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The value of independent advice and accountability

Independent advice and accountability allows you to see things differently and offers support for business challenges.

Independent advice | Business Advisor

Since 2017, Switch Group has been working with Helen Laidlaw to scale up the business, overcome day-to-day business challenges, and improve profitability. Improving the systems and processes within the business alongside regular independent advice and accountability has been an eyeopener for Switch Group Managing Director, Iain Colville, and has had a positive impact on the financial performance of the business.

Background: Leaders in the electrical industry

Formerly known as Switch Electrical Services (Hamilton) Ltd, Switch Group has been a leader in the Waikato electrical industry since 2006. The locally owned and operated electrical services company offers a wide range of electrical services and solutions, ranging from maintenance and service calls to complex multi-phased design and installation projects in various fields.

Managing Director Iain Colville thought everything in the business was going along just fine and was initially hesitant towards the idea of working with a business advisor. He says, “I was a bit stubborn about the idea at the start. It was quite challenging.”

An unexpected eyeopener

During an initial meeting between Helen and Iain in May 2017, Helen raised a few queries about the systems and processes that Switch Group did or didn’t have in place, and the financial KPIs that were being tracked.

“Helen was very patient. She challenged my ideas rather than just accepting what I said. She helped me understand alternative outcomes that could be possible if we did some things differently," Iain explains.

"It was an eye-opener for me."

Expert support to empower you to make your own decisions

Having seen the business and its possible future from a different perspective, Iain worked with Helen to create a plan to move forward. This included strategies to resolve current issues, implement new systems and processes, and improve profitability.

Iain says the best thing about Helen is that she didn’t tell him what to do. He explains: “Helen didn’t tell me I had to X, Y, Z. I still had to bring my ideas to the table, but Helen would challenge me on them and then suggest alternative approaches where appropriate.”

Independent advice and ongoing accountability

Helen began meeting with Iain weekly to provide support and guidance as he implemented their plan. Regular meetings also held Iain accountable for achieving the business objectives he had set.

Iain has continued meeting with Helen weekly for the past four years to discuss any business challenges that come up and gain that outside perspective on his thinking.

“Helen has previously worked in the trades industry, so she understands the types of problems we have in our business and can offer alternative solutions that we haven’t thought of.”

Iain has also really appreciated being able run ideas past Helen during their weekly meetings.

He says, “With Helen, you can bring your ideas to the table for her opinion or bounce ideas off her which is really cool.”

“Sometimes being in business can be quite a lonely thing. It’s really beneficial having a third person to assist with any issues that crop up, or to challenge your ideas and give you a different take on how you could do something.”

For Iain, working with Helen is “invaluable”; “I would 100% recommend it to other business owners.”

Key Outcomes & Wins

  • Support for day-to-day business challenges
  • Independent advice and accountability
  • Scaled up the business
  • Increased sales by 200%
  • 5X net profit
  • Identified key opportunities
  • Implemented and improved systems and processes to enable profitable growth
  • Created accurate monthly financial reports and KPIs