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60 seconds… with Richard Gwilliam, Managing Director, easyNetworks

What’s currently having the greatest impact on your business?

Even though I founded the company in 1995, with a name like ours, it was only a matter of time before we attracted the attention of renowned entrepreneur, Sir Stelios HajiIoannou, owner of the ‘easy’ group, most famous for its airline ‘easyJet’.

Last year, we were invited to talks with Sir Stelios. After realising we both had the same business values, he invited us to join the ‘easy’ family of brands. We went into a meeting prepared for negotiations and walked out as business partners!

Seeing the potential of what we have achieved over the last 24 years, Sir Stelios has personally invested in easyNetworks and it is a fantastic opportunity for us to extend our reach across the UK. The impact has been from combining a great range of products and services with such a well recognised brand.

Where do you see the next big opportunity?

The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) Switch Off. With BT planning to shut off their legacy telephone network in 2025, businesses need to act now and start their migration plan. Skilled legacy PSTN technicians are being phased out, so leaving the migration to the last minute will increase risk.

What would make your day job easier? Regulation. Ofcom has put in place protection for individual consumers and micro-enterprises of less than 10 employees, but I would like to see the same attention given to all businesses.

What’s the best bit of business advice you’ve been given?

A man was trying to sell another an elephant for £500. ‘What on earth would I do with an elephant?’ said the potential customer. ‘Ok, I’ll let you have two for £750,’ said the salesman. ‘Done!’ said the customer.

The moral is: invest in what your business needs and don’t be enticed by the idea of a bargain.

If you had had a crystal ball, would you have done anything differently?

verything I have done has brought me to where I am today, and I am very happy with that. So, ‘no’.

Describe your most embarrassing moment.

I was with our installation team, working on-site on a really hot day in an office that quickly became more like a sauna. After a very long day, we stopped for something to eat at a service station. Whilst in the queue, I noticed people were keeping their distance and I realised we must’ve been somewhat ‘fragrant’.

What was your first job?

After school, I spent three months working at the Tasty Plaice. I used to dread the crowd that came in after the pubs closed and even the novelty of free fish and chips soon wore off.

Money’s not an issue, what’s your perfect car… and where would you drive it?

I am a real petrol-head and already have my car, a 1991 Panda 4×4, which I drove from the UK to Marrakesh in Morocco and back again. I would love to take it on a tour of Italy, to introduce it to its homeland and the terrain it was designed for.

What would be your dream job?

For the past few years, I have volunteered at a friend’s equine therapy centre and seen the difference it makes, so I would like to work with disadvantaged children.

Fine dining and good wine, or curry and a pint?

If the ‘fine dining’ can include a Sunday roast dinner (preferably lamb) with my family, then I’ll take that. If not, I will ditch both of them and have a full English breakfast the next morning.

How do you like to spend your spare time?

Either keeping my classic car collection ticking over or out on the water, windsurfing, kayaking, sailing or on a motorboat somewhere off the south coast.

Favourite holiday destination?

Cuba. The people were so warm and welcoming; the Caribbean climate was wonderful; and it was there I had one of the best experiences of my life – swimming with dolphins.

Vibrant Cuba
Vibrant Cuba
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