Roger Gaunt of Gauntlet Risk Management Ltd
Roger Gaunt of Gauntlet Risk Management Ltd gives his top tips for aspiring entrepreneurs and charts his career so far.
What is it the company does?
Gauntlet is a commercial insurance broker, risk managers and health and safety consultant and also a principal of Gauntlet Enterprise, which offers self-employed opportunities to talented brokers wishing to be their own boss.
What does your role involve?
My role is to oversee the profitable growth and development of the business, ensuring that all stakeholders receive high quality service and that all advice is given to the highest standard.
I also mentor employees and directors, to ensure top quality performance and challenge ways of doing things, to continually introduce innovations and improvements in how Gauntlet operates as a business.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I left school at 18 having completed my A’ levels and joined Provincial Insurance as an A’ Level trainee. After spending time as an underwriter, and then moving briefly in to claims, I moved in to the sales team, generating new business from insurance brokers.
At the age of 22, I moved to Municipal Mutual Insurance (MMI) as a regional sales executive, selling insurance to a range of businesses in Yorkshire. I was top salesman for two out of the three years I was there.
MMI were taken over by Zurich in 1993 and my role became redundant so I moved to join a small insurance brokerage as a partner, which was my first move in to running a business.
After working in this business for 18 months, the time came for me to move out and start my own business. In October 1994 I set up Gauntlet Insurance Brokers, which in time was re-named Gauntlet Risk Management as we acquired other business. At this stage, it developed into a broader based risk management consultancy business.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
The ability to make good decisions under pressure and to instil confidence in the team to work through challenging times, to achieve great results. I also feel it important to be able to see through short term fads and fashions and to identify and stay focused on longer-term goals.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Managing growth is a significant challenge and we have grown strongly in recent years and continue to do so. Change creates conflict and disruption and can be divisive. If handled well though, a much stronger and more dynamic team emerges.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie and like active sports. These sports offer complete distraction from work and its pressures.
My real passion is horse riding and I event to a good standard, which I enjoy doing with my wife and two children. During the winter I snowboard as often as I can
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I had no significant aspirations as a child, but when I entered my teenage years, I always fancied being a city trader.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
We aim to run a paperless office and I am well known for my rants when I see needless printing of documents. For this reason, we have developed one of the best bespoke cloud-based systems in our industry.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
Significantly bigger with a well-established national network of Appointed Representatives. We currently have 33, located all over the country, but we will seek to join more geographic dots and support the most vibrant AR network in the insurance sector.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Set out a clear plan, trust your own judgement and surround yourself with people who are better than you are. Maintain high standards in all that you do, as cutting corners will come back to haunt you – something we frequently see in our insurance cases.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Trust your instinct and make decisions early. It’s better to cut a bad position early and take a small loss than to try to struggle on. I’ve come to see that concentrating on winning positions is vital.