60% increase since GrowthAccelerator was introduced
“As a result of GrowthAccelerator we are a much more structured business. We have a strong business plan in place, with financial and sales reporting at our core”
About the business
The Grey Matter Group provides web based solutions enabling organisations that specialise in health and social care to improve staff development and performance.
Established by 3 partners in 2006, they have seen consistent growth and continue to work closely with health and social care providers to support organisations to achieve essential standards and that impact on the delivery of quality care services. The Grey Matter Group’s key point of differentiation is that they provide online assessments that enable competence recording and critical evidence for health and social care providers for compliance with the Care Quality Commission and for other initiatives like Investors In People, Qualification Credit Framework and Local Authority Contract Monitoring.
Our growth journey so far
It was in 2006 and I was working as a Learning and Development manager for a Local Authority when we had the idea for The Grey Matter Group. With the introduction of new mandatory standards, I continued to grapple with the problem of ensuring individual competency and questioned the validity and effectiveness of face to face training– was it cost effective? Did people come away better able to do their job? How could this be measured and evidenced?
I was on holiday with my husband Alex when the eureka moment hit. We came up with the idea of introducing technology into training for social care. It was a true meeting of the minds – my background in social care training and Alex’s in business and technology.
To make our idea a reality we approached Piers, who is a partner in the business, to understand whether we could actually build an online assessment system that was fit for purpose in the health and social care sector. In March 2007, The Grey Matter Group was formally incorporated.
Less than one year after we came up with the idea, Alexleft his job to run the business and by September 2010, we had three people in the management team and two further part-time employees.
Our business has grown exponentially since launch and had reached a point where we were ready to diversify into new offers and really grow as a business.
However, before embarking on this next stage of growth, we knew we had to make sure the business was strong enough to take on this on. We had developed so much but our focus had primarily been on delivering brilliant results for our clients. We hadn’t put the processes in place to enable The Grey Matter Group to expand.
This was something we recognised as a critical need for the business and something that is hard to do from an internal perspective – especially involving a husband and wife team. We recognised that business processes such as project development, financial management and key account management needed to have better focus. We decided that a third party would bring objectivity and push us to focus on the things that would deliver future growth.
Getting the right advice
An ex-colleague working at the Sector Skills Council, Skills for Care, recommended GrowthAccelerator and when we looked in to it we decided it was exactly what we needed.
We were introduced to our Growth Coach, Martin Vessey, who has unlocked so many doors for us, not only in terms of understanding what we need to do but he’s also challenged us to think in a different way. Martin has been instrumental in helping us focus the business and ultimately grow.
One of the biggest ways in which GrowthAccelerator has impacted our business is accessing tax credits for research and development. Martin suggested we seek advice from a tax specialist about this, which we duly did and discovered we were able to reclaim some of the corporation tax we had already paid.
This cash injection instantly improved our cash flow enabling us to benefit from GrowthAccelerator’s matched funded Leadership and Management training. This was vital in helping us to develop our own skills for high growth opportunities and helped us to set in place more formal reporting, meeting and forecasting structures. We also benefited from sales training which has helped develop a more focused approach to key accounts, sales and marketing strategies.
As a result of GrowthAccelerator we are a much more structured business. We have a strong business plan in place, with financial and sales reporting at our core. Martin also supported us in separating job roles within the leadership team. We were aware that we all had different skills and mind-sets and particularly as a husband and wife team, it was sometimes tricky to negotiate a path forward. Martin guided us and gave neutral, constructive advice and vastly strengthened our ability to direct and lead a business in a more objective way.
What’s next for the Grey Matter Group?
With the help from GrowthAccelerator and our coach, Martin, we have ensured that The Grey Matter Group is fit and ready for our ambitious growth plans.
We continue to increase our profile in the market and solidify our position as a leader in our field of assessment and evidencing competence. . We have acquired an e-Learning business and developed a training booking system with one of our customers and we plan to continue our innovative and pioneering approach to deliver improvements to existing and new customers.
We have taken on two additional staff and appointed a Director of Programmes and Projects to strengthen our Board and we are on track to reach a further 40% growth by the end of the year.