As Craig Corporate celebrates 30 years of success, Paul Yacoubian, Managing Director reflects on an eventful three decades of supporting clients through good times and bad.
We have recently celebrated 30 years in business and this milestone has given me the opportunity to reflect on our journey so far; the ups and downs; the challenges and opportunities; the people and businesses we have helped to grow and prosper; the enduring friendships made.
Fusion of family and business
The central theme that runs throughout our own business is family. We understand the two realities – family and business. One cannot survive without the other and it is our understanding of this fusion and the challenges it creates that has allowed us to meet our clients’needs.
Every family business has a unique footprint and within this, the complexity of family relationships can create many areas of potential conflict. When I started working with Craig Corporate 27 years ago, I thought that basic common sense would prevail as a guiding light for business strategy and development. Whilst in many cases this is true, the family dynamic always brings an intensity of its own into play, with differing business ambitions, personal aspirations, attitudes to non-family participation and funding to mention just a few.
As I reflect on our 30 year journey, what pleases me most is the part Craig Corporate has played in helping our clients, some big, some small, some with a domestic focus and others with operations spanning the globe, negotiate the pitfalls of the group/family dynamic to achieve success. This shared experience means that the roots of our business relationships run deep, and over the past 30 years the team at Craig Corporate has developed expert knowledge and collective understanding in a wide range of sectors. Our clients’ portfolios span energy, construction, travel, hotels and leisure, manufacturing, food, professional services, telephony, and these areas expand continuously.One of the things I have learned in the thirty year journey is that, whilst common principles may apply to the creation of success in any businesses from almost any industry, it is essential to approach each family situation with an open mind and a huge degree of humility –‘previous experience preferred, but not essential’, as the saying goes.
Expect the Unexpected or ‘Crisis, what crisis?’
Craig Corporate has gained a valued reputation for providing practical hands-on support and strategic guidance to clients through different business cycles and the challenges of a virtual, digital and increasingly globalised world.
At times it has felt like a game of Russian roulette, the odds stacked against us all, as we steered clients through the oil crisis of the late 80s, the banking crisis in the 90s, the dotcom bust, the global financial crash of 2007 and more recently plummeting oil prices. Factor in geopolitical challenges and social unrest and it is a wonder that businesses have managed survival at all, let alone keep momentum.
Enduring successful partnerships
But momentum has been kept, by clients old and new, and I am delighted to say that each new year brings new clients with fresh energies and insights. The trust our new clients put in Craig Corporate is never taken for granted, and we do our best to build on that trust and repay the faith shown in us.
But it is never all about the new. Some of our clients have been with us for most of our 30 years.
We started working with the Ferguson Group in 1988. The company is involved in the global rental of offshore containers, accommodation and workspace modules. Over the past thirty years it has grown into a multi-million pound enterprise. The business was acquired by Brambles Group last year for £320 million. I am currently still involved in the ongoing development of the company as it faces the challenges and opportunities of its new reality.
ACS is another long-standing client. For more than ten years Craig Corporate has played its part in helping the directors achieve their ambition of becoming Europe’s largest rental provider of formal wear. There is much more to come and I am excited at the global positioning of ACS and the possibilities for its future growth.
We at Craig Corporate are proud of the part we have played in the success of both of ACS and the Ferguson Group.
I am proud too that some of our clients have histories much longer than ours. One early success was Ayrshire-based textile manufacturing company Morton Young & Borland, a family business founded in 1900. The business, which specialises in high quality lace, has survived into its second century following a major strategic overhaul.
Partners you can rely on when it counts
Craig Corporate at 30 is a toddler by comparison, well, not quite thirty for me. I joined the firm 27 years ago to be precise in the May of 1988. As the business climate of the day dictated, our main activity in the first decade was as turnaround specialists, handbrake turns, mostly at 100 miles per hour!
Calum Paterson, Managing Partner of Scottish Equity Partners, a long-standing partner of ours, often jokes that we were regarded as the “Business Paramedics”. SEP could count on us when life-saving resuscitation of companies was required, implementing business strategies in weeks, instead of the usual months in order to save the patient from a long lingering demise.
As our business has grown, we have worked with many of our clients on a project to project basis as and when their need arises and today the range of services we offer, and our ability to tailor them to the needs, ambitions and life stages of clients, means we can add value to a business at every part of its evolutionary cycle.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our clients who have placed their trust in us over the years. Craig Corporate is committed to repaying the faith shown in us by every client, new and old, in the years to come.
As we enter our fourth decade we look forward to fresh challenges and opportunities to grow and develop. Our next big milestone will be 40, but we are undaunted by approaching middle age – as they say, 40 is the new 30.