Meet the MD: Paul Crewe
- Credit: Archant
The director of Netbox Digital started out selling photocopiers and now has one of the top 10 fastest-growing companies in Kent
Tell us a bit about you
I was born in Sussex and grew up in Burgess Hill until my teenage years, when my parents moved to Heathfield. I moved to Kent when I rented my first flat in Tunbridge Wells and shortly after that bought my first house in Rotherfield.
I met my wife 19 years ago and we moved into our first house together in Pluckley, where we brought up our children. In 2013 we moved to Shottenden, near Canterbury.
My whole working career has been in sales, starting with a fastening company then after a brief spell selling stationery, I got a job as a photocopier salesman.
Since then I’ve enjoyed a very successful career in sales and have won several awards.
Tell us about your business
- 1 Christmas markets in and around the Cotswolds
- 2 Christmas in Hertfordshire 2021: Top festive markets
- 3 Magical Christmas markets in Surrey 2021
- 4 Magical Christmas markets in Kent 2021
- 5 Magical Christmas markets in Sussex 2021
- 6 The 15 best Christmas markets in Norfolk 2021
- 7 The best Christmas markets and fairs in and around Cheshire
- 8 WIN! You could win four tickets to see Alexandra Burke in Aladdin at Manchester Opera House
- 9 Magical Christmas markets in Suffolk 2021
- 10 Where to see Santa in Dorset this Christmas
I set up Netbox Digital at the end of 2006 and started trading in January 2007, mainly covering Kent but also London and the Home Counties. My first steps in getting the business of the ground were finding a manufacturer to offer a dealership and raising finance to support the business.
Initially, I sub-let a small box room in an old work colleague’s office, just big enough for me and two others, but it gave me the springboard I needed to build my business.
After six months we had taken over half the main office and needed to move, so we leased an office on Rocky Hill in Maidstone.
Three years on I wanted to expand the sales team further and take on my own service department, which meant we needed bigger offices with warehousing. We found the perfect office in Bearsted and took out a new three-year lease.
In 2013 we moved again to where we are now in Rochester and our 7300sq ft of office and warehouse space has allowed me to expand the business further and employ more people, bringing staff numbers up to 30 by the end of 2014.
Any plans for future expansion?
Now we have a solid base, acquisition is the way forward. My targets would be a small IT company ideally based in Kent and the other a photocopier/printer company in London, North East Essex or Surrey.
To bolt on an IT company would create an effective, large sales team and a good customer base with which we could cross sell managed services and hardware into our own clients, as well as create more business opportunities by selling our service to the IT company’s client base.
Another photocopier/printer company would give us an immediate presence and client base in that area and our revenues and profit margins would grow overnight.
We finished the year with just over £4m turnover, which represents growth over the year of over £1m. I am hoping we will maintain our position for the third year in the top 10 fastest-growing companies in Kent. As well as expanding Netbox Digital Ltd, I have also started a new recruitment company called Netbox Recruitment Ltd.
Best piece of business advice?
Never give away anything without getting something in return, particularly when trading concessions for commitments.
What makes a good boss?
Being firm but fair and having the ability to motivate, inspire and reward.
Your most prized possession?
Our house, which is the focus for a lot of socialising with friends and family. A close second is my new Aston Martin; owning one was a goal I set myself a long time ago.
Where do you eat out? When we were in Bearsted, the White Horse or the Oak on the Green used to be regular haunts to take clients and suppliers. Since moving to Rochester we either take a trip into the High Street or to nearby Bridgewood Manor for a club sandwich.
If we are at home, Canterbury is our best destination and I love the Trappiste with its Belgian café atmosphere and unusual beers.
A big favourite is our local, the Rose and Crown at Perry Wood as we can walk there with the dog and the family. Fresh air and beer, what more could you want?
What did you have for breakfast?
Jordon’s Harvest Crunch and a banana!
GET IN TOUCH
107 Laker Road,
Rochester Airport Industrial Estate,
Rochester ME1 3QX
07831 554636 or Pcrewe@netboxdigital.com