Incentive FM provides facilities management services to some of the country’s biggest companies. Jeremy Waud, founder and owner, tells about the challenges he’s faced and how he competes against FTSE 250 heavyweights in the industry.

Jeremy Waud, founder of Incentive FM, thinks the freedom of being an entrepreneur is exceptionally attractive.

“I love the entrepreneurial flair and freedom you can express with your own business and there really is nothing better. I suppose I always had a hankering to cut loose and it is only when I did that I could really see the benefits and find out just how good (or bad?) I really was.”

Despite a long list of impressive clients including Colgate-Palmolive, Bluewater and CBRE, Jeremy calls his company a ‘small fish in a very big pond.’ His considerable turnover - £28m per annum – seems like a lot, but is small compared to some of the global and FTSE 250 companies in the marketplace.

“As a result gaining recognition has been particularly tough from some clients.”

Understanding customers’ needs and providing a personal service is therefore very important to Jeremy.

“We spend a lot of time face to face with clients formally and socially and we also survey them. We also regularly report back to them against quality indicators previously agreed so if, after all that, we still don't know what they want then we are in the wrong business!”

Jeremy faced some big challenges when setting up his company. Getting funding for an unestablished business was obviously difficult. But Jeremy also faced a unique challenge: he went to court against his former family firm before setting up Incentive FM.

“The lessons learnt were immeasurable,” said Jeremy.

So why did he decide to split from the family company?

“There were several reasons: determination to succeed, a desire to earn more money and create the best possible financial position for me and my family. I also wanted to be able to manage a team of colleagues who could have a genuine stake in our business and therefore be highly motivated, loyal and rewarded for their efforts.”

After years of hard work, it’s a very exciting time for Incentive FM. Jeremy describes the company as ‘opportunity rich,’ with a number of very exciting projects on the horizon.

Starting a new business requires a kit bag of skills and contacts that will get you on the right track
“We have a JV opportunity in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, another in Poland and we are in the early stages of acquisition discussions for a medium sized business in the UK. To add to the fun we are just in the process of moving to new offices which our project team is starting to knock about to house our growing team.”

Like many successful entrepreneurs, Jeremy believes a diverse range of skills is essential to becoming an entrepreneur.

“Starting a new business requires a kit bag of skills and contacts that will get you on the right track. Other than finance, good advice and a sound business plan, you will need a brand and website support, PR, and the appropriate legal and operational staff, part or full time, to give you the best chance of making it.

“I now have a network of all these people and contacts, many of whom would be of great benefit to people when starting out – this alone can save months of work and potentially thousands of pounds.”