INTERVIEW: Scott Fletcher, Chairman and Founder of ANS Group Plc

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By Matt Gubba

over 6 years ago

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Scott Fletcher, recently named of one of Manchester’s most influential people, sits atop a business empire that, at last count, is worth over £50m.
The jewel in the crown is ANS Group, started in Scott’s back bedroom in Droylsden, Manchester when Scott was 22 years old.
Scott’s business career began in his teens, selling cockles and whelks in the pubs of East Manchester. Before that, as a child actor, he appeared in programmes such as Jossy’s Giants and Casualty.

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Scott Fletcher, recently named of one of Manchester’s most influential people, sits atop a business empire that, at last count, is worth over £50m.

The jewel in the crown is ANS Group, started in Scott’s back bedroom in Droylsden, Manchester when Scott was 22 years old.

Scott’s business career began in his teens, selling cockles and whelks in the pubs of East Manchester. Before that, as a child actor, he appeared in programmes such as Jossy’s Giants and Casualty.

After starting his business career and on a Youth Training Scheme, Scott progressed to running a department of twenty people by time he was 22. In 1996 the company that Scott was working for went out of business, giving Scott the opportunity to take on some of the recurring revenues as a springboard to create ANS Group. Sixteen years later Scott has not looked back, taking the annual turnover of the company from £300,000 in year one to an expected £60m this year and employing 150 people in Manchester and London. ANS are now widely acknowledged as the Cloud infrastructure experts in the UK, providing complex, multi-technology, managed infrastructures to over 600 clients in the public and private sectors.

In addition to his interest in ANS Group, Scott sits as Chairman of Godel Technology, which employs a further 100 people in Manchester and Belarus. The company has shown strong growth since Scott became involved in 2009 and is fast becoming as significant as ANS Group.

Scott’s involvement in community work includes serving as a board member of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, a partnership between local Government and Manchester business leaders that is tasked with driving investment and growth into the Greater Manchester region. Scott has also served as an elected member of the board of FC United of Manchester, a community football club that offers affordable live football and community work in the Greater Manchester area.

Scott is a keen sportsman and has recently completed some gruelling challenges for charity, including completing the Scotland coast-to-coast Iron Man challenge, and being part of an ANS team that cycled from Manchester to the Olympic Village in London.

BB: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and ANS Group?

Scott: I am an entrepreneur with a keen interest in business and how it can contribute to growth and prosperity. I am Chairman of ANS Group and Godel Technologies and sit on the board of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership. ANS Group is the acknowledged cloud expert in the UK with targeted turnover of £60m for next year. We have over 600 customers in the public and private sector.

BB: When did you first know that you wanted to run your own business?

Scott: I think the entrepreneurial drive has always been in me, in my teens I sold cockles and whelks in pubs in East Manchester. I don’t think that there has ever been any doubt in my mind that I would run my own business.

BB: What led you to come up with the idea for your business?

Scott: I had started at an IT company on a Youth Training Scheme and had progressed to managing a department. The company went out of business so I took on some of the recurring revenues and have not looked back since.

BB: You started your first business when you were 22. Did you ever find your age to be an issue when dealing with people much older than you in business?

Scott: There can be many difficulties in dealing with people, but I believe that you are responsible for making sure that you find a way to positively communicate with everybody you come across, no matter how difficult they can be. So I never let it become an issue.

BB: What's the biggest obstacle that you’ve had to overcome on your journey
so far?

Scott: This recession has been brutal but we saw it coming and ensured that we were prepared for it. We never let the negative talk affect us, and have seen solid growth since 2008 as a result.

BB: Do you think that the recession has made it harder for young people to start a business?

Scott: Credit is harder to come across, but the lack of opportunities on the job market may perversely push more young people into doing it for themselves. I do worry about the prospects for this generation; at ANS we are employing as many apprentices as possible to attempt to give young people a foot on the ladder.

BB: Do you manage to get much of a work/life balance? What is your average day like?

Scott: I dont believe in work/life balance but I do believe in a balanced life. I have done a lot of work with people like Tony Robbins to make sure that my life is balanced across many different areas. Health and relationships are two major areas that I find myself having to work upon. Obviously running a company the size of ANS means that I could work 24/7 if I wanted to, but if I did that then everything would suffer, it’s always a balancing act.

BB: What’s the best piece of business advice that you’ve ever been given.

Scott: It is a well-worn cliche but it is so true: turnover is vanity, profit is sanity and cash is king.

BB: Do you have any business role models?

Scott: Richard Branson and Nigel Wray, who is a shareholder in ANS Group.

BB: What would you say to any young people thinking of starting out in business?

Scott: Three cardinal rules: always look after the customer, always look after your staff and always, always, keep an eye on your bottom line.

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