Getting To Know You: Stephen Falder of Byotrol Plc

What do you currently do?
I’m a founder and currently, Business Development Director of Byotrol Plc – an antimicrobial technology business based on a patented germ killing technology.

The technology has a unique way of killing and controlling germs/microbes for hours, and in certain formulations, days after it has dried.

I am particularly passionate about the technology as one of the inventors of it!

The company started in 2001 with an idea that has grown in importance.

Once we realised its global potential, Byotrol was spun out of my family business and we floated on AIM in 2005.

Since then, the focus has been on making sure we protect, evaluate, and now get the very best return from what I believe is a true revolution in hygiene.

What is your inspiration in business?
I was brought up in a business environment. My family own a paint manufacturing business, HMG Paints ltd, and my Dad shared his feelings in triumph and in disaster with us freely and openly.

He passed on a strong belief that business is on the whole a great force for good.

It brings about employment, wealth security and a whole host of other important things, but it’s not the only thing in life.

Great friends and a strong family life are vital too.

Perhaps the main inspiration was to make sure business was and is, wherever possible…fun! It is very easy to forget how lucky we are.

I have yet to go to a business, where the team seem to be working together and enjoying themselves, that is also not a success!

Who do you admire?
I think there are a few levels of admiration, there is one that perhaps is a form of envy such as I feel towards Michael Palin: a traveller, brilliant wit, great communicator …and a Python!

In terms of simple admiration, I think anyone who is active in the RNLI crews around this country is unbelievable.

I love the sea and I love boats but I like both of them when they’re not angry! The RNLI folk are all unpaid volunteers and go out in weather and conditions that are indescribable sometimes… they are heroes.

Looking back, are there things you would have done differently?
I think if you look back and cannot see anything you would do differently then you are either very lucky or have done very little!

I’m not sure I would avoid all the mistakes because some of the best (toughest!) lessons have come from those.

I think I have spent too much time oiling the squeaky wheels rather than the free running ones in the businesses I have been involved in.

I have also fallen prey to ‘Diworsification,’ in other words thinking that just because I liked something I could be good at it in a business sense.

What defines your way of doing business?
I am passionate about what I do. For me it has to matter or it is not worth doing. It must also be, at least most of the time, fun!

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Try to lead your team rather than just manage it. Remember that it’s OK to make mistakes and change your mind.

Business is not politics. A U turn is sometimes the best way, but most of all, if something is going wrong do not just keep measuring/watching…take action!

If you actually do something to stop adverse trends, it will probably improve. We manage and succeed by doing things and changing things, or leading change…. not by watching, however intently.