Prioritise service message at Business Growth Seminar
1st May 2012
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A Seminar on ‘stress free business growth’, hosted by local firm of accountants Harding Lewis Ltd, has been held at The Claremont Hotel on Thursday 26th April.  Over twenty five local businesses were present to receive free advice on marketing, legal and accounting practices for owner-managed companies.


The event was introduced by Andrew Gerrard, Managing Director of Harding Lewis.  He encouraged attendees to remain versatile in the pursuit of new business and introduced the other speakers.  The aim of the seminar, he said, was to offer universally applicable advice to local business owners, as part of Harding Lewis’ commitment to supporting the growth of their clients.


The first speaker was Steve Hackney, from the Academy For Growth, a UK based company.  The focus of his presentation was a strategic approach to converting enquiries into sales, which primarily involved maximising the satisfaction of potential customers across seven or more contacts.  His approach was to generate a sales system that formalised the principle of providing seven or more positive interactions with each prospect, then use guarantees to ‘reverse the risk’ of the initial sale at the end of that process.  Steve also argued that companies should not be targeting highly price sensitive consumers, and that even in the recession they did not make up as much of the marketplace as is often assumed.  Instead, local companies should prioritise service, whatever the field of business.


Gary Peirce, Managing Director of Hopes and Dreams Nursery, then provided a case study of putting a similar conversion system into place in his own business.  He was extremely positive about the results, generating over £150,000 of revenue in a short space of time.


James Quinn, Owner of Quinn Legal, addressed a number of critical legal issues for businesses.  He asked what the point of growing a business was if that business could not be secured, and as such suggested that all businesses, regardless of size, should put together a risk policy.  He outlined how to do this, beginning with basics such as understanding contracts, writing terms and conditions and keeping records, and then moving on to more advanced elements such as business structuring, staff management, intellectual property and business continuity.


Andrew Gerrard closed the seminar by talking about financial tools for managing a business.  The key financial control of any business, he said, is cash flow, and frequent or even ‘live’ updates on this metric are essential.  He offered a series of tips for managing this, including how to finance investments with a minimal impact on cash flow.  Finally, Andrew talked about the importance of time management and delegation.


Andrew commented: “It was good to see so many businesses represented at the event today.  I would like to thank all of our speakers for contributing and I firmly believe that it was of significant benefit to everyone who attended.  We will be looking to do more of these events in the future, as we are committed to supporting Manx businesses of all shapes and sizes.”

Harding Lewis are specialists in providing accounting services for owner-managed businesses.  The seminar was the second of a series of events run by the firm on the subject of growing and protecting these companies.  In addition to the seminars, the firm also offers all of its clients free access to an online business growth system, free monthly marketing newsletters and marketing advice from their partners, The Academy for Growth.


Photo caption top:


Andrew Gerrard (Harding Lewis)



Photo caption bottom:


Back row: Pete Finlay from Academy For Growth and James Quinn, Quinn Legal 
Front row, Debra Cooper (Harding Lewis), Richard Brewin (Academy for Growth UK) Steve Hackney (Academy for Growth UK), Andrew Gerrard (Harding Lewis), Michael Estella (Harding Lewis), Lindsey Plant (Harding Lewis)



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