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sixty seconds
telephones promoting ourselves
and our products. Very soon we
were able to move into our
premises and bought our first van.
Initially either Barb or I would
For Shropshire’s Mike deliver in the van (taking turns
Webb, it really was a
– although of course, I had some
case of starting his career
very important jobs to do in the
at the foot of the ladder,
unit so Barb took more turns than
but since those early
me) thankfully we very soon
days in a shoe shop
added to our team with a driver,
then another, then another.
he’s come a long way,
We now have a nice friendly
as Border Business staff of eight. Having done the
discovers by speaking
‘rounds’ of driving, it gave us a
to the man behind
good understanding of what we
Natural Welsh Water
Q. Have we interupted? salary and my first brand new car, expected from our employees and
A. I just finished preparing my a BMW 325 which I loved to drive. we also got to know the customers
drivers’ job sheets and route I travelled the country selling on a personal level.
planning for tomorrow’s water my wares and found that good
deliveries. I’ve also just finished old-fashioned customer service Q. What is the best advice you
preparing an order with our and attention to detail got me past can offer other businesses?
suppliers for new Water Coolers many (usually) closed doors and A. Good businesses are built by
to add to our stock. my career blossomed. good staff. I try to be a fair and
CURRICULUM VITAE All things must come to an end honest manager but if the staff feel
Q. What was your first job? and in the mid 90’s I had I’m not, then I listen to them and
Date of birth: 11th A. My first job after leaving school experienced a ride in a hot air try to resolve it. Staff are the first
December 1958 was as a trainee manager in a balloon and became totally hooked point of contact for our customers
Qualifications: Eight shoe shop – I had started as a on the sport. I moved to and if they are not happy in their
O-Levels junior ‘runner’ (the one who went Shropshire and into a completely work I want to know and
School: Island School, to collect the shoes for customers), different world of selling – this understand why. We feel customer
Hong Kong. Kings working in the school holidays and time, hot air balloon equipment for service is critical in our business
College, Somerset was then offered the trainee the manufacturer in Oswestry and we work hard to resolve any
Marital Status: Married manager’s position. It was a very where I stayed until 2005. issues and even harder to prevent
Likes: Fast cars, old fashioned shop where them arising in the first place.
motorbikes, and the customer service and good Q. How did you get started with
warm weather manners were paramount and it Natural Welsh Water? Q. What is the best piece of
Dislike: Bad manners, gave me a good grounding for my A. My wife Barbara and I had been advice you've ever been given?
poor service working life. However, I soon looking for something to do A. The best advice – “it’s better to
Hobbies/Interests: Flying realised dealing with other together and a friend of ours in the keep your mouth shut and appear
(I am a hot air balloon people’s feet was not my idea of South of England had been stupid than to open it and remove
pilot), riding my VFR750 the perfect job and I turned my involved in the business of renting all doubt” – no seriously, I guess I
motorbike and travelling attention to my love and passion water coolers. We had a meeting would need to go back to my first
of motorbikes after landing a job in with him and invited ourselves to a job in the shoe shop where good
For more information: a local motorcycle dealership as seminar and exhibition on the manners and old-fashioned parts manager. subject and it took off from there. customer service were hammered
Tel: 01691 700000 In this role I was in charge of a Initially, in late 2005, we ran our home. I would advise anyone
significant budget and I believe this business from home as the starting in business to understand
gave me a good understanding of building we had found was not their target market and concentrate
business. Although the pay was completely finished. It was a on good customer-staff relations.
quite low, I stayed with the squeeze as our orders for water Chase the dream and not
dealership for several years and coolers are in batches of nine (as the competition.
then a friend of mine suggested I these fit well onto a pallet) and
try my hand at being a our garage was getting quite full. Q. What is your ultimate goal?
representative for a company The delivery drivers always A. I think I’ve reached it! I don’t take
selling motorcycle parts. Back in seemed bemused they were life too seriously, I thoroughly enjoy
the 80’s and 90’s being a delivering to suburbia. We filled my my work, have good health, happy
representative for a major estate car up with as many water family and a nice home. I’m in my
motorcycle distributor had it’s bottles as we could from our 50th year and while life is tough
perks, notwithstanding a great supplier and set about on the sometimes, I’m enjoying every day.
50 | Border Business | July-August 2009
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