This is all about the journey of Owen Daniels Consultancy since Owen Godfrey set up his own Engineering & Manufacturing recruitment business 8 years ago at the age of 21. Now a multi-million-pound business employing over 25 staff across 2 offices, Owen discusses what he believes has helped him along the way and gives his top tips to inspire young entrepreneurs to succeed in their own business ventures.
After leaving school at 17, Owen knew he wanted to get out into the big wide world of work. Starting in the Fitness industry and eventually moving into the recruitment world and setting up a business in a box room with no heating or hot water – to now, a 3,500 square foot facility in Surrey with another office in Birmingham. Owen started this business relatively young and has consistently grown over the past 8 years and is on course for £10million sales this year.
With 34% of millennials considering self-employment (ManpowerGroup), local Surrey-based business owner Owen Godfrey, 29, opens up about his own business journey since setting up his Engineering & Manufacturing Recruitment Business in 2011 at the age of 21. Now a multi-million-pound business employing over 25 staff across 2 offices, Owen discusses what he believes has helped him along the way and gives his top tips to inspire young entrepreneurs to succeed in their own business ventures.
Did you always know you wanted to start up your own business?
The short answer is no. I wasn’t saying from an early age that I wanted to run my own business, but I knew I wanted to be in control of something. I was entrepreneurial when growing up by doing things such as buying items in bulk and selling them individually to make a profit. As soon as I started working, I realised I had the ambition to do something fairly autonomous which I would say has contributed to being where I am today.
Why did you decide to get into engineering recruitment?
It’s an interesting story as I quite literally fell into recruitment (as I feel a lot of people do). I was working in the Fitness industry and ended up speaking to someone who always dressed well, had nice things and was an all-round great guy. He happened to be quite senior in recruitment (internal) for a software company. I interviewed for a sales position there, got offered the job but then the role was pulled a few weeks later whilst the paperwork was going through. This inspired me to look for something else and quite literally whilst searching online I came across some recruitment job adverts to which I applied – and that’s where the journey began…
What do you think is the single most important thing you need to succeed in business?
I feel it’s really important to fail. I am not talking of failure in terms of starting again or bankruptcy but failing with ideas or taking some chances that don’t quite go the way you expected. In doing this you can learn; I am a big believer that you are never the smartest person in the room and learning is hugely important to succeeding in business.
Who inspires you?
There are many people within both business and sport that I look up to, but that list could go on for quite a while! I read a lot of business autobiographies as I like to gain ideas and read people’s stories when I can. As much as he is in a completely separate universe to my business acumen, someone like Richard Branson who built everything he has from nothing whilst taking huge, but calculated, risks. He is someone who puts his employees first across all of his businesses which is something I will always do.
What advice would you give to someone looking to set up their own business?
Don’t be afraid of hard work. I really think that a lot of people aren’t willing to sacrifice what it takes. As much as I have made some great gains more recently, I have made a huge amount of sacrifices and lost a lot socially. I made some mistakes where I could have made other decisions, but I always had a big fear of failing which was what kept and still keeps me motivated to this day.
What has been your biggest challenge, and how did you overcome it?
I had to make a decision in 2017 to close down a department which was run by my business partner; who was at the time also my best friend and the co-founder of Owen Daniels Consultancy. I could see IT recruitment going in the opposite direction to where I was taking the Engineering function which meant I had to have the most difficult conversation of my life. After speaking offsite, we came to an agreement that he would continue with IT on his own by starting another company and I would keep the 2 staff at the time and transfer them into the Engineering team. This was by far the hardest thing I had to do but I knew it had to be done to push the business forward.
Have you taken any risks as an MD and did they pay off?
Yes, plenty. If I wasn’t including consistently hiring and taking chances on people with or without experience I would say the biggest risk has been that in 8 years I have moved offices 7 times and recently opened up another office in Birmingham. In August this year we moved to our current premises which are more than double our previous size with rent nearly 5 times the amount, so financially this is probably my biggest committed risk so we will have to see how it pans out. With our growth plan over the next 3 years I am confident it has been another risk worth taking.
Where do you see yourself and ODC in 5 years’ time?
This is probably my favourite question as if I was asked this 5 years ago I feel the answer compared to the reality would be quite different. I really feel I have created a company that has people who care about providing a good service and in doing this has meant we have never lost a client. So the plan over the next 5 years is to keep giving back to the recruitment industry by growing team ODC. Opening up in Birmingham had been on the cards for a couple of years but I didn’t actually solidify a plan to do it in 2019! But doing this has provided huge confidence to potentially open up another location or two. My main aim with moving into these new offices in Surrey is to grow in all areas; support and recruitment. We have a world class facility now and I feel proud of our HQ. As it has the capacity for another 15-20 people, I want to fill it up.