Tony Hughes’ father started an engineering business in 1950. After a few on-site accidents, he was asked to develop a shower to wash people down if they got splashed with chemicals. When Tony took over the company, he decided to focus wholly on manufacturing emergency safety showers and decontamination equipment.
Forty years on, Hughes Safety Showers has offices and clients in multiple international markets, and recently won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Continuous Achievement in Export Trade.
Along the way, Tony was advised by a mentor who helped him to determine where he wanted to take the company and how to achieve his objectives. This, he believes, led ultimately to winning the Queen’s Award. Getting that kind of advice, says Tony, was “an excellent thing”.
As with many growing companies, Hughes Safety Showers has struggled with finance, but Tony acknowledges there is help available: “Business Link will be the first people who can help guide you in the right direction, especially if you’re just starting out and don’t have a great understanding of business finance.”
But for Tony the true key to business success is employing the best people. “Regarding a business, there is nothing more important than the people in it,” he says, “If you have got the right people, you will have a good business.”
Hughes Safety Showers won The Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade for the second time in 2012.