Building a business for retirement
Andrew Wyeth set up Leasing Programmes over 30 years ago. Initially working from home, Andrew was an equipment finance broker lending money to customers who wanted to buy items such as mobile radios. Using his contacts from his previous career, Andrew soon had multi-national firms such as Motorola and Eriksson as his customers.
The business steadily grew and Andrew and his wife Linda, who is the firm’s finance director, started taking on more staff and moved into larger premises in Wellington, Somerset.
These days their customers cover a wide range of industries including information technology, software, office furniture, manufacturing, engineering and construction. They also get involved with financing educational equipment such as white boards, tablets and design technology equipment.
Organic growth from a first-class personal service
Andrew says the secret to their success has been providing a personal service. They get to know their customers, understand what they are trying to achieve and then help them find the right financing solution.
By providing a first-class service, the company’s reputation soon spread and the business grew through word of mouth. These days they work with lots of household names, although regardless of who the customer is, they always carry out stringent due diligence to make sure they will be able to service their debts.
Staffing and fraud protection – the biggest challenges
As with many businesses over the years Andrew has found it hard to recruit the right staff. Initially the aim was to recruit experienced finance professionals, however, some of them left and set up in competition to him. To overcome this, Andrew recruited local people who had no experience in the industry. Whilst this took longer to train them, it helped to secure long-term reliable employees who were loyal to the business.
Today, one of the biggest challenges facing the business is the risk of fraud. As a consequence there has been a marked increase in compliance admin for all businesses that are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. This is one thing Andrew says he won’t miss when he retires!
A new chapter
Over the last couple of years, Andrew has been working on the succession of the business and slowly handing over the reins to Beth Atkinson, who is currently the sales director. The plan is for Andrew to fully step away from the business in 3 years’ time. Beth and the rest of the team will continue to operate under the Leasing Programme name and work closely with their customers.
Gearing up for retirement
Andrew was introduced to Haines Watts by a mutual contact in Tilney to help him prepare for retirement.
Andrew says, “I can whole heartedly recommend Haines Watts. They empathise with our business and have helped immensely with my exit strategy. This has included sorting out the share transfers, reducing tax liabilities where possible and maximising my pension opportunities. For the business they have provided useful and practical business advice, but they also run our monthly payroll and prepare our accounts They were also superb at helping us make the transition from using Sage to QuickBooks”.