We talk to Nicki Clark OBE about the inspiration behind employee-owned business UMi
What do you currently do at UMi?
I am Chief Executive at employee-owned business UMi where I am a founding Director since 2007.
Alongside my wider team, we help businesses go further by providing them with the best information, expertise and finance. I’m also actively engaged in a range of organisations and enterprises whose services support and create better opportunities for people
What is the inspiration behind the business?
To transform the way that businesses access information and expertise so they could make better business decisions more quickly. We believed we could bring the best that both the public and private sector have to offer and package it so that it’s easier to understand, access and use.
What defines your way of doing business?
Simply, the way we measure success. Like all good businesses we keep a firm eye on the fiscal health of the business but at the same time keep two other key success measures firmly in our sights– whether we are a work place where talent thrives, and lastly the impact that we create in the places where we live and work.
Some of the practical ways in which we express that are through being wholly employee owned, pursuing BCorp certification, ranked in the top 100 best companies to work for, supporting over 500,000 business across the UK, and investing over £100,000 through the UMi community fund to help tackle isolation.
At an operational level part of our difference comes from being able to provide our customers all the rigour and robustness of a large corporate with the entrepreneurial flair and agility of a smaller business.
Who do you admire?
There’s not one person in particular, I tend to admire lots of different people for different things. It’s difficult to say if our values are influenced by those we admire or the other way around but I really admire those people who are achieving great things in the face of adversity or are doing something which has a positive impact beyond just themselves.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
I am so proud of the work we do at UMi, there are no big things I would change. Some of the things I wish I had learned at an earlier stage in my career was the fact that often the quality of the journey is more important than the destination, and also that if you embrace the differences in your team it leads to a stronger more creative and successful team.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
To not back yourself into a corner, always have options. In my earlier career I thought that decisiveness meant that once you made your mind up you shouldn’t alter it as that would look like you lacked conviction etc. In my later years, and following learning some painful lessons, I now benefit from being much more open minded and that changing decisions as long as they are done consciously and for good reasons can be a positive thing.