As part of Business News Wales’ ongoing series of interviews with some of Wales’ leading figures in business we had the opportunity to interview Andrew Comrie, Managing Director of General Communications.
This interview takes a look into General Communications future plans, top tips for success and Andrew's thoughts on Wales attracting more inward investment.
Tell us about your business?
General Communications is an independent telecommunications company established in 1990.
We work with all the networks, EE, Vodafone & 02 and specialise in establishing the best possible plan for our customers and we’ve helped thousands of UK companies of every size achieve this. For every new business customer, we use unique software to analyse their mobile or fixed line telephone bills. We calculate every call the Company has made in a billing period and compare that against 100’s of different tariffs available at the time. We then provide a complete analysis comparing current payments and what the customer should be paying. The analysis also takes account of any minimum charges, bundled calls and discount schemes. Finding the right business tariff for our customers is just one way we strive to deliver an exceptional level of service.
Every new customer is allocated their own Account Manager who will personally review and advise on their existing plan, subsequently monitor the account and deal with any problems should they arise. Unfortunately, businesses are limited when it comes to mobile phones, being put into tariffs that are unsuitable for their needs. Our customers return to us time and time again because they trust us to provide them with the information they need to run their communications effectively and economically allowing them to focus on their own business.
What are your plans for the next five years, and where do you see your challenges and opportunities?
Over the next 5 years we will continue to focus on growing the business but it’s very much a case of steady as she goes. We choose our business partners very carefully, our reputation is very important and we’ll continue to grow through referrals and recommendations.
What do you wish you had known when you started out in business?
That business is very much like life itself. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon and done properly you can get a lot out of it, too many people go into business looking to make a fast buck, it rarely works that way.
Looking back at your career, are there things you would have done differently?
My career has always been in retails/sales and it was a lot different 30 years. Banks were eager to throw money at you and just as eager close you down at the first sign of a downturn. I’ve been through two recessions and been lucky enough to come through both and I put that down to two things, putting down strong foundations in the early days and looking after our customers. Would have I done anything different? Had less to do with the Banks if I’d had the option.
What do you think are the most important qualities for success in business?
Honesty, integrity and hard work. If you intend being around for a while, you don’t want to be constantly looking over your shoulder. Look after your staff and customers and they’ll look after you.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting a business?
Don’t cut corners. Employ the right people, take advice from people who’ve done it before and don’t waste money on things you can do yourself.
What are your top three tips for success?
Start small, lay down proper foundations and make sure you have something in reserve for a rainy day.
What can Wales do to attract more inward investment?
That’s a very good question – there doesn’t seem to be problem with inward investment when it come to Cardiff but it seems the rest of Wales doesn’t fare so well. Better road and rail links would help but if I had all the answers I’d probably be in the Senedd.