Hobnobbing with Ben McCarthy from Premier UK Events Ltd

8 years ago

Hobnobbing with Ben McCarthy from Premier UK Events Ltd

So, what does Premier UK Events do?

Premier consists of 5 core areas, Event Management, AV Production, Hire, Weddings and the sale of illuminated LED Furniture. Each department is looked after by a dedicated team of individuals who are experts in their field.

On a typical week, our event management team can be helping a client plan an upcoming event including booking venues, accommodation and looking after suppliers. Our AV production team will be out on the road providing AV for conferences, product launches, and live events. Our hire team will be booking in hires for other AV companies who regularly hire additional equipment from ourselves. Our wedding team will be speaking to bride and grooms about their upcoming weddings and we typically have a couple of orders a week for LED Furniture.

How did the idea for the business come about?

Originally Premier was a mobile disco (Ben’s Mobile Discos) which I started in my first year of University with the interest-free overdraft that I was provided with at the time. My initial plan was that 10 discos at £100 would break even and that the rest would be profit. I had always wanted to be a DJ and had played ‘Radio Stations’ as a child with my brother and next door neighbours. I liked the idea of running a business whilst studying for a degree in Business Studies, I thought that I would learn more (and earn more) running a business than having a bar job whilst at University.

When was company first established?

After graduating from University in 2005 I decided to make the disco business my full-time job and by 2009, I was also offering dance floor and venue lighting to my clients as well. In 2010, I employed my first member of staff and we moved into a small industrial unit. Each year since then we have employed more staff, invested heavily in new equipment and diversified into a number of different markets.

How is the company doing?

The company grows each year which is really nice to see and certainly keeps me on my toes. Turnover increases roughly 30% a year and we typically employ 3 new staff a year also to keep up with the demand for our products and services. We have recently taken the warehouse next to ours, doubling our size and giving us 14,000sq/ft of space at our Leicestershire site. We have also just invested in a brand new stock of the L-Acoustics range of speakers opening the door to the festival market which is very exciting.

Since the company began, what has been the biggest challenge?

Trying to not be pigeon-holed by customers and explaining the wide range of services that we provide is by far our biggest challenge. Many clients believe that we only provide the service that we provide for them, they have no idea about the scale of the operation that we are now. A customer who came into see us 3 years ago won’t know about our corporate AV production work or our event management team for example as they were not services that we offered back then. The constant investment in new equipment has also been a challenge, we have had to build up stock from scratch of a wide range of AV, furniture and décor equipment.

What makes you stand out from your competitors?

Variety, there isn’t a company that I am aware like us in the UK. Typically, our competition will either be; an event management company, an AV company, lighting specialist, furniture hire company, wedding décor company etc. We have in stock for example festival sized PA systems as well as sequin table runners and candelabras – we are a one stop shop!

We are able to offer all of the above from under one roof, our event management team can work with the AV production team, for example, ensuring a seamless journey for our customer.

What’s been your best business decision?

There are probably two here, the first has been investing in starlit (twinkly) dance floors back in 2009, the return on investment has been huge and allowed us to finance growth into other markets. Secondly, it was ensuring that my first 2 members of staff were on the same page as me – the three of us worked some long hours in those early days and did every job that needed doing from cleaning dance floors to building our offices in our first industrial unit. With us having done that we earned respect from all of our new employees as we were only asking them to do jobs that we had done ourselves previously.

What is next for Premier UK Events?

Growing our client base is our next key objective, we are lucky enough to work with some fantastic brand names and on a variety of exclusive events already but, we have the capacity to double our client base without needing to invest in more systems and equipment. As the business has grown each year we have always had to be 3 steps ahead of where we currently are. Moving into our new premises, for example, was a case of us ‘future proofing’ the business, if we were planning on staying the same size we wouldn’t have needed it but we are always looking to grow and the new building allows us to do this.

If you could help one business now with a single piece of advice, what would it be?

Embrace the cloud. We recently switched over to a cloud-based accounting system and rental system, both of which have taken our business into the 21st century. I can now access both systems from my phone or laptop wherever I am in the world and always keep up to speed with what’s happening in the business.

Finally, Ben what is your favourite biscuit?

It’s a classic, the chocolate hobnob, I could quite easily eat an entire packet in an evening. Unfortunately, I would like my jeans to still fit so I rarely get to do this.