Neil has worked on both supplier side and client side of the business travel sector for over 24 years. After leaving Cults Academy, he went straight into working with a business travel management company, where he would arrange all aspects of a company’s travel from flights and accommodation through to any visa requirements. After 12 years’ service, Neil moved over to the client side and worked as the global crewing manager for Subsea 7, looking after the travel arrangements for thousands of staff and contractors alike. However, after 12 years in this position Neil was made redundant in August 2015 when the energy downturn saw thousands of oil & gas workers lose their jobs in Aberdeen.
Not to be beaten, Neil recognised the industry’s efficiency overhaul and spied a gap in the market to offer a more personal service to those needing travel and visa advice in the offshore and marine industries. Given his background and experience, this led naturally to setting up global business visa company, The Visa Team.
With offices in Aberdeen, Glasgow and London, The Visa team works to streamline the entire process of mobilising staff around the world. By using over 50 partners worldwide and a unique tracker system, Neil and the team can provide clients with a fully transparent service allowing them to operate and report more efficiently and in turn reduce costs associated with sending workers around the globe.
Was starting your own company something you always dreamed of?
Absolutely, I always wanted to work for myself. That being said, I would have never left the security of my job in oil & gas to do it. So, if it hadn’t have been for the circumstances I was faced with, I may never have actually taken the leap.
What is a typical day like at The Visa Team?
First thing is to make sure all our existing clients are serviced and maintained by talking regularly with our London office, where most of our operational side of the business is carried out. We constantly keep ourselves and any clients aware of travel implications and alerts at all times. Once that has been taken care of we can then get to work on the strategic side of the business and address any business development aims.
What has been your biggest challenge to overcome?
The biggest challenge is having the belief and determination to not only take the first step, but continue through the initial stages of set-up. Having an investor who is a very successful businessman and mentor, really helped encourage me through the early stages.
What is the most rewarding thing about what you do?
Knowing that we excelled on expectation and hearing about the delivered efficiency that we have provided to the client…streamlining a process for them and making what they do that bit easier to manage.
If you could give anyone starting up one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t give up, but most importantly, keep overheads as low as possible and believe in yourself.
What does the future hold for The Visa Team?
We are opening an office in Dubai shortly and working towards branching out in Poland and Singapore by the middle of next year. We aim to continue our global expansion and we’re looking to have a presence in Houston, possibly in Australia and India too.