The introduction of QES to the Coaching for High Growth programme was mediated by their accountant. QES relationship with the Oxford Innovation Grow Cornwall team, started in September 2009, is one of the longest under the programme, and as a result substantial progress has been achieved.
When first introduced to the Grow Cornwall team, QES, a heating, plumbing and water hygiene business, was suffering the pains of rapid growth and overtrading. Although surviving the recession, the company’s turnover and profits were declining.
Coaches, Geoff Ribbens and Alan Bartlett, explored QES’ business strategy with company directors Mike Quest, Spencer Culley and Mel Quest. The coaching methodology employed enabled the directors to conclude that they were probably trying to do too many things at once and lacked focus. This led to a strategic decision to focus on the water hygiene business and move away from the less profitable areas of heating and plumbing.
Interventions from other Oxford Innovation team members, Sarah Livingstone, with expertise of financial management, and Mike Jobson, a sales and marketing specialist, provided support in cash flow forecasting and developing a focused marketing strategy. The resulting improvement in financial control was a crucial factor in QES securing a loan from Ascendant Ventures which provided the underlying financial stability necessary to position the company for growth.
In addition to support from Oxford Innovation, QES has benefitted from the highly successful graduate placement scheme, Unlocking Cornish Potential.
The Company now has a new brand and a new ethos – “Passionate about water!”. It is completely focused on environmental solutions for water hygiene, offering help with understanding and meeting regulations, providing training, and management systems for the prevention of legionella infection. Quest Environmental Solutions is now trading at a monthly profit, has identified more high revenue customers and is now moving into exports. The projected turnover for the next year is over £1m with a respectable profit.
Lead Coach/Mentor: Geoff Ribbens
Entrepreneur: Mike Quest