5 February 2017
Is there any greater honour than the Queen visiting your business? The reigning Monarch of our country coming to UKFast Campus.
This truly would be an honour of course however I’d underestimated just how I’d feel when Great Grandad graced us with his presence.
Many years ago, in the very early days of UKFast, there was just Gail, Neil and I and we had taken the plunge to rent our own office when we didn’t really have any customers. It was both very exciting and nerve wracking at the same time.
We had taken a small spot in a communal office, somewhere filled with businesses like us – big and small, startups, fledglings and growing businesses. We were still pretty cramped but it was a step up from our back-bedroom space and the tiny two-man office that the three of us barely fit into.
Gail’s Grandad had wanted to see it. When we invited him along, he really was tremendously excited to see it; to see where we were and how we were doing, and we were keen to show him our growing business. When we set up, we set up in a business centre. This meant that they answered our calls, it was very professional, like having a receptionist, and we ended up looking much bigger than we were at that time. I would joke that “in this office there are 200 people” but never quite clarified there were only three of us in the team!
Grandad came and obviously he was very proud. When he was walking around, taking it all in, he said: “Is this all your business and do all these people work for you?”
Crikey! I was absolutely mortified. I desperately didn’t want him to be disappointed so it was hard when I had to explain to him that we only had this little cupboard-sized office! Regardless, he always believed in us and was proud of where we’d reached so far.
Later that day I said to Gail that one day we would have our own office space and that I would make Grandad proud. I set a goal and it is one that we’ve worked towards ever since.
It has taken some years but Grandad enjoyed himself, taking some time out of his residential home and getting the Royal visit tour. It was quite the different visit to that one all those years ago.
It was incredibly emotional and a real reminder of the journey we’ve been on since then.
We have always called our office in Archway the Campus, but we’ve never really been able to call it a proper campus until now, until we completed the purchase of another building as well. Now, just as Grandad came to visit, we can show him not just one whole building that is ours, but a whole UKFast Campus and there are more than 400 people working across all of our businesses.
It is an extraordinary place to be. Whilst our first ever office space was exciting, UKFast Campus is something else altogether! You can’t beat the hustle and bustle, the buzz and the energy of different businesses working together, of one family team bouncing off one another, supporting each other and making a real difference. It is incredible.
Now as I take a little time to rest, reassess and set our goals on holiday, the first night has been taken up by thoughts of this unbeatable moment. There are goals that we set that mean a huge amount emotionally; hitting this really is an unbeatable feeling. Seeing Grandad taking the tour of our office, taking in the sights and feeling the energy – it is a moment that will be hard to beat.