A brain to pick

an ear to listen and a nudge in the right direction

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Our energy and time are spent helping business leaders of SMEs to thrive, despite a trio of crises. Possibly and through no fault of your own, you may find your business struggling. We can all be brilliant with hindsight. That said, we do not know of any company’s Risk Register that included a scenario where three major crises segued, almost seamlessly, one into the other? First there was Brexit with the uncertainty it created, then Covid lockdowns and now the war in the Ukraine. No wonder some business leaders find themselves somewhat off balance. And if you lead a business, the pressure is always that much greater.

Greenly’s people are either mentors or coaches. We describe Mentoring as “A brain to pick, an ear to listen and a nudge in the right direction. Coaching, whilst being on the same plane, is more about helping individuals to be the best version of themselves.

To help illustrate what we do, this is what Tim Long at Zylpha had to say.

I started Zylpha in 2005 as an IT Consultancy business focused on law firms. In 2007 it became apparent that to grow a sustainable business which wasn’t reliant on me would require some changes. I was introduced to Simon by our accountant who suggested that I would benefit from a mentor to help me avoid the pitfalls that go with change, growth and staff and suggested we meet. At our first meeting, Simon listened a great deal and somehow seemed to make sense of the tangled web of thoughts, concerns and questions that I had. By the end of the meeting he was asking questions that I had never quite managed to articulate, had ordered my unconnected ramblings and had identified a prioritised list of things that needed to be done. He identified very quickly that I didn’t like admin (as a relatively new start up, owner operated business I handled everything from marketing to credit control) and told me in no uncertain terms that no matter much I didn’t enjoy it, I was to make sure I was “sending out the invoices” (except slightly more colourfully). Simon has a sixth sense when it comes to business. He will identify an issue, an opportunity or a character trait quickly, usually well before anyone else, and be ready with options to discuss. He would ask the questions that I wished I hadn’t been asked and was able to able to marshal the facts, order them and help me create a plan of action. In this way, I was able to learn how a business runs, how to identify the best decisions from a range of options and how to shape a business.

Despite a wealth of business experience gained over decades, Simon never tried to tell me what to do. He would always guide me through the options and help me identify the best course of action and was always ready to hear a counter point. I’ve come to realise that this is a very rare skill. I have met many other business owners who have retained mentors only to find that the advice they receive is to try and reproduce what the mentor did themselves in their former business. Simon’s approach to business mentoring is “a brain to pick, an ear to listen and a nudge in the right direction” and that sums him up perfectly. He views his role as a guide and thrives on watching people and businesses grow and develop. Outside of his role as a mentor, Simon is also great company and exceptionally well connected with a range of contacts that he is always happy to introduce. Although we haven’t had a formal business relationship for some years now, we still meet a few times a year and it always astonishes me the level of understanding he has for one small business, and one of many, that he has helped on its way. Of course I now know that he prepares thoroughly for these meetings and usually knows my last years accounts better than I do. And he is still reminding me to “send out the invoices”!

We generally start by helping you find out what type of support suits you best. We also need to match you with the right member of our team. The ability to communicate and establish trust is everything. The Greenly’s team has the experience, a track record of success and abundant energy. As both lifelong learners and listeners, we are ready to help you.

We are ‘at your service’.

Led by...

Our Advisory Board


Paul Morgan Paul Morgan Managing Director and Founder Warrens Office
Caroline Notcutt Caroline Notcutt Director, shareholder and Chair of the Family Council of Notcutts Group Limited
Peter Honey Peter Honey Founder and Owner Peter Honey Publications
Jon Gifford Jon Gifford Founder and Chief Executive Griffon Hovercraft Ltd
Tim Long Tim Long Founder and CEO Zylpha
Paul Morgan Paul Morgan Managing Director and Founder Warrens Office

Simon Greenly has been instrumental in creating a realistic longer term plan for the business which we are now implementing as a team. He has been round the block a few times and this experience shows through. There have been a number of occasions where his previous experience in parallel situations has proved to be invaluable. For instance, he has also made a significant contribution to the successful bedding down of an acquisition we made of a competitor. The relatively easy bit is making the acquisition. Much more onerous is making a success of the business afterwards and growing shareholder value. This is where his help, direction and sage counsel has proved so relevant.

Simon worked with Paul and his late father from 2006 until 2011

Caroline Notcutt Caroline Notcutt Director, shareholder and Chair of the Family Council of Notcutts Group Limited

Probably the best money I have ever spent.

Simon worked with Caroline and her family from 2011 until 2016

Peter Honey Peter Honey Founder and Owner Peter Honey Publications

He initiated many commercially sound ideas which have proved to be winners. He was always brilliant at focusing on the things that really mattered and showed great tenacity of purpose in seeing something through to a conclusion. As a business adviser, his actions were always based on sound principles with 'doing what's right for the business' and 'experimenting in order to learn' being conspicuous examples. He was resolute and brave in making some tough decisions that put the company on sound, sustainable footing.

Simon exhibited two parallel talents; an intimate understanding of financial matters and what makes a business tick with a deep appreciation of peoples' motivations and feelings. In my experience, this is a rare example of multiple intelligences emanating from one man to the benefit of all concerned.

Simon worked with Peter from 2000 until 2002 and again in 2010 to sell the business to an AIM listed company. This company was subsequently bought by Pearson, the multinational learning company.

Jon Gifford Jon Gifford Founder and Chief Executive Griffon Hovercraft Ltd

I was first introduced to Greenly's by a local accountant that I knew well, as I was coming to the conclusion that my family founded and owned business would thrive better with easier access to larger financial resources. In a resource hungry manufacturing business with large potential export markets, cash is difficult to accumulate organically and we can now see what happens to companies who over extend themselves at the bank.

Two years later, the business is thriving under new ownership, sales are expanding and the ability of the expanded team to manufacture world class marine hovercraft is greatly increased. The family is extremely happy with this outcome. I feel that the company my father started and I developed into a British engineering company of which we are immensely proud, will now achieve really significant critical mass, particularly in vital export markets.

To note, almost immediately an order was received from India for £36 million, an order that the original company would not have been able to finance.

Simon acted as chairman from 2008 until 2009 preparing the company for its successful merger.

Tim Long Tim Long Founder and CEO Zylpha

In short Simon helped me position the foundation stones of the business and the fact that we survived the downturn caused by the financial crisis in 2008 is in no small part down to the solid principles that Simon was able to instil. I now know that Simon also plans his own exit very early on in the lifecycle of an engagement. His primary aim is to equip the business to function without him. Again, this is very rare. In true Simon style, he brought this up over lunch one day when he simply announced that it was time for me to “fly solo”. Daunting as that was he was, of course, right.