Chamber Chat with Neil Townsend
One of the main remits of Lancaster & District Chamber of Commerce is to be the voice for its Members, representing their views and helping to support them with real issues affecting their business. In my case I work for a charity and made the cross-over from the for profit business world to the non-profit charity world. I very often get asked to compare them. To be honest the challenges faced by both are similar, Brexit, conflicting economic dynamics, advancing technology and the use of social media, a decline in customers or for a charity public trust and fundraising reform. Leaders from all sectors clearly have their work cut out and we need to use every asset available to help our organisations prosper. This is where I hope we can work within the chamber to always have a distinctive but collaborative voice, support to lead from the front and be proud to bang the drum about our work, our partnerships, our communities and our people.
Another question I get frequently is do a head up a business or a charity? Well the answer is both. I liken it to being on a seesaw, constantly trying to balance the two sides effectively. Sound business and financial planning, effective and transparent governance and accountability to me are hallmarks of organisations that have people, be it staff, volunteers or customers at their core, irrespective of size. Achieve the balance, keeping customers or in our case clients at the core and we will not go far wrong. Loose site of this and I believe we quickly get into trouble. It might sound obvious but how many times do we all sometimes loose site of the “customer”. Ask yourself this question? Reflect, act and move forward.
Neil Townsend is Chief Executive of CancerCare (North Lancashire & South Lakeland)