Trigger point

  • Caroline Williams - CEO, Norfolk Chamber
Caroline Williams, Chief Executive, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

That word. Trigger. It’s been used quite a bit recently. Largely because it’s become inextricably associated with Article 50. People can’t seem to be able to say the one word without the other. Like negotiating and table.

I know it’s been more than amply covered of late but I do want to start this column with a reference to the triggering of Article 50. Even now as the process has begun, we’re all still going to be in a period of uncertainty.

And in these times of uncertainty the whole business of being ‘out there’, meeting people and talking to them is more important than ever. Businesses need to communicate, share ideas and exchange views because it’s only through that interaction that we’ll be able to establish an agenda and clarify what commerce actually needs.

Within the Chamber we’re certainly contributing to the process by beginning a series of round table discussion across the county at which companies can do just that. We’ll be facilitating discussions to enable businesses to talk openly about what they see as their needs and requirements to be able to grow their own organisations and subsequently the Norfolk economy.

But there’s more to it than that. Whilst any forward thinking company is going to look for the positives, and identify opportunities in the new arena, it’s fair to say that some of those opportunities may prove less than apparent at first glance. Add to that the likelihood of companies becoming rather risk averse, in the short term at least, and it’s looking like rather a challenging environment.

Which is why it’s important to get ‘out there’. To look out, not in. To get in front of potential customers on a one to one basis or at networking or conference events. Why? Because even if they are erring towards caution and avoiding change; even if they’re not actively looking for new suppliers, the chances are that your talking to them may well just - wait for it - trigger a thought process that starts their journey towards doing business with you.

Right now this is a trigger point for me. As some of you will know I’m stepping down, after 17 years, from my role as Chief Executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce at the end of April. I’m moving on to pursue new ideas and challenges of running my own business – no longer just yoga but much more!

To have been able to share my thoughts with you through these columns has been a pleasure, and a privilege. I hope that many of them will have resonated with you.

As I move forward I remain as optimistic about, and confident in, this region’s business community’s ability to take advantage of the new opportunities which come our way, and continue to develop and grow.

I wish each of you every success in the future, and hope our paths cross again in the future. As you will guess I am unlikely to be quiet for long!

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