Telling the truth about SME life today

Jeremy Waud

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Name: Jeremy Waud

Age: 50 (just!)

Company: Incentive FM. We’re a specialist cleaning and facilities management business.

Turnover: £28m

First job: Aircraft cleaner

Dream job: Understudy to wine critic Robert Parker! 

Car: Aston Martin Vanquish, Audi RS4 and VW Golf R32 I love them all but definitely in that order.

Economy, business or first class: For business, it’s economy. We practice what we preach. My wife prefers first/business class. Having sampled it, I can hardly blame her! 

Most extravagant purchase: My Aston. But no regrets (other than not telling my wife first!) 

Most played song on iPod: “Sugar Coated Iceberg by Lightning Seeds.

Best business book: What They Don?t Teach You At Harvard Business School by Mark Mc Cormack. To be honest, I am a slow reader and get bored easily.

Worst business moment: Toughing in out in the High Court against OCS, my family firm and former employer, who was less than impressed that I decided to go it alone with six other colleagues and start Incentive.  

Proudest business moment: Phoning the bank to tell them that, in spite of their lack of support, I had managed to acquire a ?6m business in 2009 without their money. 

Business mentor: I had one in my formative years between 20 and 25 in the contract cleaning business who taught me how to (and often how not to) go about things. He left a very positive and even rebellious mark. In terms of those we are force fed on the TV I do like Theo Paphitis and I recently sat next to James Caan at a dinner and he was reassuringly normal and genuine. Overall, I have always admired Richard Branson though for sheer entrepreneurialism. 

Next big thing: In my industry, it’s the ability to be best in class, tick all the accreditation boxes, have all the services covered by your own staff without sub-contracting and still be cheapest. I had better press on…

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