SFW LEEDS
Rebecca Wayman

Regional focus: The many factors of successfully scaling a business in Yorkshire

A region made famous by coal mining and textile manufacturing, Yorkshire has a varying mix of rural landscapes and cosmopolitan cities.

It is the home of fast-paced scaleups, enterprises and budding entrepreneurs, particularly in its major cities including Leeds, York and Sheffield.

But successful businesses can be found scattered across the region, and Bdaily is shining a spotlight on those who have made their name staying up North. Here, we speak to Yorkshire-based business leaders on how this area has helped them flourish.

Geoff Shepherd, managing director of iSource Group and founder of the Yorkshire Mafia

“Trusting non-executive directors to come into the business and to make recommendations about people, processes, investment and plans can be a bitter pill to swallow but was one of the best decisions I made.

“This collaboration meant that I could accept constructive feedback and ideas that I may never have considered. It also gave me the time to commit to other priorities knowing that we were still progressing in the right direction with a focus on growth.”

Katrina Cliffe, managing director at KC Communications

“Yorkshire offers a great deal of opportunities for both start-up and scale-up businesses.

“Whether it’s government or privately funded, there are lots of opportunities on our doorstep. In our third year of trading, KC Communications were able to access financial support from Ad:Venture to assist us with our scale up plans.

“Through the programme we also accessed a variety of knowledge workshops covering topics around key business functions. The added benefit was that all staff could access these, helping to develop skills in the process.

“I also feel that we have a great business community, one which gets behind supporting other up and coming organisations. This has been evidenced with Elmwood hosting their design thinking accelerator programme, LaunchPod last year.

“Whereas organisations such as Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network are supporting promising health tech innovators with its Propel programme.

“Designed to give insight as to how to break in to the NHS, it is open to both local organisations while attracting those from overseas to the Yorkshire region.

“However, the absolute stand out for me has to be just how supportive other businesses are of each other. I believe it’s in our nature to help others to do well and in turn the whole region benefits.”

David Weaver, co-founder of Vintage Cash Cow

“You hear it a lot, but technology has been one of the keys to scaling Vintage Cash Cow.

“We’ve built our internal systems from the ground up to give us absolute data transparency and up-to-date reporting on every step of our service’s process.

“We buy antique and vintage items through the post, and the process of a customer signing up, to sending items to us buying them can take a few weeks. This means we need total clarity on our funnel.

“It became clear quite early that we wouldn’t be able to use a third-party system - the fidelity simply wasn’t there.

“Making our own system wasn’t a particularly cheap or quick process but we viewed it as a force multiplier: this one-time outlay gives us superb data at any scale and allows us to tweak our offering without joining someone else’s Dev queue.”

Craig Carnochan, head of specialist industries at recruitment specialist TS Grale

“Our business, TS Grale [in Leeds] is a prime example [of a successful scaling business].

“If you were to look at our customer base and successful assignments 12 to 18 months ago, it would have been 100 per cent UK focused. Now we are around 40 per cent international and this is growing month-on-month.

“I envisage this becoming 60 to 70 per cent in the next six to 12 months, at the same time we have increased T/O by 30 per cent, increased headcount and trebled the size of our office space.

“In our sector there are few, if any, barriers to entry enabling us to replicate our success internationally without any drastic changes in the way we work.

“Customers crave quality in process and assessment irrespective of location and our values of integrity, innovation and trust can be replicated across the globe.”

Do you know of a successful business in your region and want to shine a spotlight on it? Discuss this with us @Bdaily on Twitter or email editor@bdaily.co.uk to potentially be featured in future content.

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