A former principal at Catalyst Corporate Finance has founded his own training and coaching company to help professional firms grow sales.

After seven years at Catalyst, Paul Spires left the firm at the end of 2010 to set up Inspire Business Development, which provides bespoke training and structured coaching to help professional services firms win new business and deliver sustainable growth.

Mr Spires is qualified as a chartered accountant, insolvency practitioner and corporate financier.

During his time at Catalyst, he advised shareholders and management teams of top UK businesses to deliver more than £700 million of value via mid-market transactions.

He said his new training business would focus on helping firms with growing sales, an area which is often neglected by professional firms.

“Sales for many professionals is a dirty word,” he said.

“However, the ability to excel at the art of selling, from identifying new opportunities to closing the sale, is now absolutely essential for professional services firms to succeed.

“In a tough economic environment this need is magnified.

“It is one of the few areas where investment in staff will deliver tangible, quantifiable benefits to a firm and ensure everyone is reading off the same page.”

Following six years at KPMG working with under-performing businesses in turnaround and insolvency situations, Mr Spires specialised in corporate finance working at Catalyst.

He is also a regional board member of the IoD’s Herefordshire and Worcestershire branch and set up, as chairman, the IoD Young Directors Forum in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Mr Spires said that during his time at Catalyst, sitting back and waiting for work to roll in was not an option.

“Inspire is about inspiring confidence in people to go out and win new business,” he said.

“Many professionals such as an accountants or lawyers just muddle through with their business development or sales efforts.

“They qualify and follow a scattergun approach.

“It’s a Catch 22 scenario – firms want their staff to go out and win new business but staff don’t necessarily know how to - most training and support is simply focused on client work delivery.

“Inspire was founded because I truly believe that anyone can excel at business development if they have the right skills and mindset to do it. It is a win-win scenario.

“Giving staff the tools and techniques they require will make them more empowered and the firm will win more work.”