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Hannah & Paul Wallis

Hannah and Paul Wallis on family business continuity

By Hannah & Paul Wallis

Hannah - Management Consultant / Paul - Managing Director & Owner, Hantec Systems Limited

Combining decades of experience with a new generational perspective, father-daughter duo Paul and Hannah Wallis have together found equilibrium for their business management consultancy Hantec Systems.

Paul founded Hantec in 1995 and has since helped to turn around, sell, and grow businesses whilst building his own company upon the firm foundations for which he is such a specialist.

Hannah, a former primary school teacher, joined the business four years ago bringing new knowledge (she’s currently doing a Masters in business to add to her academic accomplishments) as Hantec begins a new era in its evolution.

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How is it working as a father and daughter in the same business?

HW: Even before we worked together, we've always got along well. Dad's one of my best mates, and we spend a lot of time together outside of work. Family is really important to both of us. We're quite similar, and we're also quite different – ultimately, we understand each other.

In business, we know that where one of us is lacking in something the other one probably has it and vice versa. I think it gives us a very honest approach to how we do business, and the sort of clients we want to attract have very similar values to us.

PW: When Hannah joined the business four years ago it really changed my perspective. What I like about having Hannah working with me is that she's got the younger person's attitude and approachability, and I've got the old wise owl head – so we can mix and match that.

What are Hantec’s specialisms?

PW: I started the business specialising in ISO 9001 which is a quality management system within an organisation to help it set its processes and procedures to become more profitable and efficient.

I then got involved in all ISO management systems and started helping companies with things like health and safety management and environmental management. We then got into GDPR and now we help our clients to become more profitable, more efficient, and more business compliant.

HW: When I first joined the business, it was very much about what we did – ISO management systems, internal audits, helping clients maintain their certifications, etc.

I came into the company and saw that we grow businesses; we scale businesses. For me, it's about empowering and motivating people. I'm interested in the people and their mindsets. Yes, we specialise in implementing and maintaining ISO standards but what we actually do is grow businesses and support the people within those businesses.

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"I came into the business and saw that we grow businesses; we scale businesses. For me, it's about empowering and motivating people."

What are the current opportunities and challenges faced by your clients?

HW: At the moment, environmental management and sustainability are key common challenges. People are becoming increasingly aware of the Sustainability Development Goals and operating ethically in a way that the business will continue for many years with a positive impact on its people, its staff, and the environment around it.

Information security is also prevalent; COVID exacerbated that with everyone working in different ways. Keeping your information safe and secure is paramount. We get a lot of people talking to us about cyber security or how they should be operating in the office, at home, or wherever it might be, so information security is high on the agenda.

PW: Younger people have a different agenda and Hannah’s influence in the business reflects that. The next generations have a different attitude to the environment, the planet, and sustainability which is great. The same applies to the way in which their personal data is being used. We’re evolving our services in response to new clients’ needs. The way in which I’ve been doing business for the last 30 years is different to the way in which we are now starting to do business and we’ll do business in the future because the demographic of business owners has changed.

How do your clients find you?

PW: The business sustained 25 years on word-of-mouth referrals. We’ve been very fortunate but none of it has been local.

Post-Covid when we lost 65% of our business in one day there was no collateral out there for us to fall back on to attract new clients. We’re now investing in marketing and PR, which is a new approach for us.

HW: It’s going in the right direction. We spent two years navigating our way out of that post-Covid situation. One of the reasons for joining the Old Bond Store is to build our local network.

What do you enjoy doing together as a family?

HW: We all enjoy camping together – Dad’s got a caravan, my partner and I have got a camper.

We share a love for BBQs, walks, real ale, and Arsenal Football Club – we spend a lot of time in football season watching matches together.

"The way in which I've been doing business for the last 30 years is different to the way in which we are now starting to do business and we'll do business in the future because the demographic of business owners has changed."

Paul Wallis - Managing Director & Owner, Hantec Systems Limited

Who inspires each of you?

HW: My dad – that’s cheesy, but it’s true. What he did for 25 years worked; we had a fantastic life, and I had a great upbringing. He’s taught me a lot about resilience as well as success.

Susannah Brade-Waring of Aspirin Business has also been crucial to my growth; she’s been a very great mentor to me.

In the wider world, Monica Aldama from Cheer on Netflix is the epitome of a fantastic leader for me. If I can lead how she leads, then I’ll be a happy person.

PW: Whilst their manner and attitude may not fit in today’s world, two people I admire for what they achieved despite all the obstacles that were put in their way are Harry Selfridge and Winston Churchill.