Hello and welcome to another installment of my Spotlight On... series!
Spotlight On.. brings you a different entrepreneurial story each week!
From brand new start ups, to large established businesses, this series will cover it all!
I really want to give a sense of the diversity in the journeys that people have taken to building their business, alongside exploring some the unique challenges they have had to overcome.
This week I have an example of a rather niche business which managed to utilize the talents of it's team to take advantage of a gap in the market for security services, which could fulfill the needs of both large and small businesses!
I feel that the big lesson to take away from Kurt's story is how important it is to focus on the needs of BOTH your clients and your staff. The move towards becoming a Living Wage employer has undoubtedly been of massive benefit to the business, both from a staff and customer point of view!
Find out more below!
Name: Kurt Davis
Business Name: SECURIST
Age of business: 6 years
Originally founded in Bristol, UK, SECURIST began with an experienced team of individuals with a wide range of backgrounds from within the security industry. Over the course of our time as one of the leading security companies and establishments, we have built up a large client base with many contracts specialising in Manned Guarding and CCTV at the very core of our operations in the South West. SECURIST provide an affordable service; starting at larger national corporate businesses right down to local small businesses. Our service is built around the clients requirements, however small.
Why did you start your company?
Before establishing SECURIST, I had previously worked in the security industry for five years and had seen first-hand the devastation that criminal damage, violence, theft, trespassing and fraud can cause a company and its assets. Security is a huge contributing factor to the success and happiness of a business. Yet, I felt that larger security companies were ignoring customer needs. Business and trade should not have to suffer these consequences of success, and I spotted a gap in the market for a small, high-quality, customer-service orientated security company such as SECURIST.
Have you had any setbacks? What have you learnt from them?
Yes, my first major setback happened this year. I employed too many people at once without a plan or strategy for their work or the future of the business. Recruiting inexperienced people meant that I needed to oversee their work in order for it to be what SECURIST needed. So by being so thinly spread across numerous departments SECURIST suffered for this mistake. I have learnt a great deal from this especially that recruiting people with the right experience is top priority to enable my business to go forward.
What is the single achievement that you are most proud of?
When SECURIST first heard about ‘Living Wage’ in 2014, it was a project we immediately felt passionate about. Becoming a Living Wage employer was such a great achievement for SECURIST as we are a labour intensive business which means we go out of our way to squeeze margins to make a happy work force. SECURIST also experienced the unexpected benefit of becoming an ethical employer, in the pride felt by all of those in our head office that we were doing the best for our employees. Our status as a living wage employer has increased our business reputation in the local community, particularly as the security industry is notoriously low paid.
If you could start again, is there anything you would change?
This is a hard question as a lot of things could be changed, but at the time I was unable to do anything about it because of factors such as money. However if I could start again I would not be so penny pinching because I have learnt that you get what you pay for. I was so focused on trying to save money I was not seeing the real value in things.
What would be your number one tip for someone thinking about starting their own venture?
My number one tip for someone starting their own business is…get a mentor! When first starting out it is worthwhile to invest in someone’s time to allow your business to grow.
Do you have any big plans for 2016 that we should know about?
For the future we aim to become ACS accredited. This is an Approved Contractor Scheme governed by the Security Industry Authority (SIA). The objective of the SIA's Approved Contractor scheme is to raise performance standards and to assist the private security industry in developing new opportunities. We have achieved the NSI Gold accreditation and with this success we have seen a boost in business so I hope this is something we can achieve in 2016.
Visit the SECURIST website