Role and company:Managing Director of Condeco
Company turnover (and most recent ebitda/most relevant profitability metric):Approx. $10m
Employee numbers:Over 150
Growth forecast for the next three years:Our target forecast for the next three years is $25m.
In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:Condeco is the leader in workspace utilisation technology. We help global businesses across a huge variety of sectors manage their real estate effectively, saving millions in the process. Our newest product, Condeco Sense, accurately measures occupancy levels, helping businesses to understand exactly how their workspace is being utilised giving them the knowledge and data to plan and manage their office estate.
What’s the big vision for your business?Our big vision for the future is to be the global number one solutions provider for space utilisation technology. We will continue to build upon our international expansion, with new offices in theWest Coast of America, India and the middle east, which will give us the ability to provide service to global customers around the clock.
Current level of international business, and future aspirations:We work with over 400 global companies across a board spectrum of industries. Our clientele includes FTSE 100 businesses, including Vodafone, Universal and BBC. Our HQ is based in London, with global offices spanning America, South Africa, Asia, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:I’ve had a few, but I would say that my biggest career set back was probably the unexpected end of a consultancy project we had with a global bank in 2004. It had accounted for 70 per cent of the company’s revenue for several years and was in full flow when the client decided to offshore the project we were working on. The positive was that that the unexpected setback focused me and the directors on building our own products and moving away from consultancy, and from that setback we decided to develop Condeco and the rest is history.
What makes you mad in business today?Not very much. I love running and growing dynamic businesses. I think we are very lucky at present and the climate for doing business in the UK and around the world is very favourable for businesses that have products that provide real solutions to their client’s problems. There are areas such as employment law that I feel could be better structured to protect both the business and theemployee, and the lack of young talent leaving schools and university with actual business ready skills is a constant challenge – I think we need to increase the awareness of the young to learn actual skills.
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?The continued development of the Internet and mobile user’s behavioural change in particular. This area is changing rapidly and no one knows where it will end up. But that also presents many opportunities for the companies that get it right.
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? Ifnot, what can be done to improve things?We are fortunate not to need bank finance for our day-to-day operations, but when we did go to the bank to fund our new office relocation and refurbishment, they provided exactly what we asked for with no fuss or pain. So my experience is that for the right companies, there is plenty of finance available, but I also hear other muchmore scary stories about the lack of funding from other business owners.
How would others describe your leadership style?I try to be inspirational and get everyone on-board with the tasks in hand and give clear instructions on why we need to do certain things. This generally works, but as we grow, especially in offices in other countries, this becomes more difficult.
Your biggest personal extravagance?I love to travel, both on business and for pleasure, and I like to travel and holiday in style. That can be seen as extravagant, but I believe it is worth every penny!
You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:I would tell the prime minister to relax certain employment laws to make it easier to hire people, but mainly to invest much more in education. The lack of trained, willing and motivated people will be an issue if we don’t address it quickly. I believe that everyone wants to be productive and contribute, but we have a great number of young people that are simply not getting enough education and are leaving school unemployable; this is a massive issue that we need to deal with now. It starts with educating the parents to inspire their children to learn, this is not going to be easy, but if we can’t correct the belief that the state will provide and you don’t need to take school seriously, we will not only have let our children down, but we will have missed an opportunity to make Britain even better than it currently is. By Shané Schutte
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