“Take the time to grow your business,” is just one piece of advice Sunryse Shredding Services & Sunryse Information Management, owner and managing director Christian Sawyer says he would offer to small businesses. “You have to be take your time to build your business before building anything else. You have to build your core base of clients, take your time and hone your skills, become the expert in what you do and try not to become distracted,” says Sawyer.
Sawyer launched The Bahamas’ first and leading document destruction company back in 2000, after having studied in Canada and worked for the country’s largest brokerage company Nesbitt Burns as a trained certified network engineer for five years. Sawyer says that he started his business with one mobile shredding truck. “The reason I got into the business was because I saw that there was definitely a need for it, a need for something different. We have a country that services a lot of offshore banks that deal with a lot of confidential information. I found a secure, effective and efficient manner in which I could offer to my clients to have that information destroyed and eliminate any sort of privacy concerns.”
He added: “We were just doing documents at first but we found that information was contained on so many different things that we started destroying surveillance tapes, computer hard drives, anything clients had information and so it expanded beyond the paper. We have been doing that for some time and I think about maybe five or six years ago we got back into our recycling operation full time. All of our shredded material is now 100 per cent recyclable. We don’t send anything to the landfill, all of it is compacted and sent to recycling facilities. When it comes back it comes in the form of tissue products, hand towels, napkins, toilet paper etc. I would say that we probably do in terms of volume close to two million pounds a year in recycled material. Obviously with the fires at the dump we decided to be more environmentally conscious and to recycle all of our stuff.” Sunryse is based at the Source River Complex, Bacardi Road.
As for the information management side of the Sunryse, Sawyer says that division was launched five years ago. He explained: “We saw the need to offer clients a secure place to not only have their documents stored but also managed in a more effective manner. We currently store and manage our clients’ records. We have been storing and managing those files; giving them inventory control systems. We also electronically scan and image their records for them as needed. We offer a delivery services so that when client request their information we can pick up a box and have it delivered to them or they can choose to have it emailed to them. In a lot of cases they have it on our secure server.” Sawyer who was the recipient of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2008says that currently he employs sixteen persons full-time and several contractual workers for special projects.
Sawyer noted that for most small businesses starting up, financing, particularly access to financing is a big challenge. “Our next biggest challenge would have been client adaptation, educating the market on a new service, something people weren’t accustomed to doing. Once the clients saw what we were doing they fully understood it. That has happened both to the shredding side and information management side.”
“I would also advise small businesses to try their best and stay away from debt. I know a number of small companies that went into the Baha Mar deal, they made capital investments, took out loans and weren’t getting paid for the work they did. They still however had to service that debt. I would advise small businesses to stay away from debt as much as possible and also watch their cash flow. Many small businesses I counsel have a problem with cash management,” says Sawyer who has served as the chairman of the Chamber’s SME division.