One of the first things managing director Anthony Litchfield did when he launched his company, SB4 Group, just three months ago was join the Shropshire Chamber of Commerce - and he is already reaping the benefits.
Anthony was a construction director at a large construction firm before deciding to set up SB4 Group in Llanfyllin, near Oswestry - a carbon reduction company helping clients to reduce their carbon footprints through sustainable solutions.
On the day SB4 Group launched, Anthony attended a Shropshire Chamber networking event in Oswestry. It was an experience that convinced him of the value of being a Shropshire Chamber member and within a matter of days he had signed up.
Anthony said: “That first day opened up opportunities for me, quite drastically if I am honest. I went to the Shropshire Chamber meeting, met a few people, pitched my business and at the end everyone came up to me and made contact.
“That was it. It provided some great opportunities and that meeting really sold me on the Chamber. The introductions and meeting other business people were amazing and I signed up to become a member a couple of days later. A week later I went on to have separate meetings with five other types of businesses to discuss working together.
“It has been incredible. I was already looking at insurance brokers and was introduced to a guy at the meeting. We got talking, he was very helpful and accommodating and I have just signed up with him. Another great contact has led to us opening renewable opportunities within the agricultural and learning industries, while already building a friendship three months later.
Opening up possibilities
“I am looking to do contracts with other businesses I have met through the Chamber, including architects and designers, so that initial meeting has opened up connections and has been really good. It has also led to me being invited to give a presentation in October on the sustainability within the construction of buildings.
“It’s been really beneficial and to have things like that happen from that first day has been a no-brainer for me in terms of becoming a member and I would advise any other business considering joining Shropshire Chamber of Commerce to take the opportunity. The help the Shropshire Chamber has given me has already been brilliant and Gwynneth has been great. She says go and meet so-and-so, or you need to speak to so-and-so - which is tremendous support having just launched my own company.”
Mr Litchfield said help, guidance and support from Shropshire Chamber along with the chance to meet more people and create further opportunities is key to helping him develop his business.
He said: “I am a big believer in the more people you meet, the more opportunities you get. I will also be looking at taking advantage of other services provided by the Chamber as and when they become necessary. I’m already on Quest - I’m ok with the health and safety but the HR side will become relevant to me. I think the legal services provided by Shropshire Chamber could also potentially be a benefit.
“Being a Chamber member is definitely worthwhile for me, the team is fantastic and there is a lot of expertise available through them. I think membership is key for any business. There are so many advantages and the Chamber is really where you need to be.”
Making a difference
Mr Litchfield has been involved in some big renewable energy projects over the years and launched SB4 Group because he felt he could make a real difference in the area of climate change and sustainability.
“We have a tough economic climate at present but I feel we all need to be doing something and I thought if I could make something work now, then things would get a lot easier when the financial situation improves,” he added.
“We need to start making a difference because of global warming. We must reduce our carbon footprint, there is pressure from governments and businesses are seeing associated tax increases. We help find the most viable solutions to these problems.
“SB4 Group basically offers three services in providing a turnkey solution: We go in as a consultant, look at how we can reduce the carbon levels produced and come up with a sustainability plan.
“We then look at what the most viable solution is to reduce the carbon footprint of that business, taking advantage of renewable energy. We have partnered with numerous experts allowing us to choose what is right for a business, not just the service offered.
“We also factor in sustainable construction where we use modern methods involving less carbon for the projects builds while acting as the main contractor with complete responsibility.
“So in summary we take the idea, deliver on that idea and then hand over the keys at the end. Making the process simple for the business leaders to carry on with their day to day.”