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60 seconds with…Ian Birch, Director, IBC Group

What’s currently having the greatest impact on your business?

Ian Birch
Ian Birch

Without a doubt, the introduction of the new GDPR regulations is having the greatest impact on my business right now. We’re spending a lot of our time helping SMEs who are apprehensive about the new regulations close some of their compliance gaps. GDPR affects all EU businesses who process personal data, but it’s not there to tie small businesses up in red tape.

Where do you see the next big opportunity?

Automation in the workplace will continue to offer opportunities to service providers and end customers alike. Automating repetitive, low value activities will allow employees to focus on client relationships. We’re operating in an experience economy and employees should be encouraged to spend more of their time delivering memorable events for their customers.

What would make your day job easier?

Starting a new business comes with many challenges of course. Balancing the demands of business development, delivery of the client facing work and the back-office admin isn’t easy, but we’ve put several systems in place to ensure that we’re in control. If anyone has a cloning machine available for hire, please drop me a line!

What’s the best bit of business advice you’ve been given?

In the process of starting IBC Group, I was told to ‘get out there and speak with everyone about what you’re doing’. Heeding this advice is already paying dividends. Every week, someone says to me: ‘Ian, it’s perfect timing that you called today. We have a problem and you can help us solve it’. I’m continuing to shout from the rooftops about the work we’re doing and the value we are adding.

If you had had a crystal ball, would you have done anything differently?

Living with regrets is something I avoid. Every experience, good and not so good, has helped me in some way over the years. However, if I had to choose something, I’d probably say that opting for an Accounting degree at University didn’t really fit my personality.

Describe your most embarrassing moment.

I don’t get embarrassed easily. I remember having the classic presentation ‘mind blank’ at University once. But I didn’t prepare sufficiently for it and deserved those awkward moments whilst I remembered what I was meant to be saying!

What was your first job?

At the age of 13 I got a job in a job in a tourist shop, positioned in the shadow of Conwy Castle. I got paid a little over a pound an hour selling stuffed cuddly Welsh dragons to coachloads of tourists who flooded the town each year.

What would be your dream job?

I love to travel, so something in the Far East would be amazing.

Fine dining and good wine, or curry and a pint?

Italian city
Italian city

This one is easy. I’m a curry and a pint person.

Money’s not an issue, what’s your perfect car… and where would you like to drive it?

I have no clue about super-cars. I drive a Jaguar XE, which I think is one of the nicest cars on the road. I’d love to take it for a spin in Bavaria.

Favourite holiday destination.

Italy. It’s a beautiful country with lovely people. It also has great food, wine, beer, coffee and weather!

How do you like to spend your spare time?

Most weekends I will be found cycling with Wokingham Cycling Club.