Our robust cloud infrastructures – comprising...
By managing our own private MPLS network spanning...
The channel is changing. ‘Digital transformation’ is no longer just a buzzword, and clients are now demanding cloud-first technologies within their business.
But Vapour has been cloud-first since our inception in 2013. In fact, our company is built on four cornerstones of cloud-first excellence – voice, video, networks and storage. It’s all we know.find out more
Last week, Vapour's CEO Tim Mercer was placed firmly in the hot seat for this 'Business Focus' Q&A with our local newspaper, The Halifax Courier. If you missed the article, you can catch up in full, here...
Why did you start your business in the first place?
There were two main reasons, the first being that I wanted to be rich and have enough money to retire before I turned 53 – the age my dad was when he died.
The second was that I hated the way our industry in general didn’t appear to bother about clients, when I believe that the customer experience should be incredible – in just the same way we expect great service in our personal lives. So, at Vapour we make it our mission to offer exceptional customer service and look after everyone (including staff!)
What is your business motto?
I wouldn’t say that I have a particular motto. One saying that I do like is that we have two eyes in the front of our heads for a reason – to enable us to look and move forwards, not back!
I’m also a firm believer in being the hardest worker in the room, not necessarily the smartest or most talented – you can have all the talent in the world but without hard graft you simply won’t succeed.
And finally, I’d advise others to have a great team, build a strong culture and treat customers as you would expect to be treated – and you won’t go far wrong!
What advice would you give to anyone starting their own business?
It will always take longer and be harder than you expected, and the whole process will push your endurance and resolve. You will feel tested to the extremes, but one thing you must have is the ability to work harder than anyone else – do not expect to have much of a life in the first few years!
What was the biggest challenge you faced starting your business?
We needed a vast amount of investment to build our own secure cloud network. I’d never gone out and secured funding before, but I succeeded in convincing our finance partner Seneca that our proposition was right for the market (even before that market was ready!)
What do you enjoy most about being self-employed?
I enjoy making the decisions, working hard every day and empowering my team to grow. Watching the business become established and making a real difference in the industry are key highlights.
What do you enjoy least about being self-employed?
I don’t get to spend as much time with my children as I’d like. I have a four and a seven-year old, who I sometimes don’t see for three days at a time if I’ve been up and out the door before they are awake and get home when they’re already in bed. Weekends are therefore very important to me but work is always there at the back of my mind.
Which business figure do you most admire and why?
If I’m totally honest, I’m not a big fan of other business leaders – we all do it our own way. I admire those with smart ideas from all walks of life, as it’s always possible to learn something from others at any time. I also have a huge soft spot for our armed forces, having spent time in the military myself so people like that inspire me.
I have, however, recently read an amazing book – Shoe Dog – by the founder of Nike, Phil Knight. Surrounding the topic of the struggles and money worries involved with building one of the biggest brands in the world – that was inspiring!
What achievement in your career are you most proud of?
When Vapour started out we had NO customers. Approximately 90% of new businesses fail within the first three years, so I love the fact that we’ve built a sustainable entity, packed full of great people – some of who left larger corporate companies to come and work here – who have helped me build something to be proud of.
Where do you see your business going in the next five years?
I believe we will grow to an approximate £20 million turnover business. We have recently secured three of our largest contracts ever – due to be delivered between 2020-22. This will mean more people will be added to our current staff numbers, we’ll need to open a Southern office and there’ll be further exciting growth for us!
If you could invent one new product, what would it be?
I have no idea – maybe something around the topic of space travel, or curing illness and making sure children never get sick. There are a million things I’d love to invent – maybe if I worked at Google or Amazon I could have the budget to help!
If you could work for one company, who would it be and why?
Apart from right here at Vapour – or our PR agency Scriba – then I’d say either Amazon or Google, to see if they’re actually as cool as they make out or whether it’s all just hot air. I’d be making decisions with an unlimited budget – how could I get it wrong? But I’d want to work somewhere with Yorkshire style and wit!
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