We take big business know how and transfer those principles into growing businesses who wish to be more successful.
All clients are different, and when Matchbox are delivering services we select the most appropriate solution for our client’s business challenge, and we work through it with you using the knowledge and experience we’ve gained over many years of running and owning business. That way our clients benefit from a clear and structured process, and the benefit of our experience of “theory into practice”.
The process begins with an initial diagnostic meeting designed to identify the details around the current challenges. We have a considerable library of business tools we use to support our activities, ranging from tried and tested models we’ve operated successfully over many years, to modern best practice solutions.
We deliver growth advice to SMEs in the North West, helping business owners focus on performance measurement and improvement, business strategy and business planning, and structural change. We can work 1 to 1 or with management groups via our action learning model to deliver hands-on, active support, either through specific projects or on a retainer basis.
Case study (a retainer client)
After several years of growth the consultancy had evolved into a very different entity with a whole new set of challenges. The MD had huge ambitions but needed a hand in realising them. We worked with the MD and senior management team through a short but structured process using our own business growth model to identify, measure and improve key performance areas. Since the Matchbox intervention the business has shown substantial growth and continues to do so, while still respecting the all-important culture of the agency.
In last 6 months the client has measured the following growth:
• average monthly review has increased
• client base has expanded by more than 25%
• staff productivity rates have improved
• sales pipeline has grown
Case study ( a single project)
A new start marketing company. The client recognised that he was entering into a crowded market but wanted to identify and promote some real differentiators that customers would value.
We worked through the business model, mapped the business and its future direction, then agreed target markets and customer segments, and developed an offer centred round:
• demonstrating the uniqueness of his brand and service
• key measurements e.g. increased footfall in stores, increased hit rates on the clients websites, increased editorial coverage in relevant trade magazines
• value-added “give-aways” and memorable experiences
The client has recently completed a contract with a major UK corporate and is actively pursuing several new opportunities of the same scale.
"When you’re running a busy manufacturing company you’re often tied up in the day to day issues. You spend too much time reacting to events and not enough time thinking through the bigger decisions that will drive your business forward. That’s where some external help can be of real benefit. Matchbox worked with us to draw up a plan for growth. They used their experience and knowledge to help us map out the big strategic options and think through the pros and cons of each one. They brought a simplicity and clarity to our decision making and quickly helped us choose the route that’s best for us. We’re already seeing some real benefit from the Matchbox intervention."
"We had huge ambitions but needed a hand in realising them. Matchbox Associates wasted no time in identifying the key business challenges and frustrations. A thoroughly detailed process ensued where all the members of our management team were interviewed at length and our financial accounts were scrutinised. In addition, a whole range of evaluation took place: from an analysis of our clients to the content of our new business proposals. Matchbox even took the time to talk to some of our clients. Matchbox subsequently formulated a plan with a series of practical solutions that could be implemented rapidly while still respecting the all-important culture of the agency."
MD - PR Agency
"The practice faced a number of challenges - none of them major threats or major concerns, but collectively they risked distracting us from our key focus of improving client satisfaction and achieving business growth. The Matchbox team clearly have a real depth of business experience, and they rapidly brought a logic and perspective that helped us understand the reasons behind our challenges and they helped us put in place solutions. We’re now working through these and I’m happy that we’re focusing on the things that really matter to our clients and to our business. "
Executive Development Programme.
We work with business executives under a funded programme that helps the owner manager develop leadership skills and enhance their business management capabilities in order to create new, or safeguard existing jobs. We offer a full range of products from our ‘ Leadership shop’ - we perform an initial business diagnostic then help clients choose from a range of relevant content and delivery methods to match their current leadership needs. Our clients have gone on to create new roles, introduce new processes, and identified new products and services.
Matchbox delivered a programme of workshops to address the critical issues the business faced. These included: gaining clarity over the role of the MD, clarifying team roles and responsibilities and addressing skill gaps, engaging the team in the development of KPIs and performance improvement measures, working to develop a clear and communicated culture, assessing and mitigating key risks to ensure robust mitigation could be built into the change programme.
As a result of the EDP the owners have a clear plan of how to develop their business in a sustainable way and they are progressively moving to roles within the business in which they will add the most value. This will ensure that the company provides a better service to customers, provides opportunities for their staff, and continues to grow.
Regional Growth Funding Projects
Matchbox helps companies bid for funding under a public sector grant programmes. Over the last 18 months we have engaged with over 70 clients and secured over £4million in grant funding to help them deliver their projects. We prepare individual business plans, marketing or growth plans and work with businesses to plan for the implications of investment in capital equipment, R&D, skills training or new facilities. The programmes focus on creating and safeguarding jobs either in specific markets or disciplines such as export growth.
Manchester Evening News, “British cotton is to be spun for the first time in a generation thanks to a £5.8m renovation of a Greater Manchester mill. English Fine Cotton, which makes material for bullet proof vests at Tame Valley Mill, Dukinfield, is to produce luxury yarn at neighbouring Tower Mill. The company is investing £4.8m topped up with a £1m grant from the Textile Growth Programme. The Grade II listed Tower Mill last produced cotton in 1955.
Andy Ogden, general manager of English Fine Cotton's parent company, Culimeta-Saveguard Ltd, said: "We owe it to the cotton industry - which Manchester was synonymous with - to put it back onto the world stage.” The Matchbox team is enormously proud to have worked with Culimeta to secure this major amount of public funding.
"Thank you for the wonderful news! We couldn’t have done any of this without the unparalleled support from Matchbox. We look forward to seeing you in the next few months once our new investment in kit has arrived and been commissioned."
MD - Manufacturing
"What a fantastic outcome! Can I just say a very big thank you to you both for all your hard work in bringing the details of the application together - a great team effort. Thanks once again - much appreciated."
MD - Manufacturing
Both Matchbox founders operate as unpaid mentors to individuals within North West businesses. A programme to provide support for local business people (mentees). We work with clients to help set new goals, develop new skills and expertise, and prepare for times of change. Over the past 12 months John and Jaan have worked with 7 mentees.
"I selected Matchbox for the Mentor programme because of the hands on business experience and particularly that you specialize in developing and bringing company strategy to life. Strategy is something that I am now personally involved in, but I am still very new to the game. So I chose well!
We spent time discussing strategy – the "why" and then converting this to the "how". This lead to how structure follows strategy and the effective translation of this from the board room to the shop floor.
We then moved onto the importance of having critical success factors to achieve business objectives.
Personally through our discussions, I have learnt to think not just about developing the company, but to think what I should be doing to develop myself at the same time.
You have also been a sounding block on subjects such as leadership succession, and structural changes in business. To be able to discuss subjects like this in confidence with someone impartial and also experienced in business was both interesting and advantageous for me." MD - Construction
From time to time our clients have need for additional professional services, for example; pension and tax advice, law services, short notice professional PR support, a quality guru to advise on regulatory accreditations. That’s when we’ll introduce you to our Associates. Over thirty recognised businesses each with experts in their field, but more importantly with people we know and trust who we can recommend to help and support you. A non fee paying referral process, we’ll simply provide you with direct contact details. You can independently contact them and discuss your needs.