Ambition and a love for what she does are what drives Sarah Bryars, whose career in communications and PR already spans 30 years, but when it comes to business she values one thing above all else – relationships.
For Bryars, who is the chief executive of Cheltenham-headquartered PR and communications agency Target, it is not just the power of forging those connections with people that is important, it is keeping them – continuing to listen, to care and to learn.
As a business, Target celebrates its 45th anniversary in September 2022 and its longevity and success is testament to that same ability to connect, understand and invest in creating meaningful relationships.
‘I know that I’ve been shaped by countless experiences, good and bad. I think I realised early on that, whatever the scenario, the way people behave towards each other often influences the outcome.
‘Integrity and empathy go a long way towards building relationships in business, as in life,’ said Bryars, who spoke to SoGlos as part of our Gloucestershire business lessons series compiled in partnership with online training provider Nimble Elearning.
‘I’m proud and thankful to work within an organisation that values relationships. Our largest client, Specsavers, is also our most longstanding at 21 years and counting.
‘And even our most recent client wins soon become trusted relationships. We’re ambitious, we love what we do, we care about having a positive impact and we’re commercially successful; we are not a ‘turning a fast buck’ kind of business.’
That investment in people also includes herself and her staff.
‘With the pace of change, it’s imperative that we all continue to learn and develop. My fellow director Sam Kandiyali and I have each achieved MBAs.
‘As well as formal programmes, it’s good to keep exploring new tools or making time to hear about other people’s experiences. Over the past couple of years, the team has been particularly engaged with digital learning and webinars.
‘We also have a PR and communications apprentice, Amy, who works with us four days a week and spends one day studying with Cirencester College.
‘We’re delighted with how well the apprenticeship is going, in large part because we struck gold when we found Amy, so we’re now scouting for an additional apprentice.’
She added: ‘My dad always had a bit of a mantra: ‘Life is change’. I think that’s helped me to expect change and ride the wave, even when it feels scary.
‘Target is 45 years old in September this year; it’s a great milestone to celebrate and fascinating to reflect on how every iteration of the Target team through the decades has continued to adapt and evolve.
‘Nothing stands still, we wouldn’t want it to. Life is change – let’s embrace it.’
Other articles in the series include Gloucestershire business lessons: How a learning culture is driving Forge Engineering to success and Gloucestershire business lessons: Gaining trust is key, learning and development is fundamental.