Future 50: Source One success reflects post-pandemic recovery
- Credit: Source One Consulting
Suffolk-based business shows that business in the East is growing in confidence.
There are some companies that can provide an indication of the health of the wider economy. When the bailiffs are busy, times must be tough; but as we emerge from the Covid pandemic, activity at office refurbishment and refit specialists Source One Consulting suggests the business community is feeling confident again.
“At the start of the pandemic, I was concerned," admits founder Pat Lewis. “You spend 20 years building up your business then wonder what’s going to happen to it. It was shocking – it was a shock for everyone. But then you calm down and look at where your opportunities are, as a business.”
The family business, headquartered in Ipswich with an admin base in Royston in Herfordshire, specialises in office design, fit out and refurbishment. It can source and supply everything that is needed to refurbish premises or to make a move to new offices a success.
“I realised that if people were going to be downsizing, we have an opportunity - because wherever they're going will probably need to be reconfigured to suit their business . If people are expanding, it’s the same," Mr Lewis says. “So the first few months of the pandemic were a shock, but we still had current projects, working with many ‘essential’ clients meaning we could continue.”
Business did remain slow through the first lockdown, but began to pick up from October onwards - and now Source One is, Mr Lewis says, as busy as ever. But is that busy with offices downsizing – or with expansions?
“I would say 75% of the companies we’re dealing with are wanting to expand and move to new, bigger premises," says Mr Lewis. “I don’t know whether it's a regional thing. Certainly, I don't think London is the same.”
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Source One does work across the country – with clients from Newcastle to Yeovil - but the majority of its clients are in the East. “And most of our clients are wanting to expand, to grow their businesses... it's positive stuff,” Mr Lewis says.
“We have been doing some work with companies where people will continue to work from home, but then come into a more agile-working environment,” he adds. “Those do need to be approached differently. We need to provide more open spaces for the staff to mingle - touch-down areas that aren’t so closed in where staff feel ‘safe’.
"This is such a strange time, our advice is: if you don't need to rush to change the office, don't rush. Give it a year, because the changes you're making now may not be needed in 12 months’ time when the world hopefully may get back to normal - and then you might want to change it again. So why spend the money twice if, you don't need to?
“That’s important for us,” Mr Lewis stresses. “As a family business, we don't work on commission, it's not about how much money we make - it's doing the right thing for the client.”
This can mean undertaking feasibility studies for office moves, working out if a potential space really is suitable for a client. "We have looked at three or even four buildings sometimes,” Mr Lewis says. “We don’t charge for that – I regard it as being a relationship builder.
“If you don't build those relationships, things don't happen,” he concludes. Now things are happening, with clients across all sectors. As businesses across the region expand, move and refurbish their offices, then Source One will continue to be busy.
For more information, see www.sourceoneconsulting.co.uk