• Madeleine Bonser

Spotlight on Gavin Hitchmough

At Spotlight, we got the opportunity to talk to Gavin Hitchmough Managing Director at Red Circles ITS Limited.

Business Background

I spent the initial 21 years of employment working for an MSP in the Derby area. Starting as a trainee developer, moving on to support, design, and deploying systems which included server solutions, cloud solutions, and the complete network infrastructure, working through the business to eventually being the technical manager. After being there for so long I decided I needed a new challenge, I couldn’t move any further.

I spent the first several months training within the cybersecurity field, so I could position the company amongst the companies that could provide Cyber Essentials Plus by becoming a certification body with IASME. Cybersecurity is big right now with numerous threats every day from organised groups or even individuals. Red Circles ITS is now contributing to helping SMB’s to improve their security posture.

The concept for the business and overcoming setbacks

Originally, I thought I’d walk away and continue in the same area as a small MSP but felt that the industry is far too congested and needed a more niche area that could provide a different angle which is why I specialize in Cyber Security. Some of the services required are very similar and overlap but not all MSPs can provide the services I can such as Cyber Essentials Assessments & pen-testing.

The biggest challenge was probably convincing myself that I can do this on my own. Once I’d got over that mental aspect it was just getting stuck into creating a concept and brand. It’s a lot of hard work as presently I’m the engineer, salesman, marketer, and accountant.

Staying motivated

I’m a big believer in giving people opportunities like I was given, so I aim to give that opportunity to people starting out in the Cyber Security world. Being a business owner I think it gives me a chance to give others the opportunity to build a career they can be proud of and influence them to grow within Red Circles ITS.

Life has thrown plenty of curveballs in my direction. Doesn’t matter how hard life gets, being a business leader gives you more control of your destiny. Ultimately, I’m wanting to build a business to be proud of, to be known around the East Midlands when people mention Cyber Security for SME’s and be an inspiration to the team around me to reach further in their careers.

The biggest lesson that I’ve learned along the way?

Don’t be afraid to accept help and advice. There are a lot of nice business leaders out there that have time for individuals starting out on the same journey they had previously.

3 tips for people starting their careers

  1. Plan ahead, know what you want to achieve and what you need to get there.

  2. Grab opportunities with both hands no matter how small or large.

  3. Don’t take rejection personally.

Advice for people wanting to start a business

  1. Plan for at least the first 12 months without an income. Sales won’t just drop into your lap.

  2. Start making connections and build relationships. Join networks and bodies associated with your business to get in touch with others that have been in the same position. You’ll be surprised how many of them will be prepared to offer advice when you need it.

  3. When it comes to leadership remember we’re in the 21st century. I still remember some individuals leading by fear and stern words. That’s not the way, always be available to listen and be flexible.

Advice be to someone managing a team

There is no “I” in team, so again listen to your team. Let your team develop and have input, don’t be a dictator because that’s when you could lose a gem that has lots of ideas but won’t put them forward because you won’t listen to ideas.

The future

Business is looking bright; I’m receiving regular enquiries about the services available. I hope to bring other individuals onboard over the next 12 months. I’m a member of the Cyber Resilience Centre for the East Midlands, who works with university students who want a career in Cyber Security so there is a pool of potential available to move forward.

What has been your strategy for your business during corona?

Being a new startup I had planned not having any work for the first 12 months so I was lucky. Thankfully having an IT background I had already built the business to have cloud solutions for data and communications so it wasn’t difficult to continue.

The closure of offices did provide me with the first opportunity to build relationships with companies requiring home access to solutions. I think the first month of lockdown created a panic and companies needing access from home to finally invest more in their solutions.

What top tips do you have for businesses struggling with remote working?

Get in touch for advice. Keeping your data secure and enabling business continuity without having an impact on your business is important. With the right advice and technology, all office-based employees can work from home as long as they have internet access. Companies should always look at how they would continue in case of a disaster.

If you enjoyed this blog, head over to Red Circles ITS Limited’s Twitter. Check out more of our blogs, here.

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