Role and company:Director at Langton Howarth Ltd
Company turnover (and most recent ebitda/most relevant profitability metric):£525k and £75k profit
Growth forecast for the next three years:We have grown double digit figures year on year, so we are optimistic that this will continue. If we achieve 20 per cent growth and maintain gross margin levels then I won’t be complaining next year!
In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:Since opening the business, we have established ourselves as the market leader for healthcare, scientific supplies and consumer health and beauty recruitment internationally across the UK and Europe. Unlike other recruiters, our dynamic team have a proven track record of experience and expertise, meaning we can guarantee our clients have the best service to fill vacancies and we can find candidates their dream job.
What’s the big vision for your business?To keep going from strength to strength and ensure that we are the top choice for those looking for the best candidates in the healthcare, scientific supplies and consumer health and beauty arena and of course candidates searching their perfect career. We are not interested in being the biggest, just the best at what we do, with quality customer service delivered at all times.
Current level of international business, and future aspirations:Our focus remains on the UK market, but around 40 per cent of our business is now placing people in mainland Europe. We will carry on making inroads abroad, without defocusing from the UK and the customers that we have worked in partnership with us in the last eight years.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:Entrusting an employee of over three years and being betrayed. It was a very important lesson for me to learn and since then plans have been put in place to ensure that it won’t happen again. The silver lining is that I have been able to share this ‘unnecessary’ experience with others and teach them how to protect their business intellectual property and what to do if confidential information is abused.
What makes you mad in business today?The same as always; dishonesty and people using social media as their top choice of communication! There is nothing like sitting in front of a customer, supplier, candidate or employee and talking through solutions, business opportunities and ideas or simply making a call! Nowadays, it seems that a great deal of people are hiding behind their email accounts and not actually engaging in real customer service. This is extremely important to me and I encourage my team to pick up the phone and relate to each of their contacts in a friendly and helpful manner. After all customer focus is at the heart of everything that we do.
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?The recruitment industry continues to change on a daily basis and I’m sure that we will see a vast amount of significant changes in the next three to five years. Using social media as a recruiting tool is on the rise and we have seen an increase in productivity purely through using LinkedIn – which all of my team have had extensive training on. Using these social platforms and connecting with people that have been introduced to us through a recommendation is helping us to match the right candidates to the right companies. It is vital that we do this right as miss- hires cost time and money and ultimately this will make our clients happy and more likely to keep us on their PSL.
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? If not, what can be done to improve things?This hasn’t been an issue for Langton Howarth as thankfully we have never had to apply for finance. Speaking on behalf of other companies it is easy to see that getting access to finance is the single biggest issue facing SMEs today and unless the government creates greater access to investment for business growth, many businesses will struggle to expand.
How would others describe your leadership style?Dynamic, focused, aggressive in strategy, ethical, traditional in business values and quite happy to roll my sleeves up and get involved! My team know that I have built this business from scratch and that if they need advice from me that my door is always open and I am on hand to help.
Your biggest personal extravagance?I wouldn’t class myself as extravagant and my Mother always taught me not to buy anything that I couldn’t afford! I still live by this mantra (apart from my mortgage)! I guess the most extravagant item that I have purchased is a Bechstein A Model 1911 Grand piano at an auction. It had been in storage for 15 years and unfortunately the bill for the storage had not been paid so it found itself in my house. It has been with a restorer now for nearly six months and I have just been to see how it is doing. It looks nearly brand new and it is a pleasure to see old school French polishers and master craftsmen at work with a real passion for what they do. I can’t wait to get it home and play it as much as I can.
You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:Has quantitative easing been effective? There is no clear evidence as to what happens to the money once it has been released and there is a huge risk that the money piles up on the banks balance sheets and never helps the small businesses where it is needed. Also, how has the reduction in Corporation Tax rates for large companies helped small companies who are the lifeblood of this country? Is this fair to the likes of mine and so many other businesses still having to pay the same as the corporate? By Shané Schutte
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