As you are probably aware, it’s a very special moment for our business as we turned one year old in December!
Amidst the celebrations, we sat down with our directors Ross Bayston and Tom Perkin, to reflect on what has been a very busy first year of trading.
Good morning guys! Whereabouts in the UK are you at the moment?
Ross: So currently I’m in our new Leeds office, which launched in January, but over the last week for example I have been down in the East Midlands and the Home Counties visiting candidates and clients on site, and I’ll be back down to London on Thursday and Friday.
Tom: And I’m sat at this moment in the City of London, behind the Bank of England, in our London office. But work takes me the length and breadth of the country. So, in the past week I’ve been in Glasgow, Nottingham, East Midlands, West Midlands, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Kent, and Essex.
The business turned one year old in December, many congratulations. So tell me, what does this mean to you?
Ross: It’s been a whirlwind first 12 months in business but I have loved every minute of it. It’s been really well received by both our clients and candidates and I am incredibly proud of everyone who’s been a part of this journey so far. Only good things are going to come from this. The business has grown exponentially over the past six months and we’ve taken on three new consultants to satisfy our growth, so we’re very excited to see what 2018 brings!
Tom: It means everything, in a word. When I look back over everything we’ve achieved in the last 12 months, it genuinely makes me very happy. It really reinforces our reasons for setting up a business.
How has the business evolved since you started it? Is it how you envisaged?
Tom: It’s always really hard to know what’s going to happen in the first year of your business. It’s grown really, really quickly, but we’re really lucky to have a solid business infrastructure, combined with financial stability from our investor, not forgetting to mention our rigid five-year plan that we have in place. So to answer the question… it IS what I envisaged, it’s just happening faster! It’s been exciting, liberating, and challenging, but I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.
You’ve both achieved a great deal in the recruitment industry before you launched your business. What’s the biggest challenge been so far about running your own operation?
Ross: The extent of the workload from a sales capacity, as well as the coordination of various teams, has been enormous but certainly welcomed. Without such a strong team / infrastructure supporting us, we would have found it incredibly difficult to achieve the growth seen to date.
Tom: For me personally, stepping into a role everyday where you have to be so multi-dimensional can be a challenge. Within any given day, you have to meet with different people from diverse backgrounds who you need to get on your side, whilst at the same time getting on the same page as people who are working with you and for you. I was well prepared for this but it’s still been a challenge.
What has surprised you?
Ross: We take solace in the fact that we’ve got such a strong business backing us, the McGinley Group, who have specialist teams in place such as finance, marketing, IT, credit control and payroll, so any support we need is there for us. We also have an incredible investor / mentor in Colm McGinley who supports us with our wider business strategy. It’s a transitionary period for both myself and Tom, going from being in complete sales roles through to managing our own business. But we’ve both thoroughly enjoyed our journey to date. I’m sure there will be plenty of learning along the way.
You’ve officially opened your second office this week, congratulations! But can you tell me why you chose Leeds?
Ross: Leeds is an upcoming City, battling to be recognised as the ‘Northern hub’. Obviously there’s going to be lots of work surrounding HS2 in later years, which is only going to mean that Leeds will expand. I’ve lived in Leeds for the past six or seven years so I class it as my home town, and that’s where I’ve got the strongest network. From a delivery point of view, it seems easier to get good people onside and people you know and trust to join the business, so naturally it was a next step for us.
Tom: Well I’m hoping that opening a Leeds office will stop Ross complaining about commuting to London..! In all seriousness though, Leeds was a logical choice for us. For one, Ross has a strong network up there concerning both clients and candidates. So it’s a natural fit for us in that respect. Leeds is definitely on the up and up. It’s full of young, bright people, which is fuelling growth for the city. Coupled with the improvement in rail connections across the Northern cities, as well as George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse pledge, which the Tories have promised to honour. It’s only going to get better in Leeds.
… and regarding your London office, what’s the importance of being located where you are there?
Tom: Bank, as a location, historically has been the centre of UK commerce, so its really nice to be amongst that. But also, this is one of the biggest areas in the country for construction activity. Within a five minute walk there are seven projects that are 30 storeys tall, and are between £300 - £500 million each in value. So as a place for active projects, it’s very, very busy. It also offers people who want to come and work for us a great work-life balance; the travel links are excellent, and and there’s always something to do in the city, with plenty of places to enjoy a drink or something to eat.
And finally, can you tell me about the additions that you have made to your team over the last year?
Ross: We’ve taken on two senior consultants in London and two in Leeds, and to back them up we’ve sourced two excellent sales support managers, one for each office. And it looks like we’re going to be growing again in the early parts of Q1 2018. It’s been a very, very strong year, but to satisfy that growth, we need good people in place, which is what we’ve managed to achieve with our new recruits.