In this month’s community spotlight, Alan Kirby founder of ABI Ltd. expresses his reasoning for starting his business and how he overcame the fear of understanding the marketplace. He offers his own advice to business owners who are struggling against certain challenges.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came about starting your business?
I am mad on sport and I have since the age of 12 been a runner. Originally when I was younger and much faster I ran on the track where I was a middle distance runner. I have taken part in track races with Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe. Whilst I still run my main interest is competing in triathlons. I also enjoy my classic car and when I have time I like to dance modern jive.
After many years as an accountant in the corporate world where I gained invaluable experience on how to run a business and deciding what works and what doesn’t. In 2004 I made a conscious decision to leave the corporate world and set up my own accountancy practice where my experience and knowledge could be put to use helping small to medium sized businesses grow and flourish.
What products and services does your business offer?
Accountancy & Business Improvement Ltd offer more than the traditional accountancy practice. Yes we do payroll processing including auto-enrolment, bookkeeping, year-end accounting, VAT, corporation tax, self-assessment and any other tax you can think of but we also work closely with our clients and offer them our expert knowledge and experience to help them develop their businesses.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day for me if there is such a thing would normally getting up at 5:45 and heading off to the gym or swimming pool for an hour then it would be off to a breakfast networking event or straight to the office. The first 15 to 20 minutes would be spent planning my day. If I have client meetings I would spend some time preparing for the meeting. Alternatively, I could have some accounts to review and tax planning for a client or alternatively a client may have asked us to do some analysis work and/or prepare a report for them on a particular topic. Really I do not have a typical day. We flex and adapt to our clients requirements to offer them the best service that we can.
Always have a plan that you commit to paper and then continually monitor the results.
What has been your biggest challenge since starting the business?
My biggest challenge since starting in business has been to understand our marketplace. We had to make sure that we were providing a service that had value and was not viewed as a pure cost with no value. Once I had identified the market and had developed our offering to be something of value the next challenge was where I meet the people who would be interested in our services.
What advice would you give to other business leaders for growing their business?
My advice to other business leaders for growing their businesses is to always have a plan that you commit to paper and then continually monitor the results and if they are not in accordance with your plan you need to understand the differences. If the differences are within your control then you can make the necessary changes. If there are things that are outside of your control then you need to build this into your plan. The plan is not just a financial budget but a plan of the whole business.
How did you hear about Nimvelo? How has it changed the way you communicate?
We’ve had our old analogue telephone system for many years and whilst we knew that switching to a VoIP system would save us money we were concerned about switching because we had been told that VoIP systems were not always reliable and if the broadband goes down so does the phone system. However as we’ve expanded and have a remote office where we needed to have a telephone extension our old analogue system was then found wanting and we made the decision to switch to a VoIP system. Nimvelo were recommended to us. When I contacted them they were extremely helpful. Our transition from the analogue system to the VoIP system went very smoothly. Everything has worked very well ever since and our telephone costs have reduced significantly.
Share your story
Are you a business owner with valuable insight to share with our community, consisting of hundreds of UK businesses just like yours? Email our Community Manager, Sabrina, on email@example.com to arrange an interview today.