Learning to let go of control is key to move from start-up to scale-up

PUBLISHED: 06:02 28 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:20 29 January 2018

Cabins Unlimited director Rob Scott. Picture: Cabins Unlimited

Cabins Unlimited director Rob Scott. Picture: Cabins Unlimited

Cabins Unlimited

The transition from one-man band to a company seeking to grow fast can be a tricky one for staff but also for the business owner.

Handing over control of some parts of the operation can seem impossible at first but reducing the number of hats the boss wears gives them the chance to take a wider view and grasp other opportunities.

It is a journey Rob Scott, founder of Cabins Unlimited, has embarked on since joining the Future50 scheme and being inspired to launch the next stage of his firm’s growth.

“The biggest learning for me over the last 50 days has been letting control go a bit on the small things,” he said. “I have empowered the staff to make decisions on the things I don’t need to be involved in, for example I don’t need to oversee every quote, same with fittings.”

After working for food giant Kraft in Cheltenham and then for Aviva Mr Scott launched the cabin business with the aim of supplying the home office market.

“I started off selling cabins and sheds to the domestic market but soon found my idea of sitting in an office selling over the internet wasn’t how it was going to be,” he said. “I was working with one other guy and we would go out and do the fitting work ourselves. I was essentially a man with a van and a website.”

From these humble beginnings Mr Scott is planning to enter the commercial market following a successful project with an outdoor centre to update its accommodation, as well as becoming a national distributor for a log cabin brand.

Mr Scott added he hoped to expand beyond the firm’s Dereham display site to other locations in Norfolk and Suffolk.

One of Cabins Unlimited’s strengths has been bringing through five apprentices, all of who are still part of the 13-strong team and one of whom has been promoted to assistant operations manager, which Mr Scott said was vital in the early days.

“We didn’t have a lot of money,” he said, “but we did have the time to give them the skills they needed.”

Mr Scott now sees his job as bringing the team along on the journey with him and updating his own skills to evolve with the business. He expects to take on a further six to 10 employees in the next 12 months with turnover increasing from around the £1m mark to between £1.5m and £2m.

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