Setting up a new business in June 2020 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic might have seemed a challenge for many, but for Will Blower, it was a time when small businesses needed the help that he could provide; thus Realise Finance was created.
“I had trained and qualified as an accountant and had worked in the two of the large accountancy firms in the Peterborough area and could have progressed up the career ladder there. However, I decided to set up my own business, as being my own boss meant that I could progress in my career quicker than the corporate route,” explained Will.
Will had some experience of running his own business previously and was confident that he could help other companies to manage their accounts more efficiently. He heard about the Growth Hub Start and Grow programme from a client who recommended their grant scheme and so he got in touch.
“I used my first Start and Grow grant to cover the cost of an intern for a placement as well as equipping the office which enabled me to hold client meetings in a more professional environment,” stated Will. The grant money also paid for a local marketing company to develop and implement a campaign to attract new clients through the production of video content. “This has been really beneficial and has opened up routes to bigger contracts and generated more engagement online,” commented Will.
“The Start and Grow grant has allowed us to take a step up to the next level. The grant process itself was straightforward, requiring a cashflow forecast and business plan and I was delighted with the results for my business.”
Will has big plans for the business, hoping to grow it further and he now has plans to recruit an intern or apprentice to run their marketing activity. “67% of my clients are referrals and the majority come through social media, so it is an important part of marketing activity in terms of attracting new clients,” he explained.
Will is confident that there are lots of opportunities in the local area with many new businesses starting up who require help with their accounts. “I have an idea that the professional service we provide currently could be replicated in other areas in the future.”
“I’d recommend the Start and Grow programme to any business looking for support,” stated Will, “The team provided me with a very personal service, taking the time to get to know me and my business well.”
Will’s business Realise Finance is already being recognised having been a Finalist in the Peterborough Small Business Awards last year and he is currently up for another award for the East of England. We wish him luck!