James Cardwell-Moore: Ambitions must be backed by bravery

When Business Stream began researching the concept of boldness, and its importance during challenging and uncertain times, we had no idea the UK would be facing so many questions following the EU referendum.

Bold businesses take calculated risks. Picture: PA
Bold businesses take calculated risks. Picture: PA

Our first report, published last year, defined boldness in a business context as having focus, ambition and decisiveness, taking calculated risks and being flexible and brave. Given where we are now, such attributes have never been more important.

Our second report, launched in May, provides a fascinating insight into the attitudes and behaviours of 400 business leaders across the UK. It found, for example, while over 90 per cent have ambitions for growth, 44 per cent had no formal growth strategy.

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Perhaps it is paradoxical to suggest that planning for the future and being bold are essential when the future isn’t always clear. However, we believe such times require more boldness and ambition. And we like to practise what we preach.

Our recent acquisition of Southern Water’s non-domestic customer base will create the third biggest UK non-household water retailer in the UK, providing us with a major foothold in England ahead of the market opening in England next spring.

The acquisition is a significant milestone in our plans to win new customers in England, where we already serve a number of companies.

This is being seen within the industry as a bold – even audacious – move on our part. Whilst we accept that boldness and the utilities sector are not the most obvious bedfellows, in our case boldness has become part of our ethos, helping us to deliver the world’s first competitive water market and create a more secure future for our business.

At times this has been a tough course to follow but our strategy, planning and determination has paid off in the end. Fortune really does favour the bold.

• James Cardwell-Moore is commercial director of Business Stream