Paul Williams founded Deeside and Chester-based IT firm Highstream two years ago, with triple digit growth achieved in just its second year of operation. Paul and the team at Highstream now provide IT solutions and support to more than 50 businesses across the North West and North Wales.
What’s the secret to your success?
Working with great people who are passionate about our business and the services we provide. Across the entire team, we work tremendously hard for our clients and have a clear, shared focus of what we’re trying to achieve as a business.
Who in your life has influenced you most and why?
My grandfather – He was a farmer who worked incredibly hard throughout his working life. He was extremely practical and during his retirement spent his days fixing things for friends and neighbours. He wasn’t happy when he wasn’t busy.
What do you do for fun?
I run for fitness and fun. Never further than half marathon (but I do have a few of those under my belt!). Family time is hard to come by but very precious to me. I also have an interest in classic cars.
What’s the best bit of business advice you’ve been given?
I’m lucky to be surrounded regularly by great business minds, all of whom offer great strategic input. I was once told the best way to delight a customer was to personally accept responsibility for an issue affecting them and drive through a resolution, acting over and above their expectations. This has turned into a great way of forming relationships and retaining customers.
If you could have a 1 to 1 with anyone past or present who would it be with and why?
Terry Wogan – I miss his Radio 2 breakfast shows accompanying me to work every morning. He struck the perfect balance between humour, professionalism and gentlemanly conduct in my opinion.
What is the biggest challenge in your industry right now?
The security landscape evolves constantly – managing this risk is incredibly important. The speed of technological change is both a challenge and huge opportunity for both our own and our customers businesses.
Tell us about the most memorable client or customer that you have interacted with during your years in business?
Prior to working in this current role, I was involved in the technological design and build of infrastructure within a major German car manufacturer’s distribution centre. The people I worked with and their commitment to meet our shared targets on this project make it stand out and it’s a time I’m proud of.
How is Brexit affecting/going to affect your business?
It’s very difficult to say as we still don’t understand what Brexit looks like at the time of my writing this! We have a number of manufacturing clients who could be affected by disruption to their supply of raw materials. This may have an adverse impact on the services we provide to them.
Where do you believe are the biggest opportunities right for your business and in your sector?
The swell of artificial intelligence capabilities provides businesses with an opportunity to divert human resource into more creative roles, whilst operationally becoming more efficient. We’re positioning ourselves to assist with this transition – both in the implementation of automation technology and the tools to ensure our newly creative workforces can become productive quickly.
How do you motivate your staff?
Be open, treat them with respect and keep them informed. Having a good understanding of their roles and day to day commitments ensures I can direct effectively, whilst taking a hands-on approach to supporting the team whenever required.
What do you most enjoy about running your business?
The challenges it brings and the sense of achieving a dream – this is something I’ve always wanted to do.