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‘Incredible’ Growth Vouchers sets new business on course

The Growth Vouchers has to be one of the best Government initiatives. I could never have done that on my own and certainly not in the time frame. Jan Francis - Retonomy

After Jan Francis was made redundant, the “soul-destroying” round of fruitless long interview processes for a full-time job left him disillusioned. After a series of contracts, he took the plunge to use his expertise as a supplier manager to set up his own company.

Driven by the challenge of using nearly 20 years’ experience to work for himself, he was still fearful of the “long slog” of widespread mass marketing he believed he needed to find clients.

“I had huge expertise in my area and really wanted to have my own company but I didn’t know anything about marketing. I thought I would have to put in huge amounts of work sending out mailshots in the dark to attract work.” Then he met coach and mentor Quentin Pain after applying for a Growth Voucher, a Government initiative that grants up to £2,000 matched-funding for strategic advice and actions on how a business can reach its business growth potential.

Quentin, Small Business Mentor of the Year 2013, whose company Legendary Business Owners provides step-by-step coaching for business owners, quickly turned round Jan’s fears. “He changed my mind-set, showed me how to work smarter and target specific clients and showed me how to do it. “It has been incredible. The Growth Vouchers has to be one of the best Government initiatives. I could never have done that on my own and certainly not in the time frame.”

Just months on, Baldock-based Retonomy is fi nalising a new contract that will increase his business revenue by 200 per cent. “If I have three or four of these contracts in a year, I will have to take on full-time staff,” said Jan, who runs his business with five full and part-time associates. Retonomy helps organisations get the best from their suppliers.

“Quentin has helped me see where I want to take my company, how to target clients and understand why I want to target those clients.

“It worked on my first hit. He told me to ask a lot of questions and listen rather than talk a sales pitch. Within three meetings, a proposal was on the table.”

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