Over the last thirty years I have been lucky enough to run and manage some of the best brands and businesses in the UK sport and leisure sector. Ranging in size from £5m turnover companies to growing Berghaus the eponymous British outdoor brand into a $300m global player, my career has focused on delivering rapid growth in both turnover and profitability, achieving stretching business goals and delivering outstanding shareholder value creation.
I left school at 17 with few formal qualifications and a passion to be a professional sportsman, for seven years I lived the dream until one day I realized I just wasn’t good enough. I transitioned into the world of business, becoming an MD before I was 30 and building a successful career as a CEO and Global Brand President. In between times, I became a high altitude mountaineer, a high level performance coach, an accomplished speaker and more recently an incredibly proud Dad.
These days I work mostly in Private Equity backed businesses as a Chairman, providing support and direction to the Board across strategy, people development, business performance improvement and creating an inspirational work environment.
The more I have engaged with SME businesses the more I have been struck by just how many talented and motivated entrepreneurs we have in this country, but also by how desperate these entrepreneurs are to know what they don’t know…and they always ask me the same thing “where can I go to learn what you bring as Chairman to our Board table”?
So I have written them a book, a book for all thriving entrepreneurs and SME business owners who are desperate to take their organisations to the next level. It is a book which clearly articulates a simple five step programme guaranteed to help them achieve their goals and summits, to deliver rapid performance improvement, significant value creation and sustainable future success for their business.
I actually wrote the book for me, it was something I promised myself I would always do. When I gave it to the CEO’s of the organisations I work with they all responded with the same comment…”I wish I had had this when I started out…you must publish it, its way too good to give away”
Before I decided to publish the book I asked myself three questions;
- So What – would it really make a difference, is the book massively different to the thousands of others already out there?
Then I remembered, the book that I read when I started out, the book which became my bible…Mark McCormack’s ‘What they don’t teach you at the Harvard Business School’ and I realized that the Zebra Reality is different and does have a powerful value…because it is an articulation of lots of stuff that works, that’s been tried and tested, it’s a framework that entrepreneurs can wrap around the things they have always done instinctively…its not a theoretical book written by business school academics who are talented at predicting the past.
- Who Cares – would anyone want to read it, let alone buy it, is there really a market for the book?
Then I realised, the world is full of millions of people holding tightly to their dream of building their own business, regular, normal guys who believe in their own ability to create something special, to achieve their objectives, to reach their own personal summits…to realise their own SME dream. All of them desperately looking for help, support and guidance from someone who has done it, someone who can provide real world practical advice and actions, someone who has got the T shirt they are striving for.
- Why Me – would I be credible as the author, with no qualifications, no degree and never having written before
Then I figured, that people want what is in my head, people want to benefit from the experience I have gained over many years, that as a Chairman I am able to add huge value to organizational development but only with such a small number of companies. If these CEO’s find huge value in my guidance and advice, then articulating the five step programme I have developed and used to deliver amazing success in a book, would allow me to reach so many more business leaders.