It’s often said that strong relationships are vital to business success, and this definitely rings true for two Yorkshire companies who have been working together for nearly 40 years.
So two years ago, when family-run New Guard embarked upon a planned period of growth, the company was in no doubt that Lithgow would play a key role. And the driving force behind New Guard’s expansion has come from the next generation within both companies.
Ben Cooper, New Guard’s managing director, is the third generation to run his family’s business after his father Paul and grandfather Alan. Joe Taylor, meanwhile, is the youngest and most recent partner at Lithgow Perkins.
They’ve been working together to lead a growth strategy which has more than trebled New Guard’s turnover in five years. Despite being hard hit by last year’s drop in oil and gas investment, New Guard’s projected turnover this year is just short of £5m, compared to £1.5m five years ago.
Joe is very proactive – he brings a lot to the table, which has been key to taking us on to another level.
It’s been nearly 40 years since Alan and Paul Cooper met Joe’s predecessor Dale Watler to discuss the viability of forming a company specialising in protective coatings.
Dale’s advice gave them the confidence to establish New Guard Coatings Ltd. Lithgow Perkins, and Dale in particular, continued to provide vital financial advice as the company developed over the decades primarily under Paul’s leadership. Although Dale retired from Lithgow Perkins earlier this year, the accountancy firm’s advice and expertise remain integral to New Guard’s development.
Our longstanding relationship with Lithgow means they know us inside out, they give us trusted advice and we can bounce ideas off each other. They really are very much ingrained in what we do.
Paul, who is still one of New Guard’s directors:
Lithgow Perkins provides us with a full turnkey package. It’s exciting times for New Guard and we have a lot of confidence in Lithgow’s professional ability to provide the right advice. That gives the directors peace of mind to get on with our key objectives.
Those ‘exciting times’ have seen New Guard acquire Industrial Paint Supplies (Hull) Ltd and East Midlands Paint Supplies Ltd within the last 18 months. A further acquisition is pending early next year, with plans for one in Ireland towards the end of 2017.
Two subsidiaries have also been formed in Delaware, USA, and Dublin, Ireland. There are plans to reinvest in premises and staff for the American company from its own working capital.
New Guard also hopes to establish a subsidiary in both northern and western Europe within the next five years. A further subsidiary has already been formed to protect New Guard’s intellectual property, along with a holding company to protect each entity within the New Guard group.
Lithgow have been involved all the way, from advice and planning around the company structure to projections, budgets and payrolls. They’ve been overseeing everything from a group point of view and facilitating contacts in the other countries, which has been vital to us.
Joe Taylor said:
Lithgow Perkins took the decision in the 1980s not to expand but to retain its roots in the Harrogate area and build up strong and lasting relationships with our local clients. Our work with New Guard is a great example of why this approach was so important.
We have been working together for nearly 40 years now and the knowledge and trust that has been built up in that time is beyond compare. We’re excited and privileged to be able to support New Guard in their ongoing growth and development.