So if you’d both like to introduce yourselves and Litegreen
D: My name is David Walker and Litegreen is a business in two halves. One half of it is energy and efficiency which falls under the energy consultancy side of it. I focus on this side of the business helping people put environmental management systems in place and ensure that their homes are as efficient as they can be.
S: I’m Shanone Towers and the other side of Litegreen, instead of developing the business it’s focused on developing the person. Whether that’s a student or a person in their place of work and we deliver this through training and education programmes. So before lockdown we were working with every secondary school in Wrexham and Flintshire helping to support disengaged young people with an alternative curriculum and qualifications related to work.
Right, on to the stuff everybody wants to know, what was the first album or single you bought?
S: That’s an easy one for me! I am always singing. I’m forever singing around the house at the moment but when I was younger I wasn’t really into music and my friend bought me my first CD when I was about 15 and it was actually Mel B! It was a cover of Word Up and I still play it regularly now!
D: The first single I bought was C’est La Vie by B*witched and I think the first album I ever bought was one of the NOW series, I’ve lost count but it was something like NOW 20 back when it first started!
What were your backgrounds before starting Litegreen?
D: We both studied at university together and I think while we were at uni we both had no idea that we would set a business up. While I was studying I hadn’t realised that my passions were energy efficiency and everything that comes along with that but I was interested in Science and Maths and the cause and effect of how things work. So straight after university I got myself a job at local charity service AVOW and while I was there this side of my interests starting to be developed because I was meeting members of the public in their homes and finding out what they wanted and needed to make their lives or their homes better.
S: When I look back at school I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. I know that my interests were in the outdoors and the environment, so I thought I wanted to work with animals but I wasn’t sure and when I went to university I studied science and somewhere towards the end of uni I discovered that I could actually become a teacher which wasn’t a path that I thought was even available to me. Through that I found that I loved teaching but that the classroom was a bit restrictive for me and that’s what lead me to where I am now.
In those early days of setting up the company what surprised you the most about the process?
D: I think there is one positive and one negative. It amazed me when setting up a Limited Company how many small things you need to be registered with or have an accreditation for and you find yourself three months later being asked by councils or insurers for one of your hundreds of reference numbers.
A real positive is how refreshing it feels to be at the helm of your own ship and be able to take risks and follow your instincts on campaigns and then see the results actually paying off for you! A big surprise was that I’m much more the techie out of us both yet Shanone built and designed the entire website!
S: I was surprised by the personal development because at heart I’m actually a bit of an introvert and setting up a business you have to really step out of your comfort zone and learn more about yourself by taking on those challenges, whatever they may be, that perhaps you would have avoided before.
How have you handled the work / life balance?
D: It can be quite difficult at times because I work a full time job alongside Litegreen so sometimes I might be working 7 day weeks for maybe 9 weeks in a row which means there are times when the workload can ramp up and you find yourself working into the evenings quite a lot.
S: We do our best to not work from home unless we absolutely have to, so that in itself creates a degree of separation in our home life from our work life. Which is why the welsh government hubs such as The Wrexham Enterprise Hub & M -Sparc have been such god sends for us really and we wish we could spend more time in each than we already do.
At the time of this interview you’re celebrating your second year of Litegreen, what are some of the stand out moments for you so far?
S: For me personally it was that just over a year ago I was in a position where I could leave a full time management role and support myself fully through our work with Litegreen. We were also very proud that after 12 months we were able to hire locally and be in a position that we could pay higher than real living wage.
When we first came up with Litegreen we had four core values which are, quality, environment, accessibility and collaboration and it’s been amazing to receive feedback from clients who are saying that we hit all of those marks and one client even saying we are their preferred supplier for the whole of Wales.
Looking ahead to the companies third year anniversary what are the next goals you want to achieve?
D: Employment is a big thing going forward we have so many new contracts coming through that we definitely need a bigger team to help us deliver some of these projects.
S: Yeah for us we’d really like to step back and focus on the bigger pictures of management and winning contracts and have a team out delivering most of the sessions.
What’s the one piece of advice you give to people wanting to set up their own business?
D: For me it’s about not rushing it. I think it’s easy for people to have an idea and it’s announced over social media before they have really had a chance to get a business plan down on paper or look into the legal structures they will need in place.
S: My advice is linked to that I guess. I think you need to have a clear idea but also ensure that it’s flexible because not only is there a chance your mind and what you feel could change but also you may (like now) find yourself in a situation that was completely unplanned and uncertain.
So since there is two of you, Hollywood wants to make the Litegreen story, who do you pick to play each other?
D: The first that springs to mind who could play Shanone would be Jim Carrey
S: There is no question for Dave that it would have to be Danny DeVito!
We wish the Litegreen boys all the best on what we know will be a successful third year
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