I am delighted to have been accepted as a regular contributor for a new magazine called Rural Life.
In this first edition I introduce myself and talk about my journey to becoming a Business Consultant.
Over the coming months I will be sharing my knowledge, hints and tips on how to improve your rural business.
Read my full article below….
RECEPTIONIST TO RURAL BUSINESS CONSULTANT
Who am I?
I’m Bryony Parker, consultant, mentor and founder of BP Business Consultancy. I specialise in supporting rural businesses and helping them grow, develop and achieve their goals. I work with owners and managers to identify pain points and challenges then work together with them to create bespoke solutions and processes to get things running smoothly and profitably. I’d like to tell you a little bit about how I ended up where I am and share an example of the type of work I can do.
Where it started
My first job was as a receptionist at a print company. Alongside the usual reception duties this was where I was first introduced to accounting. At 19, It was a steep learning curve, but at least I knew there was no such thing as tartan paint! The role was the beginning of something and led to me undertaking nearly every role within a finance function, from credit controller to financial controller and everything in-between. I’ve worked in many industries, print, plant hire, animal feed, orthopaedics, agriculture and hospitality, to name a few.
You can never predict the future
Learning from the ground up has given me a strong understanding of business processes and procedures, which is something I specialise in. I never expected or planned a career in finance. At school I hated maths. (I could never understand why I would ever need to use trigonometry!) However, in my early forties I went back to college and studied for my AAT qualifications and three years later – became a qualified accountant. It was hard work for sure, but one of the best things career-wise I have done. For many years working as a finance manager, I have helped turn unprofitable companies, with messy accounts into streamlined profitable ones.
I’m a country girl and grew up in rural Leicestershire. In my early teens we had a smallholding where we kept a few sheep, cows, goats and my pony Sophie. If I wasn’t riding, I was either feeding sheep, lambing ewes, haymaking, shooting clays or driving our little antique grey Fergie tractor.
So, with an agricultural and equestrian background, it’s always been an ambition of mine to work in this environment. But it wasn’t until I moved down to Dorset seven years ago when I began working as a freelance finance manager that I decided to specialise in Rural Enterprise.
A brief example
One of my first clients was the estate manager of a 1500 acre mixed arable and dairy farm. He had inherited a mess and the farm, previously under bad management, was haemorrhaging money.
Thanks to my upbringing and my overall interest in the countryside I’ve developed a level of knowledge that come’s in very helpful when helping other Rural businesses as I understand the challenges they face. For example, I know what layers pellets are, what colour a Fendt tractor is and what mastitis or laminitis is – which was a great advantage when coding costs!
We worked hard updating the accounts system, creating procedures, looking at cost analysis and potential savings and streamlining processes. As a result of two years’ hard work, the farm’s profit increased and cash flow improved.
In 2018 I was an associate for a dairy consulting firm. I worked for them as a cost of production data collector for the Arla R500 scheme. I was allocated 18 farms along the South Coast and I loved it. I was travelling to site and rocking up laptop in hand, looking at their financial information and producing a Cost of Production report.
The work I was doing made me realise that I could help other rural companies and how I could make a difference. I thought about it, turning the idea over in my mind. Thinking about how my love of troubleshooting and solving people’s business problems and challenges could evolve, how I could help start-up businesses or those who were ‘stuck’ and unsure about where to turn for help. So, I made it happen. In January 2019, BP Business Consultancy was born.
I am a director of several family companies and have been freelancing now for over seven years. I’ve had the chance to encounter and overcome many of the pitfalls we all grow through when starting a new business. I know how to grow a business, how to sustain it, and how to prepare it for the next generation.
Now I travel around the country meeting clients and using my experience to solve their business problems either on a consultancy or mentoring basis.
I offer a range of packages to suit different budgets and requirements – and they are all tailored specifically for rural businesses. It feels great and I love what I do.
Rural Life Spring Edition
Read In Full Here