Manchester BusinessThis particular writer is an outsider to Manchester, so over the past few months I have had the pleasure of learning all about business in the city and the businesses and people’s names that keep cropping up over and over again.

I have met some interesting people, some people really great in their roles, and some truly awful people that give Manchester a bad name, but the less said about those, the better!

I thought that I would share my learns with the huddled audience, so that it could possibly benefit others too.  I list the following people and businesses in no particular order and I must point out that I have no affiliation with any of those mentioned.

1. Get to know business people quickly with Richard Venables of Downtown Manchester in Business

Richard Venables of Downtown Manchester reminds me of one of those characters that you see in Bond films that James Bond encounters when he just arrives in to a new, foreign location.  If you need to know who is who around Manchester, where it is at, and get set up quickly, then Richard is the man, from my experience.

2. Get to know the creative community quickly with Chris Marsh of Melbourne Hosting

Chris Marsh is the best company advocate that I have encountered in over 10 years of business.  I defy anyone that spends time with him, especially at his offices, to NOT use Melbourne Hosting as their next host.  You would have to have a heart of stone to not do it!

A healthy part of his success, I believe, is putting people and businesses together, especially if one party is from the creative industry in the local area.   In doing so, he helps Melbourne to become a trusted source of information and well, that’s what life and business is all about.  He certainly helps to keep the Melbourne name bouncing around the city with his great work.

If you want to know a geek that specialises in work clothing design, or a company to create you your next, great website, Chris will help.  His kindness will ensure that you then choose Melbourne to host it with.

3. Find out where to meet to talk business and advertise to a huge audience with Manchester Confidential

Mark Garner’s Manchester Confidential is the finest independent website in the city of Manchester.  Whilst much of the content focusses on entertainment, rather than business focussed, its a brilliant source of information, especially for B2C businesses looking to promote themselves in Manchester.  B2B businesses should too, in my opinion, having benefited first-hand from it.

Before meeting Mark, I was forewarned of many negative things, which all turned out to be untruths. On the contrary, I found him (and his chief ninja, Helen Ramsbottom) to be a positive hive of information that helped me very much indeed.  As I have found several times in my early days in Manchester, there are many jealous people – strikingly, they usually don’t work too hard, but socialise often.  They seem to not like those that work hard and Mark is one of those people.

4. Meet just about any company director via Sue Kilshaw, Manchester’s finest C-level hub

Sue Kilshaw certainly is a woman with brains, beauty and tenacity.  She’s very well connected in this city, too.  With a career starting in the pharmaceutical industry, Sue uses her left-field experiences to her advantage.  She knows how to talk business at director level and how to be an excellent social butterfly at the same time – not many can pull that off.  If you wanted your product in front of some of the most influential business owners and directors in the city, then Sue is the go-to person, in my opinion.  However, your product must be of excellent quality, or Sue is taking it nowhere.  Sue can get your great content (products) to the right audience better than anyone else.

5. Get networking at the 86 Networking Events held every day in Manchester

OK, I lied, there are not 86 networking events in Manchester each day, but it’s not far off.  There is always a networking/training company such as Downtown, Business Growth Hub, Manchester Business Breakfast Club, Business Introductions and Womens Business Clubs to name but a few holding events at cool venues around the city.  You can find a list of updated Manchester networking events here on huddled.

6. Spend time with the early adopters in the Northern Quarter

If I was to label one criticism at the Manchester business scene in my time here so far, I would say that it innovates very poorly.  This is especially poignant when you consider that the Northern Quarter and its array of quirky start-ups are literally at the doorstep.  Come on, business people of Manchester – one of the UK’s finest melting pots of business ideas is right here!

There are too many businesses, notably in the digital, legal (not including the maverick Dougie Watt of Linder Myers) and financial sectors, that spend too much time worrying about what others are doing and not spending enough time thinking of ways to improve their own services.

Way too much gossip goes on in Spinningfields,  on Deansgate etc.  You never know, the quirky guy with the huge hole in his ear carrying a Mac Book Air on Tibb Street could be working on or even using something that we all will be using in two years time.  Why not use it now?  You will never find out if you keep waiting for the next bit of salacious news in the gossipers’ favourite after-work yawn-fest, Rosso.  “Helen Flanagan was out until what time last night?”.

It’s OK to run your businesses from the more corporate areas of the city – it makes perfect sense.  But it also makes perfect sense to mix in different circles, learn new things from time to time.  Get your key people to walk around and ingest the creativity.


So there you have it, my take on how to help make your business a success in Manchester in 2013.  A sincere apology to those people that I missed out, like the excellent Notch Communications, Smoking Gun PR and others that I cannot think of at the time of writing.  I hope that you enjoyed this article, and who knows, maybe my next will be 6 people to avoid to be a success in Manchester in 2013…..maybe, just maybe I’ll do it.