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Case Study- Arthur Cole Blacksmiths

Guy runs a traditional blacksmiths workshop in Wiltshire.  He’s owned the business for about 15 years making bespoke iron work.  The main work is estate fencing but he also provides gates, railings and artistic pieces.  He doesn’t do horses – that’s a farrier.

Guy is the sole proprietor but employs an assistant and utilises labourers when he’s out on site.  He also has an accountant.  By his own admission he loves the hands on creative side of blacksmithing but really doesn’t like the admin that goes with running a successful business.

When Guy contacted me asking for help he was bogged down with paperwork.  He still handwrote invoices and didn’t even use online banking for the business.

Guy needed some help just to bring the admin side of things up to date, enabling him to streamline his processes so that less time was spent doing the admin and he could focus more time on making the products or quoting for new jobs.

The main change I made for Guy was encouraging him to use cloud based accounting software which has simplified things and cut down on the amount of paperwork.

As I am remote Guy sends me his incoming invoices which I input onto the accounting software which links to his bank account.  Previously Guy left all this to the accountant which cost him a fortune.  He, the accountant and I all have access to this information.  Guy can now easily raise invoices  to his customers himself or I do it on his behalf.   He can print invoices off to give to the client  as he wanted to keep this personal touch.  It is now easy to keep track of payments and what is owed or overdue. Simply by outsourcing this element he has saved himself £1000.00 annually in this area alone.

I am also an administrator on his business facebook page, keeping track of incoming messages from potential customers ensuring that they are answered promptly.  Even for a traditional blacksmith having a social media presence is important.  I ensure that he posts relevant and interesting material on a regular basis.  He only advertises in a local directory, so having a growing social media presence is allowing him to grow his customer base.

In the future he would also like to update his website which is something I will be able to help with.

Guy says “I really don’t like doing admin and it’s the last thing I want to be doing after a busy day in the workshop or at the weekend.  Although Vicky hasn’t taken over the business the simple improvements she’s made have made my life so much easier and lifted a burden from my shoulders.  I really wish I’d called her ages ago and saved myself a whole load of grief!”

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