As part of our Business Insights series, in this video, our CEO Graeme Carling, talks through his approach to managing the fear of failure in investing and decision making.

“Everybody’s got fear.” Graeme describes having a financial bank account and an emotional one.

“Most people worry about the financial side, but the most important is your emotional bank account. How will you cope with failure?

Everybody fails. The more you fail, the less fearful you are of it. You just go on to bigger challenges, but the fear never leaves you. Instead you’re able to control it and progress. So, when it comes to business, why start small? Really challenge yourself. The further away you get from your comfort zone, the better.

Most people want to operate within their comfort zone, that way if something goes wrong it’s all sensible. Meaning when it does go wrong it isn’t painful enough. There’s not a physiological reaction where you’ve really got a lesson out of it.”

His main piece of advice to budding entrepreneurs is to find a mentor. “Someone who has been hugely successful in the industry you want to get into – find out what they’ve done and implement it. Fail fast, and get it out of your way.”

Graeme believes if you want to succeed you need to stop putting it off. “Most people are just speaking about it, thinking about it. When the conditions are better – when they have more money or time. All rubbish, just procrastination. Get out and do it. Put the book down, stop going to the networking clubs and get out there and start today.”

United Capital, the Dundee-based building sector investment firm, which acquired £30million turnover business Saltire Facilities Management last week, has announced the appointment of top Scots solicitor, Ryan Russell, as in-house legal counsel and Non-Executive Director.

After the company’s most recent acquisition, the group, which includes former Scotland top 500 building services firm, McGill, and Angus-based electrical services firm, Alliance Electrical, now employs over 400 people and records a collective annual turnover of around £40 million.

At the end of 2019 United Capital set out ambitious targets to acquire businesses with a collective turnover of £300million within the next three years. The latest board appointment signals the company’s commitment to reaching those targets.

Ryan Russell, who is the Head of Employment and a Partner at MML Legal, formerly known as Muir Myles Laverty Solicitors, will offer support, guidance and expertise on all legal and HR matters for the group in addition to his current role with MML Legal.

United Capital CEO, Graeme Carling commented; “We are delighted to have appointed Ryan to the United Capital board. His reputation as a fearless and forensic litigator are well deserved and his expertise, especially in employment law will be critically important. As we acquire more companies, especially in light of the current COVID-19 situation, solid legal and HR guidance will be required and Ryan will lead this for the group.

Ryan is familiar with the business having provided employment and legal advice since United Capital acquired the business in March 2019.

Speaking of his appointment Ryan Russell commented; “I am excited to join the driven and passionate team at United Capital. The business has ambitious plans and I am looking forward to playing my part in the long-term success of the group.”

In addition to his role at MML Legal, Ryan also teaches Employment Law at University of Dundee and was awarded Lawyer of the Month by Scottish Legal News in March.

United Capital, which acquired former Scotland Top 500 company, McGill, and Angus-based electrical services firm, Alliance Electrical in 2019, has significantly expanded its portfolio with the acquisition of Saltire Facilities Management, a company with over 320 direct employees and annual turnover of circa. £30million.

Glasgow-headquartered Saltire Facilities Management, was founded in 2000 as a public/private partnership with North Lanarkshire Council to operate as an in-house facilities division, which was later sold by to the major shareholder. Saltire is currently one of the UK’s largest central heating and electrical service providers with offices across Scotland and South West of England.

United Capital CEO, Graeme Carling commented; “Our team are delighted to get this deal over the line, Saltire is an exciting addition to the United Capital family. Saltire are exactly the type of business that we are looking to acquire, they are a profitable business, deliver facilities management services on large public sector contracts and most importantly have a solid and vastly experienced management team leading the company.

“The existing staff, operatives and management will remain in place and it will be business as usual. Saltire’s customers will continue to receive exceptional service from the same fully qualified and experienced team. The United Capital Board of Directors will be on hand to support and grow the company moving forwards.”

Saltire Facilities Management General Manager, John Reynolds added; “The team at Saltire are happy to have completed the sale of the business to United Capital, but of course, the work doesn’t end. Our experienced team of staff, operatives and managers will continue to run the business on a day-to-day basis with the added support of Graeme and his team. It is an exciting time for Saltire as we join the United Capital family.

“This deal is also great news for our customers who will not only continue to receive the same high level of service that they have come to expect, but with the added expertise of the United Capital board and resources of the wider group of businesses, will see Saltire continue to grow and strengthen its position as one of the UK’s largest and leading central heating and electrical service providers.”

United Capital set out its ambitious buy-and-build strategy in December 2019 which sees the company target the acquisition of UK building services and facilities management companies with a collective turnover of £300million over the next three years.

Scottish building services contractor, McGill, continues to grow after winning a £400,000 contract and being appointed to a £3.6million framework to deliver upgrades to fire alarms. The recent award wins signal the continued growth of the company and come after it announced the company’s appointment to Govanhill Housing Association’s £20million major repairs framework last month.

In response to new Government legislation introduced after the Grenfell disaster, all properties in Scotland must meet higher standards in regards to smoke, fire and CO alarms. All local authorities and registered social landlords across Scotland have programmed works to complete upgrades in time for the March 2021 deadline. McGill’s specialist fire and security team has grown significantly over the past 12 months as the company has won several contracts to ensure compliance for its customers.

The £3.6million framework agreement with Falkirk Council and the £400,000 contract with Loreburn Housing Association were awarded to McGill after a competitive tender process whilst work remains suspended on all but essential Scottish sites.

McGill Managing Director, Douglas Thomson commented; “Whilst the past couple of months have been very difficult for our business and, of course, the entire industry, it is fantastic to have been awarded these contracts and continue the growth of McGill. Our estimating and BID teams have continued to work remotely during the COVID-19 situation and their efforts in securing this work have been great.

McGill’s fire and security team are currently delivering similar contracts across Scotland for several different clients including Fife Council, Langstane and Castlehill Housing Associations, both in and around Aberdeen.

Operations Director at McGill, Chris Ferriday added; “Our fire and security team are all exceptionally experienced and qualified people who continue to win more work and received glowing reviews from our clients. The team work hard and I am pleased that their efforts have been recognised by winning these contracts. We will be looking to employ a number of individuals as a result of these contract appointments and also offer more apprenticeships, which is fantastic.”

At this point the majority of building work has been put on hold in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Scottish sites, in contrast to those south of the border remain closed and only essential work is permitted under Scottish Government guidance. Despite a scheduled announcement from First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon due later this week, advanced communications suggest that lock-down measures will not be relaxed over the coming weeks.

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About McGill

McGill are a Scottish building services contractor serving clients in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors across the country. McGill specialise in delivering large-scale public sector contracts for local authorities and housing associations. They have significant experience and expertise in all types of planned and reactive maintenance contracts, void properties, facilities management for commercial and public buildings and also new-build and refurbishment projects on both a large and smaller scale.

Despite entering administration in February 2019, the company has re-established itself and is growing quickly since being acquired by UK building sector investment group, United Capital.