Vicki Mordue, Founder and Managing Director, at Biodiverse Consulting tells Business Matters about the secrets of the success of her company Biodiverse Consulting
What products or services do you provide?
Ecology and tree survey and assessment, biodiversity net gain services for developers large and small and business support services for environmental organisations wishing to diversify and/or expand their income opportunities.
What type of businesses do you work with?
Primarily developers including infrastructure, utilities, residential and leisure industry as well as other businesses that service the development sector, for example, architects, planners, landscape architects, engineering companies. We also offer business support environmental charities.
What problem does your company solve?
Keeps clients legally compliant when it comes to wildlife and habitat protection and ensure they deliver the most wildlife friendly developments possible.
What is your USP?
Business balanced with biodiversity. We work with both which gives us a unique insight to the challenges and opportunities our clients face when it comes to managing budgets, stakeholders and expectations.
What are your company values? Have you ever had them challenged and if so how have you dealt with it?
That business and development go hand in hand and that development can genuinely make a positive contribution to wildlife protection and enhancement with the right advice and guidance. We were once asked by a client to look the other way in terms of the protected species we had found on their development site. We politely declined the offer but continued to work with the client in advising them of the penalties that such action would incur. More importantly we supported them through the protected species licence process in a cost effective and professional manner so that species in question was no longer seen as an expensive, undesirable hindrance to the project but rather an asset to its future value.
How do you ensure that you recruit a team that reflects your company values?
Our values are: Adaptiveness, Passion, Creativity, Integrity & Collaborators, and we are actively looking for ecologists that share our passion for wildlife and the changes our sector is experiencing, New recruits will need to demonstrate their creativity in solving some of the more challenging projects we specialise in.
Are you happy to offer a hybrid working model of home/office post-covid?
Absolutely! As long as the team has the right set up and space to comfortably work at home. We are fortunate to be out in the field for much of the time and so the team still gets that shared face to face learning from their colleagues in a more Covid friendly way. Our head office is based in Grade ll listed building, Dissington Hall, Newcastle and we are planning on opening another in the South East this year.
Do you have any tips for managing suppliers and customers effectively?
Don’t be afraid to ask for upfront deposits to secure work, especially from new clients to enable you to manage risk and cash flow. I think it’s also vital for small businesses to not accept more than 30 day payment terms from the clients. As a small company managing cash is the most important aspect of running a business.
If you could ask one thing of the government to change for businesses what would it be?
To give small businesses more sustainable support over the first three years of trading. Over 60% of start ups go bust in year 3 and providing ongoing financial and advisory services would make a massive difference.
What is your attitude towards your competitors?
In such a niche business there is no such thing as competitors; only future collaborators.
Any thoughts on the future of your company and your dreams?
We need to be thinking beyond Biodiversity Net Gain even though it has only just come into operation and toward Environmental Net Gain. Currently we have Carbon Trading schemes, flood resilience requirements, green and open space needs for people… to name just a few of the natural services we have to think about separately during planning for new developments.
Environmental Net Gain will bring together a unified and transparent mechanism for developers to consider all these aspects of the natural world in one assessment process. Thus enabling our clients to plan/manage their risk accordingly and identify opportunities where they can make a genuine difference to the people, wildlife and climate change.