We sat down with MD of Glo, Chris Connor, to find out more about the man behind the business, how Glo came to be and what it takes to run your own IT support company. Hold on tight, we're going in!
Hey Chris, you've been running Glo for just over 14 years now. What led you to kickstart an IT company?
'IT has always been a natural passion for me. From the age of 17, I completed Computer studies while working part-time in retail and I guess I never really stopped learning and finding opportunities to develop my skillset. From how to speak to people and show respect, to how to carry out effective IT support and learning how networks are set up. I also completed the Microsoft access course in between that fuelled me even more. It was when I was working for a Computing services company that I really cut my teeth, developing and gaining valuable experience that put me in a strong position for the future. All of these things I carry with me to this day and is very much core to what Glo stands for. It's a collaboration of all these things that led me to create the Glo you know and love today.'
How did you encourage Glo to grow and develop?
'For many years Glo was run as a lifestyle business- designed to fit around my existing lifestyle. This was largely influenced by my daughter Mia being born at a time that Glo was in its early stages. As Mia is severely disabled I, along with my wife Emma, needed to dedicate time to looking after Mia. In more recent years and with a greater-sized team, we've been able to mature as a business. We have aimed to spread our wings and take Glo up a level to achieve more stability. The same core values, friendly service and expert team, but increasing our scope. Above the necessities of a business, Glo doesn't exist to make money, it's genuinely about providing an amazing level of service in an industry that I care about. This naturally drives the business forward as good customer service leads to returning business.'
Some might say prioritising customer service over profit is unusual, why is money not a huge motivation for you?
'I am satisfied with what I have around me already. When I wake up in the morning I'm just happy to be alive and functioning. What would I do with all that extra money? Perhaps a combination of how I was brought up and having Mia has made me realise that money really doesn't mean anything. I'm cool with how things are and if things continue to grow steadily and continue to be stable, that's ok for me. The team and I thrive on the satisfaction of taking a customer's problems, solving them and making their IT and working lives better so let's keep doing that.'
What goals do you have for Glo?
'My Dad passed away in 2017, he had only recently retired and only took two sick days in his whole career. Why am I going to wait until I am 60 and retired to enjoy my pension? I'd prefer to knuckle down to grow the business to a more stable position, providing reassuring job security for the team and being satisfied with the future of Glo. I can then happily step back to a 3-day week and focus on family and health. You still need a driver in a business but with the right processes in place, there are team members that are growing into the role. Over the last couple of years, the team has gone from strength to strength and I am 100% confident in the team as they have more than enough experience, expertise and wisdom to run the ship without my constant presence. Because of that, my goals for Glo are to grow, increase stability, reach more businesses and provide exciting progression for the team.'
Looking back over the history of Glo and your life, what have been some standout learning curves or hurdles you've had to overcome?
'Most notably in my personal life would be having my daughter, Mia. Mia was born with an undiagnosed syndrome that means she cannot walk, talk or eat and has limited understanding of everything around her. My wife, Emma, and I have built our lives around caring for Mia and so Mia is inextricably a part of Glo.
In terms of lessons that have been learnt and things that have stuck with me over the years, I would say firstly making sure to deal with businesses that are financially sound to protect ourselves. Secondly, remembering the value of each individual member of the team. People are just not numbers and I feel grateful that this pandemic has not meant I have had to sacrifice the team I have now. And thirdly, perhaps most importantly, is communication. The most critical component inside and outside of a business.'
Let's talk highlights, what do you love about the job and tell us some proud moments!
'I enjoy my job most when we win. Simply when we've finished a project and the customer thinks it's great. Two customers in the last six month have said 'Glo is the last thing we would change in our business about everything else' and that stuck with me because it demonstrates how valuable the relationship is. I also love to see the team develop and come into their own as individuals and as part of Glo. Team morale is important, so I try to project energy and positivity, this translates in my work and the conversations I have each day. I say to the team if you need time to do something with your family, do it, just go because family is important. Even if we as a business play a small part by providing a fulfilling, stable and interesting job to the team then that is significant.
My proudest moments are the way that Emma and I deal with Mia - a child with an unknown future and unknown problems- while running a business and staying energetic and on the whole, maintaining a positive outlook.'
Quick whizz round. Tell us what you love, what makes you tick and three words to describe yourself. GO!
'I love my family first and foremost, running, swimming and yoga is my sanity solution. I'm a strong believer if you can't fix it or won't fix it, then don't whine. It's important to challenge yourself and experience the richness of life, don't sit down and watch the world go by. Describing myself in three words: positive, energetic and at peace.'
Any last thoughts?
'Everything everybody does is because of something they did previously. There is no such thing as free will in that sense. We often put way too much importance on ourselves, when the planet will go on without us. Instead, don't worry about the less important stuff or what people say or do, just get on with it. None of that matters unless you let it matter. Be a great person and enjoy yourself.'