A close, long-term working relationship between Amivet and the GC Business Growth Hub has helped the Greater Manchester and Cheshire business to successfully move into a new and growing market.
The Altrincham and Northwich based veterinary company has been working with Hub Growth advisor Dr Yousef Taktak for the past six years, developing a strategic vision for the business and a three-year plan to identify future development opportunities.
Meeting on a monthly basis, the sessions cover areas such as target markets, marketing, staffing, operations and CPD, with time also spent identifying and delivering strategic objectives, as well as monitoring performance.
“It’s about offering simple support and advice that can help to trigger something in the management team,” says Yousef.
While much of Amivet’s business had been taken up with clinical services, company owner Andrew Iveson had also been exploring the veterinary export certificate market, which covers the export of food and animal products, including meat, pet food, gelatine and laboratory samples.
Following an increase in demand for the services, on the back of changes to regulations, Andrew saw the opportunity to switch the business and concentrate on certification. The move came at the same time as the UK left the EU, with Brexit meaning that certificates were now needed to export to the remaining 27 member countries.
Amivet Exports, www.amivetexports.co.uk
The Hub helped to develop Amivet’s new certification service, as it looked to take advantage of new opportunities, with the progress supported by the company's business plan that was well-used and regularly updated.
“Once they have served their purpose and brought in investment, business plans are often overlooked by companies that are established and profitable,” Yousef says. “But every business needs to review its business strategy on a regular basis. Markets change and you need to assess your position and how to best drive growth.”
“Working with Andrew we were able to do this, and as a result the company has moved on to the next level.”
A key aspect of the support, explains Andrew, was helping to raise the profile of the business. “There was very little general information about export certification available, or the businesses offered the service,” he explained. “Neither was there an obvious market leader in the field, so I set about filling the gap.”
With funded support from the Hub’s Digital Marketing Team, Amivet rebranded, developing a new website and using social media and Google Ads to promote the business.
Turnover has risen from £40,000 six years ago, to £4 million this year, while 22 new jobs have been created.
“I also acted as a mentor and 'Critical Friend' for Andrew supporting him and challenging him and the business practices,” adds Yousef. “The company is now a leader in a very specialised market and has also become an important local employer, with the creation of so many new jobs, alongside plans for future expansion.”
And Andrew adds: “Many businesses, like Amivet, simply can’t afford to spend thousands of pounds on management consultants – which is where the GC Business Growth Hub comes in. By meeting real needs, with bespoke and independent support that’s tailored for individual companies, it can really make a difference to companies that have great ideas but need affordable support to make them happen.
“What I also appreciated was the encouragement I got from Yousef and rather than simply doing things for you, it was more a case of explaining how something worked and then leaving you to it. And that really helped the learning process and has put me in a much stronger position to manage the company’s rapid growth.”