Catena Network, the ‘matchmaking’ service for businesses, has appointed Andy Middleton as Director of its expanded Nottingham territory, ‘Nottingham Too’.
Having acquired the franchise, Andy will focus on expanding the local Catena offering across Nottinghamshire, freeing up founder Claire Bicknell to focus on growing the franchise network across the UK.
Andy previously worked in the print industry, having set up Ginger Root Creative Agency and Print House and will be harnessing his marketing and sales skills as part of his new role with Catena and his own new business, AMSN, which helps businesses increase their brand awareness through sales lead generation.
It is a far cry from this time last year, when Andy joined an expedition to reach Everest Basecamp as part of a personal challenge that has also given him new insights into himself and the potential of others.
Andy explains: “I’ve been a Catena member for many years and when Claire told me that she was expanding the franchise and that Nottingham could be available I jumped at the chance to get involved as the market is so vibrant and full of potential.
“Right now, networking is facing its own challenges with the postponement of physical meetings and the rise of the online model but that is something Catena has totally embraced.
“When it is done right, networking is about making genuine connections and forging alliances, not simply swapping business cards (virtual or not). It is a strategic part of the sales and marketing strategy and that is what we aim to do with Catena.”
The expansion of the Nottingham territory comes after the creation of a Lincoln franchise earlier this year, led by Stav Melides and the appointment of Richard Lloyd as a Strategic Business Adviser as Catena scales up its franchise expansion across the UK.
Catena founder Claire Bicknell says: “As Andy says, networking is going through a bit of an evolution right now. We’ve all got used to the Zooms, Hangouts and Teams chats and they can be fantastic when they are properly monitored as they allow for very focused discussion as well as the wider topical debates.
“Since adding the online offering we’ve actually found more and more people joining our local meetings from right across the country and we can see the appetite is there to kickstart the classic physical meetings again once we are able.
“In order to do that I am going to be focusing on finding strategic partners to help deliver the Catena model locally and Andy is a fantastic addition to the team to help us to do just that.”
On his expedition to Everest and doing business in today’s challenging environment Andy adds: “You know, there’s a lot you can discover about yourself when it is 15 below freezing on the side of a mountain, both in terms of personal limits but also your perspective on life and business challenges!
“You also get to know other people really well in terms of what makes them tick and how you can help them. That is the essence of good communication and good networking. Of course, it also helps when you have a story to hand about being caught in a blizzard in the middle of the Himalayas!”