At about this time last year, I was delighted to accept the position of Non-Executive Chairman at Remsol, ahead of what promised to be an exciting year of change. Looking back, 2015 certainly lived-up to its billing.
Best known as a specialist waste management outsourcing business, Remsol has always provided a broad range of additional consultancy services, particularly framed around sustainability, responsible business, resource efficiency and business resilience.
But these were always viewed as an add-on, and somewhat peripheral to the company’s core offering.
During the summer of that year, a strategic shift began. The waste management market was changing, the sales cycle for projects had lengthened to almost a year, and when contracts were won, clients were no less demanding even though profit margins were continually shrinking.
So the decision was made to push the company’s waste service out to the margins and put its broader consulting services at the heart of the business.
The transition to multi-disciplinary consultancy focused on helping people grow sustainable, resilient businesses, began in January 2015.
If it were to shake-off its reputation as a waste management business, Remsol needed to start distancing itself from that sort of work, and so took the bold decision to cease marketing waste services from the end of January onwards.
By February, the company’s new branding was ready and started to be introduced gradually in sales and marketing literature, on company documents and in Remsol’s social media presence.
The new logo is an example of my first disagreement with the management team, and managing director Lee Petts in particular. However, I’m happy to admit that I was wrong – the new branding is at the same time striking and very different from Remsol’s earlier image. With its overlapping up-and-down chevrons, it also perfectly sums up the company’s ethos: that less is more.
Also in February, I was privileged to collect a much coveted award on Lee’s behalf, after he won the IoD North West director of the year award for Corporate Responsibility – a testament to his commitment to doing and promoting socially and environmentally responsible business.
Next came the new website. In its current guise, it’s not yet quite fully operational – soon, you’ll be able to buy our entry level consulting service online, book onto and pay to attend our events, and much more besides – but what the site has been able to help us do is communicate better. For instance, The Remsol Blog, which used to be separately hosted, is now integrated into main Remsol website.
Within a week of launching the new website, we were ranking on the first page of Google for three out of our four key search terms, often appearing as the first result, and have maintained this ever since. It makes the company much more visible and easier to find.
That’s one of the reasons why Remsol has started to gain new clients, many seeking help boosting their commitment to CSR.
Businesses are also starting to make increasing use of Remsol’s unique maturity model, which assesses sustainability and resilience across up to 30 separate measures, and then defines it as either beginning, improving, succeeding or leading. It’s a really valuable tool, and I recommend it to any business that wants to grow.
After becoming a sponsor of the New Business category in the Be Inspired Business Awards (the Bibas), brand awareness started to increase across the entire Lancashire business community, with more and more existing acquaintances enquiring about the rebirth and repositioning of the business.
The company’s rebrand was completed at the end of November, when the signage on its Preston HQ was replaced so that the building now proudly boasts Remsol’s new logo.
It’s been a very busy year, and the business has come a long way. I’ve enjoyed helping to steer it and ensure it stays firmly on course.
But I’m looking forward to the next few years even more, with stellar growth plans that are set to put Remsol on a whole new trajectory.
Hold on to your hats, it’s going to be a whirlwind ride!