Cavern City Tours has been in the business for nearly 40 years and is a key feature of Liverpool’s tourism industry. Running the Cavern Restaurant, Cavern Pub and the iconic Cavern Club, as well as organising the world’s largest Beatles celebration every August during ‘International Beatleweek,’ the company is entirely reliant on the visitor economy for its success.
While the company historically has experienced consistent growth, the pandemic and its many challenges were a wake-up call. This is where support through Growth Platform’s Business Resilience Programme, which is delivered by accounting and business advisory firm, BDO LLP, became an invaluable asset.
Bill Heckle, Director of Cavern City Tours, said, “We found out about The Business Resilience Programme after meeting Mark Sykes, Partner and Head of Entrepreneurial Business at BDO. We had a follow up meeting and Mark who gave us lots of advice and also told us about the programme. We haven’t worked with Growth Platform before, but we would recommend it’s business support to others and would certainly utilise their services again.”
Bill went on to explain,
“After signing up to the Business Resilience Programme and having meetings with Mark Sykes, we were able to put a rescue plan in place. Thanks to his invaluable advice, support and encouragement, we were able to secure £1.2 million in funding through loans and grants. This empowered us to not only emerge from the lockdown without having to make significant reductions in staff, but also instilled a sense of renewed optimism and resilience for our future growth.
“Whilst we were confident in our ability to apply for the business loans available, Mark did oversee our application and made a number of useful improvements. This shows that however experienced a company is, there is still room for improvement via independent advice.”
When asked about the future of the business, Bill explained, “The funds secured enabled us to keep 100 out of the 125 jobs that we had prior to lockdown. Approximately 25% of our staff have been with us for over 15 years. We retain important integral personnel because we believe in looking after people, and they repay that with loyalty, integrity and hard work. Talent retention has always been a pivotal part of the company’s vision.
“We have recovered almost instantly and that’s something we weren’t so certain would be possible prior to the support via Growth Platform’s BDO Business Resilience Programme. Upon re-opening in May (with restrictions) and July (without restrictions), our bank balance has grown from £1.3 million (out of which £1.2 came from loans) and now stands at £1.9 million. If there are no further lockdowns, our plan is to repay all loans within the next 18 months.”
Mark Sykes, Partner and Head of Entrepreneurial Business at BDO, said: The biggest barrier to growth is talent and people. So, it becomes key to make sure that the people you have in place and that you have invested in are aligned to what you’re trying to achieve. So, it’s really important to put in place a coherent people plan and look at the resources and talent that you need for the future. But the other piece is being really clear about that vision and purpose – it helps with the attraction and retention of people and allows you to actually achieve the plans set out in your strategy.”
About Growth Platform’s Business Resilience Programme
Growth Platform’s Business Resilience Programme was developed with accounting and business advisory firm BDO, to provide SME leaders in Liverpool City Region with the opportunity to step back from the day-to-day and rethink their approach to challenges so they can turn them into opportunities. To stimulate the local economy within Liverpool City Region and support regional businesses back to growth, BDO deliver a series of workshops for these businesses providing them with the knowledge, insight and tools they need to stabilise and grow and get their businesses back on track amid a turbulent year or so. To find out more about the programme, click here.