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Nick Glynne, chief executive at Buy it Direct, tells Martin Port about the company’s incredible growth story.

Starting out as a computer shop in Huddersfield, Buy it Direct is now one of the UK’s largest online retailers, behind brands including AppliancesDirect and Furniture123.

Nick Glynne explains how his strategy of buying distressed businesses and turning them around has helped him create a £500m business that prides itself on excellent customer service and top product knowledge.

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Mark Albiston, managing director of Garic, tells Martin Port how the company has grown from a £15m business to a £40m UK leader in plant hire solutions over the past six years.

Mark says having the right team is crucial to business success. He looks for people that prioritise customer service and are passionate about what they do – whether it’s sales and marketing or business operations. 

“We look at how they come into our business, and how they help us move forward as a culture. We have a home-grown talent pool, and we have a number of people that have moved roles and really made a substantial difference,”

Mark Albiston

Garic, which employs 270 people, uses the BigChange platform to manage job scheduling and to offer a quick turnaround for customers looking to hire its products.

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Business guru Dr Lee Williams, founder of Jowsa Consulting, shares his tips on how companies can get the most from their workers and products.

Jowsa Consulting helps businesses and their leadership teams think differently, and Dr Lee Williams has worked with BigChange many times over the years.

Lee tells Martin Port that recruiting the best talent is crucial for business growth. He says employers should look for people that are different from themselves and who are going to bring a fresh perspective to the business.

When recruiting, I always ask ‘Are you going to cause me problems?’ The ones that say no I tend not to employ. I want people to cause me problems and to challenge the business.

Dr Lee Williams

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Charlene Lyons, chief executive of Black Sheep Brewery in Masham, North Yorkshire, explains how she is adapting and growing the company to meet changing consumer tastes and habits. 

Founded 30 years ago, Black Sheep Brewery is an important part of the community in Masham.

Charlene Lyons, who joined the brewery in January 2020, tells Martin Port how she has expanded the company beyond core cask beer and has secured a major deal with UK airline Jet2.

Charlene says her focus is on top-quality ingredients and excellent customer service.

There are very few independent brewers left. Lots have been taken over by the big companies. Customers are loyal to us because we use the very best ingredients and we still brew in a traditional way.

Charlene Lyons

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Richard Abrahams, managing director of Leeds-based Elmhurst Windows, explains how trust and quality sets the company apart. 

Elmhurst Windows has been in business for 50 years and was set up by Richard’s father, Jack Abrahams. Richard joined the family firm in 1992 and is still there 30 years later.

Elmhurst offers everything from double glazing to doors and conservatories.

Richard says the company has maintained the same values from the 1970s: Top quality and great after-sales. This means customers trust the business and recommend it to others. 

The word family means a lot, and we have an excellent reputation when it comes to service.  Outside the family, we’ve got some very loyal staff and some have been with us for 40 years. We are a family and people like working for us. We look after them and they look after us.

Richard Abrahams

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Aged 28, George Fairhall, founder and chief executive of WAC, is a tech superstar.

WAC is a work/life and money management app. The app is designed for workers who are paid by the hour, whether it’s on a zero-hours contract or a regular contract. WAC helps users track their earnings and manage tips, overtime and rotas; and also helps workers with their legal rights. 

George Fairhall started WAC in January 2019 with a £5,000 wedding gift from her parents, and in July 2021 the company raised £70,000 to develop the product further.

WAC is now operational in 18 countries and is currently in the middle of a £1m funding round to expand further overseas.

George says having a dedicated and loyal team is essential to the success of a tech start-up, as they genuinely want to see your business succeed and will stick with you. She is also motivated by the positive feedback that comes from users.

Every morning I wake up and read the reviews. It’s amazing to hear and see that our product is helping people in the way we wanted to do.

George Fairhall

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