THE OWNER of CHI Fire Solutions, Andy Salsbury-Newman is a man who believes passionately in doing business the right way.
“CHI stands for conscientiousness, honesty and integrity, and I’m proud of that, it is massively important to me. It’s all about treating customers ethically and fairly because it is eight times harder to win business than it is to lose it,” he said.
Mr Salsbury-Newman set up the business four years ago with help from the now defunct Business Link, which gave him a £2,000 grant and he spent the next two years running the business from home, gradually building up a stable client base. He has now moved to a unit in Mallard Close, Earls Barton, and employs four staff.
“It was only by luck I found out about the grant,” explained Mr Salsbury-Newman. “I happened to ask the right people at the right time, but there is help available for start-ups if you know where to look.
“The NatWest business manager we use has been fantastic, he knew where we wanted to go and has supported us.”
Thanks to another Government-backed grant, CHI Fire Solutions has just gained ISO 14001 accreditation, making it one of the first independent fire companies in the country to achieve this.
“We intend to offset our carbon footprint by planting trees and aim to be carbon neutral by 2015,” he said. “Business people might say that their little bit isn’t going to make a difference, but if we all do something we can get somewhere.”
Emma Fawcett-Jones, the UK business manager for Certification International, which helped CHI Fire Solutions achieve their ISO accreditation, said: “By achieving certification for ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004, CHI Fire Solutions has clearly demonstrated their strong commitment to the continuous improvement of their business, the quality of their management system and their commitment to reducing their environmental impact.”
As well as helping the environment, Mr Salsbury-Newman is keen to help not-for-profit organisations and offers them preferential rates. “We are keen to expand that side of the business,” Mr Salsbury-Newman said.
“But it has to be managed. The business has taken the step from A to B, and has year-on-year growth, but the next step will be much harder.
“When I first employed Lou to help with the administration, I had sleepless nights, being the MD of a company is very different to being a manager, as I was before, the buck stops with me. It is exciting and scary at the same time.
“There are so many things you don’t know you don’t know, but running CHI is everything I expected and so much more.”