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Our Sheffield masterclass this month, was with Craig Hibbert telling his inspirational story.

The past

He began by explaining his background, and how he helped out a lot with local scout groups whilst working at Mercer & Millar as well as working whilst at Tesco part-time running between the two with a short interval for fish and chips, in between his shifts.

After this he went onto join Turner & Townsend, where he eventually worked for 13 years. He made good money in this job, and opened the companies Nottingham office, which was a really profitable business, but after a 5 hour journey from Nottingham to Sheffield, due to weather decided to get back into Sheffield.

It was at this time he joined Monaghans, which at the time was a small Sheffield business, and with this he was able to not work weekends, making sure that weekends are firmly reserved for family time.

As he progressed Adrian Monaghan retired, and Craig took the opportunity to buy 50% of the business.

Shortly after this a major contract was pulled almost over-night and the business went from a £1.25million turnover to a £250,000 turnover, which lead to a lot of changes in the business.

At this point he started to buy other businesses to help the overall business grow, each bringing a specialist skill, with each new acquisition complementing the others.

Craigs business partner then decided that he wanted to sell the business, although Craig didn’t which then increased his overall price, and Craig received a good deal, albeit he was still tied in for a further 3 years, but kept his head down.

Buying back & moving forwards

Shortly after Craig decided to buy the business back, and 60% of the staff have been with the business for most of their working lives, which keeps it having a family feel.

As a business Monaghans believe in building a relationship with their customers and the retailers they work with, especially as they work with a vast range of private and public sector businesses and organisations.

Monaghans believe in co-working and co-locating, allowing each facet of the business to support the others and to help reduce the costs.

Keeping staff

A vital element for the business is training, and Monaghans work a lot with local Universities, recently putting 63 managers through training to help them develop, and the business has a vast amount of apprentices, believing that if you bring people into the business at a young age, look after them, and train them, then you’ll keep them in the business, and they understand the culture.

Monaghans at present has 250 staff, and most of these have been with the business since they’ve been 18.

The aim at present is to grow the business from a £25million turnover into a £100milion turnover, with the staff and customer service still being core values.

The staff overall receive good benefits which encourages them to stay, and these include:


The majority business comes from people moving to new companies, and referring Monaghans to their new companies.

This is then supported with Monaghans carrying out a lot of case studies and value logging to ensure that they can prove their worth to new customers, which then helps with retention.

Due to the culture they follow, customers like working with them, and they retain staff rather than lose them.

To support the culture all the software is written in house, and only has on it what they need, not lots of icons which you don’t need.

When new businesses have been acquired the key is to embed the culture quickly, and to use idea forums to gain new ideas on how the business can improve to make sure it doesn’t become stagnant, as everyone feels involved and the apprentices will challenge the norm, as they are ultimately a fresh pair of eyes.

Craigs parting line was – “Company culture is vital, and going forwards is more important than looking back!”


Craig Batham