As the Covid-19 pandemic has proven, owners have to be ready to deal with new challenges that can arise with little or no warning.
Helping to keep growing firms on their toes and offer his expertise and guidance is Richard Carty, who works as an independent business coach.
He uses his 40-plus years of experience in the field to provide an outside perspective and support owners and managers in making decisions that generate business growth.
Richard, who lives in Lichfield, first took the plunge to set up his own venture in the mid-1990s after deciding to work for himself.
“My business career began when I decided that I’d had enough of working for other people in the IT industry,” says Richard. “I created an IT services company which I was initially able to run as a ‘side gig’ for 18 months, working long extended days and weekends, until I had amassed enough clients and finance to go it alone at the end of 1995.
“The industry has changed over the last 25 years plus, businesses face more and more legislation and bureaucracy almost day by day and managing cashflow is probably as difficult now as it’s ever been,” explains Richard.
When the Covid-19 pandemic first hit in early 2020, businesses of all sizes had to adapt quickly. Some began remote working while others had to continue operating with full or reduced staff on site. Others had to adapt their business around Covid restrictions and some had no choice but to close down operations all together.
Repeated lockdowns, supply chain disruption and a general feeling of uncertainty took its toll on many businesses across the country. And the impact of the pandemic continues to be felt.
“Businesses are facing all sorts of challenges post-pandemic, which range from financial, in the form of reduced earnings in their sectors, people issues, in the form of loss of experienced staff, recruitment of skilled staff, volatility and uncertainty in their respective sectors,” explains Richard.
Through his company, Excellerator, he works with small, medium and larger organisations across the West Midlands and Staffordshire. The firm can assist in areas across the board from business planning and development, human resources and finance to international trade and sales and marketing.
“I provide business coaching, mentoring and consultancy services to business owners and senior managers, allowing their businesses to free themselves of boundaries and barriers to growth.
“Many of the issues that face businesses these days are very similar across all industries and sectors; for example: marketing and sales strategies and planning, raising finance for growth, human resources, skill sets, etc.
“On engaging with a client I will keep in regular contact and meet regularly to keep the momentum and accountability going, to achieve pre-determined goals and behavioural changes. This maximises the time, efficiency and productivity of the client and their business and builds the relationship of trust, encouraging the client to trust in themselves and their knowledge and experience, whilst letting themselves be guided on the journey,” explains Richard.
For the past seven years, he has also been a mentor on Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce’s Let’s Do Mentoring programme and has been running the scheme for four years.
Businesses looking for support are matched with experienced advisers, who can help them put their business on track. The mentors’ specialisms include sales and marketing; leadership and management; finance and funding; business development; business planning and social media.
Among the businesses Richard has worked with is Roundpeg Outdoor Buildings, which was set up by Sallyann Smith and Adam Timmis, from Rugeley, just a few weeks before the UK went into lockdown.
Along with fellow mentor Justine Halifax, he provided guidance as Sallyann and Adam negotiated the challenges and uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
“The mentoring programme is open to any B2B, SME business based in Staffordshire and it entitles them to 12 hours of fully-funded mentoring support, for their business to discuss business issues and challenges and how they may overcome these issues,” says Richard. Helping business to grow and success offers any rewards, he tells Weekend.
“I get the most satisfaction and enjoyment from seeing businesses that come to me lacking direction and even desperation and seeing that we can achieve positive results, which improve not only their business lives but their whole work/life balance and getting them to enjoy what they do and be better at it too.”
Starting a business is exciting, but it can seem daunting at times. When asked what his advice would be for anyone starting their own venture, Richard says: “Don’t try and do it all yourself, search out someone that has already been there and therefore avoiding the mistakes in business that most people make.”
For more information about the Let’s Do Mentoring programme, visit https://staffordshirechambers.co.uk/lets-do-mentoring, email [email protected] or call 01782 202222. More details about Excellerator is available at www.excellerator.biz/