Minhaz Moosa, MD of Intelligent Payroll in Blackburn, was unsure about how to grow his business. A conversation with Matt Hutchinson at Lancaster University Management School suggested that participating in the Lancashire Forum programme would provide him with some valuable direction - and he came away with the tools to develop a growth strategy.
Working at one of the world’s largest accounting firms Minhaz had become increasingly frustrated by outdated systems and processes. His business grew out of his conviction that he could provide a better value service for small and medium sized companies.
Intelligent Payroll, a multi-award-winning company providing outsourced payroll and pensions services across the UK, has been trading since the beginning of 2018. Already, thanks to what he learned and took away from the Lancashire Forum, the business has expanded and evolved beyond Minhaz’s original idea.
“My standout workshop was the Business Model Canvas,” he says. “It was so good to have an actual tool that tells you where to focus, what your value is and who your targets are – and getting it all on paper, on one sheet, shows you exactly what you need to do. It’s vital to our business and we’ve still got it pinned up on the wall”.
He outlines how the Business Model Canvas has fuelled both the growth of the team and the diversification of the business by showing them how related services go hand-in-hand. “Because of that, we’ve moved from basically being just payroll and pensions to incorporate the Construction Industry Scheme and now HR contracts, company handbooks and absence management software, with a dedicated HR consultant in-house.”
In fact the team soon grew to include one further full-time member of staff and two part-time members. Two additional new positions, one of which is an apprenticeship, are waiting to be filled. “I learned on the programme that you have to be flexible with how you employ people,” Minhaz adds. “The Employee Engagement workshop really emphasised the modern work/life balance, be that providing employees with flexible working options such as part-time hours and working from home, or employing apprentices and interns.”
Overall, the Forum has made him a better business owner, he believes. “It definitely gave me the tools I needed to grow the business, and the fact that you’ve got 15-20 other business owners to bounce ideas off – some just starting up, others more established - means every time you meet you learn something new.”
Nor does it end there. Although their six-month programme may be over, Minhaz and his fellow delegates have created a peer network that meets up every month to share problems, challenges and ideas, and to benefit from each other’s experiences. He has also been taking advantage of the University’s regular masterclasses. “They’re really enlightening, with some really good speakers who open your eyes to new possibilities that you didn’t even think of because you were concentrating on your own business. It’s definitely worth taking time out to get a new perspective. I’d like to do more.”
The Lancashire Forum, part of Boost Business Lancashire, is a six month programme designed to help owner-managers, MDs and senior decision makers of SMEs to grow their businesses. It is fully-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.