Each week we ask a City figure to take a trip down memory lane. Today is the turn of Patrick Crompton, CEO of tech firm esynergy.
What was your first job?
My first job was selling advertising space in a publishing company in Farringdon. It was horrendous. Though it wasn’t much fun, it was truly grounding – it taught me loads about sales and hard work. It was an oil and gas magazine, and my job was selling space to companies who wanted to advertise there. It went bust the year after I left. Nothing to do with me.
When did you know the City was the place for you?
I knew very early on – I was 16 or 17. At the time, I was trying to figure out whether to go to university or not. I decided that I wanted to work and wanted to be in the city. I have been in and around London ever since – still there today!
Although a lot of our clients are all over the world now, you get a great opportunity in London to work with people from all different backgrounds and nationalities. I love that about London – it’s the only place like it in the world.
What was your break into the City?
My first job was in the city, and it was my first introduction to the world of business. After that, I had the opportunity to work for a big recruiting firm called Sthree in 1997, and that gave me the opportunity to learn the most about my trade over the years I was there. It is arguably one of the most successful recruitment businesses of all time – they were an incredible business.
What’s one thing you love about the City?
Probably getting to work with lots of different types of people from all over the world. In the City, no one cares where you’re from or your background, it’s a crazy place and people just want to do business. I love the opportunity to work with everyone.
And one thing you would change
The weather – it’s horrible! But that’s a very typical answer, everyone moans about the weather. It would be an even more amazing place if there was better weather. Although maybe people wouldn’t want to work as hard if it was beautiful outside. People want to work when the weather’s awful because there’s nothing else to do, so maybe the bad weather is a good thing for business.
Who’s the business figure you most admire?
That’s a tough one. It would probably be a bit of a cliché answer and someone like Richard Branson. He’s set up so many businesses, done some many things and taken so many chances. He’s a bit of an inspiration for business leaders.
What’s been your most memorable moment in the City?
Probably setting up the company, esynergy, in 2001. I was only 22or 23. Looking back, when we set up the business, we were barely treading water through the first year. I went from a very accomplished salesperson to not being able to bring in any business. It was very painful, but we came out stronger on the other side. I don’t know how we survived that honestly. It was definitely a big moment in my life.
We’re going for lunch and you’re picking – where are we going?
I’m quite a lazy person when it comes to these things, so I only go to a couple of places. I would have to say Rocca in Leadenhall Market. It’s this very old Italian place – if you haven’t been you should go, it’s beautiful! It’s not posh like a lot of other places, it’s very nice. It’s been there for a long time and has a lovely story behind it.
And if we’re going for a drink after work?
That’s a good one. Where would I go? I would probably go to Rocca for that as well – is that a lazy answer? It probably is where I would go to grab something after work. I’d get a small beer.
Are you optimistic for the rest of 2023?
Yes, definitely. I think the market will get squeezed. But if your business is closely aligned to a specific value that you can measure, it will be a good opportunity for many businesses. It is a challenging market, but it will bring huge opportunities as well. There is a fair amount of risk, but anyone can do well in this kind of climate – it brings huge opportunities if you do it right.
Give us one opinion that sails against the prevailing wisdom
We’re trying to grow our business with the smallest permanent team we possibly can. In the world of consulting, most businesses grow by increasing headcount. We are doing the opposite – we have a small permanent headcount and work with a wider team of associates. Our goal is to grow to £100 Million with under 50 permanent employees. This approach is the antithesis of what other consultancies are doing. I’m either doing it very right or very wrong – we’ll find out!
Where’s home during the week?
When I’m not travelling, I work two days a week in London, and the other three in Warrington, near Manchester. That’s where my family is. When I’m in London, I stay with a friend in East London – very close to the city.
And where will we find you at the weekend?
Definitely with my family, in Warrington, North Wales, Manchester, Liverpool – anywhere in the North West basically. We are normally outdoors somewhere.
You’ve got a well-deserved two weeks off – where are you going, and with who?
I’m actually in Cyprus at the moment! I love going anywhere I haven’t been before. Meeting new people, understanding different cultures, eating new food – anything different. I would go with my wife and kids.
Quick Fire Round: Favourite…
- Film: It depends on what genre. I’d have to go Happy Gilmore. I’ve watched it more than any other film and it still makes me laugh to this day. It’s a classic – one of Adam Sandler’s best!
- View of London: I’d have to say on London Bridge looking down or up the river. Any of the bridges in London give you a great perspective of the city that you can’t get anywhere else.
- Band/Artist: I’d have to go with Bob Marley, reggae is my favourite.
- Book: I’m not really a massive reader – I read lots but usually short articles. One book that stands out is Mr. Nice by Howard Marks. It’s his autobiography about when he was one of the biggest drug smugglers in the world. It tells his story, and it’s really fascinating.