Look to the future: Mike Kelly, ARMCo

Pictures of Mike Kelly
30 March, 2021
Industry
4 min read.

With it being just over a year since the start of lockdown, we’re looking to the future with a series of interviews with a range of businesses and leaders discussing changes in their industry and life over the last year.  

Our next interview is with Mike Kelly, Senior Business Development Manager at ARMCo.

Who are you and what do you do?  

“I’m Mike Kelly and I am Senior Business Development Manager for the ARMCo group.

ARMCo is an advisory consultancy that offers client solutions in the property and finance space. Our collection of businesses have been strategically growing year on year, allowing us to deliver fully integrated and agile solutions at every stage of the client journey. 

Within the group, our businesses consult on tax advice, land acquisition, new property sales, specialist lending solutions and corporate finance.

I am also a Council Member of the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce (GBCC). The GBCC covers the whole West Midlands region and has membership across all sizes and sectors. They have been instrumental in assisting businesses during the lockdown periods.

“I am also a founding member of the West Midlands Irish Business Group (WMIBG). The WMIBG was formed 10 years ago and has over 150 members all with an Irish connection. We work closely with the British and Irish Chamber of Commerce as well as the Irish embassy and Enterprise Ireland.

In addition to this, I am a Business Ambassador for Birmingham St. Mary’s Hospice. St. Mary’s Hospice is based in Selly Oak and offers hospice care, counselling and care in the community. They are a great charity with wonderful staff.”

What are your long-term goals, did you achieve them and what’s left to come?  

“I have always focused on delivering outstanding service to clients, taking them from prospects to clients to advocates. I continue to strive to deliver an exceptional client experience, first time every time.

I think I have more to offer and am looking forward to the ‘new normal’ and continuing to share our story.”

What are your values as a business leader?  

“Being authentic, honest, transparent and to ensure we always celebrate success.

Being part of ARMCo, it is imperative that we deliver world-class client services. Our core values put our clients at the heart of all we do and we pride ourselves on delivering every time.

In addition, being involved with the GBCC has given me an insight into a range of sectors across the West Midlands and hopefully, my experience has added value to strategy.”

How do you stay motivated?  

“Working with like-minded colleagues, mentoring individuals and connecting good people with good people.  

During lockdown, we formed a running club at work (socially distanced obviously!). This has been a great way to not only stay fit but also to engage with colleagues.

One of the main takeaways from lockdown and the coronavirus pandemic is to be aware of not only your own, but your colleagues, friend’s and family’s wellbeing. Run Club has been great to get together as a group, get some fresh air, run along the canal and feel terrific afterwards!

How has the last year affected your industry?  

“The requirement for good quality advice and appropriate lending structures has never been more relevant than in the last 12 months. Government schemes, new entrants to market and some existing lenders pulling out of the market has meant it is more important than ever to seek expert advice.

There were over 100 lenders who signed up for the CBILS loan scheme proving that it is a complex and varied world that requires the specialist touch.

What has been your biggest challenge for the last year and how did you overcome it?  

“For someone who loves meeting people, working from home was the biggest initial challenge. Zoom has its place and has been a great way of staying in touch, but it doesn’t beat the ‘real thing’. If I’m honest, I’m not sure I overcame it completely!

However, I have embraced Zoom and Teams for continuing to network and connect with people and have found that it has actually given structure to meetings and webinars.

In addition, I have made sure I go for a run and/or walk everyday to ensure that I am not glued to the laptop all day. You can get very easily sucked in to being on the computer 10 hours a day. It’s not healthy and it’s not productive.

One tip – Don’t do back to back Zoom meetings. It’s common that the first will overrun and you will end up rushing into the next without taking breath. Give yourselves a break and thinking time.”    

Have you had to adapt your business model due to the coronavirus? Have you altered your goods, services or offering in any way?  

“The last 12 months has been a great opportunity to revaluate our overall proposition and to acquire new businesses to the group, which truly adds value and allows us to deliver the ultimate solution for clients.”

What has been your favourite project over the last year?  

“We were heavily involved in delivering the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) from the outset. We developed a huge project that ordinarily would have taken 12 months in 4 weeks.

This allowed us to engage effectively with businesses and lenders to ensure we matched the client to the most appropriate product for their needs.

We have assisted numerous businesses in securing both CBILS and ‘bounce back’ loans. This has enabled many to continue to trade effectively, to pivot, to retain staff and to look forward with confidence.

How do you see your industry changing?

“There will be a greater focus on digital as with most sectors. However, the need to personally engage with business owners, lenders, trusted advisors etc. when they are making huge decisions will always be a requirement.

“In addition, having a USP will be vital and with our group proposition, we can be truly unique and deliver exceptional value to our clients.

ARMCo is truly exciting and being a part of it from day one will help me shape its future.”

What are your plans for the future? 

“Keep going!!! I will continue to help develop others and assist them in fulfilling their potential.”

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Want to share your story? Email our Content Strategy Manager Jess at jessica@edge-creative.com.

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