Parse Security Systems Ltd designs and installs security, fire protection and safety solutions for both residential and commercial clients. Systems installed include CCTV, intruder alarms, fire alarms and access control. Parse Security has spent almost 30 years protecting homes and businesses across London and Hertfordshire through the installation of state of the art fire and security systems. Tariq Khan, founder and sole director, spoke with Herts Review about the business and its outlook.
Parse Security have an experienced team of fire and security experts to identify flaws in your security and fire systems. The team are SSAIB (Security Systems and Alarms Inspections Board) approved suppliers and installers therefore all work is done in accordance with British Standards. You can therefore always be assured of a professional service from a dedicated team of professional installers.
Tariq had worked in the security and fire systems space for a long time. Initially working for ADT, the global safety and fire systems company, for a number of years, he had the urge to set up and run his own business. “I was working for a company that was taken over by ADT. I carried on working for ADT but got to a point where I felt I was experienced enough to do this myself. I wanted more freedom and my independence. One of my clients at that time encouraged me to take the leap. They also recommended some work so that was how my business journey started”.
That journey led to the launch of Parse Security Systems Ltd in June 1991 and Tariq and the team have continued to forge ahead. “Initially, I started on my own. I was involved in sales, supplies, installations and all aspects of the business. My first client was a manufacturer of coats in Whitechapel. I installed CCTV in their factory. It really grew from there and since then over 95% of my business has been through recommendations from clients I have provided services to. This is why customer satisfaction is a priority to me”.
Parse Security although based in Potters Bar has undertaken numerous projects in North London, Middlesex and Hertfordshire. “A lot of our projects are commercial projects – factories, warehouses, office complex and retail units. We also undertake projects in the residential sector. We offer a personalized service to all our clients and that is why I have managed our growth so that we do not lose that personal touch. We are a team of 3 including myself. So far, I have rarely advertised for work as all jobs have come through referrals from my clients”.
While Parse Security has witnessed consistent growth over the year, in the early years there were some challenges. “It was mainly establishing our brand and getting clients to understand that we deliver the same quality of work as the bigger companies. We had to provide the services slightly cheaper to get our foot in the door. Today our services are affordable but are neither cheap or expensive. I am really proud of the work we do”.
The covid-19 pandemic however has slowed down the business this year. “The lockdown affected us really badly. The first 3 months we could hardly do any work except emergency call outs. We could not go into homes or commercial buildings so it was tough. Things picked up in July for 2 months but it has gone quiet again. We have had to adjust our operations to this new reality. Where we have projects to do we abide by all government safety measures which includes wearing PPE, Social Distancing and cleaning and sterilizing all equipment we work with. Our client’s safety and our safety is key”.
Looking forward, Tariq is hoping to recover most of the lost business over the lockdown period. “We want to get back to the same level of operation we had before the pandemic in the next 6 months. I would also like to expand the business and grow the team. The business landscape is changing so we will be adjusting to that reality. With more projects and an expanded team I will move into project management providing support and ensuring we maintain our very high standards. I am optimistic for the future”.
If you need security and fire systems that protect your home or business by experienced and professional experts then call Parse Security Systems Ltd on 07908 216 142.
Imperial Contractors is a supplier and installer of high-quality windows and doors for residential and commercial clients throughout Hertfordshire and London. A wide range of windows are on offer including uPVC, timber, and aluminium windows. Doors on offer include bi-folding, patio, and French doors as well as composite front doors. The company also supplies and fits high-quality shutters for various homes. Imperial Contractors founder, Marius Muntean, filled in Herts Review on the strides of the young company and plans for the coming months.
Marius has been in the window installation business for over 13 years. It all started when he was very young. His father was already in the trade and Marius used to watch him at work. At the age of 13, he was helping out his Dad on small projects and learnt how to cut glass under his Dad’s guidance. A job in a double-glazing company followed where he was involved in selling windows and customer service for 3 years. Thereafter, Marius moved to Everest, a major manufacturer of windows in the UK, working on supplies and installations for 5 years.
2 years ago, Marius teamed up with a friend to start a business supplying and fitting windows, doors, and shutters. His friend was a specialist with shutters so while Marius had a background mainly in windows and doors, he learnt about fitting shutters as well. In January 2020, he decided to strike out on his own by starting Imperial Contractors which focuses on the supply of high-quality windows, doors, and shutters for commercial and residential clients.
Imperial Contractors offers affordable services to their clients. “As I have been in the business for a while, I have developed unique relationships with major suppliers around Europe and China. There are factories in Romania and other Eastern European countries manufacturing quality windows and doors. The advantage of getting suppliers from Europe is that the lead time is shorter, and we only work with vetted manufacturers that provide quality products. We do not supply any low-quality products as we do not want dissatisfied customers and it will create more problems for our operations in the long run”.
“We also sell lead free windows. Windows that have lead turn yellow after a while. Our windows do not change colour at all and that is why we have a 5-year guarantee on all the products we supply”.
Starting a new business in 2020 has been a roller coaster of emotions. “This year has been up and down. The year started off well. Although we are a new business, I already have a portfolio of work I had completed in my previous roles. I also had contacts and referrals from customers I had worked for. Some of my previous clients reached out to me or referred me to other clients that need our services. So we were busy. The covid-19 pandemic and lockdown slowed things down a bit. We could not work for 3 months which was not good. It has gradually picked up since July, so we are a bit busy now.
Marius is using a combination of his experience and expertise in window supply and installation to break into a competitive market. “The quality of our work is very good. We are not the cheapest nor the most expensive. We provide quality products with a quality service. We can also price match the competition as long as it does not compromise our quality standard”.
The Bushey, Hertfordshire based company is looking to grow the business by expanding the current team of 3. “I want to expand the team and take on more projects. We are launching a new website showcasing all our products to improve our marketing drive. This will give our customers the option to explore and choose the products and services they want. We are also exploring the option of having a showroom displaying our products as well, but I want to see how things go over the next few months with the covid-19 situation. We will grow organically as I do not want to lose control of the service and quality, we offer our customers”.
Marius wants to stabilize the business over the next 6 months and then pursue other opportunities. If you need to repair or upgrade your windows, doors, or shutters, then call the team at Imperial Contractors for an initial free consultation. You can reach them on 07435514053.
ActionCoach Steve Saunders – Guiding Local Entrepreneurs to Build Their Businesses and Achieve Great Results
ActionCoach is a global business coaching franchise that offers aspiring entrepreneurs personalized one-on-one mentorship from a team of highly qualified business coaches. Showing Business owners how to get more time, build better teams and systems while increasing profits has made ActionCoach the number one business coaching programme in the world with proven systems that offer great results. Steve Saunders, the ActionCoach franchise owner for North Hertfordshire, and surrounding areas in the Midlands, filled in Herts Review on his business journey and how he is motivated to coach other business owners.
Steve unexpectedly came across the ActionCoach programme. Working as a National Franchise Manager for a major kitchen manufacturer meant he travelled the length and breathe of the country managing various franchisees. “I was not looking out for a business coaching programme. My job at the time came with a lot of responsibility of driving our franchise holders to success. One of the stores took an ActionCoach. I was curious and asked them why they needed a business coach as my role was to guide them to success”.
ActionCoach was founded by Brad Sugars in Australia in 1993. The company is now based in Las Vegas, USA with operations in 82 countries and over 1000 coaches. Brad was visiting the UK in the fall of 2014 and Steve was encouraged to attend a meeting. “I went along and was really impressed by Brad’s presentation and vision. I have always been involved in sport as a Ski instructor and Race Coach, but the way Brad used sports analogies to explain business concepts was really fascinating to me. I decided to investigate ActionCoach further”.
Reviewing the programme and its opportunities led to Steve giving up a 24-year career in the Kitchen industry to become an ActionCoach. “I was at a point where I needed a change anyway. There had been executive changes at the company I worked for. The Managing Director had left, and a new CFO had joined. My dissatisfaction level had grown and my vision for helping people through the ActionCoach programme was growing. The ActionCoach programme was easy to join and so my resistance level came down. I joined in June 2015 and completed the training programme in the following weeks”.
For the past 5 years, Steve has been helping various businesses in and around North Hertfordshire achieve their business goals. “Coaching is a people business. You need the right positive attitude to build relationships with people for it to be successful. It is all about results and if clients do not see results, they will leave you. I have focused on teaching my clients how to work on their business and not in the business. The key aspects of any business are getting the customers (sales & marketing), providing goods or services (operations), and getting paid for the work (cashflow). All three need to happen for a business to be successful.
Steve has worked with various businesses over the years including manufacturers, printers, fast food restaurants, accountants, electricians etc. “Everyone needs a coach, but most people do not like coaching. My role is to bring my knowledge and personal experience to help a business owner achieve their goals. I focus on accountability, setting time bound goals and taking action to achieve the goals. The business owner must do the work while I am responsible for guiding them. I run my own business so I share in the experiences of the business owners and can easily connect with them”.
Was moving from a corporate 9 to 5 to becoming his own boss as a business coach challenging? “Of course. There were challenges initially. Getting clients was a challenge. Educating business owners on the benefits of a business coach was not easy. Achieving my target level of income at the start took a great deal of effort. In my experience, there is no silver bullet. You always have to remember why you started the business in the first place and give it your best shot. Through a combination of marketing, networking, consistency, and resilience I overcame those challenges. Ownership and accountability played a big role too. My wife and family were also very supportive”.
Steve runs various coaching programmes tailored to the needs of different business owners. “There is the 1 to 1 coaching programme weekly or fortnightly. There is the group coaching programme monthly and the growth club which meets every quarter to set goals for the next 90 days. There is something for everyone at different budgets. These programmes also help keep the business owners focused. I encourage hard work but also to have a bit of fun along the way. My focus is on time, team, and money.
Although Steve’s coaching programme had been growing year on year, the covid-19 pandemic had an adverse impact on the business. “The lockdown and uncertainty did not help. Our meetings were cancelled as everyone was encouraged to stay at home. It was challenging for us. While technology has provided an alternative, I am a people person that loves to meet people and help them. We have adjusted our programmes. We have virtual meetings, use social media and I do a lot of webinars. Business is picking up and hopefully we will get back to normal soon”.
Looking ahead, Steve wants to grow his business coaching programme by 20% in the next 12 months. “I want to focus on what I can control and not things beyond my control. I enjoy the coaching sessions and working with people with various backgrounds. I will leverage other resources to build a stronger pipeline of business. The target is to have all my business coming from recommendations. I am looking forward to this challenge and I am confident it is achievable.
If you are a business owner just starting out or an existing business looking for growth and expansion or an established business that wants to expand its operations and customer base, perhaps you should speak to ActionCoach Steve. Lots of business owners agree he does a cracking job. Contact Steve here.
4K-AV Ltd – Hertfordshire based Audio-visual Design and Installation Specialists with a National Footprint
4K-AV Ltd is an audio-visual (AV) and security company that designs and installs home cinema, smart homes, multiroom audio and video solutions, security systems and lighting for both residential and commercial clients. With over 20 years’ experience in AV consultancy, system design, equipment supply, installation services, project management and support the team at 4K-AV Ltd provide services to a wide range of corporate, public sector and domestic clients. The founder, Kelvin Lee filled in Herts Review on the business and plans in the coming months.
4K-AV’s services are split into 2 main categories – residential and commercial. Residential services include home cinema, media room, surround sound and smart homes that control and integrate various products into one – security, CCTV, smart lighting, smart heating, blinds, TV, and music systems controlled from one button. Commercial services include audio and video systems for board rooms, meeting rooms, video walls (multiple screens) and media rooms. The team have also done some interesting audio and video installations for sports centres and across various floors in a building.
In partnership with the Dutch medical technology company Active Cues, 4K-AV Ltd also supplies and installs Tovertafel, a console that activates people with dementia or cognitive disabilities using interactive light projections to care homes in the UK.
Kelvin took an interest in AV at a relatively young age. “I had an interest in technology. I was fascinated with computers. I liked taking things apart and putting them back. I started by building computers and installing programmes that improved the speed of the computer. A close friend was already in the AV industry and invited me to try it out and I loved it and have never looked back. School was not really my thing. I rather be out there working on stuff, so it was natural that I followed this path.
After 10 years working with various AV companies learning and perfecting his craft, Kelvin started his own business. “The last AV company I worked for was based in Hemel Hempstead which unfortunately went bust. I had always had this idea that I wanted my own business as I wanted the freedom to do my own stuff. In August 2015, 4K-AV Ltd was born. We are a family run business. I work with my wife Gina and my brother Raymond. Gina handles the administrative side of the business while Raymond and I are involved in sales, supplies and installations”.
Although the business has doubled in the last 5 years, the transition from working for other AV companies to running an AV company was not entirely smooth. “There was a learning curve to be honest. Working for other AV companies, I was involved mainly in installations or fulfilling customer orders. My role then was to give the client the right product and make sure it works well. When you run your own business, you are involved in everything. I had to learn the business, learn how to source products, and make orders, scheduling and all the logistics around it. In hindsight, I should have had a mentor in this space to guide me through that phase. Luckily, we have come through that phase.
The covid-19 pandemic has been a mixed blessing for Kelvin and the company. “The early part of this year and last year was probably the best time for our business since we started trading. We were very busy on several projects. However, because of the lockdown from March to June, we did no installations as we were not allowed into homes or offices. In that time, Gina and I welcomed our first child, so it was an opportunity to spend some time together as a family unit and settle in the little one. Business gradually picked up from July and we have adjusted how we operate in line with the government regulations. We use PPE, we clean and sterilize all equipment and we always observe the social distancing measures.
There is however some opportunity in the commercial and residential sector because of pandemic. “We are seeing some changes as businesses adjust their ways of working. More office space is converted into meeting rooms and existing meeting rooms are being expanded because of social distancing. Old audio and visual equipment are being replaced as well. As more people work from home and have online meetings, home networking, Wi-Fi and structural cabling have become particularly important. Hopefully, this should help the sector recover”.
4K-AV’s unique customer service is setting it apart from the competition. “We really care about our customers. We listen to their needs, design, and recommend functional solutions that work for them. We are not in the habit of selling expensive products that people do not understand or need just to make money. In the long run, it creates more problems and does not reflect well on our brand. We supply and install quality products only and do not compromise on this. Our approach has won us a lot of business and recommendations”.
Looking ahead, Kelvin has ambitious plans for the company. “We are increasing our online marketing footprint to attract more customers and grow the business. A new website with details of all our services is set to launch in the next week. Early next year, we are launching a rentable garden cinema which is a gazebo with cinema which could be used for kids’ parties, football nights etc. A showroom on the high street that gives our customers some insight into what solutions they can get for their homes or offices and the quality of our work is also in the pipeline. We would not only rely on foot traffic, but the showroom would give a full extent of what we can do”
Exciting times then. Kelvin is also looking to grow the team so that he can focus on new product development, strategy and bringing in new business while overseeing projects and installations. If you are looking for audio-visual solutions or consultancy for your home or office, then contact the team at 4K-AV Ltd here.
Anderson Davie Interior Design Ltd is an emerging interior designer outfit specialising in creating personalized and functional spaces with a visual and emotional concept. The company’s unique high-end designs are tailored around the client’s personality and needs. Anderson Davie’s evolving and timeless designs are great for both residential and commercial projects. The co-founders and directors, Chelsea Anderson and Paula Davie spoke with Herts Review laying out their business and aspirations.
Friends for 20 years, Paula and Chelsea were attracted to each other’ style and personality. Paula has a background in Music and Entertainment and worked in a leading Architectural practice until recently while Chelsea managed several other businesses. According to Paula “Anderson Davie Interior Design has come at the right time. As friends with a lot of interest in interior design we aspired to bring something unique. Designs with personality and underlying stories. Due to covid-19 pandemic, I was furloughed then made redundant from the Architectural practice I worked for, so Chelsea and I teamed up to launch our own interior design company. It just seemed the right time”.
Both founders completed an interior design course at the Interior Design Institute, London and are already working on a major residential project in Hertfordshire. Their client has asked for the redesign of the entire building. “Through my partner, we met this wonderful lady that asked us to redesign her entire house. She is flexible with the budget and we have been asked to create a unique design and feel for her home. As this is our first major project under the Anderson Davie brand, we are extremely excited” remarks Chelsea. Other proposals and projects in the pipeline are likely to follow.
Anderson Davie Interior Design has been trading since August 2020. Launching a business in the middle of a pandemic has been exciting although there have been challenges. “Our challenges are not from the design aspect or client work. It is more from administrative stuff like opening a bank account which we assumed would be easy. In addition, due to the covid-19 movement restrictions, we have seen a delay in some of our orders but it is a general thing so we just press on with what we have to do” remarks Paula.
The team have done an excellent job launching the business utilizing their wide network of friends, family, and previous colleagues. “The contacts we have built up over the years have come good with our project. They have been extremely helpful. While Chelsea and I focus on the design aspect of the business, we have architects, public relations, web designers, branding and other freelancers that have worked with us all the way in some cases to build relationships or to contribute to our project” says Paula. They also have a list of vetted tradespeople that work on their various projects.
The co-founders of Anderson Davie Interior Design Ltd are extremely passionate about interior design. The Hertfordshire based company are open to both residential and commercial projects and will work with various budgets. “With the lockdown, many people at home and the government requirement to work from home, we have seen a lot of demand for what we do. Some people have realised their home can look better while others are embarking on house extensions and conversions. We want to take advantage of this opportunity to grow our interior design footprint in the residential market” says Chelsea.
She continues “Our services cannot always be seen as a cost as what we do will add value to the property so there is a return on investment. One of the clients we are speaking with has had a property on the market for a while. We have a proposal to work on the interior to make it saleable”. The team are looking to take on more residential and commercial projects. A potential project with a coffee shop and an office redesign project are also in the pipeline.
Anderson Davie Interior Design has come at the right time. Paula and Chelsea are combining their experience and love for interior design to create a unique brand. Using a blend of colours, textures and styles, there is a story behind every design which strives to reflect the personality of the client, so their home reflects them. “Over the next 6 months to a year, we want to build a really strong portfolio reflecting a diverse range of clients. Of course, to achieve that, we want to work on more projects and grow our team” says Chelsea.
The company also wants a feature story in Elle Magazine, the bible for interior design. “As we complete more projects showing our meticulous work and unique style, we will love to be interviewed by the team in Elle Magazine. That would be a great achievement for us, and we believe it will lead to bigger projects in the future” says Paula. Okay ladies, we think a feature story with Herts Review is a good start and our team are hoping you achieve all your aspirations.
Fancy a new look in your home or office? Need to carve out some office space in your living area? Or you need an expert and professional eye to reorganise your living space with great designs? Reach out to the team at Anderson Davies Interior Designs here.
T Brown Polishing Ltd offer French polishing and spraying for the wood finishing industry. French polishing is a wood finishing technique that results in a very high gloss surface, with a deep colour and glazed outcome. T Brown Polishing’s work covers a broad spectrum from touching up scruff marks to burnishing doors and panels. Over the years, they have undertaken numerous projects in the residential and commercial sectors. The founder, Trevor Brown gave Herts Review some insight into the business and plans for the next few years.
The company’s services include furniture restoration, kitchen refinishing, re-leathering, contract finishing, clean and reviving amongst others. With over 25 years’ experience in the trade, T Brown Polishing has worked on a range of projects including 5-Star Hotels, Government Buildings, major Office complex and residential properties across Hertfordshire, UK and globally. Recently, the team completed a major project in New York. The team could be respraying a kitchen in a domestic property or polishing furniture in a major bank headquarters.
Trevor started out in the motor vehicle industry. He completed a motor vehicle course in college and started spraying cars. He loved spraying, perfected the craft, and picked up other techniques after moving into the wood finishing industry. After 16 years working for various companies, Trevor founded T Brown Polishing and the company started trading in January 2012. The company has grown to a team of 7 excluding sub-contractors. “We offer a service that saves money. For instance, instead of replacing the kitchen in your home, we can respray the kitchen and make it look new at 10% of the cost of replacing the entire kitchen. The outcome is the same”.
Over 60% of the company’s services are with furniture manufacturers and suppliers. “We do a lot of the polishing and spraying for furniture manufacturers enabling them get the ideal finish. We also spray a lot of kitchens in the domestic market and undertake big commercial projects in London and other major cities around the world. Most of our clients have been with us from day 1 and they believe in the quality of our services and trust our work.
Where there any challenges starting the business or what would he have done differently in hindsight? “We have been extremely lucky as we had already landed our first client before we started trading. Things just carried on from there through recommendations and referrals. We have always been busy. The business was funded through family loan and we have paid back the loan. I just wished I had started sooner. There was no need to spend all that time working for other people”.
Operating from its facility in Takeley, Essex, the company undertakes both on-site and off-site services. For instance, if it is a kitchen spraying job that will be on-site. For furniture restoration or re-leathering, the items are transported back to the workshop and returned after completion. T Brown Polishing guarantee an excellent finish using quality products.
Fortunately, the covid-19 pandemic did not have a major impact on operations. The team carried on working in their workshop while complying with government safety rules. “We use PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), use hand sanitizers and comply with the social distancing guidelines. We operate in a safe manner and if we are doing jobs on-site in a residence, we work in an area on our own without anyone present”.
The company has an established customer base from years in the trade and relationships built with furniture suppliers, construction companies and major developers. “We are not the cheapest neither are we the most expensive. We are recognised for the quality of our work which means a lot of repeat business. The bulk of our work comes through referrals and the networks we have built over time. In addition, we advertise in print and online media to expand our customer base.
Trevor is not slowing down. He is a workaholic. “I really love what I do. I like meeting new people. I have met a lot of interesting people working in this trade. I am also extremely comfortable working on various projects”. The business has doubled its’ turnover in the last 5 years, but Trevor is looking to grow another 25% in the next 12 to 24 months working on more property refurbishments, respray and restore projects.
If you are not happy with the way your kitchen looks maybe it could do with a respray. For furniture restoration and re-leathering or if you need a French polisher, the team from T Brown Polishing are available to offer an excellent service. Contact the team on 01279 879 050 or here.
Are you in and around St Albans? Are you looking for a haircut from professional barbers? Do you like a 5-star service at very reasonable prices? If the answer to all these questions is Yes, then head over to Headcase Barbers, St Albans, the locally owned professional barbers with an international appeal. Headcase Barbers are the best barbers in St Albans offering great haircuts, good music, a cosy environment, and an excellent service by a friendly team.
With over 50 Google 5-star reviews and numerous testimonials, do not take our word for it. Customer Stephano Janse Van Rensburg says “Very professional and genuinely nice staff. Charlie was really good with cutting my hair and making my beard look great! All staff use PPE and are fully equipped to cut hair and more. Easy to book and reasonable prices! Thank you!”. Another customer Rob Quinn says “Best barbers in town. Friendly, great music, professional staff, and a seriously good trim. Relaxed and enjoyable. Cannot recommend this place enough”. Paul Lesnik, the founder of Headcase Barbers, St Albans had a chat with Herts Review discussing the business and his aspirations.
Paul had always been keen to start his own business even at a young age. Growing up with parents that were entrepreneurs really rubbed off on him. He liked the idea of ownership and the opportunity to create stuff for other people. After completing an apprenticeship in hair dressing (in 2 years instead of 4 because he was so keen), Paul worked in various salons for 11 years. “It was an opportunity for me to learn my craft and explore my creative side. I enjoyed working in hair salons, but I wanted to focus on haircuts for men. Barbers had become trendy again as a lot of men were taking more interest in their appearance and so there was strong demand”.
After years of planning and research, an opportunity came up in early 2013 to purchase a Headcase Barbers Franchise. Paul found a shop in St Albans and purchased the franchise. Headcase Barbers, St Albans officially opened for business in December 2014. “Headcase Barbers started in 2000 and by 2003 it had developed its franchise model. At the time, Headcase Barbers would only locate a shop in an area if someone local was running it. We were the 9th shop to open with the Headcase brand. Although we have an international brand, we remain local at heart. We are independently run. Everything about Headcase Barbers, St Albans are my ideas, products, and services”.
Paul was born in St Albans, attended the local schools and has lived in the area all his life. Headcase Barbers has been an opportunity to bring a unique experience with international appeal to St Albans. St Albans has grown in the last 20 years becoming a major commuter town to London and an area with a lot of professionals and wealthy people. “Most of our customers are in their late 20s to late 40s. Usually they are professionals that work in offices, have young families or are early retirees from successful careers. We are a team of 3 friendly barbers, and we offer a unique experience to anyone that visits our shop”.
Due to the covid-19 pandemic, Headcase Barbers, St Albans has slightly adjusted the way it operates. The shop measures roughly 80 square foot and has 3 cutting stations with 3 barbers. This means it is easily complies with socially distancing. The shop has stopped walk-ins and all haircuts are through its booking system on nearcut.com. “Our message is that it is safe to have a haircut. All services are based on appointments only and in-between appointments we clean and sterilise all sections and tools in the shop. There is no longer a waiting area, so you do not have a shop full of people. All our barbers wear PPE, and each client must have a mask on while respecting social distancing. We encourage everyone to look out for each other”.
The covid-19 lockdown had a big impact on business reducing the number of haircuts a day significantly but there has been massive improvement in the last 3 months. The shop is also embarking on a publicity campaign through social media and the various networks they have access to. “Obviously, there is a lot of uncertainty at the moment. We are staying positive. We clearly know we must be creative and adapt going forward. We are positioning our brand and putting out some promotions to drive business”.
One of the main challenges Paul had when he started the business was finding the right people to work with. “There has been some good experiences and not so good experiences. Matt and Charlie have joined the team. I feel we are a settled team of 3 including myself. We have the same aspirations and work to the same standards. The most important part of our business is our people. We are looking forward to many more years working together”.
Do you need a professional haircut by St Albans’s finest barbers? If yes, make an appointment to visit the Headcase Barbers shop at Holywell Hill and you will not be disappointed. Book an appointment here.
GCK Business Services Ltd is a Luton based company offering printing, shipping, and mailbox services. Through its franchise with Mail Boxes Etc (MBE), it offers worldwide parcel delivery, courier & postal services, printing, copying, mailbox rental and virtual office services. Its range of printing services covers business cards, leaflets, customized gift cards to friends, family, and customers as well as branding materials. Guy Keen, the founder of GCK Business Services Ltd gave Herts Review an insight into the business.
Prior to embarking on his entrepreneurial journey, Guy worked as a Print Buyer for a national company. He was running the warehouse, picking, and dispatching items. Due to various reorganisations within the business he took on other roles in new product development and sales. Further reorganisations also meant the warehouse was to be shut which meant his role was to become redundant. After leaving the company, Guy researched various opportunities and with the encouragement of a friend (now a director of GCK Business Services Ltd), settled on establishing an MBE franchise in Luton. At the time, he leveraged his 5 years’ experience in the printing industry and 20 years’ experience in sales, operations and purchasing roles.
GCK Business Services Ltd also trading as Mail Boxes Etc, Luton started operations in May 2010 offering printing, shipping, and mailbox services. “I started off the business not sure what I was doing. Although there was some training from MBE, most of my knowledge came from actually serving clients and understanding their needs. For instance, the cost of printing a leaflet depends on many variables – what is the leaflet for, the size, colour, volume etc. I did not learn this on a training course. It came from dealing with client requests and solving their problems”.
The early years were a struggle for the business until Guy hired a business coach. “I was going through the motions. I needed help. The greatest thing to happen to my business was hiring Steve Saunders, a business coach who had been there and done it. He helped me put a lot of things into perspective and learn to work on my business and not in my business. This means my business is designed around process and systems that are scalable. With or without me the business can run otherwise it is just a job. Before I was doing everything – sales, fulfilment, product design etc. Now I stick to a few tasks for which I have documented the processes. Diana also joined the team 8 years ago and has been a great asset to the business.
With the prevalence of the internet and technology, traditional printing is on life support. GCK had to adapt its business to survive. “The era where we have bulk printing jobs is over. Most printing jobs now would be a maximum spend of £500. If there are bigger jobs from large corporates, they are usually done in-house. We focus on small and medium enterprises providing solutions for their problems. Unlike other printers, I do not focus on what the customer wants. I focus on their needs. I ask a lot of questions to understand the reason behind a request. It could mean them spending less money, but they get value and always come back for more services”.
So how has he coped with the likes of Vistaprint and other online printers? “Vistaprint has done a great job for my business. My business coach always advised me to have an image of my ideal customer and channel all my efforts to serving them. Our service is based on quality and delivery. If we provide one service really well then, we get more services and recommendations. As our focus is on solving their problems rather than selling anything, we build trust and the customers become loyal as well. We are not targeting the big companies as they have in-house resources and will not value our services. Instead, we are targeting the little guy that is not sure what they need and will therefore appreciate our advice and service”.
GCK’s operations has grown year on year before the covid-19 pandemic. The covid-19 pandemic has led to a 20% reduction of the overall business. Printing volumes are down but have been offset by increase in demand for shipping and mailbox rentals. “With offices closed, less events and business activities, there has been a reduction in printing services. However as there are more redundancies and restricted movement, there has been more mailbox and virtual office rentals as people launch new businesses to offset redundancies and move items through our delivery services. If printing recovers, then we would be in a much stronger position”.
Through networking and marketing, Guy is looking to stabilize the business in the next 6 to 12 months. “We will continue to be creative and adapt to our new realities. Every person or business has one challenge or the other. Somehow, we can offer solutions to these problems with our range of services”. If you are looking for quality printing services or need items shipped across the globe or need to rent a mailbox or virtual office, contact GCK Business Services on 01582 456 404.
Team1 Construction Ltd are a London based building services and property maintenance company covering Greater London and the Home Counties. Its building services covers all aspects of property extensions, house renovation, house refurbishment and developments. The company covers even the most complex aspects of building construction from design to development including new builds. The founder, Assaf Touboul recently spoke with Herts Review about building a construction brand and the company’s future aspirations.
Assaf has been in the construction industry for over 13 years. His journey to construction entrepreneur had started from undertaking projects for friends and family in his spare time while working in various construction roles in his full-time job. He was involved in all aspects of construction from house extensions to loft conversations to building driveways. “I was already involved in various aspects of construction. It was like once I finished a project there would be a demand for something else. This made me realise that at some point I would want to start and own my own business”
Assaf’s role as project manager for a construction company meant he was responsible for project delivery, but he also found himself involved in bringing new business and thought it was time to strike out on his own. On October 2018, Team1 Construction Ltd started trading and has not looked back. “I teamed up with my friend Oded Loulay (founder of 1GS Security) to develop the business. Oded has strong skills and experience in marketing and running the background operations. I love being out there, managing my team to deliver projects and meeting new people. So, it was the right fit. Our skills are complimentary.”
According to Assaf, starting off was a bit challenging as you need to establish the brand and gain the confidence of customers. Through a combination of hard work, delivering exceptional services which has led to strong recommendations and referrals, the business is on the growth path. “We have various on-going projects now so business is strong despite the challenges we had this year due to covid-19 lockdown which meant we could not operate for 8 weeks. We are doing better now compared to last year. I believe our integrity, experience and personalised service has helped us a lot with customers. Our customers only deal with one person from start to finish of the project.”
In addition to running Team1 Construction, Assaf is also the Operations Director for 1GS Security Ltd and handles all the installation and technical aspects of the business. The security products division of 1GS Security installs driveway gates, railings, and steel fabrication for security installations. He combines both roles well and takes advantage of the synergies it brings. There are chances a customer undertaking a building project may need security products like driveway gates and railings and vice versa. This has really helped both businesses.
With Team1’s experience, quality finish and strong reputation within the building industry, it now gets a lot of new clients through recommendations, referrals from developers it has worked with and social media advertising. The company is bullish about the future and looking to add 2 more teams to grow the business by 50%. “Our organic growth is key. We do not want to grow too quickly and lose our values and standards. It is important we strengthen our brand by constantly delivering excellent projects. The important thing is to have sufficient work to sustain the team so that everyone is busy”.
Team1 Construction’s main focus is on residential property although they have undertaken a few commercial projects. “Our strategy is to take away the stress that comes with a building project. With my experience in project management, a customer can hand over their entire building project to me and I will manage all aspects of the project and get it done. I get the team and subcontractors working together to deliver a high-quality finish that will meet the customer’s needs. We are finishing off some existing projects and looking forward to more projects”.
One area of growth due to the covid-19 lockdown is garden offices. It is obvious that working from home is the new normal and so the team are experiencing increased demand for garden offices. Assaf is excited and looking forward to completing more projects. See a sample garden office delivered by the team below.
If you are based in Greater London or Hertfordshire and looking for a reputable builder that would deliver with a great finish, then talk to Team1 Construction team. Here is a link to their website.
1GS Security Ltd is one of the fastest growing London based security companies offering first class security and protection services for both residential and commercial clients across Greater London and the Home Counties. 1GS Security services offers 2 main categories of security – manned guarding and security products. Manned guarding comprises mainly close protection, mobile patrol, event security. The company also supplies and installs bespoke driveway gates, railings, and roller shutters as part of its security products category. The founder, Oded Loulay gave Herts Review the story behind the successful growth of the company.
1GS was founded in October 2010. Oded the founder had served in the Israeli Military Service before he moved into private security business. “I have been in the security business for over 22 years. After my stint in the military service, I moved into private security business in 2002. I ran a successful private security service for high net worth individuals and celebrities for almost 8 years. While I enjoyed the work, it was unpredictable as my services depended on the daily routine of my client. I needed to be available 24/7 for my clients. As my personal circumstances were changing, I felt I needed to utilise my skills and experience in a different way”.
Utilizing his skills and experience in security business and balancing life changes led to the birth of 1GS security Services Ltd. The company initially provided only manned guarding services to events, private residences, office buildings, construction development projects, bars and pubs but has recently diversified into security products for residential and commercial properties. “Our business is still mainly centred on manned guarding, but we are growing the security products division and want to see it account for a greater part of our business.”
Oded’s friend and partner, Assaf Touboul has a construction design and development background and has been instrumental to the growth of the security products division. “Assaf is our Operations Director. He is responsible for sourcing the right products and our installation service. He brings a wealth of experience from his construction background which has helped the business a lot. Today the supply and installation of security products accounts for 25% of our revenue and is growing.”
Aside the first few months of operations while the business was trying to establish itself and build trust with clients, 1GS Security had consistently grown year on year before the covid-19 pandemic and lockdown slowed down part of the operations of the business. “Prior to the pandemic, we had 80 full time security guards and 50 part time security guards. Due to the lockdown and restriction in movement, a lot of offices were shut so we lost almost 95% of our business. We are gradually recovering operating almost 60% of our business with 40 full time guards and 20 part time. It has been tough, but it is the same with every other business.
Despite the uncertainty due to covid-19, Oded is optimistic that there are other opportunities for 1GS Security. The company is looking to grow the security products division of the business as there is currently a growth in demand. “At the moment we have an installation team comprising 3 team members. Our goal is to double the size of the business and add at least 2 more installation teams in the next 6 to 12 months. At the moment we are fully booked for the rest of the year, so it is looking promising”.
The teams combined experience of over 100 years in security products and services, strong testimonials and reputation for excellent service delivery would serve the business well as it pursues its growth plans. “A lot of our business comes through recommendations from people we have worked with or people who have heard about our business. We are extremely proud of our brand and service excellence. We are close to our 10th anniversary and I could not be happier with the team and what we have collectively achieved”.
In the short term, Oded and the team are stabilizing the business and dealing with the uncertainty from covid-19 and are looking to a future where they can offer more of their services. If you are looking for quality security products or services by an expert team with high standards, then speak to the team at 1GS Security Services. See link to their website.