BQ Yorkshire Editor Mike Hughes meets David Mitchell, of BHP Chartered Accountants.
If David Mitchell was a superhero (and he may well be, juggling his day job with four kids, cricket, rugby, farming and gun dogs in partnership with his ‘very patient... very Scottish’ wife) then I would opt for GrowthMan.
As Head of Consulting at BHP, he specialises in helping companies across the size range to grow, and is a leading light in the world of the growth chasm. He describes the chasm as “the step change required for companies to grow significantly from their current steady state.”
To drill down a little, David says the building blocks needed to construct a bridge across the chasm come under the headings of Strategy, Human Capital, Operations and Customer. “It doesn’t matter what size the company is, but it will have made money,” he explains.
“In previous years there has almost certainly been a resistance to change because business owners have a perception of risk at the decision point. Their business might turn over £20m, make £2m, their pension probably isn’t brilliant and the age demographic is such that the kids might be coming to the end of school.
“So the decision is do I turn this into a £40m business to make £4m, do I take on some debt, do I set something up overseas, do I take over another business... all these challenges come with increased risk.“ Sometimes it is easier to say, ‘no – I’m not going to do that’.”
Tackling that mindset and opening up the options is where David’s superhuman leadership skills are put to best use, addressing the skill-set of the board of directors and the owners and managers.
“It’s a bit like being at home and getting up half an hour early, throwing the duvet off yourself and leaping straight out of bed before you have to get up. Everything in your body screams at you to get back into bed – that extra job can always be done tomorrow.
“When we work with firms like that, we run a management academy where we challenge the team and take them through scenarios and let them know how they can grow the business in ways they haven’t done before.”
And the results are there to be examined: Four referrals a week from major clearing banks to support their customers’ growth aspirations; Client profits increased by an average of 66% in the last 12 months and the fact that 92% of BHP Consulting clients have already referred them to another established company.
“The entrepreneurial scene in Yorkshire is thriving,” says David. “But entrepreneurs by a certain characteristic which gives them an incredibly good skill-set.
“But if a company is doubling its size, skills are going to be demanded in some areas that an entrepreneur doesn’t naturally have, which is where we can help.”
It’s that ‘natural’ quality that also helps pin down David Mitchell. His understanding of his market, his clients and where his work needs to be focused at any one time is organic and intuitive, which means fast reactions and a high percentage of hits for Yorkshire firms coming to him for growth solutions.