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Is asking for the help a sign of weakness? Or strong leadership?

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I recently attended a business event which included the usual round table networking opportunities and was sat alongside about a dozen other companies, each of us explaining what we do for a living. We were all attempting to use our 60 seconds to encapsulate our offer.

There were interesting issues, plans and ideas that each person had and it was good to be able to challenge a little, offer ideas and find out more about how each business was being run. 

My fellow networkers that day each thought they had everything pretty much in hand, contact details were duly exchanged and at the end of the evening, planned to follow up over the next few days or so. My expectations were modest.

To my surprise two thirds of those individuals contacted me to ask for a follow up meeting and conversation!

The reality was that they all faced a challenge they’d not mentioned the night before and it got me wondering why those business owners had not felt able to discuss this openly  - or even indicate they would like a follow up chat, in front of their peers?

There was a common thread in their various ‘challenges’. Having grown their businesses to a certain size they’d not wanted to face that inevitable hurdle - change.  Increasingly they have to face circumstances which take them out of their comfort zone or they find issues overwhelming or too difficult. This could be around managing staff, investing in more efficient systems and processes or ‘letting go’ of certain tasks.

Asking for help can feel like a big step – almost like admitting failure. However, accepting you don’t have all the answers is often the sign of a strong leader.

Businesses that survive adversity often emerge far stronger. Their systems are streamlined, efficiencies improved, the teams strengthened out of necessity. This can bring productivity, profitability and motivation as the business becomes more competitive, leaner and fit for purpose.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or to plan a strategy to identify and tackle the difficult challenges.

Your value to the business is setting the direction, steering the ship, being able to see the wider risks and opportunities. It will remain your business but will allow you to lead without being lost in the operational detail.

If this resonates with you feel free to call me for a no-obligation conversation or to discuss a 1 Day Business review. Email paul@pchbusinesssupport.co.uk or visit my website at https://www.pchbusinesssupport.co.uk

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Starting out in your own company - It's tougher than you could possibly imagine... some tips on how to make it worth all the hard work!

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I meet people who have created new businesses and start-ups all the time and I’m one of them, I run my own consultancy in a service industry, possibly the hardest start-up to try to create, especially as you have no ‘product’ as such.   I have never worked as hard, for so long, for such little return, yet it’s been an amazing experience so far and I don’t plan on changing it.

“It will take at least two years to get established” was a phrase I’ve heard more than once, now almost two years on, it really has taken this long with still a long way to go.

Trying to be every department in the company, all by yourself, is a very steep learning curve, however wide your previous experience, in my case most of the work appears to happen once the little ones are in bed and the working day seems to start for me about 8pm. During daylight hours you’re chasing every opportunity, each one requiring attention, focus, care and quality – all of which takes time.

The impact on sanity, mind and body, not to mention loved ones, should not be underestimated, weekends have only just started to reappeared in the calendar. If you are considering travelling a similar path, take off those rose-tinted glasses and prepare for the reality. Running your own business provides a great deal of flexibility, you set the timescales and define the workload, there is no sharing the load, you simply have to find the hours in the day, which work around your lifestyle and commitments. For those of you that get late night/early morning emails from me, those are my hours.

I am currently working with a wide range of companies, a manufacturing company looking at the processes and owning of orders through the system, working with a company considering expansion, merger, growth and evaluating options, a new product company, planning the route to market, evaluating the market options and creating detailed plans to move forward, as well as a service company looking at new premises and how to invest in the growth of the business. Each client different, exciting and challenging.

My role now is to help established businesses to grow and overcome challenges, I help business owners and leaders to be strategic rather than just operational. I’ve always been a problem solver throughout my career and now what I have learned from all the highs and lows of setting up my own business has added to that experience and understanding.

My top tips to help the process to be successful

*Find a mentor. The journey will be lonely.

*Search for your support network – create a group of people around you whose opinions you trust and who will give you honest feedback.

*Create simple plans, prioritise and focus on what is critical – it’s better to deliver your top five things well than scrape the top 20 things across the line with only an acceptable level of quality.

*Look for start-up support and programmes – these can help you focus on your business model, your value proposition and learn to set your own goals.

*Identify the areas of running the business you don’t do very well and consider getting help - it will be invaluable.

It will be hard however, making your own decisions, choosing how you want to spend your day has a value it’s hard to put a price on. The variety and surprising opportunities that come along and the amazing people you will meet along the way will more than balance the head-in-hands moments.

For me, it’s been worth it so far and the journey continues.

PCH Business Support - Provides Business Solutions, Innovation and Project Management to help businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Meet Paul Holmes - The Business Exchange June/July 2018

Do a “Meet Paul” article I was told.  “Get an engineer to talk about themselves – definitely not my comfort zone,” that’s what I was thinking.  I’ve often been described as a ‘fluffy engineer’ because apparently, I can actually talk to people. In fact, relationships have been at the heart of everything I have done throughout my career.  I’m Paul Holmes and I’m a Yorkshireman who dared to leave Yorkshire and head south to learn about electronics, mechanical engineering and manufacturing, working for large manufacturing corporates for much of the last 25 years.  This experience has given me a strong grounding in business practices, systems and project management. It has allowed me to become involved in - and to lead - projects around cutting-edge innovation, engineering and science. I’ve helped build factories, production facilities, run large scale funded programmes and have even been instrumental in setting up a school.  Recently I set up PCH Business Support to take all of that experience to help others. My career has taught me that every business is different, every business owner has different goals and aspirations. Some are realistic and some are not. All will involve investment in time, money and passion.  By setting up my own business – and accessing trusted associates when needed – my desire now is to work with ambitious and passionate business owners who want to work in a practical way to find solutions and fix problems.  What have I done professionally to deserve that kind of trust? The answer is quite a lot. I was involved with building and setting up Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells (JMFC) and then worked there for over 14 years as a Manufacturing Engineer,  Project Engineer, Programme Manager, and most recently the Automation and Mechanical Engineering Manager, during that time, working on projects which included Innovate UK funded programmes, production lines, automation projects, commercial scale up and customer technical roles. On behalf of JMFC I became a director of     UTC Swindon – engineering school, operationally involved in the funding application, design, construction and setup phases and am still the Vice Chair of Governors – winning the JMFC Global sustainability award -  Most recently I was also the Director of Investment at Forward Swindon working with businesses, organisations and leading the Inward Investment service for the Department for International Trade (DIT). Throughout there have been countless community and charity involvements and am currently Chairman of Devizes Round Table.  The truth is I do possess the desire to help and with such wide-ranging experience in business systems, processes, project management, education, relationship management, funding, business organisations, innovation, local authority, strategy, people, manufacturing and a wealth of contacts – I can provide bespoke support and solutions for each company I work with. One size formulaic business solutions do not fit all.   For a no-obligation conversation feel free to call me on 07715008521 or email me on  paul@pchbusinesssupport.co.uk  or visit my website at  https://www.pchbusinesssupport.co.uk

Do a “Meet Paul” article I was told.

“Get an engineer to talk about themselves – definitely not my comfort zone,” that’s what I was thinking.

I’ve often been described as a ‘fluffy engineer’ because apparently, I can actually talk to people. In fact, relationships have been at the heart of everything I have done throughout my career.

I’m Paul Holmes and I’m a Yorkshireman who dared to leave Yorkshire and head south to learn about electronics, mechanical engineering and manufacturing, working for large manufacturing corporates for much of the last 25 years.

This experience has given me a strong grounding in business practices, systems and project management. It has allowed me to become involved in - and to lead - projects around cutting-edge innovation, engineering and science. I’ve helped build factories, production facilities, run large scale funded programmes and have even been instrumental in setting up a school.

Recently I set up PCH Business Support to take all of that experience to help others. My career has taught me that every business is different, every business owner has different goals and aspirations. Some are realistic and some are not. All will involve investment in time, money and passion.

By setting up my own business – and accessing trusted associates when needed – my desire now is to work with ambitious and passionate business owners who want to work in a practical way to find solutions and fix problems.

What have I done professionally to deserve that kind of trust? The answer is quite a lot. I was involved with building and setting up Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells (JMFC) and then worked there for over 14 years as a Manufacturing Engineer,  Project Engineer, Programme Manager, and most recently the Automation and Mechanical Engineering Manager, during that time, working on projects which included Innovate UK funded programmes, production lines, automation projects, commercial scale up and customer technical roles. On behalf of JMFC I became a director of UTC Swindon – engineering school, operationally involved in the funding application, design, construction and setup phases and am still the Vice Chair of Governors – winning the JMFC Global sustainability award -  Most recently I was also the Director of Investment at Forward Swindon working with businesses, organisations and leading the Inward Investment service for the Department for International Trade (DIT). Throughout there have been countless community and charity involvements and am currently Chairman of Devizes Round Table.

The truth is I do possess the desire to help and with such wide-ranging experience in business systems, processes, project management, education, relationship management, funding, business organisations, innovation, local authority, strategy, people, manufacturing and a wealth of contacts – I can provide bespoke support and solutions for each company I work with. One size formulaic business solutions do not fit all.

For a no-obligation conversation feel free to call me on 07715008521 or email me on paul@pchbusinesssupport.co.uk or visit my website at https://www.pchbusinesssupport.co.uk

PositionInsight/MappingPlaces - Indoor Mapping Company

Working alongside PCH Business support a new venture is in formation to use Indoor mapping technology to enhance user experiences, provide position information without GPS, provide information to the operator about dwell times and movements, whilst providing context and positional augmented experiences such as Museums, retail and events.