We’re coming to the end of our first year working on the Wandsworth Foodies business support initiative; for Food and Food related businesses in the Wandsworth borough. We have engaged 1000’s of Pre Start’s, Start Ups & Small & Medium sized enterprises to help them grow.

Firstly, what a privilege & pleasure to work with so many incredibly passionate entrepreneurs. People from all walks of life, paving their way in the hope of a better future. Entrepreneurship is growing from strength to strength, with an average of 600,000 people in the UK starting up a new business every year. There are 338,375 registered SME’s working in Food. It’s the UK’s industry leader for SMEs.

Food is one of the largest employers in the United kingdom. 3.9 million people who work across the supply chain to ensure 27 million households have access to safe affordable quality food. Food touches everyone, every day.

Just to put it in to some kind of context; this is what Food means to our economy today.

Food and Grocery sales are worth 179 bn 50.2% of retail sales. The UK export market was worth 304.4bn in 2016. Food and drink was worth 18.4bn and opportunity to grow. Food employs 3.9 million farming, manufacturing, wholesaling, detailing, catering, industry service providers.

14% of all UK employment is in Food. A staggering; 1 in every 7 jobs.

It’s the UKs largest manufacturing sector.

Food and Drinks 96 billion.

Food and Drinks account for 19% of all levels manufacturing.

Food is continually advancing in the digital world. The companies that embrace Tech have a bright future. The ones that don’t will be left behind.

The online food and drinks market is worth 10.5bn and growing.

The UK has the second largest online Grocery market in the world today after China.

The Food to go market is currently worth 16.1 bn.

Coffee specialists 2.7 bn

Quick serve restaurants 5bn

Food to go specialists 4.6 bn

Convenience forecourt and other retailers 2.5 bn

Food to go is proving more popular with shoppers.

The UK is one of the world’s leading global fair trade markets 1.6 bn in 2015.

Food businesses are essential to our community & economy. Here’s to supporting more people to start up food businesses and to helping small and medium sized businesses grow.

*IGD Data

For more information on our Food Business support programmes feel free to get in touch.

What does this really mean for UK-based businesses? Back in June the polls were constantly changing, but one certainty was that it was going to be a pretty close call and when we all woke up on June 24, the impact of the nation’s vote changed the course of history. The UK was leaving.
Sunday 2 October finally saw Teresa May announce she would trigger Article 50, the clause needed to start the process, by the end of March 2017 – meaning that the UK is likely to leave the EU by mid-2019.
It’s an anxious time for business owners, after all you have set up your business and worked hard for it to flourish and judging by the scaremongering and media noise, imminent business growth is way down the list in the UK. This negative growth impact could have significant repercussions for your business. That’s why at CPG Executive, we are working with clients who are looking at business expansion into Ireland and we are actively facilitating their transition.

So, what are the benefits of business expansion into Ireland? For starters, it’s right at the heart of the Eurozone, situated between the USA, Europe and Asia Pacific, is a natural gateway to Europe and is one of the most open economies in the world. Being open means Ireland benefits from and contributes to the expansion of world trade; responding quickly to changing events with industry costs decreasing while productivity levels rise. Sound good? Here’s more.

There are numerous reasons why expanding your business operation into Ireland is a positive step forward; you would be entering an English speaking Eurozone country with easy access to the European market. With a population of 4.581 million, 50% of that figure are under the age of 35 and Ireland is ranked number 1 in the world for access to skilled labour and flexibility and adaptability of workforce.

In education, over 50% of this age range hold at least a 3rd level qualification; the highest in the Eurozone. It already has a wide range of thriving industry sectors including Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology, Medical Technology, Information and Communications Technology, Business Services, Consumer products, Industrial products, Entertainment and Digital Media, Financial Services too.

Many of the world’s leading corporations and global giants have already chosen Ireland as a prime business location and is now home to:
– 9 of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies
– 9 of the top 10 software companies
– 12 of the top 15 medical tech companies
– 15 of the top 20 financial services companies
– 9 of the top 15 internet companies
– 3 of the top 6 games publishers

Ireland offers barrier free access to over 500 million consumers in Europe – the world’s largest single market and is ranked in the top 10 as one of the easiest places to do business in Europe; it has the freest economy in the whole of the Eurozone. This duty free gateway offers easy access to Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the United States; the only European country to have US boarder-free clearance.

There are also attractive tax incentives to be had as The Irish Government pursues a pro-business economic policy with low tax, a 12.5% corporation tax rate and 68 double taxation treaties in place. Ireland ranks in the top 3 in global innovation index and supports this with generous R&D tax credits of 25%. It is also 1st for investment for qualifying projects; R&D grants, employment grants and capital grants.

Relocating to Ireland is more attractive than ever; if you have a business currently operating in the UK and you feel that waiting for the BREXIT fall out in 2019 is not for you, then come and see us in our London office. We are here to advise and assist with your business expansion so you can continue to grow and enjoy access to the European Single Market.

Contact Helen Roberts on 0207 193 5885 or 07768 733966
*Source: Census 2011 **Source: IDA Ireland 2014:
www.idaireland.com ***Source: IDA Ireland 2014:

Growing any business is a challenge but if you have made it this far as a business owner, you are already in a strong position – you already provide security and a salary for yourself, your workforce and you also have the flexibility and control over your own business growth depending on what your end game is. But have you even given any thought as to your future plans for the business? Do you want to expand, sell or have an MBO? There is no point in meticulous long term planning unless you have an end goal to set your sights on.

Here at CPG Executive, we like to share our expertise around business growth strategies with entrepreneurs and help you to realise your full business potential.

So what are the fundamentals of increasing the value of your business?

You are your business, so it is imperative that you have a business model that works – with and without you being present. You need to be assured that when you are away from the business that it can function at 100% productivity.

Building a strong management infrastructure is key; this is around key, core people, systems and procedures and when all three complement each other, revenue is increased.

Executing a business & sales strategy from a leadership perspective; develop ways in which you can expand through new products, new acquisition and new geographical locations.

Developing a second tier leadership team is critical to growth and success; take a deeper look at how much you invest in training and development, analyse the benefits, and develop yourself too! Look at how you wish to grow; if you are turning over £1m and projecting to turn over £10m in 5 years, then the skill sets you need in order to grow will be very different.

Be a visionary

Do a future visionary exercise – what do you want your business to look like?

For entrepreneurs, leadership and not management is the number one challenge. Develop your second tier core management level and execute your strategy for recruiting talented professionals.

If business is strong; allow yourself to step out of the business and let your infrastructure take over whilst you focus on the expansion options available to you. This is leadership, not management, and this is where radical growth can happen. Avoid being sucked into micromanaging your business.

Work your plan downwards not upwards. This way you have the competitive edge by not being bogged down with the detail and leave room for some visionary thinking and clarity.

Eyeing up the competition

Where do you fit in your industry sector? Who are your direct competitors and what are they doing better (or worse hopefully) than you? Who is growing and who is standing still? Do some website research and competitor analysis to make sure you are as effective as possible in your market. Mystery shopping on your competitors for 360 degree feedback will help with your overall offering and help you create a stand out niche position to gain competitive advantage.

The ever changing world we live in

Some people and business do not embrace change, but there is one factor that will always change and that is the external environment; some changes are so dramatic that they are noticed immediately, others may creep up on an industry over a period of time or be largely ignored.

Changes come in all shapes and sizes from customers’ needs changing, new technologies being established, employee skills needing revising or new legal frameworks being implemented. So where are you in this ever changing world we live in?

Breakdown and analyse your competitors position then breakdown and analyse yours

Look at your business planning and identify what your competition is already doing

Make good use of trade associations and affiliations

Analyse market trends – local, national and international

Identify any change in demographics and respond

Implement effective macro and micro evaluation where needed

Look at how you can enhance shareholder value and influence multiples

Ensure your business is future-proof and your systems and processes can survive due diligence; every investor and stakeholder will need accurate KPI’s and data.

If you would like to discover ways to increase value in your company and perhaps redefine your business journey and end goals, get in touch with me; Helen Roberts at CPG Executive today.



Whether you’re a bolt manufacturing company in Bolton, or a hair replacement clinic in Harley Street, or a Financial Services company in the city, it’s utterly crucial to employ and retain the right staff. And, the smaller the company, the more leverage (or mayhem) each individual employee could potentially make upon the organisation and bottom line.

As any well seasoned SME owner will tell you, a business can only rise and fall by the strength of its staff. Get your talent sourcing & retention right, and your business can experience smooth and consistent growth, with burgeoning ROI’s and leapfrogging the competition for market share. Get it wrong and the ramifications can be equally deep – leading to lost opportunity, steep costs and the gut wrenching prospect of having to dispose of staff and start the re-hiring process all over again. That’s time and money most SME’s can ill afford to lose.

Entrepreneurs and SME owners are often so delightfully focused and self driven, that they believe the same of all others. They often possess an energy and unrelenting drive as they try to move their business from vision to reality. Unfortunately, not all employees will buy into the same vision with the same gleeful enthusiasm – which is why hiring the right staff, at the right time is so very important. The last thing an SME owner needs as they grapple with the bigger issues – like addressing cashflow and securing new contracts – is to deal with employees that are frustrating bottlenecks rather than part of a well orchestrated team.

So, when it comes to staff recruitment the advice could not be clearer – do it once, and do it right! Here are some suggestions to get the recruitment process right:

1. Spend A Thorough Amount Of Time And Thought On The Recruitment Process. It’s shocking how many SME owners simply don’t plan the recruitment of a new hire. It is important to ask the right questions before engaging in the talent search process – what skill shortages will the new hire address? What should their deliverables be? How will these deliverables be measured? The more thought the SME owner invests into the recruitment process, the more any potential new hire will be the right one instead of an expensive and soul destroying nightmare.

2. Develop A Well Devised Job Specification. Identify the tasks that the new hire will be responsible for, and merge these with the skills your business needs in order to grow. The more detailed and clear your job specification, the more likely you will be able to attract the right candidates for interview.

3. Devise A Consistent Interview Process When Interviewing Applicants. Don’t just “wing it”. Determine a well thought out interview process that will help identify the right candidate and filter out unsuitable ones. Revert to the skill sets and job specification we talked about above. Make sure the same series of questions and tests are applied to each candidate so that their responses may be accurately gauged. By wielding the right series of questions and tests, the interview process will help distinguish genuinely good candidates from those with just a good CV.

4. Don’t Ignore The Personalities – Be A Culture Vulture. While any new hire needs to be technically proficient, they also need to fit seamlessly into the culture of the organisation. Staff conflicts can happen because of personality clashes – and when this is the case, even a group of talented individuals may find themselves trapped in a toxic work environment, leading to reduced morale and productivity. A good talent search process will account for these soft issues during the interview process.

5. Hire A Reputed Recruitment Agency. In reality, while the above process is the right way to go about putting in place the best new hire, many SME owners simply don’t have the necessary experience or bandwidth for this. This is when hiring an expert recruitment company can be highly beneficial. The right talent search agency will first analyse your business, it’s needs and the requirement of the role – and identify the most suitable candidates for interview.

Building a dream team remains one of the most elusive and difficult aspects of business, and is a crucial requirement for growth and success. While recruitment can be time consuming, it is one of the best investments you can make for your business. Because, when you hire the right talent, the impact on business ROI can be many multiples of the investment in personnel.

CPG have been an established talent search and recruitment agency operating mainly across the UK & Ireland. Over the past 15 years, CPG have partnered countless companies to find the right staff to solve skill shortages and help accelerate business growth. The company also prides itself for helping business integrate and train staff as part of the wider business strategy. While other recruitment companies switch off once a role is filled, it’s only the starting point for CPG who are dedicated to improving ROI.

I’ve spent the past 20 years growing businesses; my own, as well as coaching & mentoring thousands of other people to start and grow theirs. I’ve witnessed incredible successes and spectacular failures along the way. There are many reasons some small companies grow and others don’t. There are external factors like market size, competition and demand. And internal factors; to do with human performance – leadership and operations. In every industry, there are companies that grow and dominate, while others stagnate or shrink and ultimately fail. I am frequently asked why so many businesses fail to grow. This post focuses on some of the key reasons; in my opinion, why businesses fail to grow.

1. Lack of ambition. How driven is the business owner to grow? A small company is usually a reflection of the owner’s wants, desires, needs and personality. Businesses are set up for many reasons. Some for lifestyle purposes to have more flexibility and spend more time playing golf, tennis, or spend more time with their kids. Some owners are super ambitious and want to build a high performance business, an empire and others are happy making a living to pay the bills and live life on their terms. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that — it can however impact the rate of growth and explain that some businesses are designed to stay small.

2. Business owner error. This is probably the number one reason why so many small businesses fail to grow. As an entrepreneur you need to wear many hats and be responsible for all aspects of your business including: sales & business development, marketing, HR & talent management, finances, operations, IT. Many struggle wearing all hats and tend to focus on the think they like as opposed to critical drivers for the business. They find it difficult to multi task; juggle numerous things and not drop the ball. Business is a long distant sport and is not for th feint hearted. You need to be 100 per cent committed and nothing less. Take the good days with the bad days and dust yourself down and pick yourself up time and time again.   Many business owners don’t have the stomach for it in the long term.

3. Hiring the wrong people. Having the right people is paramount to the growth & success of your business. You cannot build a great company without the right people. Hiring the wrong people can be expensive and impact the rate of growth of your business. This requires a skilled hiring strategy and the courage to make the changes that are necessary as the company grows. This is easier said than done — especially when it turns out that people who were “right” at the beginning are no longer “right” in their roles as the company grows. Many business owners believe they can’t attract great talent based on their size and the salary they are offering and ‘settle’ with the people they hire.

4. Poor leadership skills. Many business owners are inexperienced leaders. Inexperienced leaders will find it difficult to attract and retain the very best talent and will find it difficul to truly motivate their team and bring out the best in them.  If a business owner is unable to build a high performing team and share his / her overall vision and direction for the business; it’s difficult to inspire, encourage, motivate and support people to go all out for you. An uninspired team will underperform and adversely impact your bottom line. .

5. Growth strategies & infrastructure. Many business owners lack clarity on where their business is at and more importantly where it’s going. They don’t have clearly defined growth strategies, or clear business and revenue models to build scale. Without the right infrastructure in place having the right systems, procedures, processes, controls and overall quality in the business, it will stand still. .

6. Fans not customers. The very best businesses keep abreast of market changes and continue to delight their customers with new products and services and provide top notch customer services; making their customers huge fans; encouraging loyalty. If the business owner doesn’t share the same values for championing the customer and giving them the white glove treatment; it’s likely customer retention will be low. 

7. Technology. Many small businesses fail to invest in technology making it difficult to have instant access to much needed information to run a successful business. They don’t have access to customer lists which prevents them from making contact with and analysing trends. They don’t have real time information on their finances. With the lack of accounting systems they don’t have an up to date cash position. Technology can be expensive so small businesses often stick to excel which can be limited in what it can provide in comparison to what else is available on the market today.

8. Marketing. This is one of the biggest challenges that small businesses face today and perhaps a key reason why businesses fail to grow. Many business owners don’t understand marketing and what it is and its importance to their business. They’re not clear on their brand, brand values or their target audience making it difficult to engage the customer and laser target marketing initiatives to speak to them directly. The businesses that truly understand marketing will continue to attract new customers and will flourish and the ones that don’t wont. .

9. Doing the same thing expecting a different result. Whether you are talking about products or services, the market is always changing, and your products and services have to change with it. A lack of foresight and planning and innovation makes the company stand still. Sometimes changes in a market are slow and subtle; sometimes, they are instant and dramatic leaving many businesses exposed.

10. Lack of investment. Whether it’s for new technology, larger office space, more employees or equipment, growing companies require more cash than non-growing companies. Many business owners don’t know how to go about finding investment for their business. Getting this cash may require borrowing money, finding more investors or using up whatever cash is on hand.  Some entrepreneurs opt to run with what they have and try to grow incrementally year on year which takes longer to achieve growth than perhaps an injection of capital would do to the business. .

11. Living too close to the line. Many entrepreneurs spend too much of their company profits without thinking of reinvesting it to build a bigger, better, stronger business. They therefore have limited funds to invest in new products and services and to provide funds to develop a robust  marketing campaign leaving them cash strapped and under immense pressure to keep costs low for core business activity.


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About Helen

Helen Roberts is a gifted leader, a popular trainer at live events, a coach and a mentor. Her fast-paced, authentic style, her incredible energy and passion will not only inspire you, you will be empowered knowing you can overcome your personal obstacles to be the best that you can be and live an incredible life!

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