SPHERE SOLUTIONS (CARDIFF)

Origins

The founder fell into recruitment after a reflective period making garden ornaments that was back breaking work! Whilst he genuinely liked the job, he was always looking to establish himself as a professional of some sorts. One phone call from a friend “this job is perfect for you”, one nerve racking interview later and five years of hard graft enabled him to build a solid reputation in construction recruitment. One major construction project due to start in Cardiff was the opportunity to grab and Sphere Solutions was born in 2005.

Our main challenges when starting the business

The recruitment market wasn’t been easy for the small start-up Sphere Solutions. Not long after setting up in 2005, it secured the Cardiff redevelopment deal but everything changed when the credit crunch hit the global economy in 2008. The collapse of Lehman Brothers set off a chain of bank bailouts around the world and funding dried up, especially for property development and construction. More and more projects were put on hold and contractors were letting staff go and refusing to take anyone on for the foreseeable future. This was an extremely dark time for the business as it thought it was gearing up for more growth. A scary time was back in 2008/09 when turnover more than halved in one year and this led the business to go back to basics, making the difficult decision to reduce staff numbers to cut overheads. Before the crash there were three times as many competitors as there are now. In that period, Sphere was very good at door knocking, 24 hours a day – the mobile phone was their best friend and this demonstrated to those in the market that it was in it for the long-term.

Success Factor

Sphere Solutions’ values are key to the on-going success of the business namely integrity (they interact with each other, clients and candidates in an open, honest and straightforward fashion balancing directness with discretion and creating relationships based on trust); unity (they work together as a team and support each other to achieve shared goals and mutual rewards in an environment of respect); expert (they measure success by the value they deliver through specialist knowledge, experience, quality and consistency); competitive (they aspire to be the best they can be as individuals and as part of a successful team, embracing continuous improvement and achieving the best possible results); and dedicated (they are committed to delivering and sustaining its great reputation through a focussed, positive, determined and hardworking approach). Another factor in Sphere’s ability to pull through the tough recession period was that it had virtually no debt. From the early stages of Sphere Solutions, the founder decided to be be prudent with the finances, including his own remuneration.

The Future

The construction market tends to be a barometer for the economy as a whole so it’s been a challenging year. The company has been awarded some prestigious opportunities to work as preferred suppliers that will assist growth in exciting areas. Plans for future growth are based around two key factors – geographical expansion from existing locations and one new location in London in 2017; and the commencement of much talked about major projects such as Hinckley, Swansea Tidal Lagoon, Bristol Arena and similar fixed schemes. The business has been investing considerable time and effort in updating its information so it is ready to move as and when these projects do. In real terms, turnover growth could grow by 50% to over £35m in next three years with a target number of 1000 temporary workers on site every week.