Name: Martin Brown.

Age: 39.

What is your business called?

DB Group.

Where is it based?


What services does it offer?

We offer a business-to-business utility (electricity, gas, water and telecommunications) management service, delivering strategies which save businesses money and help reduce their carbon footprint.

Once we’ve secured our customers’ utilities at best cost, we then fully manage the suppliers on their behalf, looking at all the billing, ensuring it is correct before payment and resolving any related issues.

To whom does it sell?

We work across a wide range of sectors including, charities, housing associations, commercial property, education, retail, leisure, hospitality and manufacturing. We are generally taken on by those people who have the responsibility for utility expenditure and meeting consumption reduction performance targets.

What is its turnover?

£10 million. When the impact of Covid-19 hit we were immediately able to go to remote working and continue to serve our clients remotely. Like many businesses, we narrowed our internal focus right down to two or three critical things to ensure that we emerged from lockdown in a positive way. Now we are a year on and Zoom fatigue has set in a little, we’re glad to see that things are moving in the right direction and can only admire the way the vaccination programme has been rolled out at speed.

How many employees?

38. We placed a small number of employees on furlough from April last year to September.

When was it formed?

In 1996 by my dad. After a long and varied career within BT he saw an article about a cost reduction consultancy which really resonated with him and some of the work he’d performed within BT to eradicate wastage and bring in much more efficiency.

He decided to take the plunge and enter into training for starting his own consultancy which focussed on the utilities of telecoms, energy and water and that’s when the company in its initial form started as David Brown Consulting.

In the late 90’s there was no Linkedin or social media marketing and I remember some of the tales from the early days of him just getting out and knocking on doors, walking around industrial estates trying to speak to people. Can you imagine trying to do that today? No easy task.

Why did you take the plunge?

Back in 2009/10 my wife and I had just had our first child. I was running a landscaping business which was hugely weather dependent, and a steady income was paramount for us at that time in our lives. We had talked about me joining the family firm before and it made a lot of sense for us and for the business.

When I joined, it was just my dad and mum running the business so the additional resource meant that we were able to identify all the areas that we wanted to concentrate on for development

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

Fulfilling my other passion – gardening. While I was young enough I set up my landscaping company and ran it for six years.

I remember walking round my local areas knocking on doors and asking about interest in a full gardening solution, which took something that many people found time consuming and boring like grass cutting and general garden maintenance and dealt with it for them. Often a customer wanted to sign up there and then so it quickly got to the stage where I was able to invest in all the right training, equipment and vehicles and general maintenance became our ‘bread and butter’ between bigger projects.

The business further developed into landscaping backed by the underlying maintenance revenue and this was where I found great satisfaction in taking an initial garden design and transforming a space into what the customer really wanted – an outside living area where they could relax and entertain surrounded by nature.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

My father used voluntary redundancy pay to help establish the business until revenue started being generated. He has always been a strong advocate of not borrowing unless absolutely necessary. Good advice which I’ve sought to follow where possible.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

Developing our people and seeing this translate into results for our customers.

What do you least enjoy?


What are your five top priorities?

My faith in God; my family: our DB Group people; maintaining our standards as our business grows; getting a holiday in 2021!

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

Enable more growth funding, especially to businesses that have a record of positive balance sheets. Sometimes it is easier to access funding from government as a new start. Put as much funding towards what contributes to Net Zero as possible and make it accessible to businesses in a simple way.

How do you relax?

In 2019 we realised a lifetime dream and became dog owners. Having a dog in the house has been a great positive for us. We’re getting out a lot more and exploring and the fun level goes up several notches with Fira along.

Aside from that, as an avid rugby fan, watching the Scottish rugby team play and beat England at Twickenham was pretty relaxing.