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Making a career change that works

Making a career change that works
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Making a career change that works
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

Sometimes we consider career change because we’re bored with what we’re doing, sometimes we’re compelled to think about it, either because of rationalisations or redundancies. Either way, a new move is not something to be undertaken lightly. With carefully planning and bags of energy, though, it can pay off handsomely – as the director of our Sittingbourne customer Dynamic Doors can certainly attest.

Journey to a new specialisation

For much of his professional life Paul Nolan worked as a British Gas engineer, but a buy-out proved the cue for him to join a friend who worked on providing security for buildings.  “I learnt the ins and outs of the trade with him,” recalls Paul. “Then he moved to Australia, so I took over on my own, eventually selling the business I’d built to a facilities management company in November 2017.  Shortly afterwards, I launched Dynamic Doors, with seven of the employees from my previous company, plus my brother and cousin, eventually joining me. The groundwork I’d done in learning about security stood me in good stead. These days, 90 per cent of our clients are in London and we handle all aspects of building security – corporate rather than domestic – from entrances to buildings, security roll doors, bollards, CCTV, manual doors and automatic doors to automatic security gates.”

Working sensibly

One of the things that has kept the business on track, Paul believes, is his attitude to time management: “A lot of companies go out and take on as much work as they can; their engineers end up working 80 – 110 hours a week.  My motto is, take a smaller number of contracts, pay the guys a bit more, make sure they aren’t working such long hours. They’re earning similar money but only work 50 hours – as a result, we get their expertise and their commitment to us.”

Building the business

As a small, family company, Dynamic Doors uses its marketing budget carefully, turning to social media to find new business. “I’ve found LinkedIn very successful as a way of connecting with facilities management companies – it’s a balance of being persistent but not being annoying. And persistence really can pay off – I’d contact one manager regularly and the third time I got in touch, it turned out he’d just fallen out with his security shutter supplier, so he came straight back to us.”

But while social media can and has benefitted his business, Paul recognises the value of personal contact: “Email for day-to-day contact might be fine, but actually meeting people makes all the difference and you get a lot more work that way.”

Having the right base

“Locations-wise, Sittingbourne Business Centre is ideal for us. I began by renting a desk from a friend who was based here, then took on space of our own for the business as it grew.  While the facilities are great, it’s the support staff who make all the difference. I honestly feel our centre manager Jeanette is around for us 24/7.”

Future plans

Paul is keen to continue to grow the business at his own pace, staying abreast of the latest technology and regulations: “It’s an industry that’s always changing as new products come onto the marketplace. It’s one of the things – along with the people we work with – that keeps the job interesting.”

Necessity is the mother of invention – or a new and successful career!

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