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East Midlands Vistage Group Gears Wills & Trusts for Growth

East Midlands Vistage Group Gears Wills & Trusts for Growth

Independent Financial Planning firm, Wills & Trusts, is on track to grow its business tenfold by 2025, thanks to the help of experts from the East Midlands Vistage network.

The company, which specialises in building and protecting financial investments for families, put in place its ‘Vision 2025’ strategy to create a clear trajectory for growth over the next seven years - aiming to open six new branches across the UK. Through Founder, David Batchelor’s, membership of peer group organisation Vistage, Wills and Trusts was able to bring on board leading people, recruitment and productivity experts to put the strategy’s wheels in motion.

A member of Vistage since the start of 2017, David was introduced to Caroline Hunt from Emerald Starfish Recruitment, Alice Jordan of Innerstrengths and Neil Harvey from Levantar – all experts in their chosen fields – through the East Midlands based Vistage ‘Trusted Advisor’ Group. The Group brings together individuals with varying skill sets to work collaboratively to help businesses in time of growth or change, such as Wills and Trusts. David’s employee, Financial Planner, Alison Parker kick-started the introductions by suggesting Alice’s services to David after meeting her in her own Key Vistage Group, also chaired by Adam.

Since working with Alice, Caroline and Neil, Wills and Trust has saved £36,000 in recruitment fees, taken on seven new staff, put in place a strong and secure management team, introduced new KPIs and begun to scale-up its processes.

David said:

“We measure our growth by the number of people we can help with our services and our ultimate goal is to instil the knowledge to invest wisely, for as many families as possible. It soon became clear that to drastically grow our business we would need expert help to recruit the right type of people, identify our biggest weaknesses and streamline our processes. The Vistage network has been invaluable for providing that.”

Wills and Trusts started working with Alice Jordan in January to strengthen the management team, build stronger people performance and build employee engagement. Specialising in SME growth, Alice was able to work in-house to ensure a clear and collective approach towards growth.

Alice said:

“At Innerstrenths, we’re more than a people consultancy – I’ve been working as an additional leadership resource, helping the business to plan the steps towards growth by coaching and mentoring at all levels. This has included planning out future resource levels, developing a more strategic approach to recruitment (which is where Caroline’s involvement started) and building engagement of the team. I’ve come to think of the team as a family and it has been hugely rewarding to see them grow at all levels – I’ve really felt as if I’ve been part of the business and I have no doubt it will reach its goals by 2025.”

David also took the decision to work with yet another Vistage Trusted Advisor, Caroline Hunt from Emerald Starfish, as an outsourced recruitment department for the project. With her expertise and financial recruitment knowledge, Caroline has since helped to appoint seven new employees, including two Paraplanners and an in-house Talent Acquisition Manager. Working on a fixed-fee basis, Caroline has saved the business over £36,000 in recruitment fees. The business now has 26 employees, with plans to recruit another six people by the end of the year.

Caroline said:

“David’s investment in his people is huge – each member of staff undergoes 6 months of intensive study to qualify – so finding talented candidates who would be able to support and strengthen the business’ values was essential. Some companies claim company culture is important to them, but Wills and Trusts truly acts on it – each candidate had to possess qualities in line with what the company wants to achieve.

“The team at Wills and Trusts has been fantastically open minded and outstanding to work with over the three months that I was on board and I’m proud to have played a role in kick-starting its journey of rapid expansion.”

To facilitate its plans to grow the company ten times in the next seven years, David has brought on board Neil Harvey from Levantar to fill gaps in resources, evaluate current processes and implement time-saving strategies over the next few months.

Neil said:

“Having the right processes are a springboard for growth – so it’s essential that Wills and Trust’s back office practices are fit for purpose. I’m now working in-house two days per week, to effectively put in place measures to release capacity and improve turnaround times for clients. Using some simple methods such as planning and scheduling tools, we are already starting to see a huge difference in the productivity of the business.

“The growth and progress Wills and Trusts has seen so far is astounding and it will be important to keep on top of the processes myself, Alice and Caroline have put in place. None of this would have been possible without the Vistage Trusted Advisor Group – it’s about working together to provide the best possible service as a collective of independent experts. Vistage is full of new opportunities and is a brilliant thing to be a part of.”

Adam Harris, Joint Trusted Advisor Group Chair, said:

“Throughout my time as a Vistage Chair, this example of collaboration has been one of the most inspiring I’ve seen. The Trusted Advisor Group has been set up for this exact reason; to bring together experts from various fields to facilitate the success, growth and development of fellow members’ businesses. It’s been extremely rewarding to watch individuals from each of my groups cross over and introduce other Vistage members into the mix, to kick-start which is bound to be a hugely successful journey of growth for Wills and Trusts.”

Vistage is the world’s largest provider of peer groups for business owners, CEO’s and executives, with over 21,000 members worldwide. The organisation brings together like-minded business leaders to share their expertise, discuss business practices and overcome personal and professional challenges.


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