Looking to exit from your business in the next two to five years?
We can help you achieve the best outcome.

Looking to exit from your business in the next two to five years?
We can help you achieve the best outcome.


Celebrating 20 years of Henchards

From the germ of an idea into a twenty-year journey; in February 2003 Henchards was established. What did we plan, how did it turn out and what’s next?

Henchards’ Director, Ian Parker, tells the story, “I don’t come from a family of entrepreneurs, nor did I harbour grand plans of business ownership when I was a lot younger. I lacked a ‘guiding’ hand when it came to work and business. As a consequence, I had always made ‘what next?’ decisions as each opportunity or obstacle presented itself. Whether through luck, judgement or otherwise I started the business having just left Orange, where for four years I led the multi award-winning customer service team, with an itch to do something differently.”

Ironically, but not untypically, we didn’t ‘begin with the end in mind’ as Stephen Covey would advise – and what we encourage clients to do. In principle it was a very simple operation to set up – establishing and registering the business, defining the proposition and seeking the first opportunities to generate business. We went ‘all in’, there wasn’t a plan B.

Nonetheless three pressing questions at the outset were:

  1. What will the company be called?
  2. What will we sell and to who?
  3. How will we win business?

Deciding on the company name was a challenge. We vacillated between a literal company name (something worthy about ‘business advice’) and something abstract (‘pink aubergine’ anybody?). Neither worked. Then a left field inspiration, how about something very personal yet with gravitas? And so Henchards was conceived from the names of Ian’s children, Henry and Charlotte.

The services we provide have developed over time. In the early days we offered a broad range of advisory services to business owners. Subsequently we applied some of Ian’s own advice to Henchards and sharpened the focus – in our case to business exit and succession planning.

Finding business was both obvious and a learn-by-doing process. Early clients were acquired through Ian’s network and referrals, which is quite usual for this type of business, and later through learning to network and build relationships in the local business community. Our online presence came a little later still, as digital marketing evolved.

After twenty years of helping business owners grow, develop and prepare both themselves and their companies for exit, we’re grateful to the many people who have placed their trust in Henchards to help them define and deliver their business success. The phrase ‘trusted adviser’ is often coined but with clients engaged for as long as nine years the description is merited.

What have we learnt? Ian picks up the story: “We’ve learnt a lot and through many different routes – some through training and professional development, some through ‘trial, error, adjust and go again’, but the biggest source has been from working with clients, associates and the many wonderfully talented people in our business community.

Four particular points stand out:

  1. Building relationships comes first then business will follow – don’t chase the business ahead of the relationship.
  2. Stay on course and be guided by your longer-term purpose and values – don’t let a short-term focus for revenue get in the way.
  3. Seek support and insight from others, be open to hearing and acting upon feedback and seek to help and connect others.
  4. Consistency pays off – whether it’s been the eleven years of running the Henchards business lunch, the fantastic supporting relationship with Frances Cassell or the commitment to focus on clients’ long-term objectives – sticking to what works pays dividends.

So, to answer the opening questions: we didn’t create a long-term plan – in hindsight we should’ve, and we know it would have been re-written a few times (as it should). The business has turned out far better than we ever imagined, and we start the third decade with energy, excitement and an appetite to continue the growth and relationships of the past 20 years.

If you’d like to be a part of our future journey, please get in contact.

(Image by Freepik)



Ian’s ongoing input has made sure that plans have not only been laid, but implemented, completed and analysed. Ian is an invaluable asset to our business.

Alistair Henderson
Managing Director, Tuplin


We’ve written a number of guides on selected business subjects that will set you and your business in good stead for whatever future you may choose.

These are free for you to download and to make use of in your business, so please help yourself.