1. What does your company do?
Matrix Risk Control provides training and specialist support services in relation to incident recording and investigation. I established the company in 2009 along with another former senior police colleague. Our team of 15 supports clients internationally and is headquartered in Aberdeen, Scotland.
2. What do you do there/what is your role?
As commercial director, I have an all-embracing role which gives me the authority to determine the direction of the company. As such, I am focused on strategic direction and business growth, as well as overseeing client liaison, training and investigations. Our client base is global, therefore the role involves a significant amount of travel overseas.
Following the energy industry downturn in recent years, I identified three specific areas of development that would underpin the company’s ongoing success: diversification into bespoke emergency response training for existing clients, collaboration via strategic partnership agreements and expansion into markets such as China, Africa and India.
3. What’s the difference between when you started and now in your marketplace?
There is increasing competition, with more service companies fishing in a smaller pond. Budgets for training and consultancy services have also been reduced.
4. Who is your target audience?
Matrix’s audience is global and our services are relevant to any organisation that wishes to effectively manage its risk, creative a positive working environment and improve overall business performance. At present, we work across a number of industry sectors including construction, transport, utilities and energy.
A recent important development for Matrix is the introduction of our new digital training platform, Key Learning. These online training modules are primarily targeted at major organisations who have large numbers of employees to train in incident investigation across a number of geographical locations.
5. What is your own background?
I was educated at Elgin Academy followed by the University of Life (!) and a career in law enforcement.
6. What motivated you to go into business?
I suspect that I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit: I didn’t want to look back and think “what if?”
7. What are the upsides and downsides to starting a business after having a ‘first’ career?
I enjoy being entirely my own boss, with the freedom to explore and develop service lines working closely with trusted clients. I also get pleasure from employing others and helping them to develop their skills in business.
The downsides include the reality of discovering that there are none of the organisational support mechanisms that I was used to in public service. It has been a steep learning curve!
8. Looking back on starting the business, is there anything you would have done differently?
I am a great believer in not looking back. We are where we are – for better or for worse.
I think any business start-up can only truly learn by making its own mistakes and enjoying its own successes.
9. Do you have any advice for other prospective ‘mature’ entrepreneurs?
Go for it! You really have a lot more in your locker than you probably realise.
Believe in your ability and do not be derailed by rejection. “No” only means “not yet.”
10. Where do you see the company five years from now?
I want to see Matrix as a well-established recognised provider of investigation support and training, with a global footprint and secure jobs for all staff.
11. How can the Scottish/entrepreneurial landscape be improved to help more businesses start up and grow?
There is already a mature support infrastructure through Business Gateway, Scottish Enterprise and our Chambers of Commerce to help and guide business start-ups in Scotland.
I think there are no real excuses for failing to take advantage of what is on offer. Aspiring entrepreneurs must maximise the opportunities of learning from others who have worn the shoes.