In this interview, we explore the transition of a former police officer into an entrepreneur, tracing their journey from law enforcement to founding Titan Private Investigation Ltd in 2014. Simon Henson shares insights into challenges faced, lessons learned, and the evolution of Titan. From covert policing to building a successful venture, this narrative provides a concise yet compelling glimpse into the unique trajectory of a detective turned business owner, offering valuable takeaways for those considering a similar leap into the realm of private investigation and entrepreneurship.
Kavita: Tell us about your background?
Simon: ” I have a background in law enforcement, serving as a Police Officer from 1997 to 2014. My career began in uniform at Bulwell Police Station, then Broxtowe, and finally Radford Road, where I served as a response driver, attending to all 999 calls. In 2003, I transitioned to covert policing, becoming part of a team engaged in armed surveillance on serious organized crime syndicates, leading me to travel extensively across the country.
In 2007, I shifted my focus to counter-terrorism, assuming operational command of a team of surveillance operatives tasked with gathering intelligence and evidence on suspected terrorists. This role once again involved nationwide travel. Ultimately, I left Nottinghamshire Police Force as a Detective Sergeant in response to austerity measures that adversely affected the force in terms of service quality, pensions, and morale.
Kavita: When did you establish Titan Private Investigations Ltd?
Simon: “In 2014, I departed from the police force and founded Titan Private Investigation Ltd. This marked the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey and ownership of my own business.”
Kavita: What inspired you to start Titan?
Simon: “The bulk of my policing career was dedicated to covert surveillance, and I recognized that this skill set could be seamlessly transferred to the civilian sector.”
Kavita: What were the major hurdles you encountered while establishing your own business?
Simon: “Coming from a non-business background, my initial hurdle was mastering the intricacies of running a business. As a newcomer to the industry, I began my journey as a subcontracted surveillance operative, working for established Investigation Agencies. It was a fortuitous encounter with the owner of a well-established Private Investigation company in the West Midlands that changed the trajectory of my business endeavours. He mentored me, providing valuable insights into pricing structures and furnishing me with surveillance work. I am forever grateful for his guidance.
In those early days, I dedicated myself relentlessly, often putting in 18-hour workdays. I would return home in the early hours, grab a few hours of rest, and then head out for the next task. Every penny earned was reinvested into Titan. I focused on building organic traffic to my website through search engine optimisation and consistently generating relevant content. This strategic effort resulted in Google recognising and ranking the website. Gradually, the phone began to ring, and I started acquiring private and corporate clients.”
Kavita: What advice would you give to others looking to set up their own business?
Simon: “Begin with a modest approach: prioritise investments in cultivating organic traffic to your website rather than opting for quick wins through paid advertising. Continually augment your website with fresh and pertinent content, and don’t underestimate the power of networking – forge meaningful connections within your industry. Success often grows from a foundation of organic growth, sustained engagement, and a robust network.”
Kavita: What do you find the most rewarding and challenging about running titan?
Simon: “There’s immense satisfaction in crafting your own success story. The key is investing the effort; the harder you work, the more you can relish the rewards. This often translates to being the first to arrive at the office and the last to leave, with many evenings extending into work from home. While this dynamic can pose challenges to work-life balance, it’s usually navigable with effective time management and dedication.”
Kavita: You started your journey with Oberoi with a virtual office and have now progressed to a serviced office. What lead you to that choice?
Simon: “When I launched Titan, having a physical office was neither affordable nor necessary. Opting for a virtual office, where mail could be directed and occasional meetings could be conducted, proved to be a fitting solution. Oberoi emerged as the ideal choice when I needed a Derby office – conveniently located near the city centre, with a welcoming office staff, and the option for a call answering service if needed. As Titan expanded, transitioning to one of Oberoi’s serviced offices was a natural progression.
Our Derby office, equipped with four desks, a reception area, a kitchen, break-out space, and, notably, access to a conference room for our training courses, has proven to be an excellent fit. Situated within a building hosting diverse businesses, there’s a sense of community where everyone supports one another. It’s more than just a workspace; it’s a collaborative environment that fosters a real sense of community.”