Jason Phillips started JL Phillips in 2009 as a way of bringing renewable energy heating to homes and businesses across the UK. Offering air and ground source heat pumps to thousands of customers across the country, we explore what makes Jason tick and where he plans to take JL Phillips in the future.
1) In your own words, what was your mission when you started JL Phillips?
To establish and maintain a healthy business. I didn’t start out with any delusions of grandeur or a need to change the world. Energy is what I know, it’s what I’d been doing for years and I figured, there’s an opportunity here for me to do some good and make something great for everyone. Fast forward 10 years, the business is doing great and we’re changing how people heat their homes. It’s no secret non-renewables are going to run out one day, so we’re tapping into a market that offers solutions for the long term.
2) What motivates you to keep doing what you’re doing?
Passion for what we have established and maintained, pride and glory. I love what I do, if I didn’t I’d find it hard to give it my attention. Of course, I enjoy some time off, same as anyone else, but great things aren’t going to be built without a bit of grit. JL Phillips is doing great things, we’re working with some great customers and I do get a lot of pride from what we’re doing.
3) What frustrates you most about being an entrepreneur?
Portraying messages to staff, what ever message is portrayed it comes across negative before positive. Let me elaborate – if you’ve ever managed a business, or a team, no matter what the news is, if something needs to change or improve, making sure it doesn’t tank morale is tough. It’s a fine line between delivering that constructive criticism in a way that isn’t going to hurt feelings. It’s about reminding the team that one minor improvement doesn’t overshadow everything they’ve done.
4) How would you describe your style of leadership?
With positive mental attitude to improve positivity within our staff and contractors. As the man at the helm, everyone’s looking at you for direction. No one wants to work for someone who’s constantly downbeat. Even when the pressure’s on it’s so important to hold it together for the rest of the team to make sure they’re still invested and giving it their all. Same with external contractors. It’s not about whether there are problems – there are always problems. It’s about how you fix them.
5) How do you think your leadership impacts JL Phillips?
Positively. Let’s be honest, there’s not many SME’s that get off the ground without their initial founder. Hopefully it doesn’t sound arrogant to say that my leadership, for better or worse is what’s made JL Phillips what it is today. Nothing’s perfect, but we’re doing well and I’m excited about where we’re going.
6) What do you look for in a potential new hire?
Drive, enthusiasm and technical ability, if possible. These are qualities that are harder to find in recent times, good talent is often a quality you have to nurture. It’s all about attitude though. The technical stuff, we can teach.
7) If you could give aspiring entrepreneurs any advice, what would it be?
Work hard. Nothing worth having comes easy and your first couple of years are going to be a slog, but stick at it, put in the effort and it’ll be well worth your while.
Enjoy your work. To me, the whole point of being an “entrepreneur” is having the freedom to focus on what you want to do. Never lose sight of that. That’s not to say you won’t have some tough moments and enjoy every second, but if it’s not making you happy, what’s the point?
Believe in what you do. If you don’t, why should anyone else? If you’re not passionate about what you do then your customers and even worse, your team aren’t going to either.
Be humble to others. This one goes without saying, but make friends not enemies. You may be surprised who comes back to help you out in the future.
8) If you could do one thing differently for JL Phillips, what would it be?
Employ a manager sooner. Organisation is the heart of every successful company and it’s not my favourite job. I want to be out on the road, meeting customers, winning business, not shut away managing productivity. So I wish I’d employed a manager sooner, someone to take over and make sure everything’s ticking over whilst I’m away. That’s not to say I’d want to be hands off, just not involved in every minute detail.
You can find out more about the team at JL Phillips here.