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Business under the spotlight …

Canvey Island Bindery

Running a business can often feel like an lonely place, especially when you are faced with questions or issues you have not had to deal with before.

Business under the spotlight is a new feature in 4Business. In this edition, we spoke with Simon Burstein, Director of Canvey Island Bindery Limited.

What is your main service provision?

We make a variety of calendars, diaries, notebooks under different brands (Leathersmith of London established 1839) Dataday, Charfleet, Sherwood. We also hold licences for Lloyd’s of London and At-A-Glance calendars.

Where are you based?

We operate from our 20000 sq ft bindery on Canvey Island.

How many employees do you have?

25 permanent employees, however, this increases to 30 during the busy periods.

When was the business started?

Canvey Island Bindery Limited was started in May 2015. However, I bought the company out of receivership. It was going to the wall!

What were the biggest challenges you have faced in the past few years and how did you overcome them?

Our biggest challenge was to introduce non-dated products to ensure that the bindery can be operating 12 months of the year which wasn’t the case when it only made diaries.

What was one of the first tasks you undertook when you took over the day to day running of the business?

The most important task was to identify the strengthened weaknesses of the bindery and then focus on what makes us different from our competitors.

I knew that bringing products to the market that consumers want was key to the turn around of the business.

What was the reason you outsourced some of your day to day business functions i.e. accounting?

Barron’s Accountants had a good insight into the business. By taking the accounting pressure off my shoulders it enabled me to concentrate on strategic matters. Our monthly management meetings give me a clear financial picture of the business.

Do you have plans to expand the business by offering any additional products/services?

As a unique bindery, we are able to offer our services to third-party luxury brands (Liberty, Dunhill, Debretts) for our hand cased leather books and we can also handle small quantities at competitive prices to independents using our mechanical cased in standard books.

What are the steps you will take to deliver this growth?

We exhibit at trade shows in the UK and overseas as well as growing our internet and social media presents.

If you faced any issues with funding, insurance or anything outside of your general knowledge, where would you find the information? Would you call a professional or would you web search your query?

I would look towards Barron’s and the internet.

What advice would you give anyone starting a business or buying a business?

To turn around any company today, you need good people and a leader that works closely with his team. Having a plan is key but you also need to be flexible and ready to change.

Simon Burstein

Canvey Island Bindery Limited

Gary Bultitude – Editor