Quickfire with Peter Basford

BGCN and Credo Asset Finance,

Following a career in banking where he covered the whole of the UK, Peter left the sector and set up Business Growth Coaches Network in 2018.

Published in Norfolk Director Magazine, Winter 2021|22
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BGCN brings together many coaches who are passionate about helping and supporting businesses – at very affordable rates – on their growth journey. Additionally, he co-founded Innovation Labs which provides co-working space for businesses looking to innovate.

Peter has recently joined Credo Asset Finance in Norwich and is using his leadership and finance knowledge to help the team there. He is also a NED for The DPO Centre, Havebury Housing Association and Foster’s Financial. When not working, Peter is a keen golfer and a very proud father of two boys.

We spent five minutes with Peter and asked him some questions about running a business.

How do I engage and motivate employees and keep them?

By taking a genuine interest in them, their likes, and dislikes. Managing people is like any long-term relationship, you need to spend time getting to know each other. A leader’s role is to inspire the team by explaining how they can achieve more together and setting a clear vision and plan for the future; when you think you have communicated it sufficiently – do more!

How do I maintain and enhance margins?

First step is to know your numbers and where you are. I see so many businesses that don’t know whether they are doing well or not and rely on their accountant to tell them once a year how they are performing. Have a small number of KPIs that you monitor regularly to know how you are doing and then act on the information; this has always stood me in good stead.

How can I put my prices up and keep my customers?

Price is usually all about the value that people feel they have got from your services. So, if you provide great value then adjusting prices is not so much of an issue.

I’ve got this great idea – what do I do with it?

Whilst you might think it is a great idea, the next step is to share it with people you trust, to get honest feedback. Then create a thumbnail business plan which includes some market research around demand. If things are looking promising at this stage, I would move to working on some numbers, to see whether the idea makes financial sense before developing prototypes and testing.

How do I protect my reputation and enhance it?

As you develop your product or service, investigate gaining Copyright or Trademark registration. There are some fantastic companies locally who can help guide you in this area and help protect your intellectual property.

What can I do about competitors who have an unfair advantage?

Look for your point of difference. That might be offering your product or service to a different geographical or demographic client base, or it might be speed of delivery, brilliant customer service etc. Be very clear on what you say to clients and prospects about what you can do, that your competitors can’t.

How do I network to my advantage?

It’s important to be clear about what you are trying to achieve from your networking. Target a small number of events that fit this criterion. Doing business from networking takes time, so don’t expect instant results.

How do I cut my overheads and outgoings without negatively impacting my business?

I recommend an annual review of expenditure; it is easy for costs to creep in during the year and it is always good to review whether it is still relevant.

How can I move my business to the next step, stop working in the business and free up more time to work on the business?

A question I hear often, and as a coach part of my role is to help people focus on running the business and taking time out to think about the bigger picture and why they do what they do. Having someone you trust – whether it is a friend, coach or NXD – to bounce ideas off, talk through issues, and provide challenge and support, can really help move things forward.

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