It;s What Makes Us Tick; Paul Fraser, 44, Is Managing Director of One of the UK's Leading Credit Management and Customer Services Outsourcing Firms, BCW Group Plc. Based in Glasgow, but Operating in 40 Countries Worldwide, BCW Group Has a Predicted Turnover of Pounds 30million This Year. He Tells MARJORIE CALDER How Valuing People and Relationships Has Remained Central to Achieving Business Success
Byline: MARJORIE CALDER
DURING the 1980s Gordon Gekko in the film Wall Street was insisting that 'greed is good'. The best business journals were also advising that you had to be more than a little ruthless to be a successful boss.
Luckily, one of Scotland's most successful entrepreneurs, Paul Fraser, had been too busy selling Scotchguard as a Saturday sales assistant in Saxone in Paisley to pay much attention. And when he set up his own company in 1983, his philosophy was a world apart from Mr Gekko's.
Paul owns and manages credit management company BCW Group, which employs 800 people in the UK, and he confidently predict s turnover of pounds 30million this year from its base in Glasgow.
When he set the company up, he was just 23 years old, but already a force to be reckoned with.
Paul said: 'At Saxone it was obvious to me that if the stock presentation and working environment were more interestingwe achieved greater sales and got more out of staff. The manager was quite open to me trying different things and it didn't take long until ours was one of the most successful outlets in Scotland.'
This turnaround was not lost on the former regional manager of Saxone, who had by this time moved to multinational credit management firm Dun & Bradstreet, and persuaded the 17-year-old Paul to follow him in his first full-time job after leaving school.
It meant abandoning ideas about studying business management at college, but it paid off. Within five years, Paul was heading up Dun & Bradstreet's commercial collections operations across Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Paul said: 'This was my first taste of what used to be known as debt collection and it turned out that I had a flair for sorting out disputes. Nearly always, there was something which could be done so that debtors could be brought back into the fold as paying customers.
'But most importantly we engaged with our staff, introducingincentives on positive outcomes and bringing more fun into the workingenvironment so that the staff felt good about coming to work. Someone who feels valued and good about themselves as an employee is always going to deliver a better service.'
Paul says all this with the bemused air of a man who can't quite believe that the whole world hasn't caught on to the same logic.
He grew up in Johnstone and credits his father for much of the business wisdom that has helped his company, which is already a major player in one of the fastest-growing sectors of the financial services industry. BCW Group has grown and diversified, offering outsourced management of customer services as well as credit management to clients in 40 countries.
The group also runs multilingual contact centres in 30 different languages from Glasgow, Leeds Birmingham and Dublin.
Paul added: 'My dad always instilled in me that the real strength in any business is found at grass-roots level and that 'the suits' aren't special. …