Family Business United is all about the family business and those involved in it. We are always looking for insights and recently spoke to Aine Girn, Head of Marketing at Novus Property Solutions who shared her insight on life working in a family business.
When was the business founded?
Novus Property Solutions was incorporated in 2013 following a restructuring of Seddon Property Services Ltd, a division of the Seddon group formed in 1897. Today, the company operates as an independent trading entity but still under the ownership of the Seddon family.
What does it do?
The business is a leading specialist in planned property maintenance, building refurbishment, compliance, and decarbonisation services. The company operates under five dedicated service offerings – Interiors, Maintain, Assure, Projects and Sustain.
Tell me a little about the history of the business?
Seddon Group was originally founded in 1897 by two brothers George and John Seddon, who learnt their bricklaying craft down Lancashire mines and were determined to create a better life for themselves and their families.
By providing a quality service across a variety of projects the brothers expanded over the years, with their sons Jonas, Frank and Ernest joining the company in the 1920’s. The second generation of Seddon brothers into the business helped to create the company ethos of traditional family values of quality and service. By the 1930’s the company’s growth had allowed them to expand further. Having been requested by Stoke on Trent council to complete a contract on which another contractor had become insolvent in 1932, this was the beginning of what was to become Seddon (Stoke) Ltd in 1957 and subsequently renamed as J&S Seddon Ltd in 2007.
In June 2013, the company underwent a restructuring and rebranding exercise which culminated in a change of name and ownership. Novus Property Solutions Limited was launched as a totally independent trading company from Seddon Group Limited and its associated subsidiary companies (which continue to operate as separate business entities).
What generation is involved in the family business?
The business is owned by third, fourth and fifth generation Seddon family members.
Are there any family members working in the business?
Fifth-generation family member Sophie Seddon-Hall is a Non-Executive Director at Novus.
As a multi-generational business, what has helped your firm stand the test of time?
The company has always operated with a very clear mission: to deliver a safe workforce that provides quality service, commitment and sustainability to communities throughout Great Britain. We are a one-stop shop, bringing together a full range of services under one roof. This affords our clients the benefit of streamlined service delivery and a single point of contact and accountability for all of their requirements.
With a turnover of £150+ million, we are one of GB’s largest privately owned maintenance contractors. Our unique operating model of 20 operational offices nationwide enables us to offer our clients the personalised, attentive service delivery associated with a local contractor, backed by the resources and expertise of a major national organisation.
What values are important to the family and the business?
‘The Novus Way’ is at the centre of everything we do as individuals and as a business.
This covers our values of:
- Be Responsible
- Get it Right
- Embrace Change
- Work Together
- Be Authentic
Do you build the family ownership into the marketing and brand narrative and if so, how?
We are incredibly proud of our strong family history and ethos. Our marketing is a blend of reminding our audience of our beginnings and family values, mixed with our current operating model and success stories.
Have you taken any particular steps in terms of governance to help protect the business for the future?
Absolutely, we have ensured financial probity by remaining debt-free and self-funded, which means not borrowing against the business. We have also always focused on being prompt payers of both our suppliers and our subcontract work force, which results in us having more favourable payment terms than many of our multi-billion pound competitors.
Is there a next generation in the wings?
Absolutely, Novus has an ambitious five-year growth plan to accommodate the next generation of the family business.
If you could sum up the family business in three words, what would they be?
Do business responsibly.
Find out more about the business by visiting their website here