Manage episode 377534928 series 3503638
We speak to Chris Black, Managing Director of Sound Leisure, who are the manufacturers of one of the coolest products coming out of Leeds… jukeboxes!
Chris explains how a broken piece of electronics inspired the launch of the business over 50 years ago. He also shares with us the ups and downs of running a family business, how Brexit, then Covid, almost destroyed the business, the way the pub smoking ban inspired the creation of a new product division in the company and the fascinating ebb & flow of vinyl, CD and digital music in the business.
He also gives us a passionate explanation as to why we should encourage youngsters into a career in manufacturing. Plus you’ll also get an invite to tour the jukebox factory to see these wonderful machines and how they are built.
INTRODUCING CHRIS BLACK
Chris Black joined the family business in June 1986, initially intending this to be for the duration of the 6 weeks summer holidays prior to enrolling for a painting & decorating course. However, 37 years later and having worked his way through most of the divisions within the company he is now Managing Director. Chris works alongside his father, who founded the business in 1978, his wife, brother and eldest son and along with 70 team members manufactures a range of Classic styles
Jukeboxes that grace some of the world’s finest locations. In addition to manufacturing Sound Leisure also supplies over 1,300 hospitality venues with jukeboxes and Back ground music systems and has a children’s play division that supplies a wide range of sectors from airports to the NHS.
As a family business Chris believes passionately in supporting the local community, apprenticeships and working alongside schools and colleges to promote manufacturing and exporting within the region. Chris is a Northern Powerhouse Export Champion and has recently been voted in as the president of Leeds Chamber of Commerce.
[00:02:30] Why jukeboxes?
[00:04:45] The pros and cons of working in a family business
[00:09:00] Vinyl, CDs and digital music
[00:16:45] How the smoking ban brought around a new division
[00:00:00] The effect of Covid on the business
[00:24:30] The problems Brexit brought
[00:28:00] How to enjoy, and get the most, out of your business
[00:35:00] The importance of manufacturing to Leeds and the UK
[00:41:00] Book a tour around the jukebox factory
KEY TAKEAWAYS & BUSINESS LEARNINGS
- You got to have a differential between home life and work
- Think about changes in legislation can bring opportunities, rather than problems
- Surround yourself with good people
- Find something you enjoy to give you downtime from the business
- Everyone should have a good non-exec board around them
- Leeds is the third biggest manufacturing zone in the UK
“Eddie put his hands in his pocket for £80k on a handshake with no contract to start the business”
“In 1980 we made our first vinyl playing jukebox. It 1982 Phillips and Sony launched the CD”
“If someone tells me I can’t do something, I’ll prove them wrong”
“With the vinyl revival we had to go into one of our sheds and pull out an old machine”
“I don’t care what anybody says Brexit is a pain. It’s cost the business a lot of money“
VALUABLE RESOURCES FOR YOU
Book a factory tour: https://soundleisure.com/book-a-tour/
Shout out tags: https://www.teamvacform.co.uk/
Want to watch instead of listen? Subscribe to our You Tube channel - https://youtube.com/@LeedsBusinessPodcast.
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ABOUT YOUR HOST
Phil Fraser went from an accidental kitchen table start up, with no investment, all the way to multi-million pound sale to a PLC 18 years later. He’s travelled the full SME business journey of launch, growth, scale and exit.
As well as hosting the Leeds Business Podcast, Phil now works with ambitious SME-owners as a Business Sounding Board (think somewhere between Business Coach and Business Mentor). In simple terms, he’s ‘a pair of ears and an extra pair eyes’ for SME Owners helping them to be better at what they do. Phil’s mantra is It doesn’t need to be ‘lonely at the top’. He helps Business Owners to be better business owners, by helping with their clarity and focus.
As a Business Sounding Board, he gives SME Owners the time & space to regularly discuss their challenges and opportunities, with no sense of judgement or bias, and in complete confidence. This allows them to explore their options in full, culminating with a list of issues to address/clarify, a clear target in mind, a roadmap to success, and a renewed enthusiasm and confidence for the challenges ahead.
Phil has appeared as a guest on over 60 podcasts, webinars and interviews, from around the whole globe, talking on a variety of business subjects. You can view them all at https://philfraser.co.uk/watch-hear-phil/.
LEEDS BUSINESS PODCAST
Classic Jukeboxes, Leeds, Leeds Business, Business in Leeds, Nous of Fraser, Business Sounding Board, Business Coach, Business Mentor,