12 months to this very day, I drove to Nottingham Racecourse fully intent to purchase a derelict property with the intention of embarking on a new life in property development.
With a good budget to work with, I was confident that the property would be mine. How wrong could I be, guided at £50k the property went for £210k which was £40k above my budget. But as the saying goes everything happens for a reason… And in this case, I’m so glad the hammer did not fall down in my favour.
After taking the summer to reflect and having turned down a variety of opportunities to join established recruitment businesses, in September 2015 I decided the time was right to embrace a start-up. Having spent years working within an established brand and having the comfort blanket that brings with it the time was right for something new. There can be no denying that the early emotions were varied ranging from excitement through to fear. How would the market react? Would people want to step away from their comfort blankets and work with me? Could I be bust in 6 months? Where do you start? The list of questions went on.
It seems such a long time since I sat on my own, on a dark October evening with a Mac, a coffee machine, and a printer for company and rain lashing against the windows.
Reflecting at the time as to why I was taking this step, it was simple, to provide for my family and to build something special that people would want to be associated with. Since then the only thing that has changed is my/our ambition and drive to achieve these goals have intensified.
At the time I kept the scale of my ambition contained, I would tell people one step at a time and that we would be conservative in our approach. The reality was I started this journey with the vision of becoming No 1 at what we do, in the regions in which we operate.
The journey so far has had highs and lows and has certainly taken me out of my comfort zone. However, my belief has been and continues to be that we must embrace opportunity whenever it presents itself even it takes you out of your comfort zone.
This approach has seen us hit 10 staff within 6 months and a further 3 consultants joining the business in August and September. Has this success exceeded our expectations? It certainly has, so much so that we have run out of space.
The plan was to stay in our offices for at least 12 months, however, the opportunity to hire 3 additional senior consultants is one we can’t turn down. So only six months in we have committed to new offices which are three times the size of our current base. Currently, a shell that needs more than a lick of paint, our new base will be brand new and will in theory see us through the next 12 months as it can comfortably accommodate 20+ people. However, if the opportunity to hire more high calibre staff presents itself you never know we might be on the move again.
Myself and Arran Jaiswal regularly talk about the pride we have for what the team has achieved in such a short space of time and we still have to pinch ourselves when we look at the progress that has been made. From that single Mac, coffee machine, and printer we will soon be taking a team of 13 staff into a brand new office, having delivered over £250k in sales in our first 6 months of trading. Our customer base includes the likes of Wilko, Next, Dunelm, Vision Express, Greene King, Saint Gobain, The Nottingham Building Society, and Watt Bike.
We are very fortunate that we have an incredible team around us who share our passion and drive and without them we wouldn’t be where we are today. That said we remain grounded and fully aware that we are only 6 months in and this is only the start of our journey as we set about becoming No1 at what we do in the regions we operate in. We remain committed to investing in our people and technology to ensure we can achieve our goals.
What have been the ingredients to our success so far?
- Hard work
- Having fun and not taking ourselves too seriously
- The team all work for each other
- Always trying to put the customer first, listening to what they want, and acting on it
- Stepping out of our comfort zone and taking our chances
- Embracing technology.
It’s not all been hard work though, some of the team were lucky enough to see our Non-Exec Michael Dawson lift the Championship Play-Off trophy at Wembley. This day and night really topped off what has been a great first 6 months for Distinct…