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About Aspect

My business motto: keep plugging away on Fri 7th November, 2014

Most people think that entrepreneurs are born not made - but former banker Will Davies took a different path to running his own firm. While working at investment bank Societe Generale, he was inspired by the business leaders he advised on a daily basis. It wasn't just the financial rewards of founding a company that caught his eye, but also the level of satisfaction that they derived from their achievements.

His job has made him aware of the problems that commercial property owners faced in trying to find reliable contractors. So he jumped at the chance to leave the relative security of banking to set out on his own in 2005 by buying the assets of a bankrupt property maintenance firm. The assets and the debtors' book were going at a deep discount and the deal only cost him around £15,000, which he and business partner Nick Bizley were able to fund through a bank overdraft. They employed four engineer who had previously worked for the bankrupt firm and started targeting customers.

From day one, Davies' strategy was to build up a business by carrying out a professional service. He hoped that focusing on customer satisfaction - including providing a 24-hour helpline - would set him apart from the legions of small cowboy operators who dominated the industry. He also put a lot of effort into digital advertising, which at the time was still relatively new.

Davies, who is now 39, admits to having many moments of doubt during his first two years in business. It "was quite a shock" suddenly to have to take responsibility for small operational issues such as IT, he says. This was a big change from salaried life as a banker, where such matters were the responsibility of his employer. He also found that business did not grow as smoothly as he had expected. The firm went through several cycles, each lasting a few months, where a period of breakneck growth left him struggling to catch up. During this time he had to make many "tough decisions".

Despite these teething problems, the overall trend was upwards. Many staff at his commercial clients, especially bars and restaurants, recommended his firm to their new employers after they moved jobs. This mean that Davies rapidly gained a good reputation. Meanwhile, his innovative approach to digital advertising started to bring in large numbers of residential customers, who would make up half his business. Within two years, his firm, aspect, had grown so big that it was forced to move to larger premises, with enough room for a dedicated call centre - a change that "really brought home to me that things were final working out", he says.

Since then, aspect has continued to expand. It now employs more than 100 staff with a total turnover of £15m. This success underlines Davies' emphasis on the importance of perseverance, or what he calls "plugging away". He is a firm believer in the idea that "if you focus hard enough on them, most problems will eventually be resolved". Of course, the idea of constantly grinding away may not seem particularly enticing to many people. However, Davies points out that "things usually get easier once you become more established, to don't get discouraged by initial problems".

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John Price, Hillgrove PR.

Hillgrove PR

T. +44 (0) 20 3603 0366