RfM: The Lancashire consultancy business on a mission to help other business grow
Tony Backhouse, the Managing Director of RfM Transform, sums up the key aspect of the industry in a wonderfully succinct manner. “Unlocking potential underpins all that we do,” he says.
RfM Transform is all about helping other companies improve. A consultancy service which provides professional advice across digital technology, HR, innovation, and growth, the company pinpoints areas in a business which could be improved and helps chart a roadmap of how to get there.
“It’s about giving people the advice and support they need to grow,” explains Tony, who set up the company - the business consulting division of leading North West Accountant RfM - four years ago. “We scope out where businesses can unlock potential from a detached point of view outside the company, which is a skill you develop with experience.
“It can be complex to try and work out what the best options are and what people want from their business, so it’s about looking toward the future and developing a priority list of steps of how to get there,” adds Tony, who’s from Dalton-in-Furness. “We advise smaller businesses right across the North West so they can access high-value expertise across innovation, HR, growth, and digital tech.”
Working across sectors as diverse as industry, manufacturing, and technology to catering, hospitality, and financial service sectors, Rfm Transform works across all the RfM Accountants’ offices in Preston, London, Barrow, Fylde, Morecambe, Windermere, Ulverston, and Manchester, with their team of experts ready to lend a hand to any burgeoning companies.
As well as Tony, who has over 30 years’ experience in the private and public sectors, the team consists of Lead HR Consultant Diane Johnson, who’s worked for businesses with global reach for three decades; Lead Digital Consultant Mark Thwaite, who was part of the original amazon.co.uk start-up team; and Lead Technology Consultant Phil Tottie, who has over 25 years’ experience in banking.
“Through my work in banking, I received great training on managing transition and making everything more efficient, and that’s proved a great training ground for management consultancy,” explains Tony, 51. “It’s something we’re putting in place at RfM Transform now as well with our first Graduate Transformation Consultant, Sam Stocker, as well as others who we’re actively looking to recruit.
“We work across sectors as varied as chemical manufacturers, cheese makers, breweries, motor racing car window manufacturers, and environmental companies; companies with a single employee and companies with over 100 employees,” he adds. “We work with world-leading companies dominating their niche and each business is different, which keeps everything fresh.
“It’s a complex business, but I quite like that. We all enjoy the challenge.”
During lockdown, many businesses with more established digital frameworks found adapting to the drastically different circumstances somewhat easier. And RfM have identified digital technology as a key area in which they can offer salient advice. As a result, they launched their Transform Digital Technology service to try and provide a guiding hand to those looking to make the most of the 21st century resources available to them.
“I think Covid has highlighted the need for people to be on their toes as much as they can be as a business; everything has shown that the right digital solutions can make a huge difference and we can help companies with that,” says Tony. “In lockdown, a lot of clients reached out asking for additional help with things like furlough claims and advice on how their company can handle changes both inside and outside their industry.
“One smaller company in Ulverston has seen an increase in online sales of about 200% despite the pandemic,” Tony continues. “These businesses are people’s pride and joy and they’ve got a lot invested in them, so seeing things like that is immensely rewarding.”