The MoreBathrooms, MoreAbility and MoreBuild brands are all part of the Passmore Group; Tony explains how he changed career to found this successful business with his brother.
What is it the company does?
Passmore is a full-service home improvement company based in Leeds covering the whole of Yorkshire. We operate through two distinctive brands – MoreBathrooms and MoreAbility are both branches from the bathroom service we offer, which includes bathroom design, supply and installation as well as solutions for the retired, elderly and less able. The third brand, MoreBuild, is a full turnkey operation carrying out all types of building works and adaptations, including extensions, conversions, kitchens, and general building alterations and renovations.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
Using a maritime analogy, my primary role is to set sail with a destination in mind and skipper the ship through waters clear and stormy, ensuring that we avoid any rocks and hazards along the way, to reach our destination on time and in one piece. It is also my responsibility to ensure that all employees have security, meaning they never have to worry about their financial stability.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
After trying my hand in the music and professional football industries, but failing to make headway, I began working as an administrator in our small family organisation. With a career in the business field in mind, I undertook a part-time Business Management degree at the Leeds Polytechnic. This remains one of my best achievements to date, as I attended night school whilst also juggling a young family and other part-time jobs.
After completing my degree, I was fired up to begin developing the family company further, and gained a great deal of help from Business Link – which was a first-rate business advisory service at the time – plus my brother and business partner Steve. We have now built a strong and successful brand that still fully embodies the family values instilled by our parents, who started the business back in the 1960s.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
I believe there are many factors involved in becoming a great leader. It’s about taking people on a journey with you to an agreed destination and dealing with all the highs and lows that you inevitably come up against together. This may sometimes require the end goal being changed, so a leader needs to be prepared and versatile to succeed. The overall four traits a great leader needs to demonstrate are vision, flexibility, resilience and decision-making.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
The world has changed considerably over the last 10 years and will only to continue to do so. This has meant I have had to push myself out of my comfort zone and adapt in order to keep up, which is essential for the success of any business. From IT and customer and employee expectations, to the potential fallout from Brexit plus political and economic uncertainty, there have been some big challenges and are sure to be plenty more!
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
Stress is an inevitable part of my role and – to a large degree – part of the fun. It’s important to leave work worries at the office door, so a relaxed and stable home environment is a great bonus for me. I also try to live as healthily as possible – eating the right things, getting plenty of rest and playing golf, even if it is rather badly! Just like in any walk of life, to be a successful MD you need to be at your best, so I try my hardest to look after myself outside of work.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Truthfully I had no real idea, however, I did know what I didn’t want to do. I had no aspirations to work in the family business, which seems strange looking back as I am now the managing director. This reluctance was down to everyone believing I had my life planned out for me, which made me determined to break away and make my own mark in life. But after forging my own career and returning to the company with more experience, I feel it has been the right decision and I have managed to make it my own.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
It has to be dishonesty. Trust is the basis of everything for me – a business just doesn’t work if you can’t rely on the people around you. It has to be earned and can be gone in an instant, but it is one of the main foundations I instil in our culture.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
In five years, I believe we will hit the £10m mark in terms of turnover. The future political and economic uncertainty may present a challenge, but we have dealt with this many times over the last 50 years with an inbuilt resilience, so I am confident we will continue to grow.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
There are five pieces of advice I would give to anyone aspiring to be a business leader:
· Always be prepared to learn
· Take on board and consider any guidance that is given to you
· Join an organisation such as Vistage, whose peer-to-peer learning programme is a brilliant development tool
· Be determined and don’t give up
· Be very clear about where you want to take your business, and go for it!
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Don’t be too serious and have as much fun as possible! I tend to be very passionate about my work, but I think it’s also important to show a lighter side more often.
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