David Bannon is the Managing Director of Bannon Group, an electrical and property contractor based in Brighouse.
Working across the UK, Bannon Group deliver electrical installations, interior fit-out solutions, security systems and energy saving innovations for corporate businesses and individuals. Bannon groups teams can be found operating across the UK in major shopping centres, school, and most business enterprises.
Why did you start your business in the first place?
When I was going through my apprenticeship, I was excited to be a part of the next generation of business people that would help bring innovation in to the market. I come from an electrical retail background and, unfortunately, when I began work I wasn’t seeing the innovation that I was hoping for. I felt the industry lacked a focus on energy saving installations particularly back then, and weren’t working in the best interest of business owners, schools and charities. I decided that the best way to get that innovation out to people was to have my own company and do it myself.
What is your business motto?
As a person, and within the business, the three grand principles are
Truth: No matter how hard a situation is, truth is always the best policy and strengthens relationships
Moral duty: Myself and everyone in the company have a moral duty to treat people with the utmost respect, and it’s how I would like to be treated myself in business and life
Charity: Being able to help others especially in life and business.
As a company we focus on innovation. We’re in a contested market so we work every day on how best to innovate and improve what we do.
A lot of the changes we make aren’t just with our products. If there is something that can be tweaked, whether it’s how we install our service or finding new innovations, we will do it if we think it’s worthwhile.
What advice would you give to anyone starting their own business?
I would say the most important thing for a budding entrepreneur, particularly if they’re just getting started, is to focus on the industry you’re in. You should know your industry like the back of your hand and always try to be at the forefront if there’s anything new coming to the market. If you’re doing something that’s always been done, it’s going to be hard to differentiate and appeal to clients who may have people they historically buy from or work with.
Don’t feel like you have to try everything at once though. It’s much better to be very good at just one thing, rather than being just okay at lots of things.
What was the biggest challenge you faced starting your business?
I think the hardest part in the early days of the business, was surrounding myself with people that had the same principles as me. When it’s just you there, and when you just get started, you have an idea in your head of what your brand is and how you perceive your business. You want people who have the same vision as you of where the company can go and what you can accomplish.
I had a tough time with that when we were in our early days, but we have an amazing team now and we’re all working towards that common goal, which makes things much easier.
What do you enjoy most about being self-employed?
A big part of the work I enjoy is being able to engage with other business people, and to go see their businesses and learn from them. Having those kind of conversations and meetings may open potential avenues that I’d never considered, and that’s much better than the day to day grind.
In addition, if those businesses are doing something we’d like to do, I’m in the position to make that happen and make that decision for my own company.
What do you enjoy least about being self-employed?
The struggle of growing a business is certainly the thing I like the least. When you have a young business, and you’re enthusiastic about it, it can be easy to get carried away. One of the greatest skills that an entrepreneur can have is the knowledge and experience to scale a company sustainably, and unfortunately that’s just something you have to learn as you go along.
Which business figure do you most admire and why?
I think it would be Richard Branson. If you follow his social media you’ll see that, even though he has so many businesses and some of them are gigantic, he’s always thinking about how he can make it personal. He employs tens of thousands of people, but it never feels corporate and you always get the impression he wants to give all his companies a personal touch.
What achievement in your career are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of the fact that we’re at a stage where we can take on apprentices and train them to become a reflection of our company.
I remember going in to the workforce when I was younger, and now I feel very fortunate that I’ve reached the position that I can help train the next generation of skilled workers.
Where do you see your business going in the next five years?
From an operational point of view, in the next five years I hope that we’re the same business built around a team with good morals and a brilliant work ethic. Bannon Group will be a collection of companies and I hope to still be working with many of the clients we have today, continuing to grow that relationship. We’d like to become a household name and continue the work we’re doing with local and national businesses.
If you could invent one new product, what would it be?
My work experience has given me a lot of technical expertise, particularly around the areas of safety and energy efficiency. We’re now using that expertise to develop our own products that can be used to save lives and reduce the environmental impact of businesses and individuals. So, if I had to say, I’d say I’m already inventing it, I just can’t tell you about it!
If you could work for one company, who would it be and why?
I could only see myself working somewhere or with someone who has the same vision as me. I want to work with small and medium enterprises providing innovations that save time, money and lives. I can’t see myself doing anything else, so if I wasn’t here it would have to be somewhere like that.