Established in the autumn of 2002, Allindine Limited is a great example of a small business with big plans. Husband and wife partnership Neil and Linda Errington are dedicated Company Directors with a discernible drive to succeed.
A franchise of Card Connection, Allindine supplies small independent retailers such as Post Offices, newsagents, garages and company catering outlets with a variety of greetings cards and giftwrap.
From the first to the second year, company growth was extremely healthy, with turnover and net profits both doubling.
“This enabled us to employ support staff in May 2003, so we could utilise our time in growing the business,” comments Neil. “As a result, to date our customer base has increased by 50%.”
With regard to consciously growing their business, Neil and Linda feel that their software choice was crucial, and chose Sage after a considering the other main competitors.
“While rival products could have provided the basic requirements, Sage offered a true accounts package that would put up-to-date business critical information at my fingertips – without the need to involve expensive accountants,” reflects Neil. “I review our profit and loss and balance sheets on a regular basis, perform monthly reconciliation with my bank account, and undertake many other tasks all with my Sage Instant software.”
Sage product features specifically help the day-to-day running of their business.
“The Sage software we have is very easy to use and enables me to look at the bigger picture of my business. Being able to look closely at profit and loss, and comparing our budget from year to year, are two areas we find especially invaluable,” says Neil. “Plus, VAT returns are easy to complete with Sage software. Many of my own customers grumble about VAT returns and the length of time needed to prepare them, but at most I take 45 minutes. And with the credit control feature, I can identify outstanding bills and who I need to chase!”
Neil and Linda are quick to see the benefits of SageCover, the support contract for their Sage software.
“If we have any queries – either software or accounts related – they can normally be resolved within 5 minutes by a simple telephone call to Sage. Staff at the call centre all seem well trained and understand the products. In many cases, simple confirmation of your own understanding is all that is required.”
All of this allows Allindine to concentrate on future or additional software requirements.
“As our business grows, we anticipate using a product that will enable us to manage all of our contacts and the various communication that we have with them,” says Neil. “We’ve been considering Sage Act! as we talk to so many people, you can often end up with too many bits of paper.”
Neil and Linda have a very good vision for their future.
“Our plans are looking at continued growth with specific targets for the rapidly expanding convenience store sector in the North East region. We anticipate taking on additional staff in the coming year and will continue to strive to offer our customers unrivalled service and support.”
With the sound business foundation that Neil and Linda have already created, this is more than feasible, and the long-term picture is indeed bright for Allindine.