Saturday, 15 December 2018

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Move Over Men, Perfect Service Solutions

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Mario Andretti, the famous racing car driver, once said “if you have everything under control you’re not moving fast enough”, but Simone Hart Sibbald, the Managing Director of Perfect Service Solutions, would argue it’s equally true when running a rapidly growing business whilst raising a family. 

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, but raised in Scotland, Simone has worked in the Stirlingshire area all of her life. Her entrepreneurial journey began over 30 years ago when, from a very young age, she was involved in her father’s business. Upon leaving school Simone joined the family business but had the desire to experience working for others. 

Throughout her career Simone has been heavily involved in finance and operations and studied accounting in the early ‘90s. She then worked in the public sector for 15 years; initially for the health board and latterly for a local authority where she held a facilities management role within education. 

Although quickly advancing into management roles within local government, Simone soon realised that she wanted to forge a career out with the public sector She knew that running a successful business would allow her to set her own goals, make her own decisions and decide the strategic direction in which to take the company in. 

It was during her time working the public sector that Simone met Caroline Robertson, editor of this magazine. Simone credits Caroline for giving her the confidence not only to take over Caroline’s management job when she moved to America, but to start her own business. Before moving overseas, Caroline had an epiphany that she and Simone should be running a successful cleaning business together. 

That was over 15 years ago. Caroline emigrated and now Simone is the Managing Director of Perfect Service Solutions, a leading ventilation hygiene company. Simone and Caroline have maintained their closeness over the years, and Simone feels honoured to be featured in the inaugural launch of Caroline’s magazine! 

Simone’s first business venture began with her family in 2005 with the purchase of a domestic oven cleaning franchise, intuition told them there was a market and an opportunity not to be missed. Simone helped to run this business while continuing to work for the local authority and raise her first child. 

Entrepreneurial drive unquenched, Simone then became a licensed educator in Kindermusik in early 2006, which allowed her to offer a programme of music and movement classes to parents and young children. While Simone enjoyed running Kindermusik and working with children, it soon became apparent that the oven cleaning franchise created an opportunity the family could not have envisaged. In 2006 Perfect Service Solutions Ltd was incorporated. The early years were extremely challenging. Having having had her second child Simone reluctantly gave up Kindermusik and left her local authority management position. Sacrificing maternity leave and working long hours to support the company’s growth, the business was thrown a curveball when the world was hit by the biggest financial crisis since the great depression in 1929 and a global recession ensued bringing yet more challenging years. 

It was during these difficult years that Simone’s tenacious side shone through. Despite many hurdles - and the inevitable pressures and anxieties - she has nurtured Perfect Service Solutions towards incredible success. 

In just over 10 years, the company has grown to become one of Scotland’s leading ventilation hygiene firms. The company manages and services the deep cleaning of ductwork within kitchen extract systems and indoor air systems throughout the food and facilities management industry. Now servicing well-known national brands such as McDonald’s, Krispy Kreme, Bannatyne’s, Mitie and Sodexo as well as prestigious clients such as Skibo Castle, Auchrannie Resort, the Aurora Hotel Collection and Fairmont Hotel. 

The company also works within the public sector and for many councils such as Falkirk, Stirling, West Lothian, and City of Edinburgh. 

As the Managing Director of the business Simone has cultivated the philosophy that behaviour breeds behaviour; how you behave as a leader in the company ripples throughout your entire company. It’s also about inviting people on a journey and creating a culture that allows your people to contribute. She said: “I am so proud of my team and feel very lucky to have them all, each and every one of them has contributed to the success of the business. I am delighted to highlight that most of our staff have been with us for years and some even started as apprentices with us.” Simone speaks highly of her team and credits their hard work for the successes celebrated so far. In 2016, the company was named Best Small Business at the third annual Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce Awards and the team were extremely thrilled at this recognition. 

On being a woman in the building and engineering industry, Simone saaid: “I am often asked if it is a challenge to be a women working in a male-dominated industry, but it hasn’t stopped me. I recently received a special commendation in the finals of Business Women Scotland for SME of the Year. I am also theChair of the Building and Engineering Services Association (BESA) in Scotland and Vice Chair of the National Association of Air Duct Cleaners UK (NAADUK), which means I am recognised as professional and individual with knowledge and value to add to the industry.” BESA is the UK’s leading trade organisation for building engineering services contractors and NAADUK holds the leading register of qualified duct cleaners who have been trained by an accredited training provider to TR19 and BS15780 standards. 

Simone may be a little outnumbered but her industry wants to hear from women too! 

As an entrepreneur Simone knows it is vital to constantly learn, engage and improve, and you will often hear her cry: “You don’t know what you don’t know!” Over the past several years she has participated in two educational programmes to further her expertise in management. The first was the Leadership for Growth Training Programme which is supported by Scottish Enterprise. Then in 2016 she was the first cohort of to join The Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship’s pioneering Growth Advantage Programme at the University of Strathcylde. 

Alongside running the company, Simone is mother to two beautiful girls, Niamh who (12) and Orlah (9). The girls are a constant source of love, support and fun even at their young ages. Simone also feels incredibly lucky and grateful to have supportive family on board, “I am truly blessed to have such an understanding and supportive family,” she said. 

“Eddie Tierney, my step-dad, runs the business alongside me, whilst my mum, Yvonne Tierney, is the hub of the family, a rock and a second mum to my girls. I also have supportive and like-minded friends and peers.” Having such a strong support system has made it possible for Simone to achieve her entrepreneurial vision and create a business with fantastic people. 

This year is going to be another momentous year for Perfect Service Solutions, with many exciting plans for taking the business to another in place. Simone said: “I couldn’t be more proud of how far we have come and we are going full speed ahead.” Plans for the company centre around its people and its culture. Simone likes to quote John Stumpf, former CEO of Wells Fargo: “It’s about culture. I could leave our strategy on an aeroplane seat and have a competitor read it and it would not make any difference”. 

Perfect Service Solutions is not afraid to boast that its work helps protect lives, and Simone intends to ensure her company continues to be progressive and innovative. She said: “We’re expanding our premises and have plans to lead the way in ductwork compliance in Scotland. Ten years down and I cannot wait to see where we will be at our 20 year anniversary!”


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