Business Heroes - True Grit: McAllisters Recovery (highly commended)

While the rest of us were cursing the wintry conditions at the end of last year, for a handful of businesses the big freeze presented an opportunity - and our highly commended entrant in the True Grit category is one of them.

by Hannah Prevett
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

The recovery company, founded in 1974 by Frank McAllister, launched a campaign called Stuck in Snow, which offered services to help out stranded motorists. It has been a tough few years for smaller operators in this area (ie anyone who's not the AA or RAC). As the credit crunch hit and oil prices rocketed, people stopped using their cars as much - and the number of jobs for McAllisters, now run by Frank's son Mark, decreased too. 'People actually changed their driving habits,' he said.

Unfortunately for McAllister, the extent of the problem eluded him at first. 'Our accountant was out of his depth and didn't want to admit we had a problem.' After an external consultant was brought in - weeks before McAllister was due to get married - he had to decide whether to sink or swim. He went for a full-on front-crawl, making almost a fifth of the workforce redundant. 'I had to sacrifice a few to save the many,' he says. And he was right: McAllisters was back in profit in 2010 for the first time in three years. 'Painful as they were, if we hadn't made those redundancies, we definitely wouldn't be here now.'

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Want to encourage more female leaders? Openly highlight their achievements

A study shows that publicly praising women not only increases their willingness to lead, their...

Message to Davos: Don't blame lack of trust on 'society'

The reason people don't trust you is probably much closer to home, says public relations...

Dame Cilla Snowball: Life after being CEO

One year on from stepping back as boss of Britain's largest advertising agency, Dame Cilla...

How to change people's minds when they refuse to listen

Research into climate change deniers shows how behavioural science can break down intransigence.

"Paying women equally would cripple our economy"

The brutal fact: underpaid women sustain British business, says HR chief Helen Jamieson.

Why you're terrible at recruitment (and can AI help?)

The short version is you're full of biases and your hiring processes are badly designed....