IT is exactly ten years ago since I set up Granite PR and this milestone occasion causes me to reflect on a decade in business, and the many challenges and rewards those years have brought writes Brett Jackson, founder & managing director of Granite PR.

I always knew it would be hard work but, looking back, taking that leap into running my own business was the most important and exciting decision I have ever made.

As well as looking back on our journey, I am also looking ahead with eager anticipation to the year ahead. Most companies have challenges to face and we are no exception, but I am confident that honesty and hard work will remain central to weathering whatever the remainder of 2018 has in store.

For us, an enduring philosophy and one which we will continue to adopt moving forward has been the importance of adding value to clients. This is something that has helped us weather turbulent operating conditions and continue to win new business. Additionally, it has helped us to retain valued clients and grow during the downturn in the energy industry.

One important element of our activities has been creative pricing in a competitive trading environment – for me, this is as important as being creative with the product or service itself.

Additionally, we have found it beneficial to adopt a mixture of modern and traditional business tools – the digital world is a wonderful and exciting mix of valuable tools that we can all embrace to grow our businesses in many ways. However, to get the best from a person, organisation or situation, I believe you still cannot beat being face-to-face with a client to better understand their business and its needs or aspirations. Encourage them to share and chat through thoughts and ideas with you, because often these will create the foundations of some of the best creative campaigns in our business.

Another way in which we have added value during our decade in business is our series of Gateway international business networking events. The sixth annual Aberdeen-Houston Gateway took place at Macdonald Norwood Hall Hotel recently, and the Aberdeen-Norway Gateway will return this summer with the Aberdeen-Perth WA Gateway to follow at the end of the year.

Additionally, the popular annual Granite Expo business showcase will be back in Aberdeen in October and it will be followed in November by the inaugural Angus & Dundee Expo which will build on the success of this format. Our second Granite Burns supper will get 2019 off to a flying start in January and add another important networking opportunity to the evolving mix.

We are honoured and humbled by the support they generate but it’s crucial that we make sure they evolve over the years. Continually doing the same things no matter how good (or otherwise!) it was will ultimately lead to shrinkage so you have to keep the best of what you have already developed and add new offerings to achieve growth.

In summary we have always tried to live by the philosophy that we should never get complacent that what we have is good enough – always strive for better and that’s what we will be aiming for as we embark on our second decade in business.