Yorkshire Business - William Fry of Rural Solutions
PUBLISHED: 17:12 08 June 2012 | UPDATED: 21:28 20 February 2013
Rural business expert William Fry tells us why solutions are his speciality
Rural communities have always had business centres offering advice and insider knowledge. Unfortunately, these traditionally tended to be the village pub. But in recent years the rural business landscape has changed beyond all recognition, with watchwords like diversification and sustainability creeping stealthily into countryside conversation.
This marked change in attitude has been met with an equally impressive growth in professional services specifically aimed at the non-city market.
Rural Solutions, which was founded in the mid Nineties and has a head office at Broughton Hall in Skipton, is a prime example of this new breed of problem-solvers tackling rural development head-on.
The company was originally established to help country estates and landowners generate new income from redundant or under-utilised land and buildings. But its remit and levels of success expanded rapidly when new business income streams increased exponentially in the shape of rural business centres, group accommodation, day visitor attractions and farm shops.
In 2000 there were just two rural business centres in Yorkshire, both of which Rural Solutions developed, explained managing director William Fry. Twelve years on, the market is more competitive. Some developments are state-of-the-art, while others require a new level of investment to compete and meet the new requirements of business occupiers.
The companys main aim is to help clients understand the wider economic, social and environmental benefits of diversification, as well as delivering projects through planning, construction and marketing. It also identifies how existing diversified businesses can develop further and adapt to future market changes.
The market for rural diversification has matured, said William. For too long, diversification decisions were simply made with a copycat approach. But modern rural landowners and developers need a new type of advice that can redefine their goals and help them realise their potential.
Rural Solutions believes its concept to completion approach to diversification, based on a sound understanding of the rural market developed over more than 20 years, is the way to make non-city businesses successful and sustainable a key element of the governments new National Planning Policy Framework.
In a bid to meet growing demand, the North Yorkshire company has expanded its team, opened a new offshoot office in the South East and is in negotiations for a third in the South West, giving it access to a larger national client base. If you have a rural business success story to tell, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The print version of this article appeared in the June 2012 issue of Yorkshire Life
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