• 0300 333 6536
YOU ARE: HomeCase StudieSigns Express Norwich

Company:Signs Express Norwich

Small Grant Scheme £15,396
https://www.signsexpress.co.uk/branch/norwich

Improving services and costs by bringing it inhouse

Signs Express is a nationwide franchise company that designs and manufactures signage quickly for a multitude of businesses. The Norwich franchise is run by Ken Venables. A significant part of Ken’s business is the supply of large scale signage that has to be specially cut or folded. This work had previously been outsourced costing the business around £30,000 a year.

Ken decided that he needed to offer his customers a more cost-effective and speedier service, and that meant buying a 4m x 2m flatbed CNC Router. The cost of the new equipment was in the region of £80,000. Watch the video to find out how one of New Anglia Growth Hub’s advisers worked closely with Ken to secure the funding needed to buy the new equipment and the positive impact it has had on the business.

If your business has ambitious growth plans and needs help with funding the vital components that would deliver them, we’d love to hear from you. Pick up the phone and call us on 0300 333 6356 and we will put you in touch with one of expert advisers who’ll arrange to come and meet you to discuss your plans.

To read the full story of how Signs Express Norwich worked to identify its needs and with the New Anglia Growth Hub to secure their funding, please read on below:

The Business: Signs Express, Norwich

Signs Express is a nationwide franchise company that does what it says on its signs – that’s designing and manufacturing a huge range of signage quickly for a multitude of businesses. The Norwich franchise is run by Ken Venables.

Some of Ken’s biggest customers are marketing agencies who commission internal and external signage on behalf of their clients. This can range from simple roller banners to vehicle signage on fleets to huge signs on the exteriors of buildings.

The issue that Signs Express faced

A significant part of Ken’s business is the supply of large scale signage that has to be specially cut or folded. This involves taking large flat sheets of various materials including plastic, wood and metal and, through cutting and folding, transforming them into cut-outs, letters, panels and, in some cases, works of art!

Signs Express Norwich previously outsourced this work because the equipment needed was large and very expensive. And, it was costing around £30,000 a year doing this. Ken came to the conclusion that it was vital for the growth of his business to offer his customers a more cost-effective and speedier service, and that the time was right to invest in some new equipment – specifically a 4m x 2m flatbed CNC Router.

The router would remove the dependency on external suppliers, meaning that Signs Express Norwich could become more price competitive on a greater number of projects, improve turnaround times and ensure that quality control sat in-house. The cost of the new equipment was in the region of £80,000, a sizeable sum, but Ken was convinced it would be a worthwhile investment. It would enable the business to expand into more sectors, with a greater scope for working with new clients and ultimately create a greater profit margin.

What made Ken turn to the Growth Hub?

Ken spoke initially to his accountant about the implications of raising the capital required and approached his bank.

During these discussions, it was suggested that the Growth Hub might be able to assist Ken in his quest so he sent off an initial email enquiry.

Growth Hub help

Business adviser, Dean Pierpoint, picked up Ken’s enquiry and arranged to meet him. He confirmed that the Growth Hub would be able to help Signs Express Norwich apply for a grant that would contribute towards the new equipment and, importantly, a new employee.

“When I first approached the Growth Hub for help I hadn’t really thought about taking on more staff. But, speaking to Dean highlighted the possibility that I might actually need someone to operate the new machinery,” explained Ken, “So, we were able to apply for a grant for both a contribution towards the new equipment and funding a new role in the business – a real win:win situation.”

Dean was on hand to help Ken through the application process, which at times was quite complex and explained that he would be visited to carry out site checks and to interview him about the business need.

“Dean was super-helpful in steering me through the application process and setting expectations about the amount of time I would need to invest in the process to get a successful outcome and in terms of the timescales and decision-making process. Without his support, I’m not sure I would have been able to complete the submission so quickly and thoroughly.”

Signs Express Norwich received a 20% contribution from the Small Grant Scheme.

What impact did this have on helping the business expand?

The new equipment was installed in the Signs Express Norwich workshop in December 2017 and the new employee started a month later, which had an immediate impact.

“With the flatbed router in place, we have been able to pitch for a lot more work, much of it from new customers. And, because existing customers know we have the capability to do this work in-house now, we are winning more projects on price competitiveness and turnaround times.

“The funding for the additional position means that we have the staffing level to continue to operate to our highest standards of quality control whilst increasing our output. It’s great that we now have complete control of our own production on these projects and are not dependent on others.”

Ken summarises, “Dean’s input was critical. He got the process going, helped to position our submission correctly, answered all my questions and provided support along the way. I would definitely recommend any business thinking about expanding to talk to one of the Growth Hub’s advisers as they will be able to give you a clear picture of the options open to you. Dean and his colleagues are routed in ‘real world’ experience so they can really help you out.”

The adviser’s view

Dean Pierpoint said, “For companies who require capital equipment to expand their business, the prospect of raising funds can be daunting. Business owners often don’t know who to turn to for help or are not comfortable taking on a significant level of debt. That’s where the Growth Hub can really help.

“We are well versed in all of the options open to businesses in different sectors so we can present them to business owners and also, as in the case with Signs Express Norwich, identify opportunities where grant funding is available.

 

If your business has ambitious growth plans and needs help with funding the vital components that would deliver them, we’d love to hear from you. Pick up the phone and call us on 0300 333 6356 and we will put you in touch with one of expert advisers who’ll arrange to come and meet you to discuss your plans.

 

NEW
webinar

watch: KEEPING YOUR BUSINESS SAFE FROM CYBER CRIMINALS

May 31, 2017 By Affinity
In Partnership with

other case studies