Getting to know you: Graham Mulholland

What do you currently do? 

As a company, epm: technology makes carbon fibre parts for high performance engineering markets such as Formula 1 motorsport. I drive the business forward and deal with new and current customers, as well as supporting the engineering team on the front line every day. I also watch all our markets and competitors closely and keep a focus on our communications. I always ask myself ‘what would the customer be thinking now, dealing with epm: technology?’

I provide the leadership necessary for the team and ensure they see and hear about our progression at all levels. Performance is critical, and I focus on our performance as a team. We need to all be heading the same way to make sure we’re Manchester United on the pitch, not a League One or League Two team that is just happy to be a competitor. There is a big difference.
What is your inspiration in business? 

Being the best we can, like a Dyson, a McLaren or even a BMW. To us, it’s not about being the biggest, just the best.
Who do you admire? 

James Dyson for what he has achieved from all but having nothing and Ron Dennis for his sheer win-win-win drive. But I also like the bigger businesses that still get the basics right, like Porsche, BMW and John Lewis. To the outside they are clean, well organised and clinical.
Looking back, are there things you would have done differently? 

Plenty! I would have made some personnel changes quicker – for too long I lost money by putting up with people who didn’t adapt as the business grew instead of getting in people who could have done a better job.

There were some jobs I shouldn’t have taken on – letting work go is difficult when you’re young – and there were many times when I should have listened more and managed my time better.

And I would have hired a company to help us move and saved myself a £850 bill and six points on my licence for taking our process oven across Coalville town centre on a fork lift truck.
What defines your way of doing business? 

Ours is a strange business. Because composites are a material with many uses, you can find yourself working for many companies in one sector as well as companies across a number of different sectors simultaneously, but whatever we are doing, we ensure that we maintain a can-do attitude.

That has been very powerful for us. We have been very lucky so far, but then we have had to maintain our can-do attitude on the bad days too…

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

You should never forget where you have come from and you should always keep your head – you will always need help at some point. Also, if you can’t afford it, you can’t have it. Keep things simple, be consistent and enjoy every hour, because there will be plenty of them. And above all, know your figures at all times.