IT is a common dilemma for many a budding entrepreneur. Should you keep working the safe but rather uninspiring nine-to-five at the big corporate, or take a risk and go it alone.

This was the difficult decision facing Bernie McPhillips when he was offered the opportunity to join two former colleagues in their fast-growing telecoms company, Pangea.

After 11 years working for comms giant O2, latterly heading up their Internet of Things (IoT) division, he was ready for a change. And 18 months after taking the plunge, Mr McPhillips is thoroughly enjoying the challenges associated with growing the business alongside partners Dan Cunliffe and Chris Romeika.

“Running your own business allows you to be more dynamic, to make a decision in the morning, implement it in the afternoon and see the impact tomorrow,” explains the 41-year-old.

“Don’t underestimate the skills and knowledge you gain over the years working in a big company. If you feel those can be applied to a smaller business, then back yourself and do it.”

But the sales director admits proper consideration is required before making the jump from employee to employer.

“It’s not for everyone. Personality is important, as is honesty about the environment you perform best in. Some people need structure and sometimes small businesses can feel quite chaotic. You have to be able to ride that out.

“I’d say our team is small but perfectly formed - our personalities complement each other. I’m more organised than the other two; they deal better with the chaos and the curveballs and I bring the structure.

 “It helps to have a mix of experience in our team. Our other board members, Simon Taylor-Payne, Alan Shraga and Howard Richards, have been in business together for many years and run a group of very successful businesses. Their support and mentoring has been invaluable on our journey so far.

“I’d always say back yourself but go into business with the right people.

The partners appear to have found just the right mix as Pangea goes from strength to strength, providing connectivity solutions and analysis in the burgeoning IoT market, working with more than 140 partners big and small.

“IoT is all about connecting ‘stuff’ rather than people,” says Mr McPhillips, who heads up the firm’s East Kilbride office. “These days we can use the internet to make a bricks and mortar house smarter - apps to control our heating, lighting and alarms – retrieve information and act upon it.

“We interact and re-connect with the world in a different way.”

Pangea, which employs 14 staff and counting, works mostly in the business market, finding solutions for hotels, restaurants and factories. As part of the ongoing expansion, the firm moved to a new Scottish base at Storage Vault in East Kilbride two months ago.

“Flexibility is very important to a young growing business like ours,” says the entrepreneur. “You may want more space on a temporary basis to bring in a consultant and complete a project. Storage Vault has the ability to meet your needs in a flexible way. It’s also a great business hub to be part of.”

Originally from Liverpool, Mr McPhillips, who is married to Lorna and has a young son, Kian, worked in London before moving to Scotland nine years ago. And he believes the entrepreneurial landscape here is different to that of the South East of England.

“Our headquarters is in Surbiton, south west London, so I have a fair bit of experience of both,” he says. “London is vibrant, but it can also be detached and impersonal.

“I find that in Scotland things are more likely to be based around relationships cultivated over many years.

“I’ve developed relationships and partnerships from Dumfries to Inverness. There’s a closer-knit network in Scotland which can be advantageous. If you’re known and you come with credibility, doors open and there’s a real willingness to do business with like-minded people.

“I love it here as there are so many opportunities. We want to continue to grow our success, to develop new partnerships and collaborations, especially those that will have a social or environmental impact.

“Scotland is about to get the most advanced internet of things network in the whole UK, which will allow smart devices to connect to the internet without need for wifi or 4G, thus cutting power requirements and costs.

“It’s a very exciting time.”