Steadfast Security has come a long way in the last eighteen months, securing contracts worth over two million pounds, purchasing another security firm and according to Business Development Manager Mike McGaun a lot of that success was born from a seed planted at the Seaham and Peterlee Business network by Durham Business Opportunities Programme* (DBOP) business engagement officer Guy Bashford.
Steadfast Security Solutions provide a vast array of security provision including security guards, security systems, electrical contracting, storage and haulage. They are a growing company with big ambitions and big clients including manufacturing giants Caterpillar and the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS). They have recently invested over £200,000 in a new state-of-the-art central control room at their Peterlee HQ demonstrating their growth ambitions and commitment to providing jobs and security services in County Durham for many years to come.
The Peterlee based company was set up by ex-serviceman and managing director Michael Harbord twenty-five years ago, with a deep-rooted military ethos they actively recruit ex-military personnel, helping them find employment by utilising transferable skills within the business. Ex-servicemen like Business Development Manager Mike McGaun, who joined the company twenty-one months ago.
When Mike joined the business, as a highly trained Close Protection Officer and military veteran of 31 years he knew a lot about security but not a lot about how to sell those services.
Mike met DBOP business engagement officer Guy Bashford at a two-hour procurement workshop, part of the Seaham and Peterlee Business Network, organised by Business Durham who delivers the Durham Business Opportunities Programme. Guy supports the Peterlee and Seaham Networking Groups and events as part of his day to day role, developing the network building on the solid foundations established by Business Durham colleague Joanne Urquhart-Arnold.
As a result of meeting Guy at the Peterlee and Seaham event and subsequent one-on-one support, he attended additional bid writing workshops through the NEPO programme amongst others, equipping him with the skills he needed for writing effective tenders and effectively winning new business.
Guy said: “As part of our ERDF funding one of the market failures identified as a barrier to business growth for County Durham was the low uptake and awareness of the business support available. DBOP is here to facilitate access to and raise awareness of the support for companies like Steadfast Security. The seed Mike and I planted at our first meeting became the catalyst for him to seek additional training to help Steadfast win new business.
As a result of those workshops, Mike wrote several successful tenders to secure four new contracts over 3 years with Durham County Council in excess of 2 million pounds.
Guy added, “It’s not always about 12 hours intervention it’s about planting that seed and letting people know what help is available to them.”
Mike added: “I’d wrote a few tenders for new contracts and came nowhere. After attending the bid writing workshops, I came fourth, I worked harder on the next one and now I haven’t been out of the top three when I’ve submitted a tender in the last 12 months.
“The workshops have been an invaluable resource that helped me understand the requirements of successful bid writing. The training helped to get the foundations right, to pay attention to detail, do the small things and I discovered that when I followed the advice, success quickly followed.”
In addition to the new contract wins Steadfast Security have bought Complete Security Europe Limited, a sub-company of Community Ventures Limited, a large charity based in Middlesbrough.
Mike continues to attend the Seaham and Peterlee networking events, helping to bring the East Durham business community together facilitating collaboration and helping businesses make new connections.
Mike concluded: “It’s not just the about workshops, it’s about attending the right events and speaking to the right people to understand the wider business support landscape and learning about the help available to support growth. The DBOP team do this so well, they are an impartial sounding board so always have the best interests of your business at the core of what they do.”
*The Durham Business Opportunities Programme is a six-year programme for SMEs running up until November 2022, helping County Durham businesses spot opportunities for sustainable growth.. It is funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered by Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council.