Social Retail Group delivers shop floor engagement via training, coaching and monitoring of the operational teams of high street stores. The service supports both operations and the marketing departments of multiple retailers in their ambition to offer exceptional customer service via social media channels.
The challenge: Having secured contracts to supply these services to a small number of multiple retailers the management wanted to better understand the company’s value proposition in order to secure and maintain rapid growth.
Support delivered: Steve Constable worked with the CEO of Social Retail Group to explore the relationship between the customers perceived value of their service and price. This along with the design of an offer that made the customers decision to buy easier, has put the company on track for growth.
Future plans: Stephen Foale and Steve Constable are now working with Social Retail Group’s CEO to develop funding plan that will secure the equity required to take the company to the next stage of growth.
Quote: Pete Doyle | Founder & CEO The support that VitalSix has provided in terms of coaching and business planning has been instrumental in the growth of my company.
Their coaching is derived from their own experiences which I respect and listen to carefully. They are also independent of my board and other stakeholders so their coaching is honest and to the point. Because of the VitalSix team I am now able to move forward with inward investment for scaling up my business. I recommend you talk to them if you are thinking of growing your business but be warned they will also ask you questions that you don't want them to. This is the power of their coaching.
Ancoris is an award-winning cloud solutions provider delivering consulting, deployment, development and support services for innovative cost effective cloud projects. As a Google Apps Premier Enterprise Partner Ancoris deploys messaging, collaboration and unified communication solutions. With 28 employees Ancoris has achieved year-on-year growth of over 45% in recent years.
Although Ancoris is a well established business, as a consequence of the recent recession it had to change its business model to take full advantage of emerging cloud computing opportunities. As a result these changes the business found itself behaving more like a fast growth new start up than a mature business. With a new product, new markets and new customers, the leadership team committed completely to a 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 Ancoris management team attended the Berkshire Business Accelerator delivered by VitalSix in partnership with Henley Business School, and this allied to some business coaching and guidance to keep plans on track, has enabled the team to deal with the change and has created a new focused and clear business strategy that is delivering results.
The top team at Ancoris regularly reviews its operations using the tools and frameworks introduced by VitalSix. A common language amongst the team when discussing its strategic direction speeds up decision making.
Quote: David McLeman | Managing Director
“The Berkshire Business 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. 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 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 engagements.”
The Business Active FM provide clients with a range of workplace services to cover all aspects associated with workplace change. Whether upsizing, downsizing or refreshing an existing workspace; Active can design, build, furnish, manage, move and fix any workplace.
The Challenge Active's leadership team found the demands of day to day issues made it difficult to plan strategically. Managers had lost touch with why customers valued Active's services
Support delivered Director Adrain Powell and three senior members of the management team signed up for the Business accelerator programme, the three day course delivered by VitalSix in partnership with the Henley Business School. “The days away got us thinking about our elevator pitch, and about our markets and where we should focus. Some of the things we worked on are things that we are doing now - for example our Target Thames Valley strategy." This was followed up by tailored business and leadership coaching focusing on marketing, sales and corporate governamce
Next steps Active is focussing on key markets, and is pushing out its refined sales message of breadth of service speed and flexibility.“We now know that our clients value our breadth of services, speed and flexibility. That is what we tell our people to focus on now.” It has recently appointed a non-executive director to ensure good practises learned from VitalSix remain part of the businesss.
Quote Managing Director, Adrian Powell
“VitalSix has helped us build a foundation for expansion. It was of huge value to us. It's made us more aligned as a leadership team."
Berkshire based design agency that offers digital, design and marketing services throughout the Thames Valley and Beyond.
Growing the business whilst improving turnover and increasing profitability
The Berkshire Business Accelerator at Henley Business School, one-to-one coaching, financial consultancy, recruitment advice, sales consultancy.
Building up the team to move the business forward to the next level of growth.
Catherine Jenkins, Business Development Director, about the Berkshire business accelerator, “It really opened our eyes. When you’re working in the business, you are often blinkered to new ideas. On a course like this, you’re open to other perspectives and alternative ways of doing things. We needed to spend time on strategy and this was the perfect opportunity.”
The Business: The company’s focus is the supply of transit, industrial and bespoke packaging and packing materials to most industry sectors UK wide.
The Challenge: Provide support to Swiftpak’s top team and head of marketing in the development of their marketing strategy for the next three years.
Support Delivered: Simon Derry and Steve Constable facilitated a corporate strategy development session with the members of Swiftpak’s top team. This session identified the key elements of the company’s three-year plan. Steve Constable then worked with Swiftpak’s head of marketing to support the development of a detailed marketing strategy.
Future Plans: In the process of developing a corporate strategy, the Directors have identified that a process for promoting and ensuring innovation would set the company apart from their competitors. Vitalsix have been asked to facilitate an innovation strategy session with Swiftpak’s top team early in 2017.
Quote: “Working with Vital Six last year was incredibly useful for us as a growing company. The strategic level planning we did with them was brilliantly insightful and has given us a much clearer focus for our continued growth going forward” Toni Henderson - Marketing manager
The Business: SORCE, a Newbury based award winning intranet software supplier, delivers flexible solutions that support supplier engagement and streamline business processes.
The Challenge: SORCE had invested to migrate from providing software as a product to a software as a service (SaaS) model. SORCE was looking to capitalise on this investment as the company scaled up.
Support Delivered: Initially VitalSix ran a workshop for the senior management team using the Business Model Canvas strategic management tool. This helped crystalise the current business model and shape the development of a new one. The visual chart articulated the company’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers and financial model. From the team’s collective focus, SORCE was able to identify and address some areas for improvement. John Nicklin, MD followed this up with attendance on the Berkshire Business Accelerator with all of his senior management team. At this three day course delivered in partnership with Henley Business School, the team could explore these areas in more detail and formulate strategies for future development and growth. Feedback from the course reinforced the point that the team found the introduction of new ideas and business frameworks particularly useful and benefited from time away from day to day operations in order to explore these in more detail.
Future Plans: The team is now better placed to confirm and implement future plans with the whole team and overall business sharing clear objectives, focus and priorities.
Quote: “I have been really pleased with the engagement with VitalSix, the knowledge they have and the manner in which they have supported us really worked, I wish we had met them years ago” John Nicklin - Managing Director
Many businesses with more than 10 plus full-time staff recognise that they need some to help with managing their human resources but don’t need a full time person and or do not have the knowledge or confidence to address people issues as they start to unfold.
Vital Six have a number of HR specialists that work with clients in the Thames Valley providing a retained HR service for a few days each month to help keep them up to date with areas such as legal requirements, policy and process and dealing with tricky situations such as redundancies, restructures, dismissals and other staffing matters such as, training, retaining the top people and recruitment.
One of our retained clients is a niche software company servicing the insurance sector. In the last twelve months we have provided the executives with practical HR help to update contracts and policies introduce a simple data base to manage required records along with supporting a restructure and redundancy programme and outplacement help for those that would be looking for work. Other projects have been on general staffing matters to resolve disputes, a leadership development programme and help on recruitment to find key members of staff.
Getting the right help has saved the business significant savings in staffing costs and through careful management of the tricky issues avoided any legal claims or staff disputes.
"Becoming MD of Contemi UK Ltd, a software supplier, was a big step up for me as for anyone. And, such a change presents an excellent opportunity to make changes within a company. I was lucky enough to be put in contact with VitalSix who helped identify changes and improvements, particularly in terms of HR and increasing the skills levels of the new management.
A plan was put in place and at a very early stage, but events occurred which meant the plan needed to be changed. VitalSix was there to support, help and guide me to mitigate the effects of those events, and get the company back on track. We then returned to many aspects of the original plan, plugging some HR holes that had grown over time, and have started with a programme to move the company forward in terms of investing in better soft skills". William Pitt - Managing Director, Contemi.
VitalSix are a regular visitor to the Contemi office, as well as being in regular contact, to grow a relationship and help Contemi be the success it can be.
The Business: TrackerSense have developed an IoT based Logistics tracking product suite to cover both low volume, high value assets e.g. medical equipment, and high volume, low value e.g. pallets
The high value asset tracker is a battery powered GPS location tracker with optional temperature, humidity, light and other sensors which allow clients to see in real time the exact position, movement and condition of anything anywhere in the world. The trackers are simply switched on, placed in a package, or freight container and despatched. They immediately transmit their location and continue to do so for 45 days or more. Clients access reports via API or web and can see routes, delays, disturbance, temperature and other conditions.
For the high volume, low value assets, a Hub and Beacon solution has been developed. The hub and beacon trackers use GPS/RFID and Bluetooth and allow large volumes of assets to be tracked within defined areas and networks - think of a postal or carrier network involving multiple depots, retail customer sites and vehicles. A beacon is attached to each asset which transmits data via a hub to our servers at preset intervals when that asset moves. The client receives reports via a dashboard allowing them to locate and manage each individual asset and its environment.
The Challenge: Having successfully helped the entrepreneur to build and then exit a previous business we were contacted again to offer support with a new proposition and to assist with developing the business strategy, financial structures and raising money.
Support Delivered: Starting in 2014 and through the Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Hub project, support took the form of coaching, predominantly supporting development of financial forecasts and structures. The Growth Hub awarded a grant to assist with the development of the software and hardware and this was followed up with light touch guidance, in an advisory capacity. VitalSix’s continued connection to and understanding of the TrackerSense technology, meant that when an opportunity arose they were the first company introduced to Unipart as part of the corporate innovation project with VitalSix. The value that TrackerSense could bring was immediately recognised by the logistics company who introduced them to a major customer, and a paid pilot was initiated through this introduction. More recently, VitalSix has supported the TrackerSense application to raise funds to support the next phase of growth, via the Henley Business Angel network.
Future Plans: VitalSix have the knowledge and infrastructure to support the needs of high growth SME’s and will continue to support TrackerSense with their challenges, when required, as they continue to scale.
Quote: "As a startup in the Thames Valley area, VitalSix’s support has been instrumental in helping us move from an idea, to POC and finally commercialization. They were not only supportive in fund raising and corporate structure, but helped identify and introduce us to new clients too. It was so reassuring to have VitalSix on hand to support us every step of the journey". Wayne Soutter Director at TrackerSense.
The Business: Development Pathways brings together a group of social policy experts with extensive international experience of working on social protection, social development, gender, financial inclusion, and livelihoods. The aim is to provide creative, evidence-based and context-specific solutions to the social and economic policy challenges facing developing countries.
The Challenge: To assist Development Pathways with growth plans and restructuring.
Support Delivered: VitalSix were approached by Development Pathways in 2015 when the company was preparing for growth and required some coaching support. At that point turnover was £650k with 2 full time employees and a network of consultants. The support delivered, included a full business plan review, financial forecasting and vision for growth. In 2017, having grown the business to a turnover of £2m+ with 17 employees VitalSix were recommissioned. A one day workshop looking at vision, structure and board roles was delivered and further input requested on the financial forecasts including a full review of the forecasting model.
Future Plans: VitalSix is now assisting with the build of a robust set of financial forecasts and looks forward to working further with Development Pathways on people development and growth strategy.
Quote: “VitalSix have helped us develop our vision for the future and understand the roles needed and how best to structure our business to move forward. Their form of practical advice and facilitation born from direct experience has been invaluable” - Sandra Kidd, HR Manager - Development Pathways