Case Studies

Paintman Paint Ltd - D2N2 UpScaler

Paintman Paint Ltd is a multi award-winning family business that specialises in the sourcing and supply of heritage paint for vehicle restorations and other projects.

Since relocation in 2016 the business began to grow significantly. In early 2020, David’s son, Ali, came into the business with a view to sustaining its growth and implementing a succession plan beyond David’s retirement, and he was looking for advice and guidance on the best way to achieve this.

UpScaler has supported both Paintman’s original management team, and the succession, where most projects would have refused this. The management team attended several UpScaler workshops, including sessions on strategic finance, which helped stress the importance of credit ratings and filing correctly at Companies House, when looking to acquire more new business. Following the workshops, the company has developed a strategic five-year business plan to help stabilise its foundations as it gears up for further growth.

We absorbed a lot of what we learned at the UpScaler events, and implemented some of it into the business straight away. It helped us to refocus on where we are currently and where we need to be. There was a lot of information that I was already aware of, but it was good to both get a refresher and also get confirmation that we were doing the right things.

Ali Pickles, Paintman Paint Ltd

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P. Ducker Systems - D2N2 UpScaler

P. Ducker Systems (PDS) is a Derby-based engineering firm which creates bespoke, technology-driven systems integration solutions. Most of its work is on capital projects or service work for major UK infrastructure schemes in transportation, road tunnels, airports and HV power systems.

Having seen a 60% increase in turnover year on year, the business engaged with UpScaler as it was seeking advice and support to help it continue on its growth trajectory in a more planned and sustainable way. PDS has benefitted from grant funding to help it recruit graduates, a professional review of the business by an UpScaler adviser, and extensive workshops on a whole range of subjects. UpScaler’s support has provided PDS with a platform of advice and knowledge that has informed its thinking and guided its actions. The firm’s graduate talent funding has enabled it to strengthen its team and bring new and relevant skills into the business.

I have enjoyed the programme and always come away with valuable takeaways. It's ‘on-trend’, gives a heads up of what is coming and is delivered by experts who are real people, that are friendly, professional and supportive. As a result, we are more aware, more prepared, more resilient and ultimately, more successful. Having taken the right decisions for the right reasons we found ourselves prepared when the current crisis arrived and have worked through it pretty much unaffected.

Mike Rose, PDS

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Cube Construction Consultants

With over 25 years property and construction sector experience, Cube Construction Consultants (Cube) was set up in 2019 by industry experts Nicola Slater and Mark Johnston to help its clients build best practice into every stage of the construction process.

The business was introduced to the D2N2 Growth Hub so that they could discuss future business goals and aspirations in order to grow. Upon doing so the Cube team attended a free Growth Hub webinar on the Business Model Canvas delivered by facilitator Steve Hobbs. They were also supported by a Growth Hub business adviser and a digital and technology adviser from the Digital UpScaler project. Following on from this intervention the business were successfully awarded a Business Investment Fund grant which enabled the development of a new website and a brand refresh. 

From developing new opportunities and partnerships, concept development and pre-construction through to tendering, strategic planning and programme implementation, we support our clients and project teams to build best practice into every element of construction. Within our four key service areas of Construction Expertise, Business Growth, Project Partnerships and Business Growth there are multiple routes for expanding our capabilities and growing the team. We have made a great contact in Richard who can signpost us to relevant advice and guidance. Whether that is free webinars or training on a range of topics, exploring options for developing digital solutions or advice in terms of funding, the Growth Hub team is always supportive in helping us to achieve our visions for the future.

Nicola Slater, Co-Founder & Director, Cube

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PNE Controls - D2N2 UpScaler

PNE Controls is a dynamic and modern electrical control company that provides bespoke design, manufacturing, installation, software and support services for industrial automated systems.

The business had achieved steady growth since starting in 2015 and as its team grew bigger, it needed to move into new premises to accommodate this and give it further capacity to grow. Neil Cockings, the firm’s managing director, attended several UpScaler workshops looking at various aspects of business management and planning, to bring more knowledge into the businesses. Neil also received one to one support from a dedicated UpScaler adviser who helped him to take a step back from the business and focus on the bigger picture. Since UpScaler intervention the business has established new processes and recruited new staff, they are also in the process of obtaining ISO9001 accreditation. 

The support from UpScaler has been great and made me realise very quickly that I can’t look after every area of the business, continuously, on my own. It’s enabled me to approach things with a different mindset, be much more strategic with our planning, and bring in the right skills where we needed them, so that the business can run much more efficiently and effectively.

Neil Cockings, PNE Controls 

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ITP - D2N2 UpScaler

Integrated Transport Planning (ITP) is a sustainable transport planning and research consultancy. It employs a team of skilled professionals who share a passion for well-designed mobility schemes that meet people’s needs and match local contexts.

Having achieved steady growth since being founded in 1998, the business wanted to reassess it's position within the market and its offering to customers. To do this the business enrolled onto the D2N2 UpScaler Project

Key staff members attended UpScaler's tailored high growth workshops and forums on topics such as strategic HR, supplier development and employer brand. ITP received a graduate talent grant from the project which meant that they were able to hire a new staff member to assist them through their growth phase. In addition to this, one to one support was also provided. 

All the events were really well organised and the business advisers we dealt with were invaluable. They enabled us to think about things in a different way, that we hadn’t really thought about before, to get a new perspective on where we stand as a business. They were also convenient and didn’t demand a lot of time out of the office, which is good, because it didn’t focus too much of our attention away from running the business.

Jon Parker, ITP

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Jupiter Play & Leisure - D2N2 UpScaler

Jupiter Play & Leisure is one of the UK’s leading independent play and sports design consultancies.

Although Jupiter had achieved solid organic growth, it was looking for support as it was in the process of restructuring the business and wanted to refocus its offering to appeal to a UK-wide customer base.

The D2N2 UpScaler project was able to help by providing an in-depth diagnostic which helped the business to refine it's objectives. The Jupiter team also attended several UpScaler forums and workshops on subjects such as finance, business planning and supplier development. Following on from this intervention the business has already recruited two new members of staff and created an in-house installations team. 

The support we received from UpScaler enabled us to take a step away from the business and refocus our efforts on developing our strategic vision and working out what we need to do to get us there. As a business in transition, it’s often hard to take time away from the day to day to do that strategic thinking

Catherine Hoenigmann, Jupiter Play and Leisure

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Lemon and Lime Interiors - D2N2 UpScaler

Lemon and Lime Interiors is a home staging business which provides professional property presentation services to clients looking to sell their homes.

With big plans to expand the offering across the UK and internationally, Lemon and Lime Interiors was looking for help in planning the right strategy to take its growth to the next level.

The business founder, Elaine, worked closely with an UpScaler business coach to focus on developing a future growth strategy, and accessed graduate talent funding via Nottingham Trent University, to help bring more expertise into the business. Elaine and her team also attended several UpScaler workshops on a wide range of topics to build skillsets within the business. The impact of this support has resulted in the business doubling in size from four to eight employees. Lemon and Lime has also created a strategy to launch into global markets.

The support we’ve received from UpScaler has helped to upskill the team and give us the confidence to continue to do what we do best. I’m so busy running the business that I sometimes find it difficult to get my head out of the weeds. UpScaler has enabled me put the structure in place so I could take a step back, focus on the bigger picture, set some more ambitious goals and develop the strategy we need to achieve them.

Elaine Penhaul, Lemon and Lime Interiors

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Devtank - D2N2 UpScaler

Devtank is an opensource hardware and software company which develops test and measurement equipment, automation systems and design solutions for a host of business sectors.

The business enrolled onto the D2N2 UpScaler Project having undergone a period of rapid growth which included launching new products and increasing their headcount. The business was looking for ways to manage this growth effectively and to implement new processes and procedures.

Devtank received a graduate talent grant which meant that they were able to employ a student placement position within the business. They also accessed UpScaler's workshop programme and received one to one mentoring.

The support we’ve received from the D2N2 UpScaler project has been really beneficial. It has enabled us to refine some of our internal processes and focus our future growth strategy, to get us ready for our next phase of expansion.

Darren Millington, Devtank

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Ignys - D2N2 UpScaler

Ignys is an electronics design and software development consultancy that helps clients from a range of sectors turn their product ideas into fully working prototypes.

Having grown steadily since inception in 2017, managing director Richard Fletcher was looking for direction to establish the structure and processes needed to enable further business growth. 

This was achieved through attending UpScaler workshops on business management, HR, finance and growth planning. Richard also received support and mentoring from his dedicated UpScaler business adviser. This enabled Richard to take a more holistic view to his business and to establish new processes in areas such as cash flow, finance and performance management.

The support we’ve received from UpScaler has been invaluable in terms of helping us to form our ideas and look at our business from a different perspective. As a small but growing company, it’s sometimes hard to press pause and take a more strategic view, but the mentoring has really helped me to focus on how I can scale the business and achieve growth in a more sustainable way.

Richard Fletcher, Ignys

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FSG Tableware - D2N2 UpScaler

FSG Tableware is the exclusive UK importer for some of the world’s leading food display and tableware manufacturers. 

Managing director of the business, Lynn Johnson, was seeking support in managing the solid organic growth that had been achieved. As head of a small team, Lynn wanted to take a step back from day to day operations to focus on the strategic elements of her business, this is where the D2N2 UpScaler project came in. 

Lynn attended several UpScaler workshops on topics such as business finance and marketing. A business diagnostic was provided which gave Lynn clear direction on the business. In addition to this, funding support was provided and connections were made to another business which resulted in new product developments. 

Joining the D2N2 UpScaler programme was a bit like opening a Pandora’s Box. The amount of support I’ve received has been overwhelming and has really helped me to focus my efforts on
the future of the business and what I need to do to get there. Thanks to the programme, I feel that we have grown as a business, but I have also grown as a person too.

Lynn Johnson, FSG Tableware

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Wellbeing at Whistlewood

Wellbeing at Whistlewood is an award-winning social enterprise for wellbeing set within a 10-acre community owned woodland which is part of the National Forest. The business offers retreats, classes, workshops, Forest Bathing, Forest Therapy and Expressive Arts experiences. 

The Covid-19 Pandemic presented particular problems for the enterprise with reduced income due to the cancellation of most of their events and affected planning wellbeing services for a changed Post Covid World. The D2N2 Growth Hub were able to support the business by creating a post Covid ‘green recovery business plan’ which included an evaluation of the development needs within the business which resulted in attending several of the Growth Hub’s webinars. The business also focussed on developing existing partnerships to help diversify its offering. The Growth Hub was also able to support Wellbeing at Whistlewood by providing guidance on access to finance in order to make Covid secure adaptions to the business. 

We have survived as a social enterprise during the most difficult of times and are thriving with the expert support and development opportunities within the D2N2 Growth Hub. The lives and needs of our customers and partners are different in 2021 so we have adapted our services to be responsive to a changing World. In moving forward confidently as restrictions lift, we look forward to providing wellbeing and Nature connection opportunities to our customers in the knowledge that our services are needed and appreciated more than ever. Our community wellbeing programmes are now being funded through charity partnerships, corporate support including from Toyota and NHS Green Social Prescriptions to ensure that people in the most need have access to our wellbeing services.

Anne Bramley and Helen Saunders, Wellbeing at Whistlewood

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Tom Hodgson Photography

Tom Hodgson Photography is a small business ran by sole trader Tom Hodgson. Tom’s busines specialises in photography and design to help clients to achieve their full potential through powerful imagery and strong design. Tom also covers wedding photography and has brought the big day to life for many couples behind the beautiful backdrop of the Peak District.

Tom contacted the Growth Hub as he was looking for support to help with investing in his business as he wanted to expand to offer photography with digital design services to support businesses changing their business models due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Growth Hub was able to support Tom by introducing him to resources where he could apply for grants to support his purchase of new IT equipment and software which enabled him to keep the business ahead of the game and therefore deliver high quality results. Tom also attended Growth Hub workshops on marketing and received information, diagnostic and brokerage support from a dedicated business adviser. 

Without the support of D2N2 and my business advisor Sarah I don’t know what I would have done. Navigating a pandemic as a business owner is difficult but knowing there is an extension to the business in the form of a trusted partner such as D2N2 is invaluable. Thank you for your fantastic support which I continue to receive.

Tom Hodgson, Tom Hodgson Photography

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