This year, Lumina celebrates 20 years in business. We are not only still going strong, we are still growing, which, in itself, is an incredible feat. Sadly, around 40% of small businesses fold within the first five years of trading.
However, there is also good news as the number of small businesses operating in the UK is growing overall, with an increase of 197,000 between 2016 and 2017; the number of employing businesses is also rising, increasing by 3%. So Lumina is in good company.
We have asked our founder and MD Richard McBarnet to talk about Lumina’s first 20 years of Lumina, and also take a peek into the future.
The first two decades
I can divide Lumina’s progress roughly into two. For the first 10 years, I was on my own. My first office was the spare bedroom in my father’s house. However, in 2005 I progressed to a purpose-built office… at the bottom of my garden!
I stayed there for a couple of years, but as I was approaching Lumina’s second decade of business, I transitioned from a sole trader into an employer. The growth of the company has always matched the headcount, and I, therefore, moved into 600 sq ft premises in Kings Langley to house my expanding employee count. Three years later, we had expanded still further and were on the move again, this time to Marchmont Gate where we had 1,000 sq ft to play with. Then again, the business expanded and, in 2016, we moved into our current headquarters in Maylands Business Park, with five times the amount of space, so there is plenty more room for future growth.
Customer service is at our core
I have worked hard to ensure that the company has never wavered from its core value, which is to provide enterprise-grade solutions for small businesses. This has underpinned everything we do and informs our process, professionality and resilience.
It is inevitable that any business growing from a sole trader to one with staff will be faced with challenges, and Lumina was no different. I had to learn to delegate so I could step back from the day-to-day business to learn about and implement HR, financial forecasting, health & safety legislation and all the other responsibilities of an employer.
When I began, customer service was basically just me, so all my clients had my personal attention. When the business started growing, I had to take a step back and allow other people to take over. But I was determined that all clients would enjoy the same level of customer service from anyone in the company as I would provide. To this day, I am very proud that all my staff give users the same high quality of service and personal service as when it was just me.
I feel that our 20th anniversary represents Phase 3 of the business. I am excited to grow and mature the company over the next 10 years and look forward to looking back on even more success in 2028.