If standing out was a key factor in getting a place on the EN Honours List then Neil Sweeney would have walked away with it for his sartorial elegance at the April One Day Spectacular. Little did he know then that he’d leave his suitcase in the hotel, and Jimbo would go through the contents, live on Facebook.
Jimbo and Neil are firm friends, which is just as well after offering his wardrobe to the world but Neil has a canny knack of getting to the gritty truth of a business as witnessed in many an Accelerator Mastermind group. Neil popped into the offices back in April for some lunch so we could find out what makes the June 2017 winner of the Honours List tick. For the last couple of years Neil has been running Sicuro UK Ltd, a security company that protects business assets.
The route to a security business could have been a straight-forward affair but Neil used to be the ‘yes man’. The business started in 2012 but Neil’s background as a surveyor means he knows an awful lot about buildings and maintenance. This meant that getting key contacts and asking if he could monitor the security of their sites meant was fairly straight forward bar the negotiating on service levels and prices. The issues start to arise though when then clients started to ask if Neil could help with things like the drains, or cleaning the windows, mowing the lawns…. and, particularly with it being the early days of business, Neil duly said ‘yes’ and became very good at being the yes man whilst simultaneously being the jack of all trades, master of none.
Business boomed for three years up until 2015, the requests from customers kept coming in and revenue was stacking up at a a phenomenal rate, but Neil wasn’t completely at ease with the whole situation.
In Neil’s words,’things had gotten out of control.’
It’s a comment that makes the listener retake what has just been said, many business owners are striving to turn pounds and pounds of revenue and Neil’s business was profitable but it was still ‘out of control’, …. how does that work?
Neil commented that the business was being pulled in all directions at once, the work being carried out was often being done through 3rd party providers, the clients wanted response, Neil needed greater flexibility and maneuverability – the control had gone and with it the fun side of growing a business.
Then in 2015, Neil took a decision that sees him added to the Honours List, he started his business over again.
This is one very brave decision, stopping a million+ business in full flow and starting again, surely a move that many would shy away from. Especially as Neil is not alone in the business, there’s his business partner Mitch and fellow directors who were involved in the decision along with a whole host of staff that needed to be told about the decision. There was a key meeting where Neil shared his vision with the team. It was a crucial play for the future of the business as the retention of staff was important. The vision of where the business was going focussed on becoming expert in the security side of the business only, discarding the rest of the profitable lines of business in the process.
Neil says on directing a business,”sitting there as a director you’ve got to direct and say, this is what we are doing, follow me, this is the plan”, be that leader for your staff and directors.
Whatever else Neil added to those words that day, they were all on board. The ability to share and sell the concept of your vision is a real key driver for any business owner and the staff stayed to grow Sicuro UK again.
So the team remained strong and pushed toward the goal of providing remote site security for their clients.
Day-to-day Neil and his team at Sicuro UK protect sites using wireless CCTV alarm systems to protect their clients’ assets.
This has seen the business looking after lots of building development sites small and large but notably that has included none other than the Olympic Stadium.
The business model is strong. There’s recurring revenues from each client, the returns are profitable quickly, there’s assets within the business but importantly due to the contracts and recurring payments, it’s very saleable.
For refocussing Sicuro UK into one area of business, taking the decision to turn profitable revenue creating business away, for sharing a powerful vision with his team and becoming an expert in the field of wireless CCTV security systems and creating a profitable, growing and saleable business all in the mix, Neil Sweeney becomes the Honours List winner for June 2017.