What’s your company called and who is behind it?
The company is called Space0 and was established in 2009 by me, Wayne Taylor, alongside fellow director Philip Gardiner.
What sector(s) do you operate in etc?
We work across the construction, property and design industries, we’ve also vertically work on FFE interior design projects within the education sector.
What is your turnover, employee numbers etc compared to previous years?
In year one – a 7 month year – we achieved a turnover of £213k, increasing to £645k in year two and £1.73m this year. Our staff has grown from two people in 2009 to 35 people as of May 2012.
What is your start-up story? How did you seize the opportunity you saw and what barriers did you have to overcome?
I started life as a graphic designer and started an award winning design agency at the age of 23, which I ran for 12 years giving me my first taste of running a business. I was then head hunted and moved into a new business which had secured a £13m contract with Vauxhall. The challenges that brought gave me even more diverse experience and using that knowledge I set up Space0. We fortunately found a thriving market niche in interiors and FFE, supporting the design gaps faced by construction companies and architects – especially within the education sector.
What products or services do you provide?
We specialise in delivering inspirational environments using leading ‘building information modelling’ (BIM) technology, helping clients in the education, healthcare, leisure and commercial industries create sustainable, creative interiors.
Our USP is the current niche that we appear to have created in our marketplace; working as designers on behalf of construction companies and architects, helping them integrate design into their build projects managing issues before they even ‘cut turf’, creating stunning yet functional interiors.
What are your sales and marketing strategies?
Our marketing strategy is a recent emergence as the majority of our business generated until now has been organic. Now we have rigid targets and big ambitions, so have carved out a marketing strategy that will help keep us on focus for our next four-year growth plan.
What is your attitude towards your competitors?
Our competition is hard to define, it could be other designers, but we also step into the same area of work as architects and construction companies. There are organisations who deliver some aspects of our services but we are yet to discover anyone who offers our full range of services, particularly in the detail we provide.
Do you have any other thoughts about your market and how you operate in it?
Our market is incredibly niche, although we do appear to be carving out new areas of service every day. It’s exciting and challenging in equal measures.
How important to success are repeatable business processes? What about flexibility and product/service innovation? How do you make sure this is happening?
We have clear systems and procedures that have been with us since the outset. Managing a business like ours means we are dealing with many thousands of components – think for example in designing a school how many separate pieces of furniture there are, each of which needs to be in a certain place, some with complex integration of services. Its imperative therefore that we’ve kept ourselves organised and a strong team is in place to do that.
The balance of mixing process and technology biased people with the creatives in the business means that we keep a happy balance and ensure that flexibility and innovation is encouraged too. We aren’t afraid of change!
What have you done to make sure you get the right people with the right skills in place?
To be honest if I spot someone I think has the attributes we need in our business I pursue them. We only employ people who bring something unique or are better than the skills we already have, that way the business can only move forwards. On occasion we have employed the services of recruitment consultants to assist in the process of short listing candidates.
Any other thoughts on employment?
Good people are essential to any business. Its crucial that there’s a balance of incentivising staff and finding hard working people who are ambitious not only about the industry but about the company. I also think that it’s imperative to keep staff in the loop. Silence is not always golden, and clandestine office meetings do nothing for morale. I regularly brief staff on our growth (we have monthly meetings) so that they feel very much a part of our journey, we have office events and try and run a fun, informal yet professional environment.
Do you have any finance and cash-flow tips?
A healthy and prudent approach to finance is the only option for me it’s the backbone of any business no cash, no business! Many entrepreneurs fall foul of thinking that the money in the bank is theirs for the taking, and it’s not.
Any thoughts on the future of your company and your industry?
We have some big ambitions for growth and plan to reach a turnover of £10million within the next four years. I don’t see any barriers to that apart from ourselves.
What main secrets of success do you think entrepreneurs more generally need to know?
Find good people; it’s not your money; be organized; learn from your mistakes; most importantly, and you won’t ever go wrong with this one: earn more than you spend!