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TGt Meets... Gareth Taylor, Inception
In our latest TGt Meets interview, we've been speaking to Gareth Taylor, Founder and Managing Director of Inception; a Swindon based company specialising in the supply and maintenance of print and copy equipment.
1. What inspired you to set up Inception?
I was travelling a lot throughout the UK and Europe and spending more time away from home, while fun at times, the main reason I was working was to support a family, however what I was actually doing was reducing the strength of relationship with my family. I probably spend far more time working now, however I’m home every evening and its easier to come home, spend time with family and then if needed continue working later in the evening.
2. Describe your business in three words...
Responsive, Personal & Dependable.
3. What makes your business different from your competitors?
We’ve worked hard to both differentiate and remove barriers to adoption, Inception have pioneered the 90 day rental which is great for start-ups, short term projects, or those who’s business may be more dynamic over the next few years together with the ‘Pay As You Go’ model which provides everything in a single cost per print model (all hardware, toners, maintenance parts and labour). Inception also guarantee all our hardware for the full length of the contract – if at any time you feel the machine has become less-reliable, Inception will replace the machine ‘like for like’ – this is done at the customers request.
4. Are there any specific skills or personality traits you need to be a successful business owner?
You have to know that you will keep going where others have given up, the biggest difference between those who are successful and those that are not, is the point at which they give up. I’m not suggesting you should ‘flog a dead horse’, but continued effort is one of the biggest differentiators.
Beyond this, you need to have a desire and willingness to continually improve, change and grow, on day one, you need to be excellent in sales and marketing and customer service, as you grow you still need that same skillset, but you will also need to educate yourself with HR with time you may need to know risk and projections – while all skills can be ‘bought in’, the reality is that all SME owners will need a good understanding of almost all business elements at some time or another, the key is to view knowledge as something fluid and continually in need of topping up – its ok to admit you don’t know something and have to go and get that knowledge, and don’t be afraid to accept that someone else may have some knowledge (and therefore ideas) that you haven’t thought of.
5. Why do you think Swindon is such an attractive place for businesses?
Swindon is fantastic, it’s a great ‘sweet-spot’ between Bristol and London where rents are affordable, road and rail network is well positioned for all direction and has a high enough population to fulfill recruitment needs. There is also high growth in Swindon’s commercial spaces, this is both providing additional space for business, and also a growing pool of differing talent and customer base.
6. How do you like to spend your time off?
I run my own business – what time off? Im a dad of three and very active in my local church, but I do manage to squeeze in some limited time for sailing and kayaking.
7. What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Convincing my wife to say Yes – my greatest single sales achievement!
We have also built a company together from scratch that brings gainful employment to 15 people and a customer base that has given us great support (and some lasting friendships) over the years.
8. What have been your key challenges and how have you overcome them?
Finding the right people who can represent your brand is always going to be difficult, no-one will ever be (or should be) as passionate about what you do in your business as you are, as a result, its hard to let go some of the roles and allow others to make decisions, and its hard to find someone who meets your own opinion of how well you think you represent yourself to customers. The reality is however that you rarely grow as a company if you do-not release some of decision making process, and those that work with you will out grow you if you fail to allow them room to make decisions and grow.
9. Your 2pm meeting has been cancelled, meaning you now have a two-hour lunch break. What do you do?
Drive to Eggelicious, their food is great on the go, leaving 1 hour and 45 minutes left to catch up on emails.
10. What are your plans for the future?
Continue to grow and secure the business locally in the short term, looking to expand office presence to Guildford and Bedford in the medium term. Were also looking at the option for an Apple Store in Swindon – it's about time.