How has Business Coaching Helped this Local Company?

As a young man Matthew Billing experimented with brewing his own ales and making ciders at home. Now he is making cider in significant volumes and selling all over the UK and into Europe.
During Matt’s early career he worked in a specialist cider shop and as a bar manager, learning about cider and other beverages including the role of managing a cellar. This background information provided great experience and expertise of the drinks trade, which has proven very helpful. He also learnt the skills necessary to manage people through great relationships, across all stakeholders in the hospitality arena: bar staff, customers and suppliers. In his first full-time role, as an employee for a brewery, Matthew gained further industry knowledge and experience. There, at his instigation, he was instrumental in the development, launch and growth of a new cider brand.

Like many business owners though, he realised that he wanted to make his own way based on his passion. In 2017 Ascension Cider was born as a collaboration between Matthew and his father, Martyn. From launching their first core, and now very popular, Pilot cider, the range now extends to three apple ciders of varying strengths, plus over ten fruited and one-off single variety ciders. The business has grown dramatically, including surviving and prospering during the lockdown, assisted by direct sales to home customers. In addition, there is growth through the wholesale channel, with distributors across the UK and into some European markets. Crucially, the company has had great success supplying around 300 local outlets, achieving a great reputation and a growing following.

Matthew understands a lot about cider and the hospitality industry, but not everything he needed to know about running his own business. Like many company owners, there is so much to learn, other than what you are good at in your specialised field. Luckily, Matthew’s father is an experienced business owner, too and an equal partner in Ascension Cider. Martyn has added his wealth of marketing knowledge and experience to their success. But being in business together, it’s hard to be a dad or son at the same time as fulfilling all the roles within a rapidly growing company. You have to wear many different hats. Lines of communication between roles on a personal level and a business level become blurred. Ask any married couple running their own business! It is demanding!

Matthew and Martyn worked with Rachel Stone to enhance their business knowledge and skills.

Rachel says “Coaching is a process of guiding and teaching, supporting and challenging. It is helpful to have another set of eyes and ears in the business. We work together to build systems and processes. At ActionCOACH we aim for all our clients to build a profitable commercial enterprise which works for you – the business owner. Each time we meet we agree and set goals, then make a plan to ensure the business is moving forward in the right direction.”

So far, Rachel’s work with Matthew has included supporting him to create the company’s vision, mission and values, build an outline business plan, plus create the routines and habits for a
successful day/week/month. Rachel is working with Matthew using the world famous ActionCOACH Six Steps coaching framework. ActionCOACH is the world’s biggest and most successful coaching company, which was founded by Brad Sugars over 27 years ago. The framework is used in over 80 countries worldwide with outstanding results. Rachel has 10 years’ coaching experience across a range of different types of businesses and sectors.

Matthew says “Rachel has helped me to gain control and structure and to see how we can build the
company to achieve the success we see for Ascension and for our own lives. I am manging my time much more effectively, so that I can focus on the important strategic matters of the next quarter. I have a clear 90-day plan. I’m much happier in myself and I’m enjoying my work
more as a result.”

If you are interested in Ascension Cider, please check out their website

If you are interested in a free 2 hour coaching session with Rachel, please call 01435 872495, or email