Business Gateway Case Study – Local businessman gets Top Marks for going full-time

 Setting up Top Marks Home Improvement as a part-time venture two years ago allowed Mark Wood to become his own boss while still working for someone else. 

Now, thanks to demand the 45-year-old is focusing on his enterprise full-time, and has invested in two vans and expanded the number of local tradesmen he works with.

With help from Business Gateway Clackmannanshire’s Expert Help programme, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Mark has also been able to create his own website.

Having recently launched he hopes the online ‘shop window’ – and his social media presence – will help him secure more work and in turn create more local jobs.

He said: “I’ve 25 years’ experience working in the construction industry, having worked my way up from digger driver to site manager. Throughout that time I would be working on jobs and thinking to myself I could do this better for less and far quicker. That’s why I first set up the business, to offer value and expertise. The construction industry was still suffering when I launched so I started tentatively and took up an opportunity to work for another company at the same time. The following year I lost my son and needed time to take stock and figure out what I wanted to do. 

“In January I decided I had to focus my attention 100% on the business as more and more people were coming to me to build their extensions and sun rooms as well as install windows, bathrooms and kitchens. By coming to a smaller business with a wealth of experience, people knew I’d do a good job and word spread. The business is now of a size that an online presence was essential and that’s why I turned to Business Gateway. The help I received increased my knowledge and understanding of social media and what I needed to do to launch a website. Each day I have more likes on Facebook and people see the business as professional and trustworthy thanks to the website.” 

Alison Davidson, Business Gateway Clackmannanshire, said: “Mark’s ultimate aim is to have his own squad of tradesmen working for him full-time. Given how quickly his business has grown this year fulfilling that dream might not be too far off. Reputation is key for any business, and some would say more so in the construction industry, and that is why it was important for Mark to build a website that highlighted his background, professionalism and the services he offered. By working with us he was able to turn his ideas for the site into a reality while also setting up a Facebook page as a way to interact with his customers and showcase the work that he does.”

Having renovated houses as a hobby for a number of years, Mark now has over 250 renovations to his name – including his own home.

He said: “I get a real buzz out of renovating homes. I’ve never stopped working on my own home for the past 10 years! Being able to work with customers to create a home they truly love is a real privilege, whether it’s a major job or something more cosmetic. Our homes are our biggest investment so helping people get greater joy out of theirs whilst also helping them add value is what I love to do.”

To find out how Business Gateway Clackmannanshire can help your business call 01259 208426 or visit