Planning ahead gives businesses a head start

Antur Teifi, as a supplier of skills and resources to the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service has supported numerous business ideas. Some of these business ideas are familiar, some new and some surprising. Many of those business owners will be happy to stay small. Generating enough income to support themselves and their families whilst being their own boss will be a significant achievement in its own right. But for others, no sooner have they started to have a good night’s sleep after the blood, sweat and tears shed in getting the business up-and running, that the desire for bigger and better, drives them towards that rollercoaster experience of managing growth. So how should businesses tackle future growth?

Of the businesses supported, 30% were categorised as “growth” businesses. Growth in this context is defined as a business with an estimated turnover above the VAT threshold in the first year as well as having the ability to take on staff. For existing growth businesses, as well as new businesses, future success very much depends on planning, according to MelDavies, Senior Business Advisor for Business Wales in Carmarthenshire. “Many businesses think of growth in terms of increased sales” said Mel, “but it’s also important to focus on how to maintain or improve your profitability through forward planning and marketing in order to develop and maintain the competitive edge”.

This advice has certainly worked for one company that has had support from Business Wales. Pro-tect GRP based in Llangennech is one of the UK’s leading manufacturer and supplier of glass reinforced plastic enclosures. They have grown from an initial team of four in 2009 to a workforce of forty today. They acknowledge that growth of the company was planned from quite early on.

“The first priority was to take into consideration the space and skills needed for expansion” according to Rhys Davies, one of the directors. ”Looking at what is happening in the market and reacting to it is just as important. Our lack of ISO9001 (Quality Management System) was highlighted as being an obstacle to tendering. We have now attained that certification which has enabled us to compete with the larger companies”. Meanwhile, MudTrek, based in North Carmarthenshire has grown from a different perspective. The company – run by husband and wife team Nikki Channon and Jason Mulvey – specialise in fullycatered mountain biking weekends, short breaks and holidays.

“We didn’t have fixed plans but we did have bigaspirations” explained Nikki.

“What we have done however is sought out and taken advantage of all the help that is out there, which did include drawing up a business plan, with the help of Business Wales, in order to secure funding to invest in the best possible mountain bikes”.

Hard work, determination and passion for their product are undoubtedly personal qualities that have enabled these businesses to succeed but Mel Davies stresses that businesses have to be forward thinking, always looking into ways of improving products and services. He added “A strategic plan for a growing business is just as important as a business plan. Setting business objectives and knowing where you want to be will certainly support business development and growth”.

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Antur Cymru Enterprise is a social enterprise working to meet the needs of communities in Wales by supporting the establishment and growth of thriving businesses both large and small, offering business advice to regional and local businesses, rural communities, and town centre business communities.

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