If You Could Go Back In Time & Advise Your Younger Self


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There are more people starting their own journeys to build their own business.

Here is a response from 20 business owners when asked if they could go back in time ...'What three things would you advise your younger self to build a successful business.'

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If You Could Go Back In Time & Advise Your Younger Self

  1. 1. Dorset business owners advice to their younger selvesIF YOU COULDGO BACK...
  2. 2. There are more of us than ever building our ownempires. But once we start our own businesses, it doesfeel isolating. Wouldn’t it be great if we could learnfrom those who can pass on their knowledge?There are 4.8 million private sector businesses in the UK,the highest since estimates began in 2000, accordingto the Business Population Estimates (BPE).To put things into perspective even further, British entrepreneursbroke records in 2012, with start-up numbers up by 10% to 484,224businesses (over 440,000 in 2011), according to Start-Up Britain.Twenty local business owners, who are all part of the Dorset businesscommunity, were asked what they would do ‘if they could go back.’Each participant was asked if they could turn back timeand about to start their own business or at a stage whenthey are thinking about self employment, what threethings they would advise to their younger self.So, here we go, here’s the business owners response to…“What three things would you advise your youngerself to build a successful business?”
  3. 3. Brian MaidmanMaidman’s Removals& Storage/Store & SecureSelf StorageMaidman’s Removals & Storageare recognised locally andnationally as a market leaderin the removals sector. Sistercompany, Store & Secure,provide a state-of-the-artself storage facility, behindCastlepoint, in Bournemouth.1. Understand the power of good marketingDuring the early days of a business, there may be littleconsistency and continuity in the company image.You don’t have to have everything in one go, but it is vitalto establish an identity (corporate logo, colours, signage,photography, printed collateral). Once a brand imageis created, you are able to work with something thatis tangible and continues to help you with your brandperception and recognition within the local area.2. True costingYou have to understand the financial side to priceaccordingly, in terms of profit and loss, balance sheetsand the goal to make a profit. Taking these factorsinto consideration helps you plan based on gettingto know your figures inside out on a regular basis.3. Join A Credited AssociationBeing part of a recognised affiliated association(e.g. British Association of Removers) becomes a sourceof valuable information, in terms of running a successfulcompany. Being involved with the heart of the industryallows you to network, influence decision-makingand policy and to be seen as giving a bit back.
  4. 4. 1. Manage timeBe ruthless with time. You have 24 hours in each dayand you’ll never get it back. How we plan our day is avital factor to consider. So be disciplined to reduce anyinterruptions (the ping of the email inbox). You may find itbeneficial to delegate and outsource areas that can bemanaged better.2. Learn the fundamental of salesYou don’t have to be from a business background, butyou need to be able to sell. Have a thirst for knowledgeso you can adapt and let your skills grow with the business.Most people aren’t interested with a cold call, so make sureyour product is strong enough to build interest and makethat sale.3. Promote a cultureMake it clear what the focus of your business is, sopeople can familiarise themselves with what you do. Yourdecisions will be based on your vision, which helps tokeep focus with everyone associated with the business.Keep that bar high and always exceed in customerexpectations, and excel in building relationships.Barbara CoxNutri ChefNutrichef head nutritionist andcompany founder, BarbaraCox, became passionate abouteating healthily during her time inJapan. Barbara advises peoplewith losing weight, trainingathletes for sports events, andthose that want to eat healthier.Barbara writes articles on healthfor various magazines and shewon the 2008 British Chamberof Commerce Nation Awardfor Entrepreneur of the Year.
  5. 5. Ali CarterCater Cost‘The Pub Mentor’ is 100%dedicated to giving genuinebusiness support to independenthospitality operators helpingthem save time and makemore money. Her latest businessventure CaterCost is a softwaredesigned specifically for theindependent caterer and istaking the industry by storm.1. Never let others influence or sway youIt can be easy to make a compromise and not stay trueto yourself. Never doubt your beliefs and inner strength byfollowing a path that you do not feel is your journey. Alwaysstick to what you believe in.2. Follow your passionIt would be great for people to be taught (at an earlyage) what they want to do in life by setting goals andachievements required to develop your passion. If you canfind what you love doing early on in life, and you enjoy it,follow it.3. Build a network of massively skilled peopleYou achieve the most when you surround yourself atan early stage by others that are better than you, andthat compliment your products and services. If youdo this, it allows the mindset to inspire and educate,more importantly, building confidence in yourself andwhat you do. Remember this – ‘iron sharpens iron.’
  6. 6. Colin GaleETS TrucksETS Trucks are a commercialvehicle maintenance and repairteam, based in Poole since1994. We are also a servicedealer for MAN covering Dorsetand the surrounding area.1. Learn more about running a businessIt’s okay having a skill and putting it into practice, but noone tells you how to run a business and to make it workto generate revenue. There is a big difference betweenmaking a living and running a profitable business. Knowinghow to cost and understanding the difference betweenmark-ups and profit ratio are vital for the success of abusiness.2. Affiliation with an organisationAffiliating with a recognised/established associationallows you to make the step up to gain morerecognition within your industry. By working witha company that the industry respects providesopportunity, builds credibility and grows relationships.3. Resilience and perseveranceWhen opportunity comes your way, you have to take it.The rewards are through hard work and dedication, notthrough blind hope and cutting corners. Look to punchabove your weight and aim a little bit higher than what youwant to achieve, or you will be the same as everyone else.
  7. 7. Gary NeildBlue Sky FinancialPlanningAn emotional attachmentto managing money isessential to ensure that yourmoney outlasts you, butperhaps more importantlyyou enjoy your money whilstyou have your health. BlueSky Financial Planning workswith individuals, families andcompanies aiming to make areal difference to their lives.2. A clear strategyPeople are restricted by their own experiences. Listen toothers but don’t listen to everyone, it is easy to be distractedby what others want you to do. Many individuals have theirown agenda to steer you off path. Follow your beliefs withconviction and stick to it.3. Be innovativeUnderstand what separates you from everyone in your in-dustry. Someone will always be smarter, someone will alwaysbe younger but they will never be you. Don’t be afraid to goagainst the grain so find your place and be a bit differentwhen delivering your message.1. Understand skill setsYou know what you are good atso play to your strengths. As forthe work which doesn’t suit yourskill set, don’t for one minutehesitate to contract others intoyour business that are betterthan you.It is always useful to speak topeople who have alreadysucceeded in their professions.Asking them to assess yourskills helps to position who youare and what you have todo to progress your business.The key is to understand whatrole you are suited to.Oncethis is defined, you can thenbuild a team. Everyonehas to play to their skills.
  8. 8. Ianthe SlingerLetchersLetchers Solicitors is a familylaw expert based in the centreof Ringwood and Verwood,specializing in the financialimplications of divorce.1. Finish each day and be done with it!We can only do our best, if we give 100% during a workingday it is then imperative to ‘switch off’ at the end of it.wIt is very important to learn to be satisfied with your best,remember good is good enough. Take the task in hand,focus on what needs to be done, give everything you canand then remember you have a life outside the workplace.2. Don’t let anyone dampen your spiritThere will always be others who will be jealous of you. Don’tallow anyone to dim your shine because they feel blindedby it. Always remember who you are. There will be otherswho pass judgement and look to knock you off course. Thesolution is to operate with conviction, always play fair andnever compare yourself with others.3. Don’t change even if the world changesaround youThe world conspires to change us and it will look to alteryou. Always value who you are, what you believe in andnever compromise on that an inch. Remember that hardtimes come for a reason and it’s what we learn from themthat really counts. Always be real!
  9. 9. Jeremy PriestleyBerkeleysBerkeleys Estate Agents –Canford Cliffs since 1991,specialising in the sales, lettingand marketing of premium,residential properties. Ourbrand name stands forquality, a trusted reputationand personal service.1. It’s never too late to changeDon’t feel pigeon-holed into an area of expertise you feelyou have to follow for the wrong reasons. Perhaps youroptions don’t look as promising as once believed. It’s OK tochange course - especially before you take on the majorresponsibilities of life. Everyone will forgive you if you makea mistake. You don’t have to be on the single-track yourwhole life.2. Don’t limit yourselfMake sure you have been exposed to other locations,to other cultures and to different people. If you spendyour entire time in one place, you’ll have an introspectiveview of life. Move away from your comfort zone, shapethe person you want to be – get out, travel, see the world,understand people and get on.3. Experience lifeDon’t try to run before you can walk. Life will burdenyou with attachments and responsibilities soon enoughand, if you let it, before you’ve allowed your characterand business personality to flourish. There is plenty of time:don’t let yourself be weighed down before you’vehad the chance to grow.
  10. 10. John CorderoyBreeze VolkswagenBreeze is a productive andforward thinking company,continually increasingbrand awareness andworkforce throughout thelocal community. Recentlyexpanding to over five locationsacross the south, holding theVolkswagen franchise forpassenger cars, commercialvehicles and TPS, Breeze isfocused on business objectivesand organisational growth.1. Learn and get on with itPeople mirror and mimic others, it’s important to experiencelife and to be yourself. Learn what to do and what not to do(as well as behaviour). Decisions will be shaped by what youlearn.2. Get to know as many people as you canShow an interest with those you come into contact with,these could be prospects that turn into good customers.A natural salesperson is constantly looking for adoption andacceptance; this is due to a fear of rejection. Being successfulin business is not all about being ‘liked’, but earning respectand becoming trusted in your field of expertise.3. Market yourself as a brandAbility is just as important as attitude. Recognise your strengthsand play to them, this creates your own personal brand thatreflects you and will be seen in the eyes of everyone else.It’s all about character, integrity, a down to earth approachand conducting yourself well with the people you meet.
  11. 11. Jonathan SibbettSibbett GregoryFounded in 1992, Sibbett Gregoryhas developed with a clear planto provide a wide range ofspecialist property services acrossDorset and beyond.1. Confidence to commitIf you believe in yourself and what you can offer themarketplace, then do it. We can spend a lot of time thinkingabout our intentions but if you have the passion and belief,then there’s nothing to stop you. One of the biggest benefitsin committing to what you want to achieve is that you cancreate your own culture and values.2. Be productive and profitableIn the early stages of your business’ life cycle, there is aninclination to be helpful to everyone. You can become allthings to all people but this then becomes non-productiveand your enthusiasm clouds your judgement. Learn to bemore discerning and instinctive to run a profitable business.You have 24 hours in a day; it’s how you use it that matters.3. Show enthusiasmWork hard, be enthusiastic for what you do and aboveall else, enjoy what you represent and stand for.sibbettgregory
  12. 12. Lloyd BanksRubicon PeopleEstablished in 1982 RubiconPeople is a professionalrecruitment agency usinginnovative candidaterecruitment and assessmentmethods to supply talentedpeople into a wide range ofsuccessful UK businesses.1. Understand break-even2. Clear objectives isn’t enoughHaving your vision should be a “given” and, it’s good to haveand communicate the vision you have to your people, yourclients and suppliers. Do not overlook the numerous anddiverse tasks and objectives that are needed to stay on trackor to achieve the vision. What doesn’t get measured, rarelygets done, can’t be the focus for praise and can’t be used asa springboard for even greater achievement.3. Post-acquisitionWhen another owner sells their business to you, you cantear up what you read at due diligence stage concerningtheir opinions on the people they have left to you. Theircomments are completely biased and it’s so much moreimportant to form your own opinions. Invest time in theseareas; understand your staff, their motivations, concerns andideas, your customers as individuals and the specifics of theproducts or services your new business is selling. It’s temptingto prioritise new clients immediately and invest time therebut investing time with existing staff will reduce client lossesmore effectively. Don’t make dramatic changes too quickly.In the corporate world, budgetspredominate but when youstart running your own businessthen working out break-evensbecomes more important.Detailed understanding of whenbreak-evens align with your cashflow projections can prevent;cash catastrophes, enableessential “exceptional” costs to beprojected, maintain sales growthand reduce expensive borrowing.
  13. 13. Mark MastersThe ID GroupThe ID Group is a creativemarketing company specialisingin making businesses the ‘goto’ companies in their sector.1. Read, read, read2. Stand for somethingIf you blend in with the crowd, you don’t stand foranything. If the majority of people are doing one thing,go in the opposite direction. Because if you don’tsomeone else will, and in an ever more competitiveworld, not standing for something means losing.3. Treat people as peopleUse the same foundations you do to make friends. Whenwe meet someone new in our personal lives, we don’tgo guns blazing saying how great we are, we see howthey fit into our way of behaviour through listening,conversing and ultimately, we like who they are andwhat they represent. This is exactly the same for buildingbusiness relationships and creating a distinct personality.The day I started readingmore about businessand specifically industryknowledge, the wholedynamic of businesschanged. If you canbecome a spongeand take in theory andunderstanding, this helpsshape your own view whereyou have your own voice.If there is a good startingpoint, I would recommendNapoleon Hill’s ‘Think Grow Rich.’ It may be over80 years old, but it’s stillrelevant in today’s world.
  14. 14. Melissa HorneJigsaw Interior DesignSpecialising in interior designfor residential, commercialand show homes, Poole basedJigsaw Interior Design balanceform with functionality.1. Plan your team from an early stageWhen you start your business, invariably you do everythingyourself. The key to growth is to plan and not worry aboutthe immediate future. If you have a vision, you won’t beafraid to grow your business as you are thinking long term.Building a team into your plans with a variety of skill sets canreap rewards in the long term.2. Strong business partnershipsYou can’t do everything yourself and using areas ofexpertise on a sub-contract basis such as, IT, book-keepingand marketing, allows a team to build and supportoutside of the office. It is all about building networks andtrusted sources that have benefits for the business.3. Loyalty to suppliersFrom building strong partnerships, this helps to solidifya working business relationship. If you stay with yoursuppliers, they will help you out one day, when you needthem most. If you stick together, you go forward.
  15. 15. Mike CrockerBulpitt CrockerProactive, personalised andqualified support to local businessowners and individuals, coveringa broad range of businesssectors. Extensive experiencewithin accountancy, taxationand business development, withmany specialist resources.1. Know strengths, acknowledge weaknessesIf you’re working as a partnership, and you want a carboncopy of you (values, work ethic, beliefs), it is never going towork. Nobody knows everything, which is why it is good tounderstand the skill sets realised to bridge the gaps in thebusiness’ development. Know what you’re good at andunderstand where your flaws lie.2. Love your workBe passionate and enjoy what you do but always find abalance. It is easy to convince yourself to work hard, sofind time for yourself and others around you. We can’t beeverything to everyone. We have to learn to switch off, theperception is that customers think more of you if you areconstantly available, which is wrong. If you don’t enjoy whatyou do, people will pick this up and it becomes transparent.3. Nobody knows everything!Trust needs to be given to others that can add valueto your business. You cannot control everything.Delegating tasks to trusted colleagues and associateshelps to shape a rounded company profile.
  16. 16. Nigel StillStephen NobleStephen Noble have beenrecognised as one of theleading Estate and Land Agentsin Bournemouth for over 20years. Managing Director NigelStill is recognised as an ExpertWitness amongst professionals onBournemouth apartment valueswith over 30 years experience.1. Appearance is importantThe world doesn’t owe you a living and it’s up to you tofind your space within the marketplace. To create a strongimpression, the right appearance and dressing smartlygoes hand in hand with creating a professional character.Politeness and treating everyone with respect helps to buildan all round professional aura.2. Creating clients for lifeThe business focus is not only about today, it is also abouttomorrow if you want to be regarded as a respectedbusiness. You have to over-deliver in different ways to securelong-term contacts. A client can be for life, but it takes alot of groundwork and there are no short cuts. Respectis earned by honesty, integrity and being transparent.3. Accept technologyTechnology moves with any business. You have to researchand invest to make a success and build a platform foryour business. People are far less tolerant these days andresponse needs to be instant. Accepting technology allowsyou to embrace new ways of thinking and planning for theimminent future and publicity exposure for your business.
  17. 17. Roger WoodallDiamond Sporting GroupDiamond Sporting Groupowns the following threebrands - Bournemouth 7sFestival, Viper 10 Sportswear V10 Creative Agency.1. Every person you meet is a contactBuilding your contact list presents opportunity in everydirection. You never know when someone can help you outor become a valued customer. If you create a robust listof contacts, you are one call away from anyone who canadd value to your business. You never know who you willmeet during your journey.2. Everyone is equalAlways be yourself and treat everyone as an equal.Don’t feel intimidated by others and show integrity, betransparent and have a humble nature. That way, youbuild respect, by being honest and approachable.3. Visualise what you need to getSet yourself a target for what you want to achieve andthen visualise it. Seeing it for yourself allows massivefocus. This then sets the precedent to achieving yourgoals and setting the bar high.
  18. 18. Russell HamiltonElite SignsElite Signs designs andmanufactures all types ofsignage in-house from vinylgraphics, printed signs, CNCrouted signs, banners andilluminated retail signage.1. Build slow steadyHave a focus on where you are looking to take the businessand control it. It is easy to get carried away from an earlystage at how much turnover the business is making, but thisdoesn’t mean much until the money is in the bank. Profit iskey to everything to help you grow, plan and organise.It doesn’t happen overnight, but keep a firm steer.2. Be seenYour business needs to look reputable and credible andif your customers recognise this, you have built a brandperception. Being seen and visible around the communityyou are working within is valuable to your business. Get thecar or van branded, even go as far as a personalised numberplate. It is all about creating an image that others recognise.3. Office locationDuring the early days of your own business, it is fair to saythat the spare bedroom becomes the main office. As soonas budget allows, invest in premises for the business. It may bean office it may be larger commercial premises, but havinga base that is visible for customers and prospects to interactwith helps build the company image. Visibility is key for allyour efforts.
  19. 19. Sharon CanningMove On RentalsMove On Rentals is an award finalistLetting Agency specialising in residentiallettings throughout the whole of thePoole and Bournemouth area, includingrooms and HMO’s for professionalpeople. With half the staff beinglandlords, property is in good hands.1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakesIf you take risks, you have to be fearless, but ensure theyare calculated risks, sometimes this may not result in theoutcome that you want. If mistakes are made, alwayslearn and reflect on what has been done and never let thishappen again. Don’t be narrow- minded, be open to learneveryday and develop your skills.2. Be a brilliant interviewerLearn how to be a great interviewer to recruit. You needto have clarity in the type of person you want to join yourteam, listen to how people speak and how they interactand respond. Ask yourself, what do you want them to dowith their role? Remember, any team member representsthe business and building a rapport with prospects andcustomers. If you allocate the right people, you have ateam for life.3. A branded car from day oneIf you have a car, make the most of it as a cost-effective advertising mechanism. Using vinyl’s is acost-effective route that gets you seen and becomesyour mobile ad space. You pay for it once and thenit becomes free advertising for your business.
  20. 20. Steve CarterDigital Image BureauSteve is a Chartered Designer andpast president of BournemouthChamber of Trade and Commerce.His company, The Digital ImageBureau offers design and printservices to clients throughoutDorset and beyond.1. Cash is keyAt an early stage of a business, keeping an eye onwhether you are profitable or not can be the differencebetween sinking and swimming. There may be potentialprojects that when you look into the details, do not makethe profit anticipated. A plethora of current projects maylook good on paper but the old saying is always worthbearing in mind: “turnover is vanity, profit is sanity.”2. Ongoing trainingKnowledge at an early stage helps to build confidenceand comfort. Access to basic business training, mostnotably in accounting and sales, helps deliver the core skillsand enough information to make you operate efficiently.Everyone knows what they’re good at but not necessarilythe other areas of business they need to know about.3. Market your businessYou need to understand the principles of how toapproach your market. What are the costs involved inbuilding a dialogue with prospects and how to convertthem into customers? Understanding your customerbase and how to target is a vital element in growing anddeveloping your business as a leader in your industry.
  21. 21. Steve CookSeekerSeeker publish a family of magazines forDorset. During 2012 they launched thebusiness and lifestyle magazine SeekerNews and the sports title Seeker Sport.1. If it feels wrong, it probably isTrusting your gut instinct can help you to make a cleardecision. There will be times when a risky opportunity arisesthat could have the potential to be a massive deal, but onthe flipside they could also be a dog. If it smells like a dog,it usually is a dog.2. Recruit talentIn running a business, you can become a compulsiveperfectionist. Your heart and soul goes into this so youhave every right to strive for the best. To be the best, youneed to recruit talented people. Once you’ve got theflair on board, you don’t need to micro-manage. Mouldthem and let them grow into the culture of your business.3. Profit is everythingA ledger full of large outstanding invoices can lookreassuring, however high turnover can be deceptive. Is yourcash flow OK? Are your overheads under control? Everythingyou do in your business must have the aim of increasingthe bottom line. Profit is the key to a thriving business.
  22. 22. Steve WellsDWP Housing PartnershipSince our openings in 1985 DWPHousing Partnerships (with close to3,000 units) has been providing goodquality affordable accommodation.Offering the widest choice of homesand business premises to rent in Dorset.1. Pay attention and learnAs you get older, you get wiser. If there is a schooling thatgives a business grounding, this is always a good place tostart. Learning through work is where you are educated thebest but learning the basics helps to build character andperception of the world.2. Learn from others around youYou have two ears and one mouth, use them wisely. Youdon’t have to, by any means take on board everything thatothers tell you. The skill is to dissect what’s important to you.Let opinion and learning shape you as well providing guid-ance and use this to your own advantage.3. Goal-settingIt is easy to let one week meander into the other by notsetting any targets and basically, staying afloat. Settingshort term and long term goals helps to set realisticobjectives. This also allows you to set a balance betweenyour professional and personal life. Prioritise what isimportant and the opportunity it possesses and pursue it.
  23. 23. The concept and interviews forthis book is from The ID Group.www.theidgroup.co.ukTel: 01202 557458Email: mark@theidgroup.co.uk@heyidgroup/heyidgroup
  24. 24. £www.theidgroup.co.uk