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Glowcroft Limited
Eastwoods - staff issues
Glasswell and Last Ltd - systems and procedures issues
Opendoor - time management issues
Old Pond Publishing - sales issues, marketing issues
Write Thinking - sales issues
CPW Computing - team issues
Pitman Training

Glowcroft Limited

Glowcroft Limited is a contract packer with its own graphic design studio. The company supports and advises on the packaging process, and helps take their clients’ initial concepts through to final packaged product. The graphic designers create bespoke packaging and designs for other applications.

The management team at Glowcroft worked hard on marketing to generate leads, but was uncertain about the effectiveness of their marketing activities. Of the leads that did come into the company, more could have been converted into sales. The senior managers needed to spend more time focusing on the business and long term strategies to drive the business foward.

Business Improvements asked Glowcroft’s management team to make time to look at the business and assess the company’s strengths and weaknesses. By acting as a sounding board, Business Improvements gave the team the opportunity to discuss concerns and ideas, and also the confidence to make decisions that had been talked around and avoided for a long time.

Since working with Business Improvements, Glowcroft has cut overheads by identifying where money was being spent for little return. On the sales side, the company played to the strengths of certain individuals, and removed others who were not functioning effectively in their role.

A greater proportion of sales leads are now being converted into new customers and business from existing customers has increased. Customer service has also improved because the company now ensures that customers are given the information they need in a timely manner.

“John at Business Improvements is very human and not a stereotypical consultant who claims to know everything about your business. He spends a lot of time listening rather than preaching!

“By having an outsider look at your business you tend to realise the obvious problems that you had been trying to avoid, especially when difficult decisions are involved. We know more where we are heading and have already become generally more organised in our business. We’ll be reviewing all our business strategies.”
Steve Tarrant, Managing Director

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Eastwoods are designers and makers of fine, traditionally crafted oak-frame buildings and garden products.

The business was profitable, but trade was not continuous, even though the business seemed to consume every waking hour. Some staff issues and tension between senior managers had a very debilitating affect on everyone in the business.

Business Improvements provided an impartial and highly experienced sounding-board for testing out ideas. We looked at the business issues objectively, and directed Eastwoods towards resolution by playing devil’s advocate when needed, but principally by helping to develop solutions to take the business forward.

“Business Improvement’s involvement helped my clarity of thought and tempered ideas with realism. They enabled me to take the decision to end the relationship with my business partner and to plan a revised future.

“Their calm and considered approach helped me to focus on the real issues in the business and to take decisions – even the difficult ones – in a measured way. Business Improvements encouraged progress at a time when energy levels were low and the going was tough. Their help was invaluable in guiding us to make the right choices.”
Cdr C Woods, Managing Director

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Glasswell & Last Ltd

Glasswell & Last Ltd specialises in electrical and mechanical engineering. It is a small, family business with turnover in excess of £1M.

The company wanted to expand and knew it had to change its structure to manage this, so it is working with Business Improvements to help formulate and implement the new structure, and to focus on winning new clients through improved sales and marketing. Although it is still too early to tell yet what the final impact of the changes will be, the ideas being discussed make sense to the managers at Glasswell and Last.

“John at Business Improvements is very easy to work with and is able to approach any issue from more than one angle until it suits your company. He has a broad base of knowledge and experience and has been able to help in areas we had not originally considered.”
J Moody, Financial Director
Glasswell & Last Ltd.

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Opendoor Marketing (UK) Ltd

Opendoor is a business-to-business telemarketing specialist. The company had reached the stage where the managing director, Diane Bagulay, had to decide whether to grow or walk away. She felt as though she was doing everything within the company – managing the team, sales and marketing, and accounts.

Business Improvements gave Diane knowledge and guidance on how she could grow the business successfully and at the same time focus on the areas she was most skilled at. This allowed her to improve the working practices and gave her the ability to delegate. Now, with a focus and measurable goals, she can delegate effectively, or where that is not yet possible, she can develop other staff members for the future.

Not only has Business Improvements worked with the Managing Director, we have also helped the team to improve too, by offering both one-to-one and team coaching. Opendoor Marketing now keeps a steady stream of business coming in and is looking at new ways to market and generate new business.

“I needed advice on how to move forward and really needed direction and focus. Business Improvements has given me invaluable advice – and sometimes just having someone to talk to has helped immensely. They listen to my needs and don’t always give me the answers I want to hear but the answers I need to hear!”
D Bagulay, Managing Director
Opendoor Marketing (UK) Ltd

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Old Pond Publishing Ltd

Old Pond Publishing Ltd publishes DVDs and books for enthusiasts in the land-based industries, such as farming, earthmoving, heavy transport, and forestry.

After a period of rapid growth, Old Pond Publishing’s increase in sales had levelled off, and the proprietor wanted to get growth moving again. Over a period of three months, Business Improvements led twice-monthly face-toface meetings with the whole team. During this time, we gave specific direction in three areas: business aims, strategy and targeting; establishing a recorded set of procedures; and marketing/selling. Business Improvements worked specifically to develop one member of staff in marketing/selling.

The company has now shifted its focus from production to selling, and has developed and set up marketing and selling procedures that can be replicated in future years.

“Our Business Improvements consultant is thoughtful and clear, and suggests practical tasks and improvements which ought to have both a short-term and long-term benefit for sales and profits. After guidance from Business Improvements, we are now working better as a group.”
R Smith, Proprietor
Old Pond Publishing Ltd

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Write Thinking

Write Thinking helps businesses strengthen their relationships with customers and between staff by creating and improving written communications. They provide freelance writing, editing and proof-reading services to create copy for websites, newsletters, brochures and other marketing materials, and prepare text for internal communications such as staff handbooks, and guides to company processes and procedures.

The business seemed to be stagnating and had reached a watershed. It needed some direction as to how to move the business forward. The main focus was on winning more clients that would use Write Thinking’s services again and again.

Business Improvements suggested a face-to-face coaching/mentoring session every two weeks for the proprietor. As a result of these sessions, Write Thinking now has more structured working practices and it has been able to introduce repeatable processes.

Write Thinking now has a business framework. For their clients this means dealing with them has become more standardised, and for Write Thinking it has reduced the amount of effort required on a day-to-day basis. Clients know what they are getting, and the percentage of repeat business has increased.

“Working with Business Improvements introduced us to some new techniques, ideas and strategies, but much of what they counsel is common sense and a down-to-earth approach to business. Often we know what we should do, but we get lazy, take short cuts, and avoid those things that need a bit more effort. Business Improvements makes you face what you know you must do for the good of the business, and makes you accountable for following it through.”
J Rham, Proprietor
Write Thinking

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CPW Computing Ltd.

CPW Computing Ltd is a well-established company whose core business is to supply and support standard and bespoke computer hardware and software to create computer and communications networks. The company has seen annually increasing sales and profit margins and it achieved Investors In People Accreditation in January 2006.

Having created a very successful business, the company directors were concerned that the business might have reached a plateau. They wanted to make sure the company moved forward to the next level by building on its success and further improving what it already did well.

Business Improvements worked with CPW Computing Ltd to further inspire their already talented people. Team meetings have become more effective because everyone treats the meetings with greater urgency and respect, and individuals are suggesting marketing ideas, sales initiatives, and ways to improve customer service. The results have all been tangible and often immediate. QA procedures in the workshop have been improved, and the company’s customer service is now more customer-centric.

The small changes the company has introduced as a result of working with Business Improvements have resulted in team that is more dynamic, more informed and more fulfilled. The managing director has greater control over the business – and will therefore eventually gain more personal time.

“Business Improvements’ John Porter uses his experience, expertise, good people skills and gentle humour to focus the whole team on why and how to make those much-needed changes. He has helped us to understand how we can give a much higher standard of customer service, and how to increase our level of business and profitability.

“I am very excited about the future as I can see tangible differences and benefits from dealing with Business Improvements. All the directors and staff feel invigorated and sense that the company is on the verge of great things.”
Christine Lock, Managing Director
CPW Computing Ltd

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ICT Learning Limited

ICT Learning Limited is a provider of IT-based training. The company offers Pitman Training courses in skills related to Microsoft Office, as well as training on bookkeeping, Microsoft products, personal development and secretarial skills.

As a new business, ICT Learning Limited wanted to accelerate the start-up process. Consulting with Business Improvements was a way to bring in additional skills and experience in the running of a business that the company didn’t have at the time.  

Through working with Business Improvements, ICT Learning Limited has been able to learn more quickly and to manage changing business circumstances by become more adaptable. The company has developed a clear vision for the business that includes a more ambitious growth plan than it would otherwise have had.

ICT Learning is now equipped to promote the business in a much more refined way and motivated to monitor and improve its business model as circumstances change.

“Business Improvements has a clear, concise and friendly way of putting across new ideas and initiatives. Working with them has made us more ambitious and given us a real sense that we will achieve our goals.”
Jeremy Downing, Managing Director
ICT Learning Limited

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