Magnus Group started in 1973, initially as a shipping agency and now offering a complete range of freight logistics and forwarding services.
When Olly took over the family business in 2019 he knew that he had a challenge on his hands to bring the business back to life. A firm believer in success being rooted in having a strong team, Olly started recruiting the management team he wanted to help him take the business forward. A rebrand, expansion of warehouse facilities and new trailers by early 2020 reflects the passion that Olly has for the business.
Then, as for all businesses, Covid-19 hit the UK.
Olly was adamant that after eight months of hard work he did not intend to slow down. Being classified as an essential business meant that Magnus Group could stay operating. The challenge was to figure out how to do that safely, within guidance, and in a financially secure way.
Within weeks the transport side of the business almost stopped.The earlier decision to purchase six new trailers, that arrived shortly after lockdown commenced, added to the financial pressure. About a third of the workforce were furloughed, mainly drivers and haulage staff.
Another decision that Olly had made in October 2019 was to increase their warehouse size giving them an impressive 225,000 square feet of storage. A decision that has been a lifesaver during this period. Within weeks, the warehouses were full, with the high-level facilities attracting high-level products. Demand was so high that contracts had to be turned down and a waiting list created. The team started operating 24/7 to cope with the demand and still provide the highest level of customer care Magnus Group prides themselves on. Without the investment in the new storage facility in late 2019, it would have been a very different time for the business.
Financially it has been a balance, and one that Olly refers to as “robbing Peter, to pay Paul”. The demand for storage has kept cash flow moving and supported the areas of the business that have been unable to operate as normal. The Furlough Scheme has been vital to allow Olly to continue with his business plan.
“I needed to see this as an opportunity and not a disaster”, says Olly. “I had a two-year plan to put in the management structure that I needed, and that has been accelerated to be complete within 12 months. I have carried on investing and driving my business plan forward regardless of Covid-19. The team have been phenomenal”. In a time when many have been worried about job security, Magnus Group has been actively recruiting, welcoming several new members to his team during the lockdown.
Olly is honest about how hard this period has been sharing stories of sleepless nights, 65-hour weeks and being worried about how his decisions will affect his employees. He is determined to make his Dad proud and is prepared to take risks to achieve his goals. “I’m a big believer in leading from the top. I need to have the right team around me, and show that I am positive, ambitious and driven to install the right ethos”, says Olly. “I had started the journey to get Magnus back on the map and be the best, and I wasn’t prepared to let Covid-19 detract from that”.
When he took over Magnus Group, he started being proactive on LinkedIn, posting updates on how it was going. LinkedIn has been a valuable source of support, business and recruitment during this period, and something to which Olly attributes his success. “I’ve had such a good response to my weekly updates, it has really improved not only my profile but that of the company by staying active on LinkedIn during this time,” says Olly.
Looking forward, Magnus Group is in a strong position. A growing warehouse business and haulage ready to move when the demand returns. Throughout the crisis, the company’s customer care, reliability and focus on teamwork has stayed strong, leaving it in an excellent position to head into the second half of 2020.