Andy Tait of Greenacres Group

Winner of the 2019 WeDO Scotland Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Andy Tait is COO of GreenAcres Group.  Akin to Victor Kiam of Remington, having been working on a turnaround of GreenAcres in his role as Commercial Director with Bibby Line Group, he liked the business so much, he undertook an MBO in May 2017. 

GreenAcres is a private cemetery and ceremonial park operator. It has 6 locations, 4 around London, 1 in Norwich and 1 in near Liverpool. The business has operated for 20 years growing from one park in Norwich to 6 today. The original parks were set up as woodland burial parks with beautiful buildings to cater for funeral services in a tranquil setting, and since then the parks have evolved to offer a wider range of options for families, more recently offering wedding ceremonies and hire of their buildings for other life events such as baby namings.

“I love a challenge! In business, I loved the years setting up Bibby Financial Services in Scotland from a greenfield site and seeing that business become the leading independent invoice finance company in Scotland. Prior to GreenAcres, I jumped at the chance to move on from a secure job and challenge myself to work in and solve problems in other sectors for the parent company. This led to some great business turnaround experience and subsequently selling subsidiaries of the Bibby Line Group.

 

GreenAcres itself has been a steep learning curve since I knew nothing of the sector prior to my involvement but the challenge of the turnaround, leading the MBO and growing the business thereafter has been a great learning experience.

Cultural change is probably the biggest challenge that faces most businesses but even more so in a business that had become stuck in a loss- making rut. We now have a much more dynamic team and have achieved this without losing the essence of the business, which is to care for our families. An important enabler has been putting in place our Brand Charter to define our brand promise and purpose “We promise to provide a personalised service for you and your family in a unique and caring environment, always.” This has galvanised the team and provides an important differentiation from the rest of the market.”

Andy graduated from Stirling University with a BA (Hons) in Business, subsequently gaining an MBA from Edinburgh University.  In 1999, he started Bibby Financial Services Scotland from a greenfield site, growing the business to become the leading independent invoice finance provider in Scotland.  He subsequently moved on to a Northern Regional role and joined the UK Board of Bibby Financial Services before joining Bibby Line Group as Commercial Director.

“I like a quote from Richard Branson which sums up how I have tended to approach my time in business and definitely applies here. “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure how you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”

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