Lloyd Burnard – Q&A

We talk to company founder Lloyd Burnard to find out more about him, the challenges of owning a fast growing company in the midst of a pandemic and what makes REDS special.

What led to you starting the company REDS Group Ltd?

REDS was established to provide exceptional service to an industry that requires the personal touch from initial client contact through to project completion. I had worked in the sector for many years prior to establishing REDS and had seen how other companies worked and I knew, with the right team, that we could create something different, a disruptive force for good, that would support not only its clients’ but also the essence of any good business, its employees.

What are the biggest challenges you are facing within the industry today?

It has to be the skills shortage and sourcing great people to join an established and well-oiled team. COVID certainly hasn’t helped our industry but REDS has been fortunate in that we have doubled in size during this time, hence why our greatest challenge is to source great talent to join us and bring something unique to the business portfolio and to our clients’

How has the pandemic impacted on the company and what strategies have you implemented to stay operational?

As with most businesses we had our yearly forecasts set for 2020/2021 and in March 2020, they went right out the window and we had to adapt. The first few months were pure survival not only to limit the financial impact of a contracting UK market but to protect our staff and support their families as much as we possibly could. As with most businesses we utilised some Government support to a point, but it was clear by early June 2020 we needed to quickly recruit to be able to deliver the critical work projects we had secured prior and during the first lockdown.

Since then, we have grown to double the size, with this growth we faced several challenges and needed to adapt both our structure and culture. Line management has been very critical in our growth, where we would have worked as one in a small team we now work as one with leaders in different fields. One example being our most recent team member, James Skinner, who is leading our UK wide Environmental Consultancy and Response teams.

In 2020 we were also lucky to bring Stuart Bickley onboard who now leads our expanding Fuel and Power management team in Dudley. The list goes on, we have some very experienced, no-nonsense employees who are very well respected inside and outside of REDS.

In general, I feel very fortunate that the pandemic has not affected the growth of the company. This, however, has only been possible due to everyone at REDS stepping up to the mark. I’m incredibly proud of the team and what we as a company have managed to achieve.

How important is company culture to you?

It’s the main reason REDS works so well. We don’t get to do the company get togethers’ like most office-based businesses’, simply because it isn’t that easy when you have staff based all over the UK working away from home 5-days a week; but we communicate daily and the company works as one team, supporting each other and ensuring our clients’ needs are met and bested.

It is important for me to remind myself and others that we are all human and that mistakes will be made but it is how we learn from those mistakes that counts.  When the pressure is on, as it has been this last year or so, it reaffirms to me how strong our culture is as we successfully navigate our way through the storm.

What are you most proud of regarding the company?

Knowing that we have played a small part in 4-mortgages, 4-babies and managed to support our staff so that they can support their families in our four years of trading and during an unprecedented Global Pandemic. Business is business, family is everything.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Family time is very important, our small family is not so small anymore and we try to get away as much as we can in our family van and when I can I also like to surf at my local in Porthleven.  My kids enjoy surfing, so combining the two is epic.  I can’t wait until we’re paddling into 4ft Lev together but that might be sometime away yet, I wasn’t allowed to surf there till I was 16!

What was the last book you read, film you watched?

I read most nights but rarely get passed the same paragraph before nodding off. I like non-fiction military books, and films, but with kids kicking about I mainly watch Disney, but between you and me, I love Disney films.

Where is your happy place?

I’ve got several, because one isn’t enough. But mainly with the family on the beach or in the woods. And sometimes out back on a glassy 4-6ft day with a friend or two and no one else about.

Who do you most admire?

Well it is my whole family to be fair but most certainly my beautiful wife Jenny, she’s just amazing and of course and without doubt my Mum and Dad. If you ever met them, you would know why.

What would be your three takeaways for anyone starting their own business today?

Firstly, know your products/services. Your potential clients’ and, if you’re going this way, investors are going to see through any gaps in your knowledge and ability to deliver. I have been offered several opportunities to invest in recent years, the first thing I look at is the person I am investing in and whether they know what they are talking about, any gaps is a red flag and this was the same for me when I set out to establish REDS in 2017, I was fully prepared and at every opportunity given I was scrutinised to minute detail by potential investors, bankers, potential staff, clients’ and everyone in-between.

Secondly, take advice but remember you don’t have to follow it. It is important to be mindful that the vision you are trying to create is yours and not anyone else’s.  It can seem like the easier option to follow the advice of another and be led off course but stay true to your vision and listen to your own intuition.  If it goes wrong… own it and learn from it.

Thirdly, stick with it and put trust in your people. I and REDS are extremely lucky to have such an experienced and fantastic team at all levels. As with any business there have been hard months but as a team we have got through them.  When it feels like the World is against you stick with it, confide in those you trust and have confidence in your vision and team.

Date Posted: 30/06/2021