Today marks the 5th year anniversary of the incorporation of the first Vanquish® company. Vanquish Security and Investigation Consultants Ltd was originally created to provide celebrities and high net-worth individuals with personal and residential security services. Because the security industry is so competitive, I decided on a unique selling point which was to offer investigation services which would give us the ability investigate any threats that a client or principal might receive. A few months after trading we purchased ThePrivateInvestigators.co.uk later leading to a bidding war between us and several companies in the US for ThePrivateInvestigators.com. We then opened our investigative services to the public and the rest is history.
Over the last 5 years I have learned more about myself and have probably developed a lot as a person as a result of that. I have had to deal with competitors writing negative and completely false reviews about the company and about me personally which, was very stressful at the time but is something I've grown a thick skin for as it still goes on today. In fact, more often than not when I write an article on LinkedIn I get a small group of individuals who constantly feel the need to make derogatory and/ or snide comments. There was one guy who, every time I mentioned something about Vanquish, would proactively notify someone who also owned a company with the same name. I'm not even sure if he knows him. Crazy.
I have beaten myself up about mistakes that I've made both big and small. As an arrogant young man I probably didn't listen to advice as much as I should have because I am, and probably always will be, a "know it all". Most businessmen and women start a company having either a partner to split the responsibilities and therefore stress with, or a mentor to guide them on right and wrong. I had neither. I chose not to have an accountant, BIG MISTAKE. I also chose not to have a law firm represent us. This could also be concluded as a mistake because it has cost us a lot of money in the past but I have actually really enjoyed the learning process of understanding commercial and civil legislation surrounding business in the UK and in the US. I now know a lot more than most regarding legal issues surrounding business as I have coupled it with my legal education from the Royal Military Police and I fully plan to utilise and use this skill as leverage for the rest of my working life. All legal agreements, terms and conditions, contracts and policies were written by me. I did this by combining extensive research with self education and knowledge. If I had not of done this, I expect that we would have paid in the region of £10,000 plus for all of our legal documentation alone.
Going into something headfirst is the best way to learn a subject. If you can't read a map, take a map, get lost in the middle of nowhere and I can pretty much guarantee that you will teach yourself to read that map. It's the same with business. The difference is though, that there are so many different areas of business that you need to know in order to succeed that it can be a real headache. Whenever I hear someone say that they are going to start their own business, I always think to myself, are they ready? Are they really ready for the storm that is coming their way? Something like 90% of businesses fail in the first 3 years and 90% of those surviving businesses don't survive another 7 years. So we are already a minority and those starting their own companies have the odds stacked against them. However, my first piece of advice would be to just go for it. If you never do it, you will never know. The other piece of advice I would offer would be to ensure that you have the support at home. A support network is going to be very important when start to self doubt your decisions and external pressure starts to build. Here are just some of the things that you can expect to learn over the next three years:
How to Pursue Debt,
Advertising & Marketing,
Ascertaining Clients & Client Management,
You can of course pay to learn about all of these things but from my experience, if you do this, you will never know and your knowledge as a businessperson becomes limited.
Going into business has proved stressfulI, challenging but at the same time, very educational. I started the first company by selling a mobile phone that T-Mobile had sent me as an upgrade on Ebay for £350. On the day the company was incorporated, I printed out the certificate of incorporation and told my girlfriend. At the time she didn't understand what the difference was between owning a company and working as a freelancer which is what I was doing back then but because she knew it was important to me, she came home from work with a bottle of champagne to help me celebrate. From that day forward she has been nothing but supportive. Listening to my rants, pains and stresses along with giving me a positive drive towards succeeding. This is one of many reasons why she is now my wife. My family and friends have been more than supportive very much in the same way and I would like to publicly thank them all along with the dedicated operatives and staff at Vanquish.
For the first time I am starting to think how the organisation can benefit and do good for our operatives and others. Maybe it's time to utilise our assets such as education/ training as leverage to give back to those who need it. We will see.