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Case study interview with Annabel Hannam, INTRO – one of the UK’s leading matchmaking companies

“It’s a traditional service but brought up to the modern day. It’s that old-fashioned matchmaking that’s been used for centuries, I think it’s what people like.”

Prior to launching INTRO, Annabel worked for one of the UK’s leading matchmaking companies in London.  Annabel wanted to setup her own business and secured a head office for her business in Wilmslow. Through research she found out that Manchester has the most single people in the country but there are few personal introduction agencies in the North of England and this lead Annabel to setup her business close to Manchester.  

INTRO is an offline dating agency, the majority of the clients either don’t want their profiles appearing on the internet or have had poor experiences of joining an online dating agency. 

 

The Cheshire & Warrington Business Growth Programme

Annabel signed up for the third cohort of the C&W business growth programme.  She found the programme useful in refining her plans for her new business and in changing direction where required.  The programme recommended sourcing help with tasks that other businesses/individuals can do better than yourself and Annabel found this useful advice to take on board. Annabel is at the point of starting to recruit staff to help with running the business and she found the leadership modules of the programme a useful source of information. Annabel found that one of the highlights of the C&W Business Growth Programme was the networking aspects of the programme.

“the community and the networking side, both the people on the course and the course leaders, their signposting was invaluable and to meet people who are all at slightly different stages in their business, you come across the same issues and realise that you are not on your own.”

“To be able to go and ask, especially in the little growth groups that we had, to be able to take an issue and to get six or seven people’s views on it and to actually work out a way forward.  That was really useful.”

“I think the confidence boost and to have other people look into your business was a good thing so that you know that it is viable.”

 

The access to coaching, provided by the C&W Business Growth Programme was also welcomed by Annabel.  Her coaching will help her with business growth particularly in the area of recruitment of staff to help with running the business and with presentation skills.  3 hours of free one-to-one coaching is given to businesses participating in the programme in additional to group workshops delivered by experienced business coaches.

“The coaches that came to speak at the workshops, access to these really successful, well connected people, I think that’s a big plus.”

 

She enjoyed the practical nature of the course.  The Business Model Canvas, finance and advice sessions on whether the business should become a limited company were also helpful.

“It gave me a day each week, where I actually stopped and looked at my business.”

 

Annabel has benefitted from increased confidence through attending the programme and gaining more business knowledge.  She has welcomed the support received from the staff running the programme and from the other businesses on the programme.

“It’s made me look at how to do it strategically and I can do it, to know that I can do it. I think it’s given me the confidence and support and to know that there are people out there and services that you can tap into.”