Paul Sloan – Tumu Consulting

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Tumu Consulting Ltd is a growing civil engineering consultancy based in Bristol who provide infrastructure design, flood risk and sustainable drainage design services for residential and commercial clients. The company was set up two years ago by friends Paul Sloan and Jason Huxham when they decided that they wanted to work for themselves, in order to have more autonomy and be more selective about the projects they worked on. “We also wanted to achieve more of a life balance,” said Paul. 

Both men were experienced in this area of work and had worked on a range of projects across the Bristol area in the previous 15 years. They set up the business with a clear offer to assist clients with development projects from the site acquisition stage, through to planning and detailed stages. Word spread about the company and they picked up a number of projects, but when they wanted to develop increased numbers of larger projects, they turned to GetSet For Growth who were running their Resilience programme through South Bristol Enterprise Support (SBES). 

“Andy at GetSet for Growth helped us to go right back to our original plan and helped us to look at ways that we could attract bigger clients, primarily by taking a more professional approach to how we presented ourselves, which was really useful,” stated Paul. Business has continued for the company throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, although they did see a reduction in turnover of 10% per month after the first lockdown. 

“The size of our company was a real benefit at that time as we were able to be more agile for client requirements, and government schemes such as the Stamp Duty holiday meant that the construction industry picked up again,” commented Paul. 

Paul Sloan - Tumu Consulting

Paul initially spotted an advert which the SBES team ran in a local newspaper and having made contact with Andy, they received 1:1 support which gave them the opportunity to talk about their aspirations for the company. “GetSet provided us with tools to help us review our business including our marketing activity which was really useful,” stated Paul. 

“Andy asked very pertinent questions as well as offering suggestions as to how we could improve our marketing and business practices,” Andy said. “We are developing a new website with better and clearer messaging for the corporate clients that we are seeking to attract as well as our branding in order to better communicate what we do.” 

“GetSet helped us to reassess our vision and values as a company and translate this into a strategy which we are now busy implementing,” commented Andy. “We covered a lot of ground in the 1:1 sessions but by ensuring that we built in time to reflect on our progress along the way, it meant that we could try new things to see if they worked for us.” 

Looking forward, they are looking to grow the company further and are planning to take on an apprentice, which GetSet has encouraged them to do. “GetSet has also helped us to map out the next three years of growth in ways that are realistic and achievable to us now, which may not have been the case at the start of the process,” said Paul. 

“We are aiming to take on three new members of staff each year for the next three years in order to become more established in a more manageable way,” commented Paul. 

Paul notes that with some of the larger companies stepping back from the market or having merged into even larger operations, there is an opportunity for smaller firms, like them, to focus on contracts in the Bristol area. “There is a lot of development going on in the locality and being situated here means that we can meet with them easily, which is a definite benefit,” said Paul. 

When asked what advice he would give others starting out in business, Paul highlights that setting one up is harder than you imagine, and you have so many things to keep track of but that it is worth it. “I would highly recommend anyone to get in contact with GetSet for Growth and the team at SBES as they can help you with areas of the business that you have no experience or knowledge of – it’s a great service!” 

For more information about Tumu Consulting Ltd click here