Steven Mugglestone

The more I learn, the less I know

Why, with Vivifi, we are committed to supporting our SME clients businesses and achieving success with them:

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Business growth is not only about sales, SMEs need a team effort


All businesses and individuals understand that the UK and world is still in recession; the current climate remains challenging at best and that business growth and innovation are crucial to helping the midlands region and UK out of the state that the economy is facing at present.

It does not take much of a search of the internet and Twitter etc. to find experts in sales or experts in social media promising the panacea to all business growth problems with genuine business growth solutions and help to build your sales, results guaranteed.

Yet sales are only part of the business jigsaw; to be a really successful business and to sustain that success a business has to excel in most of these areas:

  • Setting a vision, creating a brand and building a strategy
  • Building a sales and marketing strategy for real organic growth
  • Continued improvements in your business systems and operations
  • Ensuring support is maximised for HR, legislation and legal areas
  • Using business structures and support to help you achieve
  • Accessing knowledge to understand your market
  • Managing and keeping costs under control as you grow
  • Keeping cash under control and continually flowing
  • Building a network of suppliers, customers and supporters
  • Managing and reducing your tax costs, together with setting a profit improvement plan
  • Improving cash-flow and utilising finance appropriately
  • Securing your wealth and building for your future

Which is why many large public companies are run by substantial boards of directors and these are likely to be responsible for the areas above in their own right, typically as follows:

  • Chairman (to develop and support the strategic vision)
  • Chief Executive (to deliver the vision)
  • Finance Director (to keep everything on course and within cash restraints)
  • Sales/Marketing Director (to improve, maintain and control organic growth and sales)
  • Operations Director (to run a lean ship and develop the business systems)
  • Commercial Director (to haggle the deals and keep the costs low)
  • Legal/HR Directors (to deal with all legal/HR issues/support and strategies)
  • A company secretary (to record and ensure that all of the above are doing what they say)

This is a big team, but only goes to show how complex it is to run and maintain a large successful business.  Given  that many SME and owner managed businesses have, at best, less than half this number of directors attempting to carry out all these functions, or more often have only one or two main board directors, with members of the family helping as well, it is no wonder that small and growing businesses can feel like that they are pushing water uphill and that the task is enormous.

Given also that support and advice can be found, but can be seen to be both at best sporadic and requiring a business to source the support from a number of different areas, which can be sometimes contradictory, an SME business can feel isolated, confused and very much on a tread mill of a daily business grind.

Steven Mugglestone, a partner with Independent Chartered Accountants, McGregors Corporate, and former finance director, believes that, together with his joint venture partners at Bray and Bray Solicitors, Precept Optimum Performance, Expense Reduction Analysts and support from DeMontfort University and Leicester Chamber of Commerce, they are putting together a potential solution to really help SME businesses in the region.

Vivifi Business Growth Groups,, are being set up in Leicester as well as in the future, in Nottingham and Birmingham to help SME businesses improve and grow and, hopefully, successfully bridging the gap left after the closure of government support and the support available to larger businesses who are willing and able to pay the high costs of similar elite business organisations.

Vivifi has been created to provide SME businesses the opportunity to obtain structured support for their businesses to help them grow and achieve their business aims.  The name has been chosen as it is derived from Latin meaning to give or to bring to life and that is exactly what Vivifi see as their main business aims and mission.

Steven Mugglestone explained, “I certainly really started to fully understand business and the importance of all of these areas from time  spent  as a finance director, when you are faced with actually being part of the running and sometimes turning around a business.  As an employee or middle manager you just do not have to contemplate or tackle the whole “holistic” approach.  As a finance director, I understood that sales was not the whole answer, with most business failures due to a lack of cash flow and cash management, down really to not having a proper plan covering all of the areas that we are seeking to address. Within the accountancy business of which I am a partner, we have been both introducing and developing how the skills and approach of experienced finance directors work to improve and grow businesses.  We looked at how best we could structure a practical and very real business support offering that would be very valuable to SME and growing businesses and, we hope that we have developed the most valuable and cost effective way an SME can utilise the skills of all of us and our partners as if we were part of their own business. We are now very excited about working with the Leicester Chamber of Commerce and DeMontfort University and launching this support in Leicestershire.”

Vivifi have already developed a program which seeks to bring groups of 12-15 businesses together to work together in the first year on the following areas:

  • Group foundations and introductions
  • Principles of leadership in a growth business
  • Creation and communication of a growth strategy
  • Building strong and profitable customer relationships
  • Effective marketing
  • Winning new customers
  • Controlling costs in a growing business
  • Business planning and creating an appropriate plan
  • Review of plans and performance

From then on groups will continue to develop their businesses through improving their business systems and processes, introducing the functions of a finance director, cost reduction programmes and additional strategic and  change management support.

The group members will benefit from this structured approach and will be encouraged to help support and push each other and their business approaches.  The group members will also have access to legal, financial and cost reduction support from the onset as members of the Vivifi partners will be available at the group meetings for both delivery and bespoke support if needed.  The Vivifi partners have also established key links with universities within the midlands region as well as direct access to bank finance and private equity finance for when the times are right for group members to expand their business further.

The Vivifi partners, however, are stressing a number of key and unique reasons why they see this offering will prove to be a success and invaluable service:

  • Full business support to grow and sustain a business have been included
  • The Vivifi partners are experienced professionals who have wide and varied business experiences, learned from real experience from within running businesses as well as advisory roles
  • Vivifi, however, has been developed as a stand-alone not for profit business and offers the support at a fraction of the cost of similar offerings that are seeking to make a profit

Phil Atherton, of Precept Optimum Performance, who are another founding partner and professional sales and marketing training business concluded, “We have created Vivifi to pay for itself but to be “a not for profit business”.  Each of the partners have individually been seeking a way to really add value to their own clients and future potential clients and we all agreed that this is a brilliant way of doing that.  It provides a fantastic resource for each of the Vivifi partners client bases as well as, hopefully attracting for a wider range of businesses to the project and for them to realise what they are missing and seeing what real pro-active and valuable business advice and support is all about.”

Vivifi Website

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Steven Mugglestone BA FCA,

Finance Director Services

McGregors Corporate, Entrepreneurial Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers
…….Really good for your business

McGregors Corporate are a Member of Probiz Tax, providing Innovative Tax Solutions to Owner Managed Businesses.

T: 0845 519 5659



Written by Steven Mugglestone

March 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm

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