Businesses should train people to fill any skills gaps they identify, rather than looking for talent further afield, the founder of a fast growing Yorkshire SME has said.
Tom Marley, founder of The Car Buying Group, says there is a wealth of untapped talent in the region.
Mr Marley told The Yorkshire Post: “If there’s a skills gap, that everyone goes on about and they use that as an excuse to have to go further afield, then train that skills gap. You can train the skill. That’s the important thing.
“Invest in the people and they will give you ten times more.
“If there’s a will gap that’s a different beast altogether. If you haven’t got a mass of people who want to do the job then you’ve got a problem.”
Mr Marley set up The Car Buying Group in 2014. The business has seen rapid growth in just over two years, with the firm scooping Young Business of The Year at The Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business Awards this year.
The young entrepreneur says that being based in Yorkshire is an advantage for the business.
“The North of the country has a wealth of talent that is untapped,” he said. “There’s a wealth of proud Yorkshire people that don’t want to go to London. They want to make a difference up here and we can tap into that.”
The Car Buying Group, which employs 15 people, is looking to expand its workforce over the coming year.
Mr Marley said: “Before February next year we need another five. In the whole of 2017 we are looking to get very close to doubling our number of people.”
Mr Marley says one of the reasons why he decided to launch his own company was to create a work environment where staff felt rewarded and valued.
Being based in the region also provides scope for greater collaboration with other companies, Mr Marley added.
The entrepreneur said: “Particularly off the back off this award we had a Yorkshire-based business that rang us up and said it’s good that you’re pulling jobs in the area. We like doing business with local people. That’s ama-zing.
“You don’t often get people down in London saying it’s great that you’re down in London we like doing business with London people. It doesn’t work like that.
“I love that closeness about it. We’ve got a lot of contacts here and they support each other from a local point of view.”
The Car Buying Group was formed in 2013 but started trading in 2014. It was founded by Mr Marley and three other shareholders.
Prior to starting the company Mr Marley held various senior roles at firms operating in the motoring industry.
He felt that with his experience he could get an online car buying company “off the ground relatively quickly”. The business started out in Bradford and this year also opened an office in Wakefield.
Mr Marley said: “We started in a little store cupboard in Bradford. It literally was a store cupboard, surrounded by toilet rolls and everything.”
He set up the business because he could see growth in the online car buying and selling sector with WeBuyAnyCar proving particularly successful.
“WeBuyAnyCar are a clear number one and ripe for disruption,” he said.
The WeBuyAnyCar model is “pretty slick” and “convenient”, says Mr Marley, but the Car Buying Group is looking to take that convenience “to the next level”.
In February, the company secured a multi-million pound investment from motoring giants Greenhous Group.
The businesses turnover has been on an upward trajectory. Going from £3m to £10m and is projected to be in the region of £24m-£28m for this financial year.
Sacrifice that was worth it
The Car Buying Group was named Young Business of The Year at The Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business Awards this year.
Tom Marley says he was really proud of the achievement.
He said: “I was quite emotional when I found out if I’m honest. It’s two and a half, three years of blood sweat and tears. You sacrifice a lot when you enter something like this.”
Mr Marley also praised his team.
He said: “I didn’t win that award. I was a facilitator to enable the team to win that award. It’s quite simple as that. Everything we do here is about those people out there.”