LJ Yacht & Commercial Services, which designs and creates custom logbooks and liveries for the superyacht and commercial shipping industries, is going for growth following support from Business Northumberland.
The business was founded by jet-setting entrepreneur Liz Jackson, who began her career as a stewardess at the age of 21, working in locations as far-flung as the US to Papua New Guinea and anywhere in between.
After eventually returning to the UK she set up a supermarket retail business for Elveden Farms, a food producer based in Suffolk, selling local produce to the likes of Asda, 3663, and Centre Parcs.
Headhunted by Tesco, Liz became the marketing manager for local produce in the East of England, before later moving on to cover the North as well.
But the world of work is never enough for an entrepreneur and Liz ultimately set about creating her own business.
She explains: “LJ Yacht & Commercial Services was born out of a former business, which I was running full time and took ownership of post-divorce.”
Since then, LJ has been growing exponentially. And while the market and consumer is a very niche one to be in, Liz believes this helps her better understand her clients’ needs.
“Though it is small, I am very comfortable in this market as it allows me to fully understand my clients’ needs, provide proper attention to detail and create a superior quality product,” she continues.
“My role is very varied. One minute I could be working with a client to discuss their requirements and designing logbook layouts and the next I’m running the day to day management of the company.
“My main focus is business strategy and growth and after years of being in the industry clients expect a five-star service from my team and myself.”
Though happy to take risks when it comes to business and with her finger firmly on the pulse of her customers, running a business on her own while also raising a child has undoubtedly come with many challenges.
“The biggest challenge has been brand awareness, growing our consumer base whilst upholding the fantastic quality and service we provide our clients.
“Like any small business cash flow is always a concern due to the yachting seasons and trying to keep a steady turnover as opposed to peaks and troughs we find exists.
“Being a single mum with a 6-year-old son while owning and running an international business is very challenging in terms of constantly spinning plates and keeping a happy work and life balance in check.”
Despite these challenges, Liz has managed to establish her business as a go-to for bespoke logbooks for clients around the world.
This was made easier by being able to engage with Business Northumberland and its High Growth Programme, which provides businesses with high growth aspirations with 12 hours of fully funded specialist coaching to establish themselves further and increase revenue.
Liz continued: “I engaged with the programme to see how the region could help and support me with the growth of my business.
“I felt that Business Northumberland could look at my business objectively with a fresh pair of eyes and provide me with support and business advice which would accelerate my business and give me new ideas in terms for internal changes and also business strategy looking forward.
“Being assigned my own expert has been fabulous. Anne has challenged me to look at what I can delegate internally to allow myself more time to deal with the strategy and growth of the business, she has supported me in terms of some exciting business opportunities I have in the pipeline.
“I have now been able to put new layers into the business and delegate elements of the day-to-day so I can focus on the growth in terms of short, medium, and long terms goals.”
Case Study developed in partnership with BQ.