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Reaching A Turning Point

Sittingbourne Enterprise Hub client Turning Points produce location-based, point of interest audio information. MD Ian Walsh explains "SatNav tells you how to get from A to B; We tell you what you can see on the way." But the company itself needed help in getting on to its next destination - Enter the Executives Register.

With the ubiquity of satellite navigation, Turning Points is a company whose time has very much come, but MD Ian explains that the sheer scale and variety of the opportunities facing them was in itself a problem.

Contacting the Executive's Register

Sittingbourne Hub Director John Dodd was instrumental in putting Turning Points in touch with The Executive’s Register. “Ian and Mark had been working hard over several years to develop the company,” he explains. “They rightly realised they needed fresh blood to take them onto the next level of business growth with a new idea they had. It was clear they had to start thinking strategically about their opportunities.”

The company felt it was too close to the business to devote either enough time or objectivity to this however, as Ian explains, “We could see that we needed to get some help with developing a strategy and putting a business plan together. And, although that seemed like a straightforward issue when we began, the deeper we got into the process, the more options we realised we had – did we recruit someone full time, look for a non-executive director, or try to find a new investor with the skills we needed?”

It was at this point that John introduced Ian and his business partner Mark Esdale to Colin Hayhurst at The Executives Register.

“What particularly impressed us about the Executives Register was the amount of time that Colin spent with us, making sure we had a thorough understanding of the sort of role we were trying to fill, and the sort of personality and skill sets we needed. That instilled a lot of confidence in us, both that he was taking the time to understand our business, but also that The Executive’s Register took a lot of time to find the right candidates.”

Route to success

John Dodd believes that this will be a route to success for many fast-growing companies, “In both the Enterprise Hub Network Mentor scheme (run through Finance South East) and the Executive Register we now have access to experienced business people who can be parachuted into companies to help structure them for the path of commercialisation. This allowed us to provide a list of eight people for Ian at Turning Points and he took the chance to meet most of the individuals.” Through the Executives Register, Turning Points were introduced to consultant Nilkunj Dodhia, who may well have a long-term involvement with the company.

“Thanks to The Executive’s Register we’ve recruited someone with strengths in financial planning and strategy, which are a perfect complement for the skills we already had.”

Initially however, Turning Points decided to make the process of the Strategic Review and developing the Business Plan an independent project, and hired Nilkunj on a fixed-term contract of three months to fulfil that project. “We felt this would give us what we needed in the short term,” explains Ian, “as well as the opportunity to see how the ‘fit’ between the company and our new hire felt.”

Half way through the project and so far everything is going well. “We’re delighted with the progress we’ve made so far: it’s really useful to meet twice a week and be forced to lift our heads up, think strategically, and answer the hard questions. It gets myself and my partner talking in the right way, and focuses us on what we are trying to achieve.”

“Our market (location-based information services) is happening right now and it’s easy to become paralysed by potential opportunities. Now, with the business plan, we are in a position to make decisions based on where we want to be strategically – it feels much healthier in terms of managing our resources.”

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Contact: Ally Charles


Published: 12th April 2008

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