From the very beginning, our founder,Hashil Ramjee, kept a vision of achieving excellence in our industry. Now, ten years since the birth of Karsons Consulting, we take a moment to go through the key moments in Hashil's jorney with Karsons so far.
Q: 10 years, who would have thought… what were you thinking when you started just after the financial crash and following recession of 2008 to start a business and not find another job?
HR: Starting a business was never a grand plan, but the customer service and business minded qualities have always been instilled in me. When the opportunity came up, and my previous employment ended, I saw this as an opportunity to take the chance. I spoke with a client I had worked for over a number of years and they said they would support me. They are a luxury residential property management company, and till today, they are still our valued clients. The rest is just one foot in front of the other at a measured pace.
Q: How do you get from a sole business owner to an MD of a company of 10 staff including sub-contractors, your own team and office premises?
HR: Not easily. Everyone wants the great postcode and several staff to boast, however what is key to any business is your profit margin. Furthermore, recognising your own skillset and realising one can’t do everything, such as administration and marketing, it soon became evident that we needed to build a bigger team. This further developed into bringing on technical skills both in-house and sub-contracted to supplement the service offering that Karsons provide. We can now state that we have a very good model, with high-end expertise. Different to other consultancies, you are getting chartered level consultancy and not juniors on projects. The office premises in Central London is also key, which we learned especially over the Covid-19 restrictions. With the lockdowns, and all the tools at our disposal such as Teams and Zoom, nothing substitutes for the inter-personal contact between team members.
Q: What has been the biggest achievement in your 10 years of business?
HR: I would say now reaching a 10 year anniversary, as being in business for this long especially given the extremely tough financial times is quite an achievement and tests one’s resilience. Other notable achievement is our nearly 100% client retention. But one project jumps out which is the Foyles bookshop that was flooded and lost power as a consequence. We designed, project managed and had up-and-running a new LV electrical panel to reinstate power within 2 weeks when it was envisaged that it would take 6 weeks. This excellent project was the start of a number of forensic and insurance specialist works we carry out to this day.
Q: What are you thankful for mostly reaching this milestone?
HR: I look back to the 23rd December 2010 when Karsons started and remember back to the person I was. I had a lot of support from my previous employer and very thankful to Jerry Lehane , who offered me a position at his firm, but also the opportunity to study a degree in Building Services Engineering. Education is priceless, but more importantly coupled with the excellent support of a good employer, it really helps to shape an individual. For this I am thankful to Jerry and those I worked with at Chapman BDSP. I have a team member now, that we are seeking to sponsor on a day release university program on similar terms. Other than this, I am thankful to the team I have built a fantastic relationship with. These guys understand our values, responsiveness, and the level we are required to operate at. Jennie, Mandira, Pawel, Shristi, Stephen, Nigel, Rob, Zsolt and Alan, thank you for your continued support.
Q: Business aside, what are you most proud of that the business has achieved, outside of the business?
HR: Karsons has been involved in a number of projects and we launched KARSONS FOR GOOD in 2016. We partnered with B1G1 who work with several projects around the world where every work related project we did had a proportion donated to these projects. We wanted to be more hands-on, so we sponsored a street-children’s cricket team from Nepal. We also partnered with local charity Hope for Children, and we hope to build teachers accommodation in rural Nepal in 2021/2022. This would have been completed in 2020 but was put on hold due to Covid.
Q: With your South African roots, have you considered expanding over there?
HR: Karsons Consulting has a presence in South Africa, albeit a small presence. We have a client with a small property portfolio, which is being managed by a local team managed by my sister. She gets the support of our team in the UK, but of course to truly expand into a new country, there needs to be quite a presence there. I believe there are fantastic opportunities over there however there is not the culture to spend on consultancy fees when design and build and a DIY approach is taken to cut costs. A HUGH potential there would be renewable energy, and we are in discussions with a few suppliers to roll out some initiatives to our clients. Until then, we expect things to be organic in South Africa with the priority on the London based business.
Q: Finally, What would you say to young entrepreneurs wanting to embark on their business dream?
HR: Before starting, ask yourself if you have what people want? What makes you different to your competitors. And when you do take the leap, keep asking yourself this as this keeps your unique selling point fresh. If you strive to be leaders in your field and associate yourself in your business with other industry leaders, clients resonate with you. Be qualified, be experienced, and never forget that your’re always learning. When you’re a business owner, you don’t have the independence that most think by not having a boss… instead, your clients become your boss. If you don’t work your butt off and show excellence in service delivery you need to re-think being in business. It’s not for everyone, but it is rewarding.