A specialist rescue and recovery training company increased turnover significantly after signing up to Boost’s Growth Mentoring programme. Blackpool-based REAX Limited saw sales in its last financial year rise by £100,000 on the previous period, and bosses say the Boost support has made a major contribution, with growth expected to continue.
In addition, REAX has taken on three extra employees, with more recruitment in the pipeline, and almost doubled its team of subcontracted staff from four to seven. The business has also won a number of new contracts and fresh customers have been secured, including the National Nuclear Laboratory. REAX’s expansion programme was further accelerated after the business worked with NW Access to Finance to secure £35,000 from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.
Established in 2014, REAX initially employing three staff – directors Keith Parmley and Pete Langley as well as office manager Debbie Hanley. The firm provides specialist training courses and support for rescue and recovery and has created a unique training facility, complete with simulation structures to create “real life” recovery situations. These include confined spaces, working at height and with hazardous substances. This means REAX specialists can provide bespoke training for a wide range of sectors.
Customers include utilities companies such as United Utilities, Westinghouse and Sellafield, along with IKEA, DHL, Mitie Security, and Otis Lifts. Boost Lancashire Business Growth Hub is led by the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Lancashire County Council, and supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). REAX contacted Boost because the firm was looking for growth support and received a review from an experienced business relationship manager.
The review identified an opportunity to improve sales and marketing through Boost’s Growth Mentoring programme. REAX director Keith Parmley was then matched with Stephen Leishman, a seasoned mentor at Boost delivery partner Orvia, for a series of five 1-2-1 mentoring support meetings. These took place over a three-month period and focused on sales and marketing. In addition, REAX was referred to NW Access to Finance for funding support. Keith said: “The support enabled us to look at the business from an outside perspective, encouraging us to consider what customers and potential customers would be interested in. This helped us to review our marketing strategy and re-evaluate our key marketing messages.
It gave us a focus and a targeted approach to marketing and sales, which has seen an increase in sales and interest from other sectors.” Keith continued; “I was most impressed by the holistic approach of the programme. It was very refreshing in that it looked at the business as a whole, rather than just one element of it. Stephen, our mentor, took the time to learn about our business, customers and us as directors. He got to understand the personality of the business so that he could provide realistic support.
“This personalised approach is what makes the Boost Growth Mentoring programme a success and what makes it stand out from other support available. As a result, we have changed our approach to marketing and the message we send to our potential customers. And we are seeing that our new marketing approach is really making a difference to our business.” Stephen Leishman commented: “Meeting Keith for the first session, it really struck me how driven and determined he was to make REAX one of the UK’s premier training centres.
Keith was open to my suggestions on how to differentiate himself from his competitors, open to new ideas, and not afraid to look at something from a different angle or try something new. “Since I started working with Keith, he has gone from strength to strength. I am confident that his open mind to working with me as his mentor to formulate an action plan will see REAX become one of the country’s leading simulation centres.”
Stephen added: “It was an absolute pleasure to work with Keith and to mentor him and see him generate new sales to grow his business. I was pleased I could share some of my 30+ years of sales experience and help make a difference to his company’s growth. He is a true entrepreneur who isn’t afraid to ask me for help when he needs it. I will keep in touch with Keith and he knows I am always at the end of the phone if needed.”
Boost Business Lancashire has received £3.8m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.
For more information, visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
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