‘Inspired’ help for SMEs

Interview | Sponsored

Inspire group in front of stone buildingWith so much expertise and support out there for SME owners, getting bogged down is all too easy.

Fortunately, there is a company who can help. Inspire are dedicated to helping businesses in the South West maximise their success by helping develop a winning business strategy, making the right connections and knowledge sharing with other successful business owners.

The Wiltshire company’s CEO, Rob Perks, talks to BLM about his background in business and the important role Inspire can play in helping a business grow.

What does Inspire do?

Inspire provides a ready-made network of trusted experts in every discipline of business you can think of, so we are ‘the place to go’ for anything relating to business. Our experienced advisers have a wide business knowledge, but we also work with around 100 partner experts who we refer to when our clients need more specialised help. We also connect businesses to each other to do business or to provide useful services to each other.

How does Inspire help a business grow?

Firstly, our experienced advisers sit down with a business and learn all about it, and then they explain what we can offer. The next step is to develop a winning business strategy and then connect them to all the resources and experts they need to reach their objectives. Some of these might be fully funded like the Goldman Sachs small business programme which gives extremely valuable free support to growing businesses or grant funding, but it might also be access to the right expert to support a project. Each client is assigned their own client manager who is dedicated to that business.

How did Inspire start?

It started as the Wessex Chamber of Commerce in 1994 and was rebranded as Inspire in 2015. The UK Government commissioned research in 2013 amongst SMEs and the majority said they would really value an impartial “one stop shop” where they could go to find out anything they needed to know about business, and a relationship manager as a single point of contact to talk to about any of those needs. That’s exactly what Inspire provides and we currently have 550 growth members, and more than 3,000 ordinary members that range from small businesses with four/five staff to the other end of the scale and corporations. There is clearly support around for SMEs, but we feel we are offering something unique.

What does your role at Inspire involve?

My role is to constantly review the services we are providing to ensure they are relevant and to keep up to date with all the grants and other resources that are available to SMEs, so that we are giving the best advice possible and connecting businesses to everything that will help them grow their business. We are constantly in touch with Government and other policy makers to ensure we have the answers to all those questions.

What is your business background?

I have worked with businesses for most of my career, firstly in NatWest’s private banking division and then as National Sales Manager for mortgage lending. I then moved to the Bank of Ireland and on to Britannic Money PLC, where I was on their Board as Business Development Director. I ran my own consultancy business for three years, advising businesses on strategy and marketing. Since then I have started four businesses, one of which I sold, and three others remain in family ownership, so I am very aware of the challenges facing small businesses. I took up my current role with Inspire in 2012.

For more information on how Inspire can help your business, visit www.inspirebiz.co.uk or telephone 01225 355553.

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