Graham had supported North-East-based Absolute Quality Training & Consultancy months before the pandemic took hold, however, his services were called upon again during COVID. So, how are AQCT doing now as a result?
Financial year success
The end of the financial year in June proved to be a monumental milestone for Absolute Quality, as they look to continue their impressive growth post-Covid. The company reported their most successful period to date: Revenue has increased, turnover is up 31% on last year, gross margin is up, net income has doubled, and net assets are up 64%. These figures are remarkable for a company that had been swept up in the height of the crisis period 18 months ago.
So, who is Absolute Quality?
Having been operating for just over 20 years, Absolute Quality has established itself as a leader in delivering management systems and training to all kinds of businesses in the North East. Rather than simply telling businesses what they should do, Absolute Quality is able to give tailored solutions to their clients, working with them to help implement a management system to support their processes and training to meet their business needs. It‘s this active relationship between consultant and business that led to the company gaining most of their clients through referrals from appreciative customers they had previously supported.
The derailing impact of Covid
Like many other businesses across the UK, Absolute Quality was not exempt from the unfortunate effects of Covid. Due to the impacts of the nationwide lockdown, Absolute Quality‘s client base almost immediately disappeared overnight as businesses became extremely hesitant about their finances.
Business Development Consultant Lora Wilson noted another troubling factor the company was faced with – â€œAll of the services we offered were face to face. We couldn’t see our clients in person. Andrew (Consultant and Lead Trainer) couldn’t travel up and down the country as well. It took us off our feet a little bitâ€.
Owner Helen Short describes the crisis management following the lockdown, she went on to that time as being â€œabsolutely horrendous – almost like a grieving period in a wayâ€. Following the shock of the initial lockdown, â€œbusinesses have worked in a very different state of mind over the last 18 monthsâ€.
After the initial crisis period, Helen described the next challenge for the company as â€œworking in an environment of perpetual change and uncertainty.â€ Absolute Quality had to try and figure out ways that they could continue to deliver to and support clients, especially on the consultancy side.
In response to this, Helen made the executive decision to engage the services of Business Doctor Graham Robson: to help Absolute Quality adapt and operate under the â€œnew normalâ€. In a climate of much financial doubt, choosing to invest in business mentor Graham was a bold move by Helen; one she knew she needed to make to get the business operating at its full potential again.
The strategy plan Graham helped to implement kept Absolute Quality focused and driven. For example, the business was encouraged to look at the financial journey and their resources. â€œWe needed a clear plan so that the whole team knew what that plan was, understood it, and were part of it.â€
The recovery process continued internally, with the team outlining what they needed to focus on and developing their own action plan detailing their performance targets and financials. â€˜How could we continue to provide the services that we offer, in a new normal?‘ Following this regroup, Absolute Quality’s recovery gained more and more momentum thanks to the team‘s hunger to bounce back better than before.
How were these figures achieved?
â€œWe found alternative ways to deliver and sell. Whether that was through running digital workshops to help; one of the things that we put in place was a Covid workshop, centred around how businesses could protect themselves in that period.â€
â€œFocusing our energy in the right areas is also another crucial part of our success this year. We spend one day a week focusing on our business structure and responsibilities etc., so we know where we‘re at. Graham really helped us to keep that level of focus throughoutâ€.
On Graham’s influence on the recent success, Helen praised him for â€œsupporting her through a journey of crisis leadership required to get us on solid foundations.â€
â€œHe has coached my personal development to adapt my leadership style in order to develop the team and I feel inspired and confident to take the business forward, whatever is thrown at us.â€ Graham is now a very valued member of the Absolute Quality Team and a key part of our strategy for success.â€
What‘s on the horizon for Absolute Quality?
With â€œFreedom Dayâ€ having just passed, Absolute Quality has been given another boost and are now in the process of expanding their team. The business is currently in the process of recruiting both a graduate and undergraduate consultant, a new trainer, and potentially another consultant soon.
As to what the future holds for Absolute Quality, Helen is looking forward to bringing through the next generation of mentors and trainers. Being a part of the community and making sure that we feed the local economy is also a huge priority. Lora added that there are currently huge opportunities in electrification across the northeast. The northeast is home to the Nissan plant, which has developed the LEAF model – an electric compact car. Going forward, Absolute Quality is looking to support local businesses to fulfil the needs of the supply chain and build on their success.
Absolute Quality has shown remarkable resilience during a time when uncertainty was clouding the thoughts of businesses across the country. Keeping their clients at the heart of what they do, Absolute Quality is now looking forward to the road ahead and helping more businesses in need of their support and training.
Summarising her feelings towards the flexibility she and her business have shown, Helen expressed that she feels â€œhugely relieved that we have not only survived this year but are now in the strongest position we have ever been to move forward and grow the business.â€
If you want to improve your profits or you need help with your own business strategy, get in touch with Graham here