Peter Sleigh, local entrepreneur, has many strings to his bow. Live from his Brighouse offices in the Dyer Suite, I managed to catch up with him and asked him a few questions about his most exciting business ventures to date…
You’ve done very well developing Sleigh & Story into the business it is today. Do you wake up each morning thinking “I must have done something right.” What were your initial hopes for the business?
“I do sometimes think ‘WOW – things have gone very well’ but I’m usually planning for the future rather than looking back. I’m constantly looking at how we can improve the business. For me it’s deciding what the next step will be, and how we can take the business forward. I normally recommend new businesses to work out a 3-5 year business plan but with Sleigh & Story I didn’t have any specific business plan at all. At the beginning it was a case of making sure I was able to generate enough business to allow me to cover the mortgage. Survival was my sole objective.”
What do you think are Sleigh & Story’s unique selling points? In your opinion what makes Sleigh & Story stand out against other local accountants?
“Definitely our relationships with our clients is Sleigh & Story’s unique selling point. Most accountants are task-based and prepare a competent set of accounts. We engage with our clients, building strong relationships with them and providing excellent client service.”
How would you describe your role in the company?
“My role has developed into a more strategic role over the last few years. It is less client-facing. I see it as my role to share the vision to move the business forward. I was the driver behind our move to brand new state-of-the-art offices in Thornhill Brigg Mills in 2015 which gives our clients a lovely place to share the Sleigh & Story experience. I am also a director of Big Shots Coffee Company which is based in our office complex. Sleigh & Story are part owners of this unique establishment, and it can be used for relaxing client meetings and for networking.”
You are always wanting to see the ‘bigger picture’ – what in your eyes does this picture look like for the future of Sleigh & Story?
“I hope to see our business double in the next 5 years, based on a delivery of core services such as accounts, tax planning and excellent customer services. I am hoping to increase our audience by becoming more of a regional practice rather than a local one as we are now, but retaining the strong client relationships at the same time and delivering an excellent service.”
You are a qualified NLP Practitioner. Do you find your NLP skills useful in your daily work as an accountant?
“Yes very useful. NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) allows me greater understanding of other people and how to relate to them. It helps me to understand what motivates me and others. Understanding this helps me to create a fabulous working environment at Sleigh & Story. Some of the benefits of this includes almost nil absenteeism, almost nil staff turnover and almost nil sickness records. It allows me to understand and respect others and input other colleagues’ values into the business. Recruitment benefits from NLP as it allows me to recognise candidates’ personality traits and I can then recruit people who fit into the Sleigh & Story culture.”
Is there any way you can see your NLP knowledge and interest in mindfulness being incorporated into the practice?
“Studying NLP and mindfulness has allowed me to increase my emotional intelligence. In my opinion the higher the emotional intelligence the better a person is as a leader. If you are a good leader your colleagues will follow you in your business journey. This makes it much easier to implement the business plan.”