We caught up with our member Chris Hunter about him and his business HM-Network, Chris Hunter has been a member at Society1 for nearly a year now and is an active member of the community, offering regular business clinic days to other coworkers, for free 🙂
Here's what we found out when we delved a bit deeper into the world of Chris.....
Society1: When did you start your business and what do you do
Chris: HM Network came to life in 2013. We are systems integrators and connectivity specialists: If you want to know what that means in plain English:
It means we help businesses connect to the internet, to other sites and their supply chains, and we ultimately help them connect to their customers.
We work with clients to identify pain points and provide systems and solutions to help them address their issues in order to grow and be successful.
Society1: What’s your story?
Chris: Martin and I are the two Directors of HM Network. We met when we were both Data Specialists at BT around 10 years ago. We had an opportunity to become an external BT partner in our own right when there was a round of redundancies. It was perfect timing actually as we had always wanted to expand on the BT portfolio and work with other complimentary services and specialist partners. By setting up HM Network it gave us the ability to do just that, including intrusion detection, network monitoring and also branching out to cyber security and data privacy, which eventually led us to create our GDPRexpress division and series of events.
Society1: What inspires / drives you?
Chris: I have always liked a challenge and we collectively we like to think outside the box. We get a great deal of satisfaction by helping business not only achieve their goals but to surpass them. The services we provide allow organisations to do more with the connectivity they have, which can help them be more productive by working smarter. Happy clients normally means repeat customers = Happy HM Network.
Society1: What are you working on at the moment?
Chris: We have expanded our team recently and are doing a lot on providing and upgrading ethernet fibre services (like leased lines) and also BT Cloud Voice (a hosted phone system). For any business wanting to provide a professional service to it’s clients something like BT Cloud Voice is essential as it means you can offer flexible working, route calls to agents wherever they happen to be geographically, and have auto attendant who can make sure calls get to the right people without a receptionist having to route them. Equally as important for a sole trader as it can give end customers a sense of professionalism even if there is only one person in the business. The same service can scale up to hundreds of users like in a college, council or multinational organisation.
Society1: What’s the big Dream?
Chris: The plan has always been to take people on and to take a bit of a step back from the day to day stuff, so we can oversee how the company is developing and focus on exciting new areas. Martin is working from Spain for the whole of August testing out a variety of our offerings to demonstrate how remote working can be as easy as working from the office. It would be nice to have a HM Villa in Spain at some point where we can spend time when we feel like it, and to reward and incentivise staff to make use of it too.
Society1: Why did you choose Society1?
Chris: The people, the environment, the way different individuals come and go which means you get a really good mix of people to bounce ideas off, and also get different opinions on things. We run a monthly “connectivity clinic” like a Doctors Surgery where we invite businesses to come and talk to us in confidence, about their connectivity ailments or data privacy issues. We then prescribe them options on how to address their issues. There have been a few spin off projects and a number of great relationships developed from spending time at Society1.
Now to the real you.......
Society1: Are you a hunter or a gatherer?
Chris: Well my surname is Hunter but I do both. I enjoy helping educate people in businesses to be able to more for themselves. I guess I hunt certain types of people or businesses who might be able to assist with things I am working on, but by building relationships, and creating content that helps people, you soon get others coming to you as well asking if you can help them. So I guess later gathering opportunities from seeds I have planted over time too.
Society1: What’s in your packed lunch?
Chris: Chicken and avocado on granary bread. A touch of salt and a twist of black pepper.
Society1: How do you like to relax?
Chris: Music is a passion. Both consuming and creating. I love to create. I have been making and playing music (Djing) for about a quarter of a century (god that makes me feel old now). I love events like Liverpool Disco Festival, Suncebeat, and hearing live music. Whether it’s working on a remix or doodling I find it really therapeutic in making something from nothing. I enjoy cooking and I also like getting some fresh air in the countryside on my bike, living on the guild wheel is pretty handy.
Society1: If you were to choose a super power, what would you choose?
Chris: The power to make people happy & be positive. So much negativity in this world which leads to unhappiness. Positive Mental Attitudes can help overcome even the most challenging of situations.
Society1: Beach holiday / City Break?
Chris: Both really. I do like to relax and spend downtime in the sun, but I equally like to explore and take in culture too. I have found myself getting really interested in ancient history and our origins. Seeing how various myths seem to repeat in different cultures with different “character” names. I plan to visit places like Göbekli Tepe in Turkey, Pyramids at Giza, the Ziggurat of Ur in Iraq, I would like to see the Nasca Lines in the Peruvian desert and to see some of South America with Inca and Aztec history. I did visit Cancun in Mexico about 15 years ago and regret not visiting the pyramid at Chichen Iza.
Society1: Money or kudos?
Chris: You obviously need to pay the bills but having kudos is very satisfying too, and can also lead to bringing money in anyway. Becoming a trusted advisor or go to person can deliver both.