When David Hewer started Hewer FM in 1965, it was just him and a van – today, that business turns over an estimated £15 million a year, employs 150-plus staff and puts its success down in no small part to its founding principles.
That success has made it the largest family-owned mechanical and electrical services, heating, plumbing and renewable energy business in the region, currently under the management of one of David’s sons, Simon Hewer.
And those founding principles and values are touchstones as valuable today as they have ever been, according to its current managing director.
‘I think the way I was brought up and the values that I was taught have shaped the business that we have become,’ said Hewer (Simon), who talked to SoGlos as part of our Gloucestershire business lessons series compiled in partnership with online training provider Nimble Elearning.
'The business is now made up of people who all have similar values and that is why we recruit them and why they stay; treat others how you wish to be treated; trust people; be trusted; be honest; be reliable; always do what you say you will do; tell the truth, even if you know it’s not what someone may want to hear, give them the problem and then solutions.'
There are mantras too, that echo as strong as ever from his father’s early days in business; ‘if you can’t think of anything clever to say, then don’t say anything’; ‘sometimes the best thing to do is nothing’, ‘go with your gut feel, trust yourself’ and ‘never make major decisions in a crisis’.
But like many successful businesses that continue to thrive, one of its strengths is the firm belief that although it knows so much and continues to deliver for customers, there is still so much to learn.
‘This is very important. At Hewer FM, we encourage our people to remain open to learning new skills and new ways of doing things,’ said Hewer.
‘Much of this comes from being part of one team and working together, learning from - and with - each other.
‘I often tell people of the
things I learn on a weekly basis; I use this approach to encourage them to be
open to learning and not to be afraid to challenge the way we do things and to
constantly try to be better at what we do.’