Role and company:
Chairman of Lietcorp
Company turnover (and most recent ebitda/most relevant profitability metric):
We’ve made £7.4m
Growth forecast for the next three years:
We expect to increase our turnover by at least £50m and will also be proactively recruiting new employees.
In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:
For the past ten years, we have designed all elements of the LED lights ourselves and controlling all aspects of our supply chain. Unlike our competitors, we took an industry-changing technology and specifically built our business around it.
What’s the big vision for your business?
By continuing to harness the full potential of LED technology, we aim to become the leading, commercial lighting business in the UK, while also significantly expanding our presence overseas. Maintaining our reputation for providing efficient, innovative and quality-focused British products is key to our future success. Therefore, we are confident this will be achieved by continuing to set benchmarks for product innovation within the lighting industry.
Current level of international business, and future aspirations:
Currently, 50 per cent of our turnover stems from exports and we have a strong presence in Dubai and Germany. We are now looking towards new territories, including South East Asia and Europe, for further expansion opportunities. With a number of new products launching this year, we are in a strong position to heighten our international presence.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:
Dabbling in film investments that went spectacularly wrong! The lesson I learned was not to invest in a sector or market that you do not understand and have no control over.
What makes you mad in business today?
Business leaders who simply can’t see the commercial benefits new technologies can bring to their organisations. The latest developments in technology offer businesses so many opportunities to make them leaner, greener and more profitable. Caution, however, seems to reign supreme!
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?
Following a wide spread adoption of new technology, LED lighting is quickly coming to a tipping point. Over the next three years, I expect to see a greater adoption of LEDs -particularly in the commercial sector – as businesses continue to replace out-of-date fluorescent lighting.
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? If not, what can be done to improve things?
Only if supported by private investors. Banks are of marginal use and seem only prepared to take the smallest possible risk. A reduction in payroll taxes and bureaucracy would help.
How would others describe your leadership style?
I would hope to be described as entrepreneurial, passionate, personable and engaging.
Your biggest personal extravagance?
I once owned a large sailing boat which provided me with years of glorious extravagance. However, she certainly paid for herself as, after fitting her with Ocean LED lights, I was subsequently introduced to the business I now work in.
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 persuade the prime minister to launch a “buy British” initiative to promote British design and engineering. This would undoubtedly help boost the economy by heightening our reputation as a manufacturing leader in the global marketplace.
It is encouraging to see that the government is aware of the need to support businesses actively trading overseas. But much more can still be done for those looking towards expanding into BRIC nations – in particular by reducing the significant amounts of red tape currently in place.By Shané Schutte
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