“When we started, we were competing against big banks…”

After a decade at the helm of one of the UK’s leading money-transfer experts, Gavin Herridge knows a thing or two about running a business.

If you want to buy property overseas, a foreign-exchange broker can take care of the financial wizardry. Halo Financial is one of the UK’s leading places for money transfers across borders and Gavin Herridge is the 10-year-old company’s chief sorcerer (or managing director, to give him his proper title). We asked him to share the business lessons he’s learned…

Don’t be the bottleneck “When the business started, I tried to do as much as I could and, as we grew, I was reluctant to give over control. But by doing this, I actually became a bottleneck. I took on more than I could handle. I had to remind myself what my role was, but when I had we were able to get our products to market quicker.”

Nothing comes easy “When starting up in business, prepare for it to take longer, cost more and require more energy than you’d expect. It’s a full time, 24/7 job and you rarely switch off, but the rewards justify the effort.”

Make the decision “Indecision can often cost more than a bad decision. When we first invested in IT, we got quite a few stakeholders in for pitches and what should have been a relatively simple decision took far longer than expected. If you’re 80% there, run with it – you can catch up on the other 20% later.”

Think big “Don’t be afraid to be ambitious. We initially set ourselves easily achievable goals, but we soon realised how important it was to aim higher. More often than not, when we do that, we can accomplish what we set out to do.”

Get up “Whatever the size of your business, you shouldn’t, and probably can’t, run it from behind your desk – it’s all too easy to tie yourself up with email. Every day, I walk the floor and catch up with our team, ask them how business is going and what they’re up to. We have 33 members of staff and I try to get to know all of them.”

Get out “Similarly, whenever possible, I manage my time so that I’m out visiting external clients, suppliers and business partners. For me, speaking to staff and clients so often that they become friends is part of the joy of running a business. Plus, you pick up on body language and unspoken signals that you wouldn’t over the phone.”

Keep an eye on the competition “A former boss of mine was always confident of improving on what others were doing: he would analyse, identify weaknesses and then go to market with a better product. His approach resonated and it’s something I’ve learned from.”

Give to get “I believe in the ‘give to get’ mantra. If you show you care, add value, network and collaborate, you’re more likely to win business, retain clients, receive more referrals and enhance your reputation.”

Don’t be afraid of being small “When we started Halo, we were competing against big banks, so we wanted to appear comparable. But we soon realised that many of our clients were business owners themselves. Being small was more desirable to them – as was our ability to be flexible, make decisions quickly and be innovative.”

Invest in people “Having the best people is extremely important, but it takes the right culture to enable them to flourish. We have a two-week induction process, staff mentoring and mapped-out development plans, but we also have a good team ethic away from work: we go out on a Friday night, and have regular team and activity days.”

This interview was carried out by SIM7’s Simeon de la Torre and first appeared in easyJet Traveller magazine. To read the latest issue (and the entire back catalogue of magazines), visit: http://www.ink-live.com/emagazines/easyjet-inflight