Business insights: How to thrive during difficult times
This week Aberdeen Grampian Chamber of Commerce announced the finalists for its Northern Star Business Awards, the organisation's accolades for successful businesses in the region, and we have been celebrating as we are shortlisted for the ‘Business of the Year’ award category.
Considering the difficult year that we’ve faced, this is a fantastic achievement, and we have caught up with managing director Gordon Christie to find out what he thinks has been key to IT Hotdesk’s success.
Gordon said: “It’s safe to say that the last 18 months have been the most challenging of my career. I truly believe that my team, and their ability to adapt and willingness to go the extra mile has been instrumental to the company’s success during the pandemic.
“Now more than ever, it’s important that we support local businesses, providing help and guidance where possible. Thankfully the team agrees with my ethos, and have helped me create our ‘Business Insights’ campaign, a support hub that businesses are able to access for free.”
Can you tell us about your business insights campaign?
“Our business insights campaign is a suite of educational blogs, webinars and easy-to-follow checklists that are free for any business to access, covering topics such as business continuity, hybrid working, and cyber security to name a few.
“Across the UK, businesses have felt the backlash of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially those in Aberdeen who were only just showing signs of recovery following the oil and gas downturn in 2015.
“The speed at which technology changes and new systems are introduced can be quite daunting for some business owners. Combining this with the constantly evolving landscape that is cyber security and the increased sophistication of cyber criminals, the risks are never-ending.
“Reacting to the current market needs, and the increased cyber security risk, I recruited cyber architect AJ Johnstone to expand our cyber security division and launch our security awareness training.
“Since joining the team, AJ has created a cyber security checklist, that allows businesses to assess their security strategy; a security awareness quiz that helps assess staff competencies and identify anyone who requires training; and has hosted a number of educational webinars.
“When times are tough financially it is too easy to neglect areas that are not deemed mission critical, and sadly this is often the case when it comes to IT. I believe that all businesses should have a minimum level of protection, regardless of the budget available, and would rather educate some businesses for free if we have to.
“Our business insights campaign has been incredibly successful, with both customers and members of the general public logging on to find out more about IT systems and how technology can help improve operations and drive efficiencies.”
What are you most proud of?
“I would have to say that the thing I am most proud of is the team and their dedication to our customers. IT is the backbone of most businesses, and without our support a lot of customers may not have survived the pandemic.
“The team worked out of hours and delivered additional support at no extra cost to ensure that businesses across the country were able to operate with minimal disruption.”
What does success look like to you?
“For me, the true mark of success would be getting to the end of the pandemic with as many customers, suppliers and business acquaintances still intact. I’d like to see as many businesses come out the other end as unscathed as possible. We’re all so busy trying to survive we often forget about our neighbours and the fact that together we make up the local economy.
“Being recognised by the judges of the Northern Star Awards for our hard work is testament to our hard work. Although it would be great if we took home the prize on the night, the team are already winners to me.”