Craven Safety Services is one firm that’s decided the time is right to take its next step forward.
The Skipton-based business provides an independent health and safety consultancy service, and is now looking to move into a larger office and take on another apprentice.
Managing Director Liz Preston believes the key to moving forward is having a firm grip on your finances.
She said: “It’s not something we’ve taken lightly, but we’ve doubled turnover for the last two years, which is quite a big thing.
“We looked very closely at that financial side of things. We know where we’re at, but we’ve also drawn up a growth forecast and a three year plan.
“We have a predicted forecast turnover and we know what we need to do to achieve it.
“Knowing exactly what you have coming in and going out is very important, so we made sure we had strong cashflow analysis.
“We’re as prepared as we can be, and sometime you have to do these things – we need to make that next leap and now feels like the right time.”
Currently the company is run from Liz’s home, where she shares an office just off the side of her kitchen with office manager Debbie Gomersall and apprentice health and safety advisor Mollie. While it’s manageable, it is a little bit cosy.
Mollie is currently working towards her qualifications, so Liz, a chartered member of The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (CMIOSH), has to oversee every client herself.
“Mollie is doing really well, but an apprentice can only do so much until they’re qualified,” Liz said. ”So I have to split myself in to so many different pieces. Having her qualified will allow me to focus on other parts of the business.
“We’re also now offering an online health and safety management system, so it would be useful to get someone in to help more with the sales side of thing.
“A new office will also look a bit more professional, and to set it up is not going to cost a fortune. We’re quite a paperless operation – with everything backed up and secure.”
Craven Safety Services was set up nearly ten years ago, with Liz taking it over three and a half years ago when the founder retired.
She said: “With the economy struggling, it was probably a tough time to take on a business, but taking it over gave me a new drive for it.
“Previously I’d always worked for somebody else, but being responsible for the whole business really made me focus and I think that helped us get through it.
“We did have an office then, but a lot of our customers are in the development and construction trade and the recession hit them hard.
“I managed to keep the business going but we gave up the office, cut back as much as possible, and all worked from my home. It worked and we managed to get through it.
“There’s definitely been an improvement in the economy, and people are starting to do things again and spend money.”
Liz was put on to SREG about six months after taking the business on.
She said: “My mentor has been really beneficial to have on board. I know I can pick up the phone to him whenever I need to. And just to have somebody else with a business mind to pass ideas to is very useful.
“They can give you their experience and knowledge, are there for advice and suggest things that have worked for them.
“For me the main thing he helped with was the focus on the financial side of things.
“Things like planning for the future, growth, margins and making sure we can afford what we need to move forward.”
For more details about Craven Safety Services, visit the website http://cravensafetyservices.co.uk/