Always dreamt of starting your own business? Perhaps it’s always been a long time ambition of yours but you’re not quite sure how to get the ball rolling. Rob has been through it all and is here to give you his advice on taking that leap of faith.
Rob owns a construction and refurbishment company, RBPM solutions, and understands the journey involved in starting your own firm better than anyone else, read his words of wisdom below.
Go for it!!! Growing up I always said ‘one day I’ll have my own business’. I have made a lot of mistakes along the road and each time I have learnt from them and changed how we run our systems.
Friday-Ad – What is a typical working day for you?
RBPM – The thing with having your own business is that you can never switch off. There’s no such thing as a 9 to 5 when you have your own company. Your phone always rings, you always receive emails/texts – I have even had clients phoning me at 10pm on a Sunday night asking for a quote! On one hand technology is great but sometimes you need to switch off from it all!!
My day normally starts in the office at 7am. My guys get to the office at 07:30am – unless they are going straight to their jobs – and we get them set up and on their way. There are always a lot of things to go through in the mornings which tend to take up the first hour or two of the day. The rest of the day is made up of appointments with clients, writing up new estimates or visiting jobs we are on.
The first employee I took on nearly 11 years ago is now my Operations Manager so he is responsible for the day to day running of the jobs which frees my time up greatly. I’m normally finished by 6pm then I head home to spend the last couple of hours of the day with my kids before they go to bed. Having that time with my girls is so important to me.
Friday-Ad – Do you have any tips for people wanting to start up their own business
RBPM – Go for it!!! Growing up I always said ‘one day I’ll have my own business’ but deep down I knew I wasn’t brave enough to do it. When I was made redundant my hand was forced so I had no choice!
My main advice though would be, do not be too critical of yourself straight away trying to get everything perfect. I don’t class myself as a businessman, I have never studied business, I have learnt ‘on the job’. Would I change this? NO WAY!!!
I have made a lot of mistakes along the road and each time I have learnt from them and changed how we run our systems. If you try to get everything right from day one you create an environment where experiences and advice you receive is ignored because you believe you have nailed it already.
People often ask me if there is anything I would change about the last 12 years……obviously there would be a couple of things but predominantly nothing! I have enjoyed the mistakes I’ve made (no matter how painful) because they have made the business and myself stronger for it.
Friday-Ad – Which mistakes have you made along the way and wish you could have avoided or handled differently?
RBPM – As I’ve touched upon, I have made a lot of mistakes in the last 12 years but I genuinely would not change any of them. Some of them may have cost me a lot of money but if I didn’t make the mistakes I would not have learnt anything. Every system we follow has been made or adapted because of previous experiences or mistakes made. Mistakes are without doubt the best learning tool so do not fear them, embrace them and use them wisely!!!
Friday-Ad – What’s been your biggest challenge and how have you overcome it?
RBPM – I would say my biggest challenge is learning all the parts of business you don’t think about when you start like dealing with HMRC, VAT, Payroll, PAYE, Pensions etc. The list is pretty long but I never thought about them when I started as it was only meant to be a temporary job!
Its been difficult getting my head round everything involved but if you surround yourself with people that can help and a knowledgeable accountant you can easily deal with it. It’s actually not as difficult as I first thought.
Friday-Ad – What’s your proudest business achievement?
RBPM – Hard question!! Probably still being here after 12 years when that certainly wasn’t the plan!! You always hear statistics of ‘x’ amount of start-ups don’t last their first year so I’m pretty chuffed we’re still around!!
I’m also really proud of the reputation we have. I really work hard to instil in my guys how we work and the standards we should produce, so when a complete stranger says to me ‘I’ve heard of RBPM, you’re meant to be really good’ – which has happened several times – it makes me feel great!
Friday-Ad – What’s the greatest strength your business has? Any areas you want to work on?
RBPM – Our greatest strength is the guys who work for me. Recruitment is incredibly difficult. Not only do you need to find the right person who can achieve the standards we expect but more importantly they need to be able to work with the team and also be first class at customer service.
We have a really good culture and ethos where the guys know I expect the best and they all push themselves to achieve that and are always looking to better themselves. My team is the reason we have the reputation we have, they are the ones producing the standards I tell clients we offer so it’s down to them.
There are always areas to work on and I always look to improve how we do things. As soon as you assume everything is as good as it can be you’re in trouble!
Friday-Ad – How do you plan on growing RBPM? Where do you see it in the next 10 years?
RBPM – I’ve grown RBPM organically from day 1. What I mean is that I’ve had no financial input, we have grown within our means. There are times in the past I could have recruited two or three people due to our workload but if I did that our ethos and culture would get diluted and we’d lose what we’ve created.
I’ve grown the business slowly and will continue to do so. We are carrying out more construction work and that is where I would like to see us grow more. The aim for ten years’ time would be for us to be bigger and better than what we are now but without losing the ethos of doing what we do.
I would like us to have two elements of the business, one being our current structure then one where we carry out small developments of three or four houses. I am already putting the foundations in place for this (no pun intended!!) so when we eventually achieve this, we will be in a strong position.
Find out how Rob and RBPM have adapted during the Covid-19 outbreak, and get some great tips on how your business can survive the crisis here
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