“Quite specifically, it’s helped us align our marketing budgets with our key growth areas.” says David McLeman, Managing Director, Ancoris.
Hear about his experience of the Berkshire Business Accelerator programme.
Ancoris is an award winning Google Enterprise Partner with 28 employees. In 2013 they achieved a year on year growth of 48%. A recent company transition sparked David’s interest in the Henley Accelerator. Although Ancoris is a ten year old IT business, as a consequence of the recession they changed their business model to take advantage of emerging cloud computing opportunities. As a result they found themselves behaving more like a fast growth new start up. With a new product, new markets and new customers, they committed completely to the new business model. Change brought with it considerable challenges; a business acquisition meant an additional director joined the two existing directors and a new financial director was also appointed.
“The Accelerator gave us a great opportunity to refine and articulate future business strategy. The timing was perfect; we were already starting to plan for our new financial year.” said David. "We took away some really useful tools to hone business strategy, and align our markets and propositions. The Product Market Matrix was the key framework that we rolled out to our sales team to clarify our plans. It’s given them a much stronger sense of ownership and a better alignment between our business strategy and our tactical sales egagements.”
“This course was absolutely fundamental in getting us to the next stage of developing the business more quickly.” says John Davies, Finance Director at Pacer International.
This is John's take on the Henley Accelerator programme.
Pacer, a specialist supplier of optoelectronic, display and laser solutions, employs around 40 people and has four offices in the south of England, as well as the US, together with a worldwide network of manufacturing partners. This established business turns over £20 million a year and, having completed a management buy-out, the management team was keen to improve on its “steady” growth of 3-6% per annum over five years. It was to help realise their more ambitious targets that John turned to the Henley Accelerator.
“We realised we probably needed a better framework to set the strategy for the business and to assess potential growth against. We needed to give the management team the tools to be able to do the necessary work and actually implement the strategy. We found it highly motivational. Having the right tools has been key in allowing us to be more critical in our assessments of the business, and it’s given us a firm and rigorous framework to set our business plan against.”
“It was like physiotherapy for the business” says Dr Aine Aherne, Managing Director, Envirodat.
This is how the Berkshire Business Accelerator programme helped Envirodat.
Run by Aine Aherne and Bruce Kester, Envirodat is an air pollution consultancy with a particularexpertise in stack emission monitoring. The Accelerator became the critical agent for change at a time when the business had grown by 30% in one year and a new approach was required to improve effectiveness and efficiency to maintain growth. Aine says: “The Accelerator programme provided us with the time and the tools to develop our core strengths and identify some areas where we needed to invest time and resources. The strategy programme was fantastic; invaluable. Combined with the time spent considering the particular strengths of our business, it’s provided an impetus and focus for us to make positive changes. These simple focussed changes delivered immediate financial results. The Accelerator provided the opportunity to meet a range of businesses who were all at different stages of the growth cycle; everybody had something useful to contribute and was willing to share their knowledge and experience. We’ve changed how we think about the business, and now have a focussed strategy to continue to grow the business. Changing behaviour can take time, the challenge is to keep “doing the exercises” to keep getting the results.”
“I came away feeling empowered and able to put a framework in place that could enable me to arrive at the answers I was seeking much quicker.” says Tracey Sanderson, Director of Sensory and Consumer Research, Sensory Dimensions.
This is how Tracey benefited from the Berkshire Business Accelerator
Sensory Dimensions, a leading sensory science and consumer research consultancy, was established in 1989. It’s a business that has grown rapidly in both revenue and profits, but success has brought with it far greater demands on individuals.
Tracey says: “I was looking for a more structured approach to my thinking about all aspects of the business; marketing, sales, resourcing and staff. I found it reassuring that other people on the Henley Accelerator, although from very diverse businesses were like minded and the peer to peer interaction was very good. Although we were asking some obvious questions of one another, I did find that it helped sharpen up and improve my communication skills.”
Coaching, grant funding and support to develop an investment ready business plan
Prefer2Watch is an early stage software company that has developed an ‘online market place’ empowering ethnic content owners to monetise their content (films, TV shows and TV channels only) in the ex-pat video-on-demand (VOD) market space by directly selling to the ex-pat audience without any middlemen. Their proposition is a truly global offering that will link ex pat viewers to the video, tv and film content that they wish to see wherever and whenever they want.
The Business Growth Hub provided coaching to develop an investment-ready business plan and is now helping P2W to raise equity finance for expansion. £20k of grant funding is assisting with the build of the beta product and to secure the IP associated with their innovative platform technology.