10 Questions: Ian Gillespie 

April 3, 2017

What was your first break in business? 

My first break was all about being in the right place at the right time – and being prepared to take a risk. After school I trained as a landscape gardener but left to work for my father in the motor trade. We visited a motor show where the very first mobile phone was being showcased – we acted on instinct, snapped it up, and have never looked back!

What did you want to be growing up? 

I’d always dreamt of being a farmer. My parents made it clear that they couldn’t afford to give me a farm, so I settled on becoming a landscape gardener as the next best thing. As I got older, all I wanted to do was become a professional rally driver.

What made you set up your own business? 

I set up and grew my first company, Fone Logistics, to the point where I could sell it on but I chose to retain one arm of the business, Activ Technology, to continue making my mark on the local marketplace.

What is your company mission? 

To provide SMEs with impartial advice on how they can improve and implement new technology within their business that will help them to promote a better way of working.

How do you get the best out of your team? 

I try to lead by example and show belief in my own role. This motivates the team to perform to the best of their ability. By creating a motivated workplace I’m confident that I can get the best out of everyone.

What has been your career highlight? 

I’ve been very fortunate that there have been a few highlights so it’s hard to pinpoint just the one. Working alongside my dad is up there as he taught me how to be the businessman I am today. Another highlight has been being able to take advantage of the market at the right time, and in creating a successful business at the peak of mobile connectivity hitting the market.

What has been your biggest challenge? 

Managing the cashflow of a rapidly growing business has proven to be one of the biggest challenges. Having a strong team around me which can oversee these aspects of business is a strong asset, and something which I certainly don’t underestimate the value of. This, of course, links to another challenge – recruiting and building a strong and reliable team!

Who or what inspires you? 

My motivation comes from aspiring to build a bigger and better business every day. As a North East lad at heart, I am passionate about the region and inspiration comes from being able to enhance this area and create a thriving place to live and work.

What are your company’s short and long-term goals? 

Short term, our goals are to continue delivering exceptional customer service to our clients and developing our staff to build the business. Longer term, following recent investment, we’ll be looking to grow and become recognised as the North East’s first point of contact for any business’s communication and technological needs.

How do you achieve a good work/life balance? 

This is something I’ve always struggled with – I find it hard to switch off from work, and because the business is my family’s livelihood, I never really do. However, I do try to spend as much time with my family as I can, supporting my youngest daughter with her Irish dancing and my son with his eventing and horse riding career.

Activ Technology

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