Article by Sean Murphy, Consultant and Director at Evidential Ltd
About Sean Murphy
Educated to degree level in graphic design, Sean started his career working at the Imaging Unit of Greater Manchester Police as an Imaging Analyst.
Some of the high-profile work Sean worked on included million-pound drug operations, football hooligan violence and many different murder cases. Sean also worked on the in-quest into the deaths caused by Dr. Harold Shipman.
We met up with Guy Remond, Founder of thestartupfactory.tech (pictured left) for our latest client focus Q&A.
1) What is your business?
I co-own and own two businesses. The first is thestartupfactory.tech, which helps tech start-ups build their product, prepare and then execute rapid growth. thestartupfactory.tech is made up of an eclectic mix of experienced commercial operators and software engineering leaders and engineers. We want to talk to entrepreneurs who have a great tech product idea in a sector they have extensive experience in. thestartupfactory.tech works with a network of trusted companies who we can bring in to support the start-up as and when required. Bermans is one of our trusted advisors in this network.
My second business is Sky Blue Consulting (a brand of Sky Blue Financial Investments Ltd.) – using the knowledge gained from earning numerous badges and scars over many years running businesses, I help companies prepare for and execute on rapid growth. I also invest in these businesses, sharing the risk as well as the upside. This means I only work with a limited number at any one time.
2) Which solicitors do you use at Bermans and how do we compare to other firms?
Jon Davage and Robin Hastings were the main lawyers who advised us through the acquisition of my previous company Cake Solutions which was acquired by BAMTECH INC. which is now owned by The Walt Disney Company. Jon and Robin used their experience to mitigate risk for scenarios I never saw coming, saving the shareholders significant sums of money.
Andrew Koffman has supported the Cake shareholders with some commercial work.
Robin Hastings has supported thestartupfactory.tech with contracts with some of our clients.
A number of Bermans lawyers have supported thestartupfactory.tech clients in a number of different ways.
Bermans have extensive experience in working with tech start-ups, have often exceeded our expectations and share the same high growth ambition as my clients.
3) What are the biggest challenges you face in growing your business and maintaining profits?
Both thestartupfactory.tech and Sky Blue Consulting do not look for quick profit; we want to work with ambitious companies who we help build a solid foundation for growth with the expectation that we will make money further down the line based on the success of the client. A genuine shared risk scenario.
4) Tell us about your typical working day?
I feel very privileged that I am in full control of what I do each day. I work hard and aim to work with like-minded people who have ambition, drive and talent. The net result is that my week is incredibly varied, a mix of trips to meet with my clients, video conference calls and some time in the office and home office.
Increasingly I am trying to mix work with exercise and quality sleep. I also make sure that I am very active socially, with colleagues, friends and family.
5) What has been a highlight for your business over the last 12 months?
Sky Blue Consulting has only just been set up, however, I am very happy with how things are going with the first three companies I am working with under this brand.
However, thestartupfactory.tech is the real success story. We have worked with or are working with 11 companies in the first two years of operation. Ian Brookes, Cake Solutions’ ex non-exec director and an incredible mentor to myself, has build and lead the team with great success. thestartupfactory.tech team can be justifiably be proud of how they have supported and continue to support the companies we have worked with to date.
Several of the companies are now ploughing ahead under their own steam with a great product and growing teams. I am really excited to see how they get on in the coming years.
6) What are your plans for your business for the year ahead?
Having left school at 17 and following the successful acquisition of Cake Solutions, I am taking quite a bit of time off this year to reenergise and spend quality time of with family and friends. I have purposefully kept the number of companies I am working with this year low.
I look forward to continue to work with thestartupfactory.tech team in 2020 and building a solid portfolio of companies I invest in and help them build a platform for high growth through to greater success or acquisition.
7) Is there are sector or industry that you are strong in or looking to develop opportunities?
thestartupfactory.tech works with tech product companies. Through Sky Blue Consultancy I am already working with a mix of companies, in the financial sector, marketing sector and in the health sector.
8) If you were chancellor, what single change would you make to help improve the economy and/or your business?
The SME sector in the UK is world class and I would hope that any government, in particular the Chancellor, will continue to support SME’s. We have to actively encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs with policies that support them and the businesses they create and build.
There will be more change in the world of business in the next 10 years than in the last 30, driven by the massive impact technology will have as well as global issues such as climate change, the ever increasing population and instability within regions around the world for any number of reasons.
The government has a responsibility to keep up much quicker with these changes so it can effectively support the entrepreneurs who will help solve some of these issues far quicker and more efficiently than any government can.
9) What are your passions away from business?
I am fortunate to have a very healthy social life and I really enjoy travelling whether it be on business or personally.
Other than my family and friends my other big passion is following Manchester City, having gone to most home games since I was 8. My dad has been going since he was 8 and now my children are keen supporters. I love going to watch the game with family and friends.
10) Do you have any business tips to share with our readers?
I think the most important thing you need to build a successful company is to build a team around you so you can operate extensively in your areas of unique ability and they are all operating in their areas of specialism and unique ability.
By working towards this goal, a great idea and a clear vision, everyone will be increasingly happy. They will be working efficiently and providing you with the platform you need to achieve high growth, a healthy bottom line and ultimately success.
If you would like to speak to Guy please email him on email@example.com
Locking in your key employees is always a balancing act between work life balance, remuneration packages and showing employees they are valued and part of the very fabric of the organisation.
One of the most effective ways of imbedding employees into your business is through capital ownership, which provides a shared goal towards exit and increasing value.
This is a powerful way to tell a key employee of their value to the business and can create an “in this together” attitude.
Such a structure creates rewards for all on a fair basis through the eventual sale of the business.
One of the most popular types of employee share option schemes with SMEs is enterprise management incentives (‘EMI’).
EMI schemes are a popular way of attracting and retaining employees and they can provide significant tax benefits.