Business leaders should consider where to compete and how to maximise returns.

Jonathan Randall is an entrepreneur whose focus has brought success. His company, Jonathan Randall Kitchens manufacture and install traditional, high quality, bespoke, handmade kitchens to Cotswolds country homes and houses throughout the county. By giving his name to the company, Jonathan Randall who owns and runs the Uley based business, effectively stamped his signature of quality and exceptional personal service across everything he and his staff stand for and do within the company. This is clearly evident, where it matters most, from the excellent feedback from clients.

I have been working with Jonathan since he joined the LEAD programme two years ago after an introduction from a business colleague. Jonathan had never before taken time out of his organisation to consider improving himself and his company’s performance. This was a big step for him and he wanted to make the most from it.

The game changer for him was identifying for the first time in the company’s five year history where he made money. Firstly, he discovered that a related enterprise did not make the necessary returns compared to his main business so he exited this less profitable area.

To ensure the highest levels of quality, Jonathan and his team undertake every element of the process. The slowest step is in manufacturing which consequently determined the profitability of the business. Unearthing this insight, Jonathan immediately ensured that personnel utilised all available time on the key steps in production. Next, he introduced production scheduling to improve the overall planning as well as flow through the operation. Immediately output improved, the profitability of the company dramatically grew and, most importantly, cash flow swelled.

With demand also increasing, Jonathan came to a meeting with his peers on LEAD, who were all running growing companies, and asked what he should do next. This uncertainty is common amongst owner-managers and is identified as a barrier to growth in my book, LEADing Small Business. Jonathan and his peers wrestled with this issue with Jonathan leaving the meeting having agreed to invest a six-figure sum in new machinery and expand his premises by building an extension to his workshop and a new showroom where his clients can view a range of kitchens in comfortable surroundings.

The final piece in the jigsaw was employing new production staff and a “number two”, a manager who could support Jonathan in the next stage of his growth plan.

In Jonathan’s own words. “LEAD has reassured me that I am not on my own when dealing with business issues and has given me the strength and confidence to deal with any business challenge to move forward. I’ll always be grateful to my peers who gave me the encouragement to forge ahead and make the major investments in my company.”

This article first appeared on www.southwestbusiness.co.uk and in Gloucestershire Echo and Citizen newspapers.

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