Tony Altham, the Managing Director of AdGiftsOnline, launched the promotional merchandise company with his wife Stephanie, and was initially very successful. But when the recession hit in 2007, the company lost a number of key clients and Altham began to regret his lack of experience in sales and marketing. “Our conversion rate dropped from 40% to less than 10% and our gross profit margins plummeted,” he recalls. “We struggled badly and I didn’t have anyone else that I could talk to about the business”.
Part of Altham’s response was to join Vistage, the peer group mentoring and leadership development organisation that puts business leaders together to share and resolve common problems and challenges. While he lacked experience in certain areas of the business, other members of his group were able to offer crucial advice. “All of a sudden I felt I’d found an environment where I could talk openly about my business in confidence with a peer group who could advise me,” he says.
Having taken on board this advice, Altham developed a new sales and marketing strategy that soon paid off, helping AdGiftsOnline to win a number of sizeable new clients. The business survived the recession and continues to prosper. In 2014, the company grew by 60%, in 2015 the number of employees more than tripled, and further strategic development is now planned.
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