After a lifetime of being involved in sport – including several seasons as a professional rugby player with Worcester Warriors – Nick Baxter chose to work in recruitment.
Eventually, just 18 months ago, the 44-year-old took the decision to move on from global and boutique consultancies to start his own recruitment business, forming Baxter Williams. The firm, based close to Worcester city centre, currently employs seven full time members of staff.
From a standing start, with a small customer base and run-down office premises, one of Nick’s first obstacles to overcome was finding staff with the skill sets he required to work in the business.
The success of any recruitment consultancy depends upon its reputation for delivering excellent results – something Nick knew all too well in his determination to bring in top operators. He felt his quest was somewhat hindered by being a start-up with a lack of business knowledge and experience.
Through Worcestershire County Council’s Open for Business programme, CEO Nick Baxter received business advice and 1-2-1 sessions which equated to more than 30 hours of expert help, by accessing Enterprising Worcestershire and its support for high growth start-ups.
Managed by Worcestershire County Council, the OFB programmes are funded by the European Union and are delivered by the authority’s Growth and Investment Team. They provide support ranging from advice to individuals looking to start a business, through to grants and bespoke consultancy for expansion and relocation projects.
According to Nick, the support of Enterprising Worcestershire provided the launch pad his business needed. He now expects to be able to double the Baxter Williams workforce by this time next year, as well as open a new branch in Birmingham before the end of this year.
“They basically sat with us and said “listen, you’ve got the makings of a high-growth organisation, so here’s what we’re going to do…” before knuckling down to look at and improve sales, marketing, finance and HR – all the main elements of an organisation like ours,” said Nick.
“And now, because of the support we received from Worcestershire County Council, we’re able to attract the quality of staff we need.
“We’ve had some tremendous support and we owe the Open For Business programme so much, because we wouldn’t have been able to do what we have done without it.”
He praised the work of Enterprising Worcestershire for being instrumental in helping to shape Baxter Williams into a thriving business that has become a key influence within its marketplace.
“It was great to have them on board – it was like a breath of fresh air,” Nick added. “It’s all about the support – we were able to step back and recognise what we could do as a business, and that in itself has been refreshing.”