Member Article

NBSL help Printed Bag Shop achieve great results

When Craig Smith started his business ‘The Printed Bag Shop’ in 2007 trading from his front room with the aid of a single computer, little did he think that a few years down the line he would be employing a number of staff, moving to larger premises and increasing sales year on year.

The company supplies high quality printed bags and promotional items to the exhibition and retail markets and all of their products are manufactured using the most environmentally friendly materials available. They are now the UK’s leading supplier and importer of printed bags but the road to success has not always been smooth, as in early 2011 the business was struggling to secure customers due to the testing economic climate.

Realising that there were weaknesses within the business that were preventing it from fulfilling its potential, Craig called on NBSL for support as he felt that an experienced outsider would be able to identify and address the issues more easily than he could alone. NBSL is a D-BIS (Department of Business, Innovation and Skills) approved and regulated Local Enterprise Agency and over the last eight years the organisation has delivered the North East’s Leadership & Management Advisory Service, funded by D-BIS’s Skills Funding Agency. Under NBSL this programme has gone from strength to strength, engaging directly with more than 1,000 SMEs each year.

NBSL has secured ERDF investment of £2.38 million to continue to deliver support to the North East’s private sector businesses employing between 2 – 249 employees, and funding is still available which provides grant support of up to £1,000 for business leaders who need coaching for growth.

Craig went through the application process which he described as ‘simple, quick and painless’ and met with Lynne Burns, one of NBSL’s Leadership & Management Specialist Advisers who worked with him to pull together a focused approach to the business’ development needs. David Ireland of Gateway Business Support Services Ltd was then appointed to work with Craig to improve the efficiency of the team and to realign Craig’s role as M.D, with the aim of increasing new and repeat business at desired profit margin levels.

Following the coaching Craig felt that he had grown as a leader of the business and that the new management approach he had adopted had given him greater confidence. The impact of the coaching on the business was clear, in terms not only relating to staff development but also in relation to ‘the bottom line’. As Craig said,

“Our sales have increased by 20% on last year; November was our busiest and most profitable month since the business began. We all feel like we are more productive and efficient. We have ambitious plans for 2012 and I feel the guidance I’ve had from NBSL has given me the confidence to push ahead with ventures I may have considered risky in the past.”

Craig and his team will be moving to larger premises in 2012 and increasing the staff employed in the business. As he pointed out,

“It is difficult to admit you need help sometimes, especially when you have built the business up on your own, but I now feel that I have more freedom and confidence than ever. I would strongly recommend other businesses to use this service.”

If you would also like to take advantage of NBSL’s package of support including advice and funding for growth to help your business fulfil its true potential, contact us today on 01670 813322 or go to our website at to apply immediately online.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Phil Langton .

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