Building a transatlantic company in 2017

Ged Parton, CEO of Maru Group

Source: Ged Parton_CEO of Maru Group

Maru reveals three key observations

2016 will be remembered as a year characterised by political and economic instability on both sides of the Atlantic – with shock victories for the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union and President Trump confounding the pollsters and market analysts alike.

Since the turbulence of 2008, the business community on both sides of the Atlantic has painstakingly sought to rebuild a stabile commercial environment and confidence. Faced with new and unwanted levels of uncertainty, markets and investors initially baulked at the prospect of yet more turmoil.

With the triggering of Article 50 and the unexpected outcome of the General Election in the UK earlier this year, this instability looks set to continue over coming few years. From a practical perspective, leaders – both in the political and business communities - have to understand and embrace the environment in which they operate; essentially, the climate of Trump and Brexit is the reality of doing business in 2017.

As an entrepreneur building a company through an acquisition-led growth strategy on both sides of the Atlantic, there continues to be a wealth of innovative and dynamic companies open to discussion in the market and plenty of investment opportunities, including record levels of dry powder on the private equity front.

This is particularly the case in the research, insights and technology sectors – the fertile space that we at Maru Group are exploring and growing in rapidly; and conversations with senior clients across a range of sectors and industries, and with a transatlantic footprint, highlight that the opportunities are out there for the taking.

As Maru Group expands across the UK and US – and beyond – reflections on the nature of growing a transatlantic business in the current climate reveal three key observations.

1)     Technology - and more specifically technology enablement - is the new normal

Embrace it enthusiastically and use it to challenge the status quo, driving new and innovative ways of working. In the current political and economic climate, those businesses that prioritise investment in technology will reap the benefits of revenue generation and productivity enhancement –in turn improving their position in the marketplace.

2)     Expertise is highly prized

Client relationships are at the heart of every business. Central to these relationships is the ability to inspire confidence in your client. It is important to actively demonstrate your diligence and expertise through every interaction with your clients. Find those employees who are genuine experts in their field and create a small team environment that allows them to flourish and develop further. These people are difficult to find and should be nurtured and stimulated.

3)     Value connections with your employees

Successful leaders are those who create transparent, trustworthy relationships with not just their clients but more importantly their employees. Leaders must balance the desire to perform with compassionate attention to their employees and their needs. In this over-communicated age, establish sincere connections with your employees by being at least twice as good at listening as transmitting. By concentrating on listening at work you will see benefits such as increased productivity, faster progress toward goals and a more harmonious workforce.

There is no doubt that the current macro-economic climate has created challenging business conditions for entrepreneurs on both sides of the pond. However, I firmly believe that, rather than wallowing in pessimism, we as leaders should be relentlessly optimistic - for both our businesses and our workforce. By focusing on enhancing our companies from within, we can harness the endless possibilities for growth and take our businesses into a whole new direction. Therein lies an exciting opportunity.

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