Get to know Charles Brook

Charles is a member of Huddersfield Choral Society and a keen amateur photographer.

What is your business motto?

I try to avoid platitudes but I think that my general philosophy in business is to tread lightly. So much of what I do has the potential for significant impact on the lives of individuals and I constantly tell myself that the only lasting impression that I should always leave behind is of being treated fairly and with respect.

How do you make contacts which are useful for business?

I treat every new meeting with equal importance. It isn’t possible for me to pre-determine who will be a useful business contact and I am often surprised that those least likely often turn out to be the most fruitful. I try to associate with people who share my values who presumably like to do the same and, through a widening network of mutually appreciative individuals, I generally find that business opportunities percolate.

What makes your business different?

My colleagues make my business different. It may be my business and it runs by my principles and philosophy but it wouldn’t be what it is without their active and unstinting support. Doing what we do doesn’t often make us popular but meeting that challenge with equanimity helps us to win through and achieve more positive outcomes where a more dogmatic attitude would struggle.

What do you always have with you?

Apart from the usual trappings in my briefcase (and a sense of humour) I always have my Dad. I know that sounds strange but, although he died 28 years ago, I often wonder whether he would approve of either how I tackle a situation or of the words I use if I’m talking to someone who’s counting on my advice. He was a wise man but he was humble.

Do you dress-up or dress-down for business?

I dress to impress if I have to but I prefer to dress to put other people at ease. How you dress can affect your mood and it can display your attitude. I always choose my wardrobe to match my diary.

Which person has inspired you most in your business life and in what way?

My Dad. See above. He was a seemingly ordinary man but an absolute giant in the eyes of so many people but I didn’t know that until he was gone.

What’s your proudest achievement in business?

Picking myself up off the floor after redundancy at 51 years of age and deciding that this time I was going to do things my way. I’d had some great jobs and even been in some great partnerships but this time I was going-it alone. 6 years later I do have partners and I have good friends as working colleagues but it all came from that moment.

What’s your company’s greatest asset?

It’s a cliché but there’s no doubting that it’s the close understanding, loyalty and shared purpose of our team. We support each other because we want to.

Do you use social media and if so with how much success?

We’ve really only recently come to appreciate the benefits of social media in our business. It can be difficult. Insolvency is such an emotive topic and it draws extremes of reaction. It’s also difficult to avoid political comment. Sometimes though, I believe that it is important to express your opinion on a wider platform and as long as confidentiality is respected then social media can provide a great tool either for a relatively safe debate or to celebrate an achievement.

If you hadn’t gone down your chosen career path, what would you be doing?

I’ve experienced so much in my career but most of it has been office-based. I love photography, architecture and nature so perhaps a landscape photographer or an architect.

Give us one tip for a successful business

Keep an open mind. You never stop learning and you can never know too much. Your experiences all come from one perspective so try to understand someone else’s viewpoint and you will learn much more about your own.

At what time of the day are you most creative or inspired?

At school all my best English essays were written in the wee small hours of the morning and I still find that’s when I can think most clearly.

How do you relax away from work?

I enjoy family time in all of its forms; relaxing, playing or achieving things together. I lose myself in music whilst singing with The Huddersfield Choral Society of which I feel very privileged to be a member and otherwise, I can find solitary relaxation in photography or riding my motorbike.

When do you take your coffee break?

I like coffee but the concept of taking a coffee break seems a bit odd to me. Coffee is the sustenance that keeps me working. I will network and socialise over a cuppa.

Who would you most like to have a coffee with?

If it had to be someone famous, then perhaps Professor Brian Cox. I’ve read many of his books that explain complex scientific and philosophical principles with startling clarity and I’d really chat with him about the interconnected-ness of everything.

What’s your coffee break favourite?

A skinny flat white with a yogurt-topped cranberry flapjack!

Feel free to contact Charles, should you need any advice.