OPINION: Harrogate Advertiser Business Excellence Awards recognise hard work of local firms - awards judge Simon Eyles of Bettys

I have been the Managing Director of Bettys for six years and thoroughly enjoy working within our Yorkshire business communities. It has been an absolute pleasure, and an uplifting experience, heading up the judging panel for the Harrogate Advertiser Business Excellence Awards.

It resonates so much with what Bettys is all about: people, skill, innovation, sustainability, heritage, creativity and placing customers at the centre of everything we do.

I really enjoyed collaborating with my fellow judges to recognise and honour the incredible hard work, imagination and success of businesses in our region. It has certainly made a change to look outside of the world of tea and cake! There were some fantastic entries and the process to shortlist nominees was not an easy task at all.

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I know from my own experience in leading Bettys that the last year has been the most challenging of times. We have seen supply chain disruption, never ending cost increases and recruitment challenges to name but a few.

But it is in these challenging times that the founding principles and values that were developed over 100 years ago by our founder, have really come to the fore and guided the business. When the going gets tough, the values start guiding. This may not be a well-known phrase, but has been very true for Bettys over recent years.

At the heart of our values is the way we work together as a team and value every single person who works at Bettys. We know that true collaboration brings out the best in the business and the best in each other. I often tell the teams that together we can achieve anything.

Over recent years the importance of listening, supporting and encouraging each other has never been more important. We have all come through some extraordinary challenges, but we have done it together.

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It is these principles, that have ensured we continue to offer a unique experience, welcoming customers into the deliciously magical world of Bettys. Harrogate will always be our spiritual home.

We have a key role to play in attracting visitors to our area, and a big responsibility to make sure every single visitor leaves fully satisfied. There is nowhere quite like Bettys, and we will continue to play this role in attracting visitors to Yorkshire.

I can see that so many other businesses that have also navigated these choppy waters with skill, creativity and courage, and I salute every single one of the businesses who have been nominated for an award.

I am confident that the savvy Yorkshire spirit the nominees and winners have shown will help guide our business community to continued success.

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Resilience and perseverance will be needed for the months to come, as we see cost-of-living increases affect customer confidence. At the same time, I firmly believe that the changing economic outlook presents opportunities, the challenge is being open to innovation and acting with agility to adapt quickly.

No business can survive by staying the same and standing still is not an option. Evolving, experimenting, testing, learning and refining is the name of the game. It is with this mindset that businesses will discover new opportunities and enjoy continued success.

We are certainly more open minded than ever before when it comes to innovation. Just one example is our shiny new silver airstream caravan converted into a Bettys mobile unit which started serving customers in the RHS gardens at Harlow Carr last month and is already proving very popular.

I look forward to reading and hearing about how our local business community evolves and adapts to meet future challenges. I know Bettys will continue to be guided by our founding principles and values, and I encourage other businesses to do the same, while having the courage to try new things and look for new opportunities. Good luck and don’t forget to have fun along the way!

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