10 In 10: Nicola Brown Central Networks And Technologies
Nicola Brown, sales director of Heywood-based IT support provider and cloud solutions specialist Central Networks and Technologies (Central), is the latest regional business professional in the hot seat as we give her just 10 minutes to answer our 10 burning questions.
What does a typical working day for you involve?
I’m an early bird, so I’m typically up and out of bed at 5:45am, and the first thing I’ll do is either put on my wetsuit and head out for an open water swim or go for a walk – it’s the best way to start the day! Once I’m back at home, it’s time to get the kids sorted for schools – making packed lunches and getting them out of the door for 8am.
I’ll then settle down at my desk and catch up on my emails before 9am. And as Central’s sales director, I’m responsible for heading up the sales team and leading the company’s commercial strategy, meaning a lot of my day consists of meetings with colleagues and customers. When I clock off, I’ll make dinner for the family, and will log back on in the evening to finish off the remaining to-dos from the day – but I always try and log off by 7:30pm, so I have some downtime before bed.
What makes your company special?
The people. Central is a company that’s been going for 30 years – in fact, we’re celebrating our three decades of trading this year – and lots of staff have been with the business for over 20 years.
Our differentiator is that we all truly care about our clients and their IT projects. We pride ourselves on being a firm our customers can rely on to listen and support them and offer bespoke and unbiased advice.
Do you have any business rules that you swear by?
I always try and put myself in the shoes of the customer. This enables you to understand things from their perspective and helps to tailor your approach and answers to their questions.
Do you dress up or down for work?
At home I definitely dress down and keep it comfortable and relaxed, but when I’m in the office I love getting dressed up in my smart clothes.
What piece of advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
To take things slow and be patient. At 18, I wanted to run and conquer the world at 100mph, but I’d say don’t be afraid to decelerate a little, listen to people, and recognise that while rapid decision making has its time and place, sleeping on a problem is sometimes a good thing. Ultimately, I’d say, calm down, it will all work out OK in the end.
What’s your favourite Lancashire venue for an event or team away day?
It has to be the beautiful Sparth House – a historical, family-run venue dating back to 1740, that’s set in three acres of scenic grounds.
How do you prefer to travel for business?
In an ideal world I love to travel on the train, as I find it so relaxing. But when that’s not possible, I’d say alone in the car with Radio 2 for company.
What’s your favourite place in Lancashire to relax?
Stanley House Hotel and Spa – it’s heaven on earth and is one of the best spas in the world that I’ve visited.
Where is your favourite place to eat in Lancashire, and what dish do you recommend?
I’m a massive foodie, so it’s hard to pick just one! You can’t beat alfresco dining at Stanley House – it’s so scenic as it’s nestled in the Lancashire hills – and a Sunday roast or steak at Fred’s Brasserie is also a must.
What do you miss most about Lancashire when you are away?
The people – I love northerners, they’re so friendly and always make you feel welcome!