James Wilkinson, chief executive officer of Zuto, formally Car Loan 4U, co-founded the online car loans business in 2006. Five years later, it was a resounding success, with turnover of £1.7m a year, but Wilkinson felt he needed to be more strategic to accelerate the business’s progress. It was at this moment that he decided to join Vistage, the peer group mentoring and coaching organisation that brings business leaders together to share and resolve common problems and challenges.
“When I joined Vistage, the business was doing very well but we were operating from a blank canvas,” Wilkinson recalls. “I realised there was a better way to do things – not through set rules, but with a more aligned strategy, better sales training and more attention to culture.”
That has paid off, with sales reaching £11m by 2014, but it’s crucial to keep such work ongoing, Wilkinson argues, in order to ensure the business remains fit for purpose in the changing marketplace. "We've just set up a whole new strategy for the business - we're rolling that out imminently,” he says. “Vistage has helped us implement that, and to also look at our values and what we stand for."
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