Peter smith headshot 2

Meet our Bracknell BID board members

The BID Board directors give their time voluntarily and without payment to help govern the BID and champion the work of the BID team.

Meet Peter Smith

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Please give a description of you and your company / the company you work for.

Currently Chairman of Thames Valley business advisors.  We provide support for business owners, and I work as a coach, mentor or business advisor to business owners and senior managers.

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A little bit about your background/working career.

I started work as an apprentice with the General Post Office (part of the civil service before BT) at 16 and progressed to Senior Manager, managing teams of over 500 technicians and 40 managers in the Bristol, Gloucester, Swindon and surrounding areas as Customer Service Area Manager.  After taking early retirement from BT, I spent six years carrying out senior interim management and project management roles in Europe, the Far East and Central America.  I ran an SME business in Sumatra employing just five local people before returning to UK in 2005.  Since then, I have worked with well over 100 SME business owners helping them to overcome problems and grow their businesses.

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How has your company adapted during COVID?

We have moved to online working and networking where required.  We have also assisted many businesses to re-plan or re-pivot their businesses in order to adapt to the covid issues.

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How are you planning to return / how have you returned?

Covid provided additional opportunities although some clients had difficulties in making payment and we have needed to be content to await deferred income is some cases.

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Any advice for other BID businesses around COVID that you can give based on your experiences?

Whenever there are challenges within our business environment, we always need to put on one side what we can no longer do and concentrate principally on what we can do moving forward.   In most of the businesses where we had carried out an effective “risk management” exercise pre-covid we were already able to quickly re-adjust the businesses for remote working.  This had been anticipated not because of Covid but anticipating other risk factors that could cause this to be needed.

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Why are you a BID board director/why do you volunteer your time for the local business community?

As President of the Bracknell Chamber Council three years ago, I had a watching brief to support the project early on.  Once local businesses voted to introduce a BID, I was asked to become a Director and I felt it was important to help see it become successful.

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Why are you passionate about Bracknell BID area?

Although I am from Yorkshire I have lived and worked in many parts of the UK and overseas, settling in Bracknell 12 years ago.  Since then, I have learned to love this part of the UK and particularly appreciate its perfect location with easy access to rail, air, and motorway links as well as an enormously improved town centre, surrounded by trees and green spaces.

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What skills and experience do you bring to the BID board?

As a senior manager working at board level previously, I have Board Level experience and management training in many aspects of successful corporate management.  I have also run SME enterprises and still work with SME business owners, so I believe I have a good feel for what is relevant for most businesses.

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What difference do you hope the BID will have made in the next five years?

Within five years I would expect the environment within which Bracknell BID businesses work will have been improved and that the BID will be able to support many of the needs of local business owners and managers.  We remain a business-led organisation and it is essential that we will have achieved a high level of local business involvement by then.

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Most likely to be found in/at?

I have seven lively grandchildren – five in the UK and two in California.  I spend time with them and am also investigating taking some time as a radio amateur operator using my long-standing license as G8OLK.  I am currently writing an eBook on business and am investigating publishing a new book with the title “25-year planning for people in their 60s”.

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What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve been given?

Over the years I have been given many pieces of business advice and gleaned for myself even more.  The most important thing I learned was “Running a business is simple but not easy – all we need is a product or service that the market is willing to pay for at a price that will give us a profit.”  As we adjust our business model to meet those basic principles, we can quickly identify the strengths and weaknesses in our business model.

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