The Pearl Anniversary marks thirty years of wedded bliss and. 
 
As MSE celebrated thirty years of business in November Managing Director, Jim Lockhart, could say that building a business is like a marriage. It takes time, commitment and dedication, but it’s all worth it. 
 
Here he is with business and life partner, Jane, and their business anniversary cake. 
 
Take a look at Jim’s thirty pearls of wisdom, gained though all these years of business experience. 
Starting out 
• We’ve all got to start somewhere, so don’t be afraid to take the first step. 
• Take opportunities when you can – I worked on major projects locally and in Humberside, so I was never afraid to take on big industrial and commercial jobs. 
• Be focussed - I saw a niche in the market for industrial and commercial maintenance. That’s where the name ‘Maintenance Services Electrical’ came from. 
• Understand your motivation – for me it was all about providing a good living for me and my family. 
• Maintain your standards – whatever you do, it must be done as well as you can possibly do it. 
 
Training and Education 
• I left school without any qualifications, but my pre-apprenticeship training with the National Coal Board at Cowdenbeath Mining School and my apprenticeship as an electrician have taken me a long way. 
• You can always do more - I decided to go back to education in my mid-twenties. After gaining my first O-Level at night school I did a one-year crash course to gain the qualifications I needed to study a B Ed course. 
• Don’t be afraid to change direction – I quickly changed my mind and then did a BA degree in English Literature and Political History. Later I trained to teach English as a second language. 
• I’m still a big believer in training and education. I have had ten apprentices at MSE over the years and they have all done really well. That includes the Directors, Tom and Rob. 
• There’s always something new to learn. Tom and Rob have just completed the very difficult Level 4 City & Guilds qualification in Design and Verification of Electrical Installations. Only about half pass on this course and last year only 182 succeeded in the whole of the UK. 
 
Know your style 
• I’m not a big risk taker, so the business has grown organically. That’s exactly how I wanted it to be. 
• I spent some time as a sales rep for an electrical wholesaler which taught me the importance of face to face contact with my customers. 
• I’m a great believer in referral networking and I’ve been a member of Business Notworking International (BNI) for over 16 years. It’s provided me with a lot of high-quality business. 
• Maintaining the highest professional standards is a priority for me – that’s why we’ve been members of the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC) for more than sixteen years. 
• Appearances give confidence, so we all have branded workwear, quality equipment and our vehicles are clean and well-maintained. 
 
Team building 
• The people who have trained and worked at MSE have been chosen very carefully over the years. Every one of them knew that they had a job with us for as long as they wanted. 
• Support each other. Everyone has their strengths and can help out when needed. 
• Support outside interests too. I encourage the whole team to do what interests them. We even sponsor Rob in his motor racing. 
• Look after people. Listen when they’ve got problems and support them if they’re ill. 
• Be reasonable. If something goes wrong, work together to sort it out. 
 
Reputation 
• Choose your customers carefully – you don’t have to take every job that comes along. 
• Don’t be the cheapest – just provide excellent value. 
• Do every job properly, and always check that the customer is happy. 
• Do what you say you’ll do. You can’t build and maintain a good reputation if people can’t rely on you. 
• Be professional in the work you do and the way you treat your customers. 
 
Appreciation 
• Life is for living. Jane and I have had a great time growing the business and bringing up five amazing children. 
• Northamptonshire is a fabulous place for business with great access to the A14, M1 A and M6 – I owe the county a lot. 
• I’m genuinely grateful to have met so many wonderful people over the years. 
• We have a good reputation around Northampton that I’m very proud of – you know you’re doing something right when even your competitors praise you. 
• Like being a parent, you know that you’ve done a reasonable job when you’re confident that your children will do well when they leave home. I feel the same way about the business. Rob and Tom will be taking us forward now. 
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