South Northamptonshire Business of the Year Award

3rd October 2019

At Fortitude we like to measure our own success by the experiences of our clients, and their own success in achieving what they want from life. On the one hand, it means we’re doing our job to the very best of our abilities, but on the other hand, a stream of happy clients means word gets around, which helps to make sure we’re known for what we do.

But we won’t pretend we don’t like being recognised with an award here and there, especially when it’s something that reflects our own qualities and commitment to our clients, but also our love for the local area that we’re a part of. This month, we were delighted to win the ‘South Northamptonshire Business of the Year Award’ at the SME Northamptonshire Business Awards 2019. Here’s how it came about and how the night unfolded.

 

The SME Northamptonshire Business Awards

The awards are aimed squarely at small and medium enterprises ­– businesses with up to 250 employees. They’re about raising the profile of “industrious, hardworking and enterprising SMEs” working across the county of Northamptonshire. They’re awarded in 22 categories and they culminate in a prestigious black tie ‘Grand Celebration’, which this year took place at the Derngate Theatre on 26 September, hosted by sports journalist Rachel Downey.

Whether we win or not, we’re very keen to support initiatives in our area so we sent along a contingent from Fortitude. Representing our whole business in a small party isn’t easy, but we settled on Financial Planner Sam Colby Butcher and Paraplanner Niamh Philp, along with Belinda Stock and Liz Reed, both from client support. Not that we doubted ourselves but sitting right at the back of 30 tables didn’t seem conducive to winning an award. Still, we’re very keen to celebrate local success and so we simply settled down to enjoy the evening.

You can’t predict the markets

That’s something we often tell you, but it turns out you can’t predict awards or their correlation to seating patterns either. The seating arrangement, as it turned out, was a red herring, because we were delighted to be called up as winners of the South Northamptonshire Business Of The Year Award, a new category sponsored by South Northamptonshire Council.

According to the official description, it recognises businesses that “demonstrate innovation and creativity, fostering a healthy workplace culture”. It’s also important that the successful business is active in the community and plays a role in enhancing the local area and local economy, showing a “passion for South Northamptonshire and its development as the perfect place to work, live, visit and invest.”

What it means for Fortitude

Those are all qualities we recognise, but the parts that really stand out to us are “a dedication to developing staff and enhancing skills” and “forward-thinking approaches to staff wellbeing and development.”

Those two sentences pretty much sum up what lies at the heart of our ethos at Fortitude. While some businesses might stick with the tried and tested “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach, we’ve always been more inclined towards “let’s improve it anyway”. Continuous improvement is hugely important to us, but it’s something we apply to every aspect of the business, to the skills of every colleague, in everything we do, every day. It’s a holistic approach to improvement that Japan calls ‘Kaizen’. We think it’s essential to stay at the cutting edge of what we do, so our clients are assured of always getting the very best.

On receiving the award we also got to hear the feedback as to why we were selected. There were nods to our excellent application of all the entry criteria, but again, there was one point that resonated in particular – the recognition of our ethics. Along with continuous improvement, ethics are paramount for us. We’re transparent, honest and trustworthy, because without absolute clarity on those qualities we can’t get to know you, and if we can’t do that, we can’t help you to achieve your goals.

This one’s for the fans

When we watch music and film awards on TV it’s almost inevitable that a film, TV or music star will humbly announce “this one’s for all of you at home”. It never quite rings true, but the difference in our profession is that we can actually back that claim up.

Of course, winning the award is a great feeling – we love being part of a wonderfully supportive community, supporting local businesses and it’s just nice to be recognised. But being recognised means we’re doing what we do well, and the things we do as a business are done for our clients. It’s our purpose to help people to make the very best use of their wealth to reach the goals they’ve set for themselves. That means always looking for ways to further improve our service, new ways to upskill our colleagues and new ways to make sure our offering is the very best it can be.

For us, an award means a nice night out and a pat on the back, but for our existing clients and for those thinking of getting in touch, it’s a reminder that every day of every year, we’re working hard to stay in front.