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At Thompson Jenner LLP we know business is all about relationships, which is why we are proud of this particular case study – the perfect example of how a flourishing business can grow from small seeds. In this case that small seed was an acquaintance one of our partners had with a man who would go on to become our client.

“I’d known Greg Evans for a while “explains Ruskin Wilson, a partner in Thompson Jenner’s Exmouth office. “He had already sought advice from our financial services company, so it was natural that he then came to meet me to discuss acquiring a suitable business.”

The man Ruskin knew was Greg Evans, now the Managing Director of Dial South West Limited, which operates a ServiceMaster Clean franchise providing professional cleaning services to the commercial sector. The business has some well known and highly respected local and national clients, which includes several law firms, medical practices and prestigious car dealerships, and because of that quality service, is seeing strong growth in the South West, where it has recently expanded by acquiring an additional territory licence for Plymouth and Cornwall.

“Greg had been on a bit of a career break for various reasons and got in touch to say he’d been looking for something different to do,” said Ruskin, “and that he wanted to buy a business.”

This was around three years ago, but it wasn’t until more recently that Ruskin was able to help Greg finally buy the right business.

“Greg would come to me with a business he’d found and ask me what I thought,” said Ruskin. “We’d do some arm’s length due diligence and invariably I’d identify a reason why Greg shouldn’t buy the business in question.”

That wasn’t for a lack of trying to find the right business though, with the pair looking at ventures as varied as a fruit and veg retailer, a cattery and a disability scooter provider. “I think Greg started to wonder if anything suitable would ever come up,” said Ruskin.

Greg was always confident though. “I was never worried about that,” he said, “and truth be told I was filtering out a lot of businesses myself from looking at the financial positions, cash flow projections and the like.

“We gave Ruskin our criteria for finding a business and he was very good at making sure the businesses we looked at matched those.”

When Greg finally did buy a business which was right for him, it followed a chance meeting between Greg and Ruskin at a franchise exhibition.

“We bumped into each other and ended up discussing a few businesses which were on show at the exhibition,” said Ruskin, “but it wasn’t until a week or so later that Greg brought one of those to me which I ended up saying I thought was a goer – he was quite pleased I think.”

A year or so after the purchase was completed, Greg says he is more than pleased with the way the acquisition and development of the business has gone. “I’m delighted,” he said. “Thompson Jenner have given us a lot of help and I’ve picked Ruskin’s brains a lot.”

The support Greg has received has helped him get to the point where his new business has exceeded his projections and looks set to grow turnover to £1.5m within the next 12 months.

That follows a year of expansion where Thompson Jenner worked closely with Dial South West Limited, delivering accounting services, operating the payroll, providing IT services and even stepping in to provide internal bookkeeping services when the company was faced with a staffing issue.

“We see our relationship with Thompson Jenner as more of a partnership,” said Greg. “Ruskin attends our board meetings and gives me the discipline to provide structured reports and make financial plans, which I would not be able to do as effectively without him there as a sounding board. Our board structure is quite lean, and we do not have Finance Director, so Ruskin performs that role.”

The idea that Thompson Jenner has a partnership with Greg’s business rather than a typical client relationship is borne out by the fact the relationship is reciprocal, with cleaning services at Thompson Jenner’s offices provided by Greg’s company, Dial South West Limited.”

“That’s our ethos,” said Greg,” to work closely with our partners and other local companies.”

That’s something echoed by Ruskin. “This example just shows how we can tailor our services to the particular needs of a business and just what we can do when we work closely together providing the right help and support,” he said.