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Blogs from Lawrence Jones

Thoughts for Today

Screen Out


We have so much technology at our fingertips that it can feel impossible to disconnect. Think about it, how many hours this week have you spent in front a screen? A journalist recently asked me if I ever just sit in front of the TV and bingewatch a series. I spent so much time looking at my phone or laptop, I can’t think of anything worse than getting home and staring at another screen! It’s...

UKFast Space


UKFast Campus – Manchester’s best workplace – has become a landmark in the city! I am often asked why we commit so much time and energy to creating the unique workplace that we have at our UKFast Campus. To traditional business minds, having a gym, crèche, steam room, two-storey slide, sleeping pods and the like makes no sense. To us, it makes perfect sense. We’ve committed to designing an environment that’s not 100% office space....

eCommerce Live 2017


Today kickstarts a season of events from UKFast, all dedicated to eCommerce. With today’s Manchester-based eCommerce Live, we launch into our latest drive to bring the eCommerce community together. In an era when it is so easy to communicate across the globe, often we forget to communicate with the people on our very doorstep. I built the auditorium at UKFast Campus for this very reason – to bring people together. Since then we’ve held more...

What’s the Reason?


Aaron and I chatting with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham about digital skills and shaping the future of Manchester’s young people. You will often hear me saying that we cross paths with people for a reason; often we just don’t know what that reason is. Sometimes, we won’t know for years! For example, a decade ago I played football with an absolute firecracker called Aaron. I have never seen more energy on the football field....

Six Ways to Motivate Yourself on Monday Morning


There’s more to Monday motivation than a cup of coffee! There’s a reason that #MondayMotivation trends at the start of the week, every week. Sometimes we need a little boost to head into the week on the right foot after the weekend. I’ve learned over the years that more often than not, if you need a real boost on a Monday, something needs to change. With that in mind, here are six ways to set...

Take a Break


The team celebrating the end of a great week with Beer Friday at UKFast. When was the last time you took a break today? I was disappointed to read that more than half of workers in Manchester skip their lunch break completely. Not only that, on average, workers only take 33 minutes for their lunch break. It’s just not enough! The research, by Workthere, also revealed that office employees eat at their desk four out...

What Makes an Entrepreneur an Entrepreneur?


The dictionary defines an entrepreneur as: “A person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.” Entrepreneurs Richard Branson and Lawrence Jones playing chess on Necker I don’t think this definition sums us up correctly. Entrepreneurs are more than people who set up businesses; we are wired differently. Entrepreneurs think differently. We behave differently. Whilst every business is different, as are the people behind them, there is...

Four Lessons Toy Story Teaches Us About Business


Bear with me. I appreciate that this is an unusual theme for a blog but there are opportunities to learn everywhere, particularly in stories. My kids love Disney films and visiting Disney World, and one story stands out for me: Toy Story. We’ve seen it hundreds of times and every time I watch it, I pick up another of the messages hidden in the chaos of Andy’s childhood bedroom. So what can we learn from...

What makes an eCommerce business successful?


Last year’s event brought together an extraordinary panel. I’ve had the privileged position of sitting at the heart of the internet for the past 18 years. Through UKFast I’ve seen a shift from encouraging people to get online, ecommerce starting, speeding up the internet and ensuring those same people are safe online. Nowadays you can set up a business with an internet connection and laptop or tablet. It’s that simple. But how do you make...

Back With The Sharks


At the Sale Sharks press day ahead of the season starting. It was good to head back over to the AJ Bell Stadium over the weekend for the Sale Sharks’ first game of the season. As main sponsor, we always have at least three tables full of family, friends, the UKFast team and our clients in the hospitality area. The atmosphere is fantastic and it’s always a memorable occasion to sit in the stands and...

LJ Blog

Five Leadership Mistakes You’re Making without Realising


Climbing Mount Snowdon with UKFast’s incredible leadership team: Gail and UKFast Enterprise MD, Jonathan. Simon Sinek says: “Leaders are in a position of power, but those who lead inspire us.” What does it take to be what ‘Good to Great’ author, Jim Collins called ‘level five leaders’ like Sir Alex Ferguson, Ray Crock or Walt Disney? I have been learning for many years what it takes to be an extraordinary leader and help others to...

Back to School


Coco’s first day of school Our yesterdays come all too quickly. It truly doesn’t seem like a moment has passed since each of my daughters was born. Now our littlest, Summer, is more than a year old and the other three are all starting the new school year. It’s important to make the most of every moment, especially the milestones. The first day of school is one such milestone. It’s a huge occasion, isn’t it? At the...

Field Of Dreams


When we set UKFast up, Gail and I dreamt that one day we’d have a big business that helps thousands of people, full of passionate, hard-working teammates who feel the same as we do about standards and solving other people’s problems. Waking up this morning and walking through our fields, it was one of those moments that I had to stop and pinch myself. The place was a mess! Thousands of empty bottles, pizza boxes,...

Tip The Balance


Every business person needs to be concerned about balance. In a perfect world, we would all start out with giant customers and we would be able to develop from there. But, we would be really foolish if we were to just build our business around one or two big customers. At UKFast we never had the luxury of having huge clients when we were a startup. We had to go out there, to work incredibly...

210 Years Experience


There’s a fine line between success and failure. If there is one definitive element that separates them I believe it’s people. As an entrepreneur, manager or team leader it’s our job to hold on to talented teammates. 10 Year Club Teammates celebrating 210 years of experience @UKFast This week I joined UKFast’s Ten Year Club for a celebratory dinner. It was a proud moment and a little like stepping back in time! Out of the...

Entrepreneur Secrets


Tomorrow is World Entrepreneur Day and the start of UKFast’s Entrepreneur Week (#WorldEntrepreneursDay) and I have something special lined up for you! I set out with my Sunday blog around 10 years ago to help inspire others and to share what I learn. It turns out that I am the one that gets inspired by people’s reactions and comments, with around 200,000 regular visitors to my blog. The result: I made friends all over the world and...

Off the Ground


What’s the one thing you need to get your business off the ground? When I speak with budding entrepreneurs, often the answer I hear is ‘funding’. Whilst this is true, it would be easier to set up a business in the short term if you had an influx of cash to help you to buy what you need, in the long term, I don’t think it’s always the best course of action. Every month I...

Dealing with Stress


My incredible wife and our youngest daughter. Adding a new baby to the mix can cause no end of stress – finding balance and having fun is essential. When was the last time that you truly switched off? When you let your mind wander for more than a few minutes without a mobile phone in your hand. In today’s increasingly connected world we’re becoming incredible at keeping on top of our day-to-day challenges and working...

Extended Family


UKFast teacher Arlene chatting with Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham about our commitment to apprentices. Kids don’t stay kids for very long, do they? It’s worth remembering that in business too. I’ve talked a lot about apprenticeships recently at various events and in so many conversations. Apprenticeships seem to be the hot business trend at the moment – everyone is doing something or other for apprentices, which, of course, is fantastic. It is so important to...

Supporting Innovation


Having spent 18 years at the heart of the internet, I’ve seen many digital trends come and go. Seen technologies evolve. Watched and many online businesses flourish. I have learned that all too often the really innovative teams and small businesses don’t get the recognition they deserve. These are the bedrock of our digital economy. They are the unsung heroes of the industry, setting a new standard in our constantly evolving landscape. It has always...