…when Duncan Collins worked at Volkswagen (GB) and later in the Mazda Cars (UK) startup, developing the competences of the small businesses that comprised their UK dealer networks, in order to manage strong sales growth and develop customer retention.
Founding the MCL Group’s, Business Ventures Division, he acquired and started six companies (including Ferrari distribution). Following the 'Collins Treatment' half of these grew into multi-million-pound businesses.
Appointed by the Thatcher and Blair governments, to lead in the development and implementation of national business competence programmes. Over 20 years, UK small business competitiveness rose from 21st to 7th place in the international league table.
Through continuing work with over 1 million small firms, directly and indirectly and training over 1000 consultants to work with them, he crystallised the key elements that create, manage and maintain any business.
In the face of declining Government support, independent work started on how to affordably transfer this vital knowledge and the skills to apply them. Could AI replicate what a consultant does in a fraction of the time and cost by automating this massive archive of knowhow and statistics?
Duncan founded Runagood.com Ltd with a new team skilled in maths, digital, web building and software development to build the prototype of the first ever AI business consultant. Market testing in 2013, 500 small business owners accessed fast advice on the current and potential health and valuations of their businesses, the remedial actions they should take and provided frank feedback.
A second £1m was invested to build the ultimate website and a much expanded online toolkit to be implemented this time, by business partners. Strong input taken from 3 leading accountant practices and over 100 outside tests run with business owners, perfected the model.
Runagood® ‘First AI Business Consultant’ launched with 6 online tools, that deliver in a few minutes, a Business: Health Assessment; Valuation; Forecast; Plan; Practical Action Steps; Document Templates. And work commenced on developing the next 6 products, requested by users.
Partnerships with accountants and business advisors to establish ‘Runagood® Business Centres’, providing performance and value improvement products and support services to local businesses.
And a free ‘test drive’ offer to them all and to their target market, the UK’s 5.3m micro businesses.