Roger Jackson, Financial Planner and manager at Financial Management Bureau (FMB), discusses how engaging with Lancaster University Management School and participating in the Cumbria Forum has enabled the company to develop a strategy for future growth.
FMB is a family-run business that has been providing independent financial advice since 1987. The Kendal-based firm focuses mostly on financial planning for individuals, with some corporate work as well.
As Roger Jackson puts it: “it’s about making sure their finances are efficiently aligned with their medium and longer-term goals.”
With a need to preserve its distinctive heritage whilst also moving with the times, FMB was ideally placed to benefit from the Cumbria Forum.
“It has helped us to innovate and develop new offerings,” Roger explains. “Such as a lower cost, more streamlined service that’s designed to appeal to clients of the future. What really prompted this in my mind was the ‘Four Ways to Grow Your Business’ session.
By pulling our ideas into those boxes and breaking it down, we’ve been able to identify how to respond to changing demographics by getting people into the right mindset: ready to transition from the more streamlined route to full financial planning in the future.”
Cumbria Forum enabled me to understand a lot about other businesses, to share experiences with other managers and to see what they were doing to operate in changing markets.
“The Forum appealed to me straight away because I was aware of the University’s prowess, especially the Management School. There were a couple of people involved who I respected even before I started – like Gerry Johnson, a leading academic in strategic management – and I knew it would be useful just to try to absorb information and knowledge.” “We have a very close relationship with the Management School,” Roger adds. “We have worked with them on student projects and one of our directors is now an Entrepreneur-in-Residence there. Our MD, who is currently on the Innovation Development Programme, was already familiar with the Cumbria Forum and she thought that because of my dual role it would be good for me.”
It didn’t take long for Roger to appreciate that his fellow delegates were facing similar challenges in their businesses and this helped to foster an invaluable sense of empathy. “It enabled me to understand a lot about other businesses, to share experiences with other managers and to see what they were doing to operate in changing markets.”
If the Cumbria Forum has had a lasting impact on FMB, it has also cemented its links with the Management School and the wider peer network. “I’ve personally referred friends and business associates,” Roger says. “I keep in touch with the other delegates from my cohort and we’ve forged new relationships throughout.”
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