Support from Kevin Cook, Business Doctor for Cheshire, has seen a south Manchester family firm increase turnover by 40% and create eight jobs in just 12 months.
Branagan Flooring was established as a one-man-band by Richard Branagan in 1998 as a continuation of Richards father’s business which had been trading for over 30 years. The Sharston-based company employs 25 staff and has seen turnover leap from £1.2 million to £2 million in just 12 months, and is on course to reach £2.5 million by the end of the next financial year.
The pair turned to Kevin for advice when they failed to get the support they needed from their bank. Company director Kate explains: “We were looking for finance because cash flow was a nightmare but the banks weren’t helpful at all. We met Kevin through a local Growth Accelerator group, and with his expertise and knowledge he helped us to make some simple changes that had a huge impact.”
A strategic review performed by Kevin helped the Branagans to identify the problems they were facing and then produce a 12 month action plan to address them. He explains: “When I first met them, Richard was literally on his knees seven days a week fitting flooring, and Kate was spending a huge amount of time on credit control.
“They were in a very common situation of being incredibly busy but not making a lot of profit from individual jobs. We talked about the type of work they had coming in and looked at the type of profit margins they should be looking for, then identified the types of jobs that they should say no to and the ones that they should be pursuing.”
Kate continues: “In the building trade, you have three tiers of contractors – tier ones are the huge operators, tier threes are the small local firms. We were the little ones at the bottom, and we were winning a lot of business but it wasn’t helping us to grow. Thanks to Kevin’s insight, our contract values are now a lot bigger – before he got involved, a £40,000 job would have been unimaginable for us – now it’s standard.”
The impact has been huge: as well as increasing turnover and profits, Branagan Flooring now employs eight more staff, freeing Richard and Kate to spend more time growing the business.
“We now have a full-time quantity surveyor, a full-time estimator and I have an office manager,” says Kate. “Instead of laying flooring seven days a week, Richard now spends just three days a week on the practical side and is able to focus on looking after customers and quoting for new big projects.
“And now I have a full-time office manager, I genuinely wonder how I ever managed to do everything myself.”
And despite the major changes to profitability, Kate insists that they didn’t have to make any big alterations to the way the business is run.
“Other than things getting a lot easier, I couldn’t actually tell you what changed,” she says. “Kevin is very good at working with family businesses – he can see how people work for each other and against each other and come up with ideas that we both agree with. It’s good to have someone on the outside looking in, because you can get too bogged down in the day-to-day.
“I’m not frightened of saying it how it is – businesses need external support to help them focus. I’d recommend Kevin’s help to anyone – in fact I frequently do.”