AFTER a firm in Titchfield realised it needed to find a way of saving money and improving turnover, it decided to hire someone who would help.
And thanks to a £1,000 Skills South East government grant the Hampshire Kitchen Company was able to secure the services of Sue Warden-Owen, a consultant who works for Warsash business coaching firm MHL Coaching Limited.
As part of her work she helped bring the amount of time it took to handle customer requests down from five days to 24 hours.
The numbers of sales generated by telephone and email enquiries rose by 20 per cent.
She improved the look of the company’s website and made it more user-friendly.
And she gave staff tips on how to produce graphic drawings of kitchens that are produced for potential customers more quickly.
Sue also helped to improve sales by setting up open evenings so people could look around the firm’s showroom.
And as part of her hard work she drew up a 12-month plan for the family-run business, which was set up in 1978, so it would continue to improve its advertising, publicity and website during that period. She also got the firm a 50 per cent reduction in its business rates after applying to Fareham Borough Council.
Hampshire Kitchen Company founder John Olden, whose daughter Karyn is design and retail manager for the firm, said: ‘We gained an enormous return on our investment in Sue.
‘This is shown by the levels of cost taken out of the business, our increased turnover and the fact that our overall business value has more than doubled.
‘We want to raise awareness and take our business to the next level.
‘Sue has provided objective, incisive analysis of our operations as well as imaginative solutions.’
Sue, 51, who lives in Warsash, has been a business consultant for seven years. She said: ‘It feels amazing to have made such a different to this firm.
‘I’m passionate about making a difference to businesses across Hampshire.’
Sue, who is a member of the Institute of Directors, which supports and sets standards for company directors, added: ‘Businesses need very careful attention if they are to grow and prosper, especially given the tough financial conditions out there.
‘I want to make a difference by helping them plan for success and strengthen their competitive edge. Seeing companies prosper is the key to my success.’