What do you do today?
I am a business leader, coach, and consultant based in the UK, working mainly with privately-owned businesses who are seeking growth in the UK and North America. I have been in business-to-business sales for 30 years and build long-term working relationships by providing exceptional value.
My current roles:
I am the founder and leader of an executive coaching and consulting business called Resolve Gets Results© (‘Resolve’). I have a team of 10 people in the UK and the USA, all self-employed with their businesses. We also work closely with trusted partner companies in the UK, USA, and Canada.
I am a coach/mentor to leaders and management teams in the UK, and I mentor in the .Cocoon program in Estonia.
For over 20 years, I have been a business consultant. I help companies to win more business from new and existing customers. I also help them to solve difficult problems, which stop them from becoming great performers and from developing great leadership skills and a high-performance culture. I have conducted many successful projects which have required creativity, original thinking, logical analysis, and strong people skills. My work has often had a vital impact on the client organizations I work for.
Resolve inspires and delivers great results for privately-owned (including private equity and venture capital) the UK and North American companies in their home markets and on transatlantic business. We focus on scientific, technological, engineering, and manufacturing sectors.
We are experienced business leaders and senior subject matter experts with expertise in business-to-business sales, export, strategy, market research, executive coaching, organizational development, and corporate finance. Our focus is on teaching client businesses the healthy purposes, values, attitudes, and behaviors proven to create great results, and on building lasting business relationships for clients and ourselves.
We are hired as executive coaches and mentors, consultants, non-executive directors, fundraisers, part-time managers, or full-time managers for short periods. Clients hire us because we have strong individual reputations and deep experience in our different fields of business and leadership. We work flexibly with them, allowing them to decide how they use us. We do not pressurize them.
In August 2018, we were appointed as the official North America partner for www.chamber-international.com, which helps UK businesses to export to other countries. They promote our services, organize events where we present what we do, and introduce companies to us. We have close links to the UK Government Department for International Trade, and accounting and law firms in the UK. In the US, our main business partner is the Honorary British Consul to the State of North Carolina, who has been a friend for 27 years since I lived and worked in North Carolina. We have other strong business partners in Canada and other parts of the USA.
How did you get there?
My career has been nearly 40 years. I started work in engineering as a management trainee before I went to university. I graduated in 1984, and after 4 years in software development, I took a sales role in a company that built high technology textile machinery. After two years, they sent me to the USA, where I ran their sales and service business for five years. I returned to the UK, took an MBA (Masters’ degree in Business Administration) for one year, and worked for a management consultancy for 8 years in the UK, USA, and continental Europe. I set up my consulting firm in 2005 and have been self-employed most of the time since then. There have been three different stages of my self-employed career, with different groups of business partners and a different business model each time. The current stage began in 2016.
Running the textile machine company in the US (1991-96) was a fantastic learning experience, but it ended badly. For four years, we grew dramatically from $6 million to $20 million in annual sales. Even so, there were big challenges with technical problems, customer service, and the behavior of my UK boss and our American salesman. They were both corrupt, and my boss was extremely difficult to work for. The £40 million, 400 employee company got into major financial problems globally and had to be sold – 90% of the workforce, including me, lost their jobs.
I returned to the UK in 1996. After my enjoyable MBA year, I fulfilled my goal of becoming a management consultant with business leadership experience. Working as an employed consultant was satisfying – I could bring new ideas and approaches to help clients to improve their businesses. It was a great learning experience, and I made lasting friendships with clients and colleagues. On the negative side, I had another difficult boss who was a greedy psychological bully and drove several people, including me, to the point of burnout.
It was a relief to leave the company in 2005 and set up on my own. I attracted more than 30 self-employed consultants inspired by my business vision and ability to sell. Unfortunately, we had poor legal and accounting advice, so we ended up with a complex organizational structure that was too costly and difficult to manage. We hit the 2007/08 financial crisis and the recession which followed. It was a very difficult time, and in 2010 we closed the business. I restarted it in 2012 and built a new, smaller team. That team broke up in 2016, and I carried on working alone, gradually creating a new team and a new, more focused business.
I now have a great team and a low-cost business model that works well. Our reputation has grown, and we are getting interesting referrals/introductions and new business opportunities that fit well with our skills.