Marketing + Communications

Climbing that mountain

Two of our clients are celebrating their tenth year in business this month, a third is marking its 20th year, and another its 60th anniversary.

What can we learn from these kind of companies?


Firstly, September is clearly a great month to start a business. And so were 2003 and 2013. There’s something about coming out of adversity, such as an economic downturn, that sparks a fresh clutch of brave business owners. There’s a whole new generation of businesses that have been started this year, too.

Going through tough times – whether that’s an economic downturn, a global pandemic or personal turbulence – often pushes people to think about a better way to do things. And losing your stable income (or stable home life) can be a good push towards something you’ve been thinking about for a while.

Nicky Parsons, Chief Executive of Pegasus Group, says of marking their 20th year, “It takes hard work and dedication to grow a business that remains true to its initial founding principles. It’s important to reflect on what you’ve achieved as well as what you want to do next, and to recognise the trust that your people put in you. The next 20 years will bring new challenges and growth opportunities, and we can only do it with the right people around us. The journey ahead is filled with promise, and I am grateful to be a part of it.”

Starting a business is often a leap of faith as well as a push. But what keeps it going past that initial momentum?


Starting a new business isn’t enough, however. Speak to any of those business owners who’ve made it past five years and they’ll tell you that sustaining a business is hard work. It takes patience, tenacity, a good support network… and a good handle on the cashflow.

Every business will encounter hurdles, whether that’s a clutch of clients not paying their bills (eek!), a project going badly, a key team member moving on or an abrupt change in government policy that derails your business model. It’s how you handle those hurdles that counts.

Place North West was launched in 2007, says Dino Moutsopoulos. We’ve steadily delivered news and events through a recession, a pandemic and the current economic downturn. And we’ve done it by staying close to our clients and the market, by caring for our people, and being honest about the bad days as well as the good. No business survives on its own. And no business survives without evolving, which is why we launched Place North this year, so that we can still be here in 2033.

It’s never smooth sailing: accepting that your job as a business leader is to manage change is a key part of survival. If you ask those who’ve survived to their tenth year and beyond, they’ll tell you that you have to look after yourself first so that you can look after the people who rely on you (employees, clients and suppliers).


Which brings me neatly onto my key point.

The most important factor in sustaining a business past its first few exciting years is (drum roll please)… people.

Yes, finding and keeping the right people to work with is crucial. We all know how tricky recruitment is at the moment, but waiting for the right person is a far better choice than rushing into taking on the wrong person. Most of us have learnt this lesson the hard way.

Bill Davidson, founding director of P4 Planning, says “Our 10th birthday comes hot on the heels of being named the RTPI north west’s Small Planning Consultancy of the Year. Being intentionally small to us is about more than simply our number of staff. The growth of small firms is a natural part of the business cycle and reflects people’s personal development – as businesses grow they change, which doesn’t suit every talented and experienced professional, or the clients they advise. Maintaining a smaller team allows us to be very selective about our colleagues and the clients we work with, and ensures that we can remain agile and responsive with senior expertise on every piece of work. Sustaining that close-knit feel has been a key part of our evolution and something that I plan to nurture over the next decade.”

And choosing the right collaborators, consultants, team members leads to brilliant place making and successful projects. This is why we network – people buy people…

But the real secret is in carefully choosing your tribe. You are a reflection of the people you have around you. Your friends and advisors, personal and professional, have a major impact on the kind of business leader you will become.

Luma has been going for seven years and during that time I have always sought support from others, whether that’s my brilliant circle of friends, a business school cohort, or my Like Hearted Leaders community. These are the people who keep my compass aligned and help me think through the tough moments. I plan to take Luma to its first decade at least, and to do that I need to take care.

If you’re planning for the long term and could do with a steady team to help you get there, get in touch.

Selected industry experts bring you insight and expert advice, across a range of sectors.

Subscribe for free to receive our fortnightly round-up of property tips and expertise

Selected industry experts bring you insight and expert advice, across a range of sectors.

Subscribe for free to receive our fortnightly round-up of property tips and expertise

"*" indicates required fields


Sign up to receive the Place Daily Briefing

Join more than 13,000 property professionals and receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox


Join more than 13,000 property professionals and sign up to receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

"*" indicates required fields

Your Job Field*
Other regional Publications - select below