Growth in a Pandemic
How Impress faced school shutdowns during COVID to grow by 250%
Impress is a specialist tuition provider helping schools improve students’ performance.
- Business Planning
- Management & Leadership mentoring
- Cash flow & profit forecasting
- Scenario modelling
- Bookkeeping, VAT, Payroll, Pensions, Tax Advice
- Invoicing, pay runs, credit control
- Contract preparation & signatory management
- Operations data administration
- Database development & automations
The closure of UK Secondary Schools due to COVID forced our client Impress to pause its classroom services, significantly affecting revenue.
Despite the huge setback, it was clear that strong growth opportunities would return once schools reopened; students would need extra help catching up.
- Make sure the business is resilient
- Make the business more efficient
- Get the business ready for growth
Step 1 – Make sure the business is resilient
Our first step was to ensure the business could weather the impact of COVID.
We overhauled the financial forecasting and reporting processes to help the founders understand the financial implications of the sudden change. We demonstrated clear paths forward, and supported their decision making.
Impress opted to furlough staff where necessary, and secured a modest Bounce Back loan with their strong business case. We helped improve cash flow by negotiating advanced contracts for services and accelerated payments terms for the new academic year (Sep 2020).
Step 2 – Make the business more efficient
Next, we focused on Impress’ operating efficiency. We overhauled sales pipeline, recruitment and delivery management processes in preparation for the significant demand spike expected in just a few months time.
We deployed a virtual admin team to accelerate staff recruitment and onboarding, and built up Impress’ tech-stack with Airtable, Zapier and Google Workspace, creating automations as we went. We connected sales pipeline data directly to the cash flow, allowing deal progression along the pipeline to update cash flow forecasts in real time.
Step 3 – Get the business ready for growth
With the expected growth arriving and the efficiency gains showing their benefits, our work turned to Impress’ long-term vision.
Strategy workshops helped define that vision in more detail, identify objectives across 10yr, 3yr and 1yr horizons, clarify Impress’ differentiation and value proposition in the marketplace, establish performance metrics, and reveal adjustments needed to its organisational structure.
To implement the strategy, we then initiated a recurring executive management process that helps define and prioritise quarterly objectives whilst addressing issues and challenges as they arise.