A Q&A with Mark Davenport

Mark Davenport has always worked in family businesses having started his career in 1988 as a Caterpillar driver working on a landfill. This close-up confrontation with the problems of waste disposal led to a demonstrable and lifelong passion for improving recycling processes and reducing waste.

The company he founded was eventually awarded an £830m PFI recycling contract and in 2010, Mark received Cambridgeshire’s “businessman of the year award”. He is a Royal Warrant Holder and has sat on the Warrant Holders National Council at Buckingham Palace.

He has experience in the buying and selling of businesses to meet the strategic goals of his companies and shareholders and has successfully grown his own group company portfolio. He is currently working on energy projects in East Anglia focussing on the heavy industrial property sector and is also enjoying running a small garage business at Blakeney in Norfolk.

1. What do you think is the top concern owner-managed businesses (OMBs) are faced with today. How do you recommend they might overcome it?

UK Governance, with the political parties in turmoil, space is created for potential radical reforms that are currently unseen, not necessarily business friendly, but vote grabbing, all this feeds uncertainty for business owners.

2. Where do you think the greatest opportunities lie in today’s business environment?

The environmental sector, the up and coming generations are far more environmentally aware than previous generations.

3. Of those surveyed, 71% anticipate using borrowing to fund investment into new equipment or facilities in the next three years. Do you think uncertainty around Brexit is holding businesses back from making such investments now?

Absolutely, all big decisions, especially on a commitment to funding, require confidence by the borrower, confidence has been eroded by the political parties throughout the UK.

4. Almost seven in ten firms see superior marketing initiatives from rivals as being a threat today. What advice can you give to businesses feeling the pressure from media-savvy rivals and market disruptors?

Look at what you are offering to the market, goods or services reflect them against your competitors offerings, find their weakness and your strengths, use the process to get out there and highlight why clients should choose you over the opposition.

5. 74% of business leaders respond to talent scarcity through more flexible and attractive working conditions. Aside from remuneration, how else can employers incentivise their top employees to stay?

“No one drinks in an empty bar” it has to be a working environment that allows the employee to feel they are important, we all want to stand out and be a key part of our own peer group, when the positivity is strong there’s almost no stopping a company or group that have the belief in what they are doing.

Mark Davenport


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