Chris Sowerby, trading as Business Doctors Crawley and Redhill, is testing the health of the region’s SMEs and writing prescriptions to help them grow.
Chris says his experience at the helm of international businesses in high-profile finance and operations roles can bring huge benefits to local small businesses and sole traders.
“There are a lot of transferable skills and knowledge that you can take from running a large organisation and apply to a small one,” he explains. “Processes, people skills, staff engagement and finance, small or large: the requisite skills are the same and the end results are the same. It’s all about interpretation, and applying the same logic to different problems.”
Having worked his way up from a junior financial role to director of an international import business, then chief operating officer of a public sector organisation, with a stint running his own accountancy practice thrown in for good measure, there’s no business problem Chris hasn’t solved.
His vast knowledge of high-level finance and operations, coupled with his experience of operating his own successful company, give him a broad understanding of how all elements of business link together.
“I can use my experience and knowledge in finance, organisation management, people skills, staff management and employee engagement and interpret it to benefit the SME offering,” he says.
“The basic principles are the same for everyone – the core business concepts don’t change whatever the market or size. It’s about having the experience, knowing how to apply it, where to tweak and knowing where change will make a difference. There’s no point in changing for change’s sake, it has to move the business forward.
“It could be a hairdressing salon, a firm of solicitors or a landscape gardening business: I don’t come with a preconceived agenda. I listen to what’s needed, understand problems and use my experience and knowledge to craft a solution. People get so engrossed in running the business, it’s difficult to see what works and what doesn’t. I help them to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.”
When he’s not dispensing health advice to SMEs, Chris can be found in his home town of Sevenoaks with his wife, Sarah, tending to the race horses they own – one and a quarter, to be precise.
“We’ve always been into horses, and have taken part in show jumping, three day eventing and carriage driving,” he says. “Horses have always been a big part of our lives, so the opportunity to invest into race horses was too good to pass up.”
But, he says, his true passion will always be with business.
“I’m really excited about being able to help other businesses as part of the Business Doctors network. I’m at the stage now where I’m not driving my own career – it really is a lifestyle choice to be able to get out there and help smaller businesses grow.”