, dust off and go again.

Carl Potter, Principal and Managing Director for Birmingham, Avison Young:

“The challenge for every business is cash. Generating sufficient cash and continuing to be cash positive. Leaders need to manage their businesses in the best way they can to remain operationally efficient.”

Joel Blake OBE, Founder and Chief Executive of The GFA Exchange:

“While the customers and ecosystems businesses operate in have been disrupted, we’ve been forced to think about the value we add and how we can find innovative ways of scaling up that value to get back to a place of growth. COVID has forced businesses to go back to their entrepreneurial roots because entrepreneurship in its essence is personal and business transformation – and the personal impact of this period has forced people to look at how and what they deliver and the value it adds.”

Andy Dawson, Director and Co-founder, Curium Solutions:

“The region is a fantastic place to do business. It’s a small business district that boasts a can-do nature. How we think and act is important. It’s hard not to get worried about the things you read and see, but it has to be up to us to keep the collaboration network open and to stay positive.”

Charlie Joseph, Sales and Marketing Director, St Joseph:

“We all benefit from reliant institutions and big business investing in Birmingham and the Midlands. We’ve seen it with BT, HS2, Birmingham Airport – that’s why we’re here and investing ourselves. This hasn’t disappeared, we just need to build back confidence.”

Mark Sheldon, Group Chief Technology Officer, Sidetrade:

“More and more businesses, particularly tech-based businesses, are moving to the region. You look at HSBC, RBS and the increase in PWC’s headcount – these companies are investing in tech jobs. The companies performing strongest are tech firms, particularly those in software – and they are key to diversifying and strengthening the Midlands’ economy.”

While 2021 may not have kicked off in quite the way we had hoped, there are opportunities to be had and a recovery to plan for.

Those that build brand equity and tell their story well now, will win long term. Let me know if we can help you do just that amanda@wearestorycomms.com.

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