As the deadline to apply for the Times Business Awards rapidly approaches, we profile two more companies about why they think they have what it takes to win in their chosen categories.
To apply visit www.timesbusinessawards.co.uk
New Business of the Year:
WITH unemployment falling to record lows, it is increasingly clear that employees are starting to get the upper hand over the companies struggling to hire talent. Businesses are now adapting to the increasing bargaining power of those they seek to employ by offering increased flexibility on working times and higher pay. This in turn has led to an increase in people actively looking for better prospect with different employers. Nowhere is this situation clearer than in West Kent.
It is a situation that not only benefits those seeking employment, but those who facilitate their move.
Founded in 2014 by Neil Simmons, TN Recruits has already successfully placed over 300 candidates with more than 100 different organisations. This in turn has fed through to impressive growth in company turnover which leapt by 69 per cent from 2015 to 2016.
And since setting up the business as a one man operation based at his home, Mr Simmons now employs six members of staff in his Tunbridge Wells office on Lonsdale Gardens. He expects to continue growing his staff count this year.
The company, which targets the ‘TN’ region, has invested heavily in technology to enable more accurate and efficient matching of candidates to jobs.
“Good quality data is critical to the success of the business, and the technology enables TN Recruits to keep in touch more effectively with clients and candidates, and to work proactively,” explained Mr Simmons who said he was ‘proud’ to have engaged a local developer to implement their system.
He added: “All TN Recruits’ suppliers are from the local area – from front-end technology, through to the company’s accountant and solicitor.”
However, there is an acknowledgement that technology can only take you so far, and while the jobs market is currently favourable for recruiters, they still have to compete when it comes to offering quality customer service.
Mr Simmons said his firm ensures they are always ‘caring, open and honest’ in the assessment of client and candidate needs.
He added: “TN Recruits consultants undertake each new assignment with a dedicated and specific approach based on the priorities and attributes of both sides. This methodology involves careful consideration of both ‘absolute’ requirements and ‘desirable’ criteria for all parties, which results in a high rate of successful placements.
“I am committed to ensuring that candidates and businesses alike are given a truly personal experience that focuses on their needs and core strengths, rather than pigeon-holing.”
Mr Simmons said winning his category at the business awards would help to ‘raise the company’s profile’, adding: “I am really proud of what we have achieved as a business so far and it would be great to be recognised for it.”
Service Excellence Award
BUSINESSES are unlikely to survive for very long if they neglect their customers or sell shoddy products. Unfortunately, the course of time often results in once reputable businesses going under due to a failure to adapt to changing client demands or because they lose sight of what matters after a period of growth. But some companies, such as kitchen and furniture designers Rencraft continue to grow and prosper almost 37 years of trading, in large part due to its commitment to its customers.
“Unlike many of our competitors, we ensure all our clients have one main point of contact for the duration of their project. The designer they meet on day one is literally with them every step of the way, from design through installation to aftercare,” explained Marketing Manager Karen Cowell.
“We put the customer at the heart of everything we do, listening to their needs and ensuring every single kitchen we produce is personal to them.
“On the rare occasion that we run in to problems we are always swift to act and will go out of our way to help put things right,” she added.
Mrs Cowell said the company, which was founded in 1980 and is now run by Managing Directors John Stephens and John Schofield, both of whom joined shortly after, relies on its reputation in what is ‘a competitive marketplace’.
“We believe the key to our success is our reputation within the local area, much of it fuelled by word of mouth recommendations from our clients. These recommendations and repeat custom account for the majority of our business and our continued steady growth,” she said.
The steady growth since its founding means the company now employs 30 staff, with a showroom on Calverley Road in Tunbridge Wells and a showroom/workshop on Chart Farm, Sevenoaks.
In addition to residential kitchen designs, Rencraft also has a proven track record in large scale development projects and works closely alongside respected local builders and developers.
The experienced team of designers and craftsmen also have the flexibility to design and make one off pieces of furniture for the home.
But although Rencraft has built a highly regarded reputation over the past decade and a half, the company still sees the value in being officially recognised by its local business peers.
“Winning a prestigious Times Business Award would be a huge achievement for us. We are very proud of our Kent heritage and so to have our work, and in particular our customer service, recognised within the local area would really mean a great deal,” said Mrs Cowell.