Richard Shea has not built his success by underestimating the value of corporate time. His cabling company RS Communications offers secure project deadlines to big banks, which can haemorrhage money if telephone lines are out of order even for minutes. “Where an investment bank needs 200 new phone lines and the only time we can do the job is 3am, then that’s when we’ll do it,” says director Shea. This attitude earned Essex-based RS high margin contracts, such as cabling up Canary Wharf and London’s City Airport, which have driven up profits 92% a year from £783,000 in 1997 to £5.5m in 2000, when sales reached £21.2m. Shea says he has always made customer service a top priority. When he started his company in 1995 he would park his van in a side street and knock on front doors in his suit. Once he had secured a job, he would nip round the corner, put his overalls on and help lay the cables himself, working through the night if necessary. Keen to expand into the fast-growth digital television market, RS Communications runs in-house training centres to sharpen up employee skills in new technology.
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