Consultancy Success Stories

How Clear helps real businesses

Helping Jill McMillan Associates expand into new markets


Barclay has been working with Jill McMillan Associates since 2013, helping Jill to develop and implement a growth and marketing strategy for her very successful leadership development and change management company. During this period Jill has developed a series of highly innovative new programmes for inspiring and encouraging good leadership in schools, businesses and charities.

“My sessions with Barclay are extremely helpful, providing clarity and order to my thoughts and actions regarding the future direction of the business during an exciting but challenging time of rapid growth.

Barclay’s pragmatic, personable style and his objectivity mean that he is a great sounding board for ideas and concerns and he provides valuable focus for our strategy and next steps. He has extensive experience and business knowledge and has helped to move my business forward.” Jill McMillan, Founder and Managing Director

Three great winners in RBS Inspiring Women in Enterprise competition!

Barclay coached three women owned businesses to a triple success in the Inspiring Women in Enterprise Competition

Jade Fletcher of Jade Green Events, pictured on the right at the presentation event, was the overall winner. Jade specializes in creating events for the fashion and entertainment industries and has worked on high profile events such as the MOBOs and Digital Shoreditch.

Ceylan Kiouffi a highly gifted twenty two year old has opened Hello Gorgeous, a makeover and photographic studio in Croydon’s Centrale shopping centre.

Mother and daughter duo, Helen and Anna Johnson provide training to teachers in the use of new technologies in the classroom through their company Johnson Educational & Media Services (JEMS).

Barclay worked with all three businesses to help them develop robust business plans and financial forecasts. Both Jade Green Events and JEMS have won a free office in Weatherill House for a year and all three won an additional year of support from Barclay. The competition was run in South London by Croydon Business Ventures providers of service office space and support for start-up businesses.

Electrical contractors grow into new markets – the benefits of ongoing consultancy

Barclay has been working with South London based electrical contractors Cerberus Systems Ltd. since 2009 during which time their revenues have increased by over 300%.  The company has moved away from providing general electrical services to domestic users and become specialist electrical network installers for high profile media companies such as talkSPORT and Capital FM.

Working with directors Nick and Tania Shone Barclay has helped them develop their business providing a detailed marketing plan, helping them implement a re-brand and develop a new website which clearly position them as market leaders in this specialist market.

“Barclay’s strategic thinking, experience and candid overview have been invaluable to help us develop our business and become market leaders in our chosen market.” Nick Shone, Director


Purple Crane – business support helps software company fly

Purple Crane develops software and web applications which make businesses more efficient and more profitable. They are very good at what they do and have a portfolio of very happy clients to prove it. We have been working together since November 2012.

With funding from the Growth Accelerator subsidising my time we have developed a three-year growth strategy and a detailed marketing and communications plan to make it happen.  The new website at has recently gone live and the company is currently recruiting additional software developers to help cope with the growth in sales.

Here is what director Chris Bond has to say about our relationship: “We have been working with Barclay for over a year and a half now. We’ve found his overall knowledge and coaching and mentoring skills to be excellent. He has helped us in all areas of our business development, in particular helping us to build a clear strategy for growth over the next 3-5 years. While he obviously has the theoretical knowledge, the fact that he’s been there and done it and really understands the practical problems of small businesses is where he stands out. His informal yet professional approach makes him very easy to work with and he has become an ongoing trusted advisor and an invaluable member of our extended team.”


Strategic consultancy helps environmental company go global

Based in Sussex Innovation Centre, Ambiental Technical Solutions Ltd. is an international market leader in flood risk assessment for governments and insurance companies.

Barclay has been working with MD Justin Butler since October 2012, providing coaching and an objective overview on major strategic decisions including the globalization of the company.

The company is growing rapidly and is another Clear client that has benefitted from the Growth Accelerator. Ambiental recently won the Brighton & Hove Business Award (BAHBA) for ‘Best Environmental Industry Company’ in 2013 and 2014 and added tThe Award for Business Beyond the City in 2014.

“Barclay has provided consultancy services for Ambiental and coaching and mentoring for me personally for the past two years. During that time we have worked together on the development and implementation of a three year growth plan.

Barclay’s knowledge, experience and practical input have really helped me negotiate the challenges of running a growing business. His involvement in our strategy meetings helps us to monitor our progress and keep the business on track, and his pragmatic approach is invaluable when dealing with more prosaic issues.”

Justin Butler, Managing Director, Ambiental Technical Solutions Limited 

F10 Studios – business planning manages and sustains rapid growth

Nick Homer, founder and managing director of Brighton-based architectural visualisation company F10 Studios Limited approached Clear in September 2012. His company was undergoing a period of rapid growth and he was seeking help managing the expansion and also help developing a strategy to ensure it continued. We have worked together since that time developing and implementing a marketing strategy, including a re-branding, to establish the company as market leaders in the UK within 3 years. F10 Studios has made remarkable progress and has gone from 4 to 8 employees and sales and profits are on target to increase by 50% over the previous year. A new website was launched in July 2013 at

Part of the business development coaching has been funded by the GrowthAccelerator Programme.  Nick Homer: “Working with Barclay on the GrowthAccelerator programme is a great experience. He very quickly gets under the bonnet of your business, drawing from his vast business experience to create a very thorough business plan and giving solid advice on every aspect of your business. Getting his expertise at a subsidised rate was an added bonus.”

Digital printers show zest for growth!

“Working with Barclay on the GrowthAccelerator programme has been thought provoking, focused, rewarding and fun. He very quickly grasped what we do and what makes us tick.

In the space of six weeks we have developed a comprehensive three-year strategic plan for Zest and we’re now working on an action plan. I feel confident that my ambitious plans are achievable because of the rigour applied by Barclay to this process. Being able to tap into Barclay’s wealth of experience at a fraction of the market rate has been brilliant.”  Julie Banks, managing director of Eastbourne based digital printers Zest

Consultancy to facilitate a joint venture between client and NHS Trust

Working in partnership with Jonathan Wood of Haven Ventures Barclay provided the business plan, business finance strategy and participated in the negotiations for an agreement for the successful creation of a joint venture between software business Mango Swiss Limited and Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.

The resulting company, SARD JV Ltd. has developed and markets a Strengthened Appraisal and Revalidation Database (SARD) which provides NHS Trusts and healthcare providers with a stress-free way to meet their revalidation requirements.

Photo: Kevin Monk, Managing Director, and principal developer of SARD.

Cultural Co-operation – A 5-Year Business Plan for Growth

Clear worked with Cultural Co-operation to produce a 5-Year Business Plan and marketing plan which provided the organisation with a development strategy and financial forecasts to enable it to successfully approach funding bodies for finance to expand its services.

The business plan and marketing plan has helped Cultural Co-operatio to raise an additional £853,000 in ACE & HLF funding for new projects.

Cultural Co-operation is well-established charity in its 25th year. Based in East London it organises the multi-cultural arts festival Music Village, manages an artist network and provides training in arts, heritage and citizenship for schools.


Cog Design Limited – A 5-Year Business Plan for Growth

Before we met Michael Smith of Cog Design was a sceptic when it came to business advisors or consultants: “I’ve always been very wary of business advice. I’d run our business for sixteen years and I’m pretty sceptical about quick-fix business consultants; I suppose I subscribe to the ‘…those that can’t, teach’ doctrine. But in early 2007 we made the decision to expand our business and we shopped around for business advisors who could help us achieve our ambitions.

I met with a few consultants and it was obvious that Clear Business Development offered the service that we needed. Barclay Thompson, has a great mix of ‘proper’ theory-led business advice and practical ‘been-there’ knowledge. Most importantly he listened to what I was saying about our companies rather than trying to impose pre-formed judgements.

Clear Business Development  put together a simple package of client and staff interviews, research and practical meetings with our Management team. Within a few weeks we’d worked together and created a solid business and marketing plan, based on sound research and real feedback.

Clear Business Development worked with us through the whole process, listening, adapting and putting forward robust arguments where they were needed. It always felt like we were working with them and they were giving us what we needed, not just what we asked for.

Now we’re into stage two and we’re working through each stage of a practical implementation plan. Clear are always on hand, offering business support and answering our questions.

We’re very much looking forward to a continuing relationship as we grow ever more successful, with their ongoing help and business advice.”

Michael Smith, Cog Design Limited