Tim Campbell MBE’s career wasn’t as explosive before appearing in The Apprentice’s first season. However, what’s impressive is that his passion to help people was already there even before, working with the London Underground. His passion brought him into working with PM Boris Johnson, then Mayor of the City of London, in helping small businesses stand up on their own after The Apprentice. Tim was able to take advantage of his stint on the Apprentice where he grew his Portfolio of businesses. In this episode, Tim Campbell talks with Adam Stott about the importance of helping small businesses and winning the first Apprentice title.
Tim became the first-ever winner of The Apprentice when it launched in 2005. He landed a £100,000-a-year job with Lord Sugar’s firm Amstrad and left after two years to found Bright Ideas Trust, a charity that helps young people to set up their own businesses.
Tim received an MBE for Services to Enterprise and Culture in 2012.
- How Tim Campbell and his businesses are bouncing back from the challenges of the Pandemic
- What essential tool did Tim Campbell learn after his stint in The Apprentice
- Importance of Research and taking risk as you move along in your entrepreneurship
- Showing up and responding when challenges face you
- Humility and searching for people who can be your mentor
- Earning his MBE on his work in serving various businesses
- Failing early and really hard
- On mentoring and educating others
- How do you avoid starting a business for the wrong reasons
- The value of seeing others grow
- Tim Campbell’s experience with working with PM Boris Johnson when he was the Mayor of the City of London
Please note this is a verbatim transcription from the original audio and therefore may include some minor grammatical errors.
Good evening everybody! Welcome on to this completely live podcast interview, which I’m going to be doing live initially, before it goes out onto iTunes, with Tim Campbell, the first-ever Apprentice Winner. He the first person to go on that show. Which actually, having had really good relationships with Lee, who won the apprentice, and Joseph. Tim was the first person to ever go and do it.
So I’m really interested to hear what your thoughts might have been, you know, he’s going into the unknown. We’re going to talk a little bit about that, but what’s really interesting about Tim, which I think you’ll get a lot of value from tonight, he’s gone on to have a mega career afterwards, and do some amazing things. One of the things that he’s done, he’s been a real advocate of inclusion and a real advocate of apprenticeships within government.
So much so that he went on to get an MBE for his services to small businesses, and I think he really understands small businesses and how to help small businesses, and the moves that the small businesses should be making. So I think for business growth secrets tonight, we’re going to be able to pull some real content out of him and he’s going to drop some knowledge bombs on you tonight.
So now even more interesting that, Tim’s been involved in building a portfolio of businesses and it’s just always invested in over 700 businesses with his group. He’s got tons of different businesses he’s been involved with. He’s got a lot of experience, which is going to be able to share with you this evening. I think it’s gonna make for a great chat. He is a super friendly guy and I’m really excited to bring him on. So without any further ado, welcome to the business growth secrets podcast, Tim, how are you doing, buddy?
You know what really well, it’s a really weird one at the moment. Lots of people are obviously coming out of the other side of the pandemic in the UK. I don’t know if many of the people listening or viewing the podcast might share this as well, but it’s a bit of guilt that is sometimes built into that. Particularly from a business perspective, because the big desire for all of us listening is to aspire to greater things. You’re trying to work really hard trying to make a good service or product for customers can interact and exchange for value.
Sometimes when you’re dealing with customers, you hear about some real downturns that they’ve had in the last 12 to 18 months. It’s been incredibly hard for business owners, particularly small to medium-sized businesses, to deal with the rapid changes in the pandemic. But we’re really fortunate, touch wood, you do the proverbial thing of touching your head, that says more about my head. Essentially, we’ve been really fortunate to come through the pandemic, and we’re really looking forward to that leveling up, bounce back. Building back better, that everybody keeps talking about.
Yeah, absolutely. We’re gonna jump into a little bit of your story in a minute and hear a little bit more. For somebody that has a portfolio of businesses and tons of other businesses you’re involved in, then without a doubt, we’ve been some that really suffered, and some that probably thrived. I imagine that’s been the case, so suppose you’ve been super busy and getting some of those businesses back on track and getting them getting rocking again, right?
Very much so. Thankfully, we didn’t have any businesses involved in the retail sector, ut one of our big investments was in a Gym group called NRG Gyms, five locations across the country. We’ve one just about in the making, as we were about to go into the pandemic. So it hit us like a ton of bricks. They’re locked down because obviously, interacting with people, which is at the heart of the gym, leisure industry, was the thing that was hit like a rocket straight out the bat.
That’s been really challenging not just around the staff, the people working as part of the business, a fantastic owner and team in Shafiq in terms of building out from this from the ground up. But more so the customers that were interacting with that because the big feelings come out of the pandemic. Whether you’re a business owner or somebody outside of the business, has been the whole conversation around wellbeing, and being incredibly focused. Really getting through that with your mental health intact, has been something that we’ve really been troubled by particularly dealing with in the leisure industry.
Yeah, 100%. So, you know, really interesting chat tonight, make sure as you come on your 05:27 Tim, in the comments, tell us what business you’re in. Okay. And, you know, if you’re gonna have questions later on that we can ask him as well. So you want to get your question in to pick his brain a little bit.
So Tim, you know, I think we’re where we start off, which is really interesting, and a bit of a different angle on it, but you were the first ever person to win the apprentice. And also, he watched the American one, I suppose would be my first question. When you went into his he had no idea what he’s going into.
No. You’re obviously you don’t go really like a market, you know, what you’re going for to the TV show. But you remember, this is 15, 16 years ago, when the reality TV wasn’t the thing that he is now, you already mentioned a couple of people. I know very well said Lee, absolute legend, I was speaking to him a couple of weeks ago about business 06:14 to tableau, and also Joseph if I haven’t spoken to him as much, but those characters went from a very different experience than I did. The very first one was very much around getting employment. It was at the very nascent initial beginning stages of what reality TV was. And to be fair, I was a bit naïve walking into that scenario, because I had no understanding of how impactful the series is going to be, you never think a series of BBC Two is going to be a revolutionary success.
In addition to that, there was only my initial knowledge of as he was there, as a entrepreneur, we’ve been there, but nothing in terms of how the media works, and how that will be built up around the whole series. So to degree, the biggest lesson, I suppose for lots of people is two things that came out of that experience. Firstly, doing much research around any kind of business or any endeavor you’re going to go into, don’t take that risk of jumping off the cliff and hoping that your wings will stay protected from the sun as it were, and you’ll keep flying, because sometimes you’ll get burned, as many contestants who went through the series in my years subsequent years have, but at the same time, also bill within there is that sometimes you if you knew the risks you’re walking in, or how hard it would be particularly around business, because no one really talks about sometimes the hardship about the isolation, that the endless hours, the ups and lots of the downs that you go through, maybe many business owners would never have gone in.
So actually, the level of naivety that came along with it, what may have been a good thing, because for me, it was a great bet, it was a great opportunity to actually expose me to lots of different opportunities. And for many business owners, I would say do as much research as possible. But you still have to be able to take the risk, because that’s where the opportunity is where some others might not trade. That’s where actually you can take a huge opportunity.
Absolutely. And I think it’s really interesting, what you just said, right, is that a lot of business owners, and a lot of businesses don’t talk about how business can be tough. There’s kind of the swipe, Instagram culture of like, you know what, become a millionaire work on raft and you’ll get there, right? But don’t really the ups and downs are probably not discussed enough. Because essentially, when you get that go in, and you know, you start to build your business and you start to go through these things. And you start to learn from I’ll tell you what I love about I don’t know about YouTube, but why she love about business, is the evolving challenge of it. And I think if you’re going to be successful in business, you’ve got a lot of challenges. I mean, would you kind of share that sentiment yourself?
I think you’ve seen I think you’ve got people give a lot of Christian all the time our business owners born or are they made, I think it’s actually a bit of a debate. Because it’s different circumstances, there are lots of people who are going to come out of 09:13 or difficulty of losing their jobs, which will turn overnight and actually be forced to become entrepreneurial. And that may be a great catalyst for them to start a business that they never had. But we also saw people who were the only thing for them; they were going to start their own business. I see 09:28 online is down from talking about his hairdresser. For him, he may have always known that he wanted to be able to get into that. And that was his thing, I don’t really care how you got into it, or what kind of personality you’ve got that may make you more likely or less likely to gain what what actually matters beyond all of our lucky conversations or wherever is how do you show up when those challenges faced because if you go in thinking it’s going to be a linear climb to success and that whole 80 million pot of gold. Actually, the reality is on day one when you open the doors and no customers come from day one when you when you don’t get website and evil questions around you because all the links aren’t working, etc. You then realize the type of business person that you’re going to be because every single business person I know and connected with, it’s how we respond to the challenges that come along, which actually creates the person that you need to be.
So I see Julian’s online in terms of this stuff, I’d love to hear some more as she got involved. But I don’t think there was a single business person if they even had a plan, and I know how the business reviewed. People actually put business plans together. But most people who give off and start businesses, it never goes how they foresaw. But the reality is, it’s about tapping into what got you to take that leap. In the first place, but for most people, it’s about solving a problem or creating something that’s better for their interaction.
Absolutely, actually 11:04. It’s all about stories got really interesting story. He’s an ex professional footballer. He was on our course the other week. Yeah, ex professional footballer that had a had a health issue that many can continue playing professional football when he went into his knees. You know, he’s building his business. He’s had his challenges He’s doing well, he’s keeping motivated. So he’s got really cool story.
So we go into the premise and we, you know, we’re winning, right? So, yeah. What do you think the elements that work, you know, for you to Tim, you know, going backwards there, you know, how come you walked out of things, my friend, and I’ve been watching it, you know, I watched that first series of the apprentice, I was a big Alan sugar fan at the time.
Yeah. So for me, the show itself. For me personally, at that time, it was about I’d reached a crossroads and returns of a decision to see where I was going to stay in the public sector where I was employed by Transport for London, the London Underground for those who have ever been on here. And I’d love the American tour is coming up and asking me mind, the gaffer, let me see your heart and all this other stuff, right.
And we’re thinking contemplating about starting a business with my wife, in the nurseries field, a little concept around nurseries, which actually still viable, and we might actually still do it, because we haven’t seen anybody doing the procedure all that time ago. But I’d reached a crossroads to continue on in his public sector, career world, or do I go out and take another opportunity to go and grab hold of the chance to work with a six successful UK entrepreneur has built himself up from nothing from a similarity of its while I grew up, he was from East London in Hackney, I was from East London over in Stratford, and somebody who had, for his own effort built up a brilliant career for him. So if you remember, there’s no doubt that he is now at one point of being a business bigger than Microsoft.
And that was a huge appeal for me to what I think is at the heart of most business engagement, and you talked about you having lots of mineral groups, and talking to lots of business owners. Actually, the big thing for me was actually learning from somebody who had been there and got the t-shirt to prove it. Now, I didn’t care about millions of pounds, or famous television shows, or going to lovely parties, what I really wanted, I wanted to learn from somebody who had been to the places I wanted to get to, in order to be able to show me the way to get there.
And whether it’s me wanting to learn football, a fair enough grant to go and do it, or to learn about hairdressing. It’s always so powerful in our networks, to really find people who have been there before and be humble enough to say, you know, what, I don’t know, let me get my own property, who knows more than me, and actually benefit and grow from that. And for me, it was a risk worth taking, because going into a television show where they could completely change your brand. If you’d gave them the wrong information. I think the touch with a game came out the other side with a brand intact access to a job but more importantly, access to him and his knowledge about how I could do things differently.
Yeah, I love the fact that you said you, you went through it in a in a humble way. With a humble mentality, right? I’m going to go and we’re going to go look, I think that is absolutely key crucial for people to you know, you can’t get to where you’re going to go young get a pot of gold, unless you do the actual learning you do the work first. Right? So absolutely. So from there, what happened next sentence after you wrote in that environment? Where did you because you know you the path for you. And the path that you’ve walked is obviously you’re employed in the underground, in a public sector work, you’ve gone off, you’ve done this TV program done really well on it, but really successful. And then you you’ve moved on? But how did you get to where you are now being that you’ve been on the apprentice, a lot of people won the apprentice, a lot of talented people as well. But you know, in terms of what you’ve gone on to accomplish afterwards, getting an MBA, helping a lot of people, you’ve done a lot of good work, you know, that’s when, you know, might be in touch me. So back, come on. Absolutely. You know, really, it’s really interesting story. You’ve helped a lot of people, you’ve got an MBA for your services to businesses, and you invest in tons of businesses. So what did you learn along the way, and what kind of kind of came next? You know.
it’s quite special. It’s really just everyone talks about the MBA my daughter tells me it’s my beginners, but that’s what the children do to take the 15:26 out. I think I was really, I’ve been really fortunate that actually 15:34 gave me the best piece of advice ever. When I when I started working with him. He said, Tim, what you’ve got remember is in this world, lots of people will try to attract you with camber bolts and by that he means being famous flirt with you to go and steal your story. do lots of stuff for camera and attention and whatever he said, Tim don’t buy into what you need to buy into, buying to achievements, things that can’t be taken away from you and a lot as a result of a camera bowl. And if you do that, you’ll always have a successful career.
And at the time, I kind of felt, well, you just don’t want me to have fun. You just don’t want me to go out to the premieres, and do all the lovely stuff. You can say that because you built your company, you’re in it. But actually, listening to his wise words at that time, was probably the reason why I’ve gone on to do so many different things because I didn’t go out and sell my story to a newspaper. I didn’t go out and why a book or whatever what I did, I focused on creating platforms that would help me to help others, and also to help my family. So it wasn’t always sunshine, because it’d be really clear, I think, all too often if we’re going to be honest, many of us don’t talk about the bad things that we’ve experienced the things that went really wrong. For me, my first business after leaving from 16:55 sugar was an absolute disaster. I worked in the health and beauty division, we built up a very successful company around selling cosmetics, right? So I was that guy running around what we cream on the back of my head saying, Oh, isn’t that lovely? means you’ve got an Effie. But I knew it inside out while I did the research, I did all the work in order to be able to get it. I thought you know what, I’ll go and start my own company doing exactly the same thing. And what I realized very quickly, after plugging about 50 grand into a business and and trying to get off the ground, is that it wasn’t just about the straightforward will have your attitude that will get you it was about having a robust plan and an execution that match that energy that you had into the idea because having an idea is great. executed is the key thing delivering it was keeping that lesson after driving down to Brighton Beach and 17:44 in my in my chips on the beat joy. But that was the greatest thing for me. Because in that moment of hardship, I realized two things. Firstly, you’re allowed to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them. And secondly, I wasn’t dead. Very important that because there’s always your life you can try again. Because when you’re in those moments you can make the mistake that you’ve made, or whatever’s gone wrong is the biggest thing in the world. You don’t realize really quickly either. No one want gives a monkey’s, no one cared. Because people have got their own stuff. They’re getting on with it. And sometimes you blow it up bigger in our heads than actually what it really is, and that humility came from failing.
And sometimes I think it’s better to fail early on, and sometimes really hard, but actually picked out to see what went wrong. What did you do? How could you not do it together? And that learning for me was one of the most important things, there’s a book I think everybody in your group should listen to. If you do an audio book or read, it’s called principles by radios, 18:49 books, where he talks about being ultra-realistic, that sometimes things will go wrong, how you respond to them. And the lessons that you learn, if you don’t do it, again, is the power of you go forward with so for me, whoever’s on the line, or watching your podcast would have had a bad experience, as long as they were for meeting for it. So I did 19:10
19:11 and I think today, we’re speaking about this today, and a couple of people coming up talking about the experiences, and a lot of people have a bad experience. And then they use that, to hold them back rather than to empower them. You know, and I think it’s how can you use that, that bad experience? And actually say, you know what, I came through that. And so now after do anything, right? If you can get that mindset, right, that’s gonna help you so much more. So it’s really interesting, you know, really interesting, especially that, you know, and you didn’t let it define it, right. So and the thing is, you know, when you can go and openly talk about it, it shows how much you’ve embraced it and learn from it.
19:50 If everyone had the perfect journey, we wouldn’t need all the books, learning, education and all that stuff that we have, because we just weren’t out of bed and make it happen. The world doesn’t work like that. And I don’t think there’s ever been more of a time now for the pandemic, where we’re going to really learn about how you build what that magical word everyone talks about, about resilience. And anybody who has made it through this period of time where even those who haven’t, but still standing to tell the tale, you will never get a better example of resilience and how you can actually learn from it. So I look at Hello, who’s just started her business. And I know that this is the greatest time for her to be able to do it because she will never forget these lessons, they’ll think that she will never take for granted. So actually, it’s really important that we take that forward.
After that though, I wanted to make sure that nobody did the same thing as I did, in terms of having the arrogance about I could just make it happen because I believe in walking into mistakes and not do proper formal research.
So I set up an organization called bright ideas just made no clue about how I was going to get this off the ground. But I knew I wanted to create platforms, which empower people who came from places like I did, who had no people in their peer group or network around knowing what business was about, but giving them the opportunity to do so. So we set up why these trust raised over the course of his journey, about 3 million quid invested in over 700 different companies. And that was for the work of what the team did is what I got acknowledged for through the award around my MBA. So I own all of that, not just to the team that I created around me or experts who knew exactly what to support people with regards to mentoring, business planning, cash flow forecasting, and all the other elements about business, which they don’t talk about, but also to those entrepreneurs who took their time to actually embark on a journey that many wouldn’t have gone through. So for me, we’re really fortunate to see jewelry businesses, hairdressers, tailors, you name it, we saw a whole gambit of different business ideas. But the underpinning of all of that was people’s desire to have a bit more control in their life, and also leverage a talent or skill that they had, and generate revenue for themselves. Because when you work for somebody else, there’s always going to be potentially a cap on what you can get in return for that. But with your business, it’s great that you can match the effort you put in to the rewards that you get out. And there is no limit on what that can look like, apart from the limit that we impose ourselves.
So it was an incredibly rewarding journey that we took on over 12 years, we took on that journey, and empower people through mentoring, education, and obviously cash investment into their businesses.
How important for you is mentoring and education?
I think it’s incredibly important, I think it has to be matched with personal desire, because I feel you can mentor and educate people to the best of your ability. But actually, they walk out the other side, they don’t put the effort in point I talked about before about execution. So I’ve gone to some of the best universities in the country. Qualifications from Oxford, London Business School, you name it, as well as Middlesex University was my first one, which wasn’t the league’s the best one, but I got a great opportunity out of it. And going through all of those, you’ll see people who will get access to the most revolutionary information they could get access to, but still walk out and do absolutely nothing with it. So the mentoring, education has to be a good quality, it has to be altruistic, in terms of it has to want to empower more people 23:40
23:41 to a stream, you know, I think for you know, there’s a kind of that famous saying is like, when the student is ready, the master will appear. And the reality is, it’s kind of like, you know, they do have to be ready, but when somebody is ready, and if you can match them with the mentoring and the help and the guidance, that’s when you can get great results, save a load of time, and go out there and make things happen a lot quicker. Yeah, I do love the fact. You know, when you’re talking about the story, and your credit union saying around the MBA, you’re not going oh, you know, I’ve got that for this. And I’ve got that, for that. I do think that humbleness is, you know, a really good quality. And I do think, which is important is not everybody has that, right? You know, a lot of people don’t give others credit, a lot of the time when they’ve had a team that, you know, I really like the fact that you’ve credited your team with that as well. You know, how have you managed to stay humble them through the few, you know, quite a few different successes that you’ve had. Tim, would you say?
It’s easy 24:46 your wife, she’ll kick you in the nuts? 24:50 no seriousness, I think I don’t take for granted the really fortunate position I’m in, because I’ve had nothing and had crap. So when you are in that situation when you have been exposed to bad situations, I personally believe that helps you reflect positively on the positive situations, because you need that shade to the light sometimes to fully appreciate because I think if I’d only ever had this meteoric rise and everything were perfect, I don’t think I’d have as much respect for it. As if when you have nothing. 25:30
When you have a level of as well, it does help you it’s not that 25:34 I wish you should come down 25:36 I’ve been there myself. Right. So you know, absolutely. That definitely helps. It’s interesting, you said about your wife 25:45 I’ve just, you know, I’m helping a lady 25:48 to build her her business, which I did a TV program with her, which has four hours and she’s got 25:56, do you have a cookie business? Is your wife a great cook?
She’s an amazing cook. I’m better but don’t tell her that. 26:04
26:08 Yeah, both nice food, really good food, this business called Broncos kitchens doing really well. Very interesting. We get to this point, right? Then we build this business up. So this is interesting. You’ve got the idea, bright ideas, trust that you said at the point where you started, you know, as you mentioned just a moment ago, you really know how you’re going to take you forward, you just know that you want to go and help people. Right. And I think a lot of people have an idea. A lot of people sit on the idea, you know, and a lot of them don’t that take it forward. So how did you take an idea to fruition to raising millions of pounds and then investment 700 businesses? What’s the story behind that, Tim, because that’s pretty impressive work.
I think the thing for me is that what I’ve seen from lots of business owners, who have started at the beginning, whether they’ve got 10 credit, or 10,000 credit, as a start-up is that most of them are driven by a passion either to prove people wrong, who would have doubted them and overlook them, or to prove people right, who have a belief that they have a talent or skill that should be received by many other people.
And when you tap into that understanding of what your catalyst is, what your 27:27 star is what your why is, then it’s really hard to get knocked off track, it happens is that people may initially stop for what may be, in my opinion, the wrong reason, some people may just start because of the accolades or rewards that come from the success outside of business. So wherever it’s the money, the cars, the houses, whatever not. That may be their rationale, the difficulty is that those things aren’t guaranteed. And also those things don’t actually bring you happiness, in my opinion, actually interacting with a customer, and they walking away feeling better about themselves, or they have something that they wanted, interacting with a business owner where you solve a problem where you explain something which they didn’t know before, or interacting with somebody who has come into a difficult position and worked out for themselves through your support and mentoring, how to get to the other side, those are my heart with joy, those will make sure that I work seven days a week, those things will make sure that I don’t sleep until two three o’clock in the morning, those things will make me get up in the morning with a smile on my face knowing I could do it.
Every business owner, I think you’ve always got to remember, why did you start on this journey? Because there are going to be difficult periods, there are going to be pandemics, there are going to be hardships where you don’t know what’s gonna come tomorrow. But what’s going to get you through, not not blindly, but it’s going to give you the energy to go and find mentors and be humble, going giggly to read websites or books to understand what’s this, listen to a podcast to find out a solution or connect with somebody who’s done it before to give you a way to do it, is that passion to give up. Because if you fall first, and you scrape money thing off, so this is not for me, then it wasn’t for you. And that’s okay, because it’s not for everybody. Not everybody can do this, right. But for those who get up, and are willing to face the obstacles, who are willing to deal with them only customers, who are willing to deal with difficult, unpredictable nature of business. There are amazing upsides on the other side where I’ve seen kids who have literally come from nothing could put their first flat for themselves, or who have made their first million or who have gone build a website has changed somebody’s life. But one of those things I’ll never ever lose. And that will always make value for me the things that were really probably.
Yeah, I love that. And I think that, you know, what you’re saying there about actually you’re getting a lot of value from helping other people. And a lot of motivation from that I think is very true. You know, when I started my first business, you know, truthfully, it’s all about the money. Right? You know, there’s no doubt about it. But you know, the business I mean, now, I would work seven days a week, and I would work as much as I happen to and I will work for free because it’s the value you get from seeing others grow. And I think it’s a really great thing if you can help people. It’s a wonderful business to be in. There’s no doubt about it.
30:37 it is really important that you made that you made a really important point there is that I don’t care what gets people to focus on their endeavor. I don’t care what the carrot is for somebody, and I don’t judge them on it right because money is evil, or bad. It’s what people do with it actually is what they should be juggling, right. But if your career is to make a million quid, and that’s what gets you through, use it only hold on to it and use it to get you through the other side. Right. I don’t mind that. But I think you’ve got to be really honest about what that is. And the only thing for me with materialistic things is that often when you get them, you then start looking for something else. Because as Bob Marley said, the money is infinite. There’s no cap on the money that’s out in the world, right? So essentially, you’ll never be satisfied going back to hammer word so if you only ever focus on one materialistic aspect, so for me, it was really important to couple. Don’t get me wrong, the nice things that are attached with having access to capital, with other things that can’t be bought. So my family is incredibly important. My two kids are incredibly important, my family around me, I grew up knowing that I can help them and do different things without going on holiday. Those things, they are really important to me, which is the things that get me out of bed still. And deadly, you still make money at the same time.
Yeah, absolutely. You know, those driving reasons very, very important. Now, one of the things that definitely want to talk to you about as well is your work with apprenticeships, and you know, towards me a little bit about wrenches because, I mean, there’s some good stuff out since some businesses embrace the kick start program and the moment gets good results. Right. You know, some of my clients that never really had the ability previously to take on employees build a team are actually finding their confidence. Now, Scott, do that with the kick start program. And I know having the fact that you’ve done so much work in this area that I really like to hear your opinions on apprenticeships, you know, how you become involved in it. And what you would have to say to the people watching tonight?
I’m a great advocate around apprenticeships and the ensuing Kickstarter program and traineeships that have come out of the government initiative. I think one of the key elements of a successful government is creating employment opportunity for its people, right. So alongside education, creating jobs is really important. And particularly job for individuals emerging from education that is a critical time to grab hold of them. Because as many people you and I will know offer what was your first job? And what was your first ever job? What did you ever get paid for?
My first ever job was working for my dad in building and I despise him. 33:29 I am the worst person you’re ever made. We’ve all got skills and one on one, right? No doubt, okay?
That for me, having the experience of knowing that your time can be attributed to value is really important, even if it teaches us what not to do. So that would be working in a secondhand shop, cleaning cookers was never going to be my career option. But it would probably like you to knit work really hard. So I never got forced to click workers I wish I had the option not to do it. Just like you have the option not to work on a building site because the shelf might fall down right? Into particularly young people into the world of work where they understand that their efforts can be exchanged for money. And their time their intervention is important, I think is really critical earliest days.
So the government initiative, I work with the Prime Minister, while he was the mayor of London, to advocate for businesses about taking on apprentices. The difficulty with apprentices, particularly for small business is that sometimes it was very difficult for them to align the resources to manage that process through because if you acquire a three man team, having one person allocated to an apprenticeship program, that’s a third of your workforce. That’s a huge obstacle, right?
So when the government came along with traineeships, getting people to have work experience opportunities, and now with a kick start program, there’s much more opportunities to support individuals with a wage for six months, which is a heavy burden taken off employers because we’re just getting off, it’s really difficult, but also up to bring a great amount of skill from that population of kick starters into a business because you might be a young person who’s an expert around social media, wherever business has even got a website, and there’s so many businesses in the country that don’t even have a website. That could be a mutual exchange of benefit. You get the experience of working with me in a corporate or getting experience of your digital skills in order to be great.
So I think there are huge opportunities there where we have to get young people but not exclusively young people the opportunity to work in the environment. I think why I say not just young people because apprenticeships, traineeships, Kickstarter programs automatically get associated with young people. What we’re seeing very different in this pandemic and is going to be more so, as we go forward is that reality is that our kids, the young people, the next generation are going to probably live to 200 years old. There’s a book that everyone should read called 100 year life, right? Where, because of medical interventions, better ways of living, better access to food and health care, most of us are going to live longer. So Major Tom, God rest his soul. So 36:19 we’ve got 200 birthday changes the way that people think around donating to charity in the NHS key worker, we’ve got to do more than happy to give him plenty more money, right.
But essentially, many more of us will live to that great age of 100. What that means is that there’s going to be a lot older people. And I say that because I am getting old myself, who are going to come back into the workforce and need opportunities. So I think there’s a great opportunity for businesses to take hold of skilled individuals who may have had a different career, and a different way of thinking to work alongside young people who also want opportunity. Because a zero sum game, young people work, it doesn’t mean old people can’t get work. And an old person in work doesn’t mean young people can’t get opportunities. They’re difficult skill sets. The digital natives of young people won’t be able to compete maybe with a strategy that older individuals will be able to breathe so often is a great opportunity to use traineeships kick start a program to benefit everybody.
Yeah, without doubt. And you were a government advisor. Right? So you actually got hired? How did that come about? Tim? And that’s an important thing, as well. How did your government advisory role come about?
37:25 because when you because I never saw myself, you can’t imagine growing up in East London in Stratford, I could never have imagined myself being an advisor to anybody apart from the bloody self, because no one would listen. 37:37 I think having gone through the work of supporting 1000s of young people, and slightly older ones, from our charity, around how to start a business, how to understand the mythical terms around business, and have the confidence to take that leap of faith to go on their own journey. That was a unique experience that was valuable to government about how do they amplify that across lots of other people, because let’s be clear, for us as a country to be successful, we can’t have just exclusively people working for the private public sector, we do need an active private sector of confident individuals who feel with the ability to start their own business is something for them, because the more of us who are doing that paying taxes, creating jobs, and taking them risks across the UK PLC, right.
So whether you are a shopkeeper with one employee, or you’re building company like your dad, you take so many people, including their sons who don’t want to do he doesn’t have to worry about can we get more people to think about it. And going back to that, and living longer process. The reality is that we can’t really take for granted that by the time we reach 65, or 70 or as he grows older, and we’re going to get a pension, it’s going to look after us for another 30 years.
So we’re going to be many people, we’re going to have what we call side hustles, we’ll be able to build up different revenue streams into their lives, to make sure they have enough money to live when they want to stop working. What will actually happen, though, that was really interesting is that lots of those side hustles will be test cases, to see which successful business they could throw their effort behind. Because it made me the hairdresser who started doing things locally, because they liked doing it, but realized that they got customers who really think they’re good. And that was a confidence to start something else. Or it might be somebody who’s fix the shelf in the house and realize, well, actually, I’m really good at that. I can learn more about it, take a course and start joining the company, right. So I’ve really advocate more and more people doing that’s what I was advising government about was how we can get more people to start businesses to take away some of the obstacles to get people involved. And we’ve got a very easy process in UK let’s be clear about starting a business not very complicated.
But it isn’t known to many people. And then it was also how do we get government to do more work with small businesses because this may be clear, for some small business to engage in government, it can be very difficult. Many businesses couldn’t wait for 120 days to get paid, or even 90 days to get paid for what they might have done. And also the arduous nature of having free years of accounts, having a partner at this level, etc. They can be really big barriers for good businesses to come and do stuff more efficiently than some of the big companies that are waded into government and guaranteed opportunities, which may be costing the government more so lots of those conversations have been with the profit business and also in different areas around communities, getting more people involved where really inspiring for me to be able to help.
40:51 you feel Tim when you’re involved in that. So they listen, I think pretty interesting. The reason I think that question is really interesting is because sometimes people don’t feel that they can make a difference or don’t feel that they’re heard. Or there’s people that do have opinions around, you know, what maybe the government should do, or they’ve got ideas about what would be helpful, rather than for radical voice. So how do you feel like when you went in there, and you started to communicate as you think they would listen to? Do you think the ideas will took place?
41:22 Yeah, definitely. I think it didn’t feel like a waste of my time put it that way. I think the difficulty for me, probably similar to you and many of your listeners to the show is that when you’re involved in business, the power of business is that I can have an idea. The difficulty working with government is a big old tanker, so things don’t happen that quickly, not just because it’s public sector just because it’s a big institution. I know lots of privately held companies which have grown to a scale where it takes lots of process to do stuff. That’s the nature of big business right. And the advantage of small businesses you can be free of flow, and move left or right depending on what you want to do, and it’s great to see 42:06 wants to get involved in that because she’s using her older experience to be able to come out and start on this so she’ll be really quick why, but the point for me was going into government and having those conversations with people, was useful, even if it got them to think differently.
Now, maybe I have to manage my expectations to realize that my idea wasn’t the best idea in the world and they must do it now, because let’s be clear there’s a priority of things they’ve got to do, but the rationale for all of us as special advisers, the group that we were bought into, and it was so amazing people who I’m great things with now like people are 42:39 the youngest lady to to launch on, on the stock market with a parking visit absolutely amazing lady, other individuals that were part of that group that we sat with. We had great feedback for government, but they have to take that away and see how they can incorporate it into not just policy, which takes a lot of time, but into the way that things are done within government which is sometimes really difficult. So that was a great experience for me to learn how the other side looks because sometimes you can only be looking at it from your shoes. And for many people who have been involved in sales or been involved in business, the first thing you learn is stand in the shoes of the other people first, to see where they’re coming from.
Absolutely. Did you ever, obviously you’re working with Boris Johnson in capacity when he was mayor of London. What was he like? What’s your 43:32 because, you know, it was split opinion on Boris Johnson whacked out. You know something, love him; some people are oh, you know, what are your thoughts?
My experience of both with 43:42 was incredibly positive. I was born with a specific remit to encourage businesses, mainly in London but not exclusively because I taught around the whole country doing this as his apprenticeship ambassador. So my remit was to getting, and help businesses see the power of working with talent that they may not have got access to before. So I was incredibly successful in that role and his policy around advocating apprenticeship, was a big success element of 44:11 right.
So, my personal experience with Boris Johnson was very positive, myself and my wife met him, we’ve had dinner, we’ve had the conversations, and he was very authentic around wanting to make sure that inclusion and access to opportunity was evenly spread around all the people of the capital of the city so for me that was a personal thing because I remember having the conversation saying listen, I don’t want to be some tokenistic gesture, which says, are coming in to say how great apprenticeships are because I went on a television, they had a similar name, I’m not really interested in that he said Tim, wherever you need to make this happen. You have my word that my department and my role as mayor will be afforded to me, apprenticeships work. So from that perspective. He was a man of his word and actually somebody who followed through on that particularly so I had a great experience with him, working in that, and it proved beneficial for hundreds of 1000s of young people, particularly who got involved in apprenticeship because businesses like PWC businesses like channel 4, businesses like Barclays and others, all got involved in the apprenticeship movement and supported the mayor’s call to action, and our apprenticeship call to action around taking on talent from different places.
Nice, awesome stuff man it’s really interesting to hear for people you know, it’s good to hear that story of that shadow of a doubt, so we’re coming to the point where, you know, most are maintained, we got some brilliant content so far and Randy just joined low couple of questions in. I want to ask Tim a couple of questions if you’ve got a question that you want to ask him, or ask him about his time on The Apprentice you asked him about his work in apprenticeships the businesses invested in, maybe even, you know what the business is, and in fact, maybe I’ll even ask that question myself in a second, what are the good, you know, what are you looking for when you invest in a business, and if you want to ask put in the comments. Now we’re going to answer this one first from Shawnee. Yeah, currently working in health and social would like to go on my own, would you suggest I do this on the side until it takes off, I’ll leave my job, take the risk go full force my business. Over to you, Tim, what used to be your opinion on this one?
100% so firstly, Shawnee, the great thing that you have, you have a job at the moment, brilliant, and you’re doing great work because there needs to be so much more investment in health and social care because the outputs of the pandemic are going to be more reliant on people like you. So firstly, the massive franking, all that you do whatever role is, is incredibly important.
I would 100% advocate, to use your time now to do as much research and use the fact that you are in employment to do it and test it off the side. Before taking the leap of faith. I’m not a great one for everything to the wind and just jump off because there’s no need for you to do that. If you’re in employment you’re earning a wage 47:04 you want better use the time that you have now in order to do the research, build up the business plan get information and knowledge about what you could do, and test it out right. So take the time that you have now to build up a side hustle, and then when it starts to get to a level where it’s competing with both your time and their money you can earn from your job, then you make the decision about, Do I go one way or never, never do that before, because this is not a casino. Life is not a casino right there anything more you can’t get your money back, you can’t get a refund.
So it’s better in my opinion, to go in, armed with as much information. And the beauty of an apprenticeship is that there is no better chance for an employer to see how someone’s going to perform than when they want the job, you have the same thing, not like an apprenticeship, but in the world of business, testing out without having too much at risk, apart from your spare time, do the nine to five to get paid, and then use the five to nine to work out if this is a business, you should do.
Absolutely. 48:07 in every way, you know, and again, you didn’t get the income level up to replace your income, your own with the job. I’m getting close to their if you invest more time in it, there’s gonna overtake it, and that’s the perfect way to start and get going.
So this one is from 48:23 so how does a business seek investors like yourself into their business? It was a good question because you know there’s a lot out there right, there’s a ton, but a lot of people don’t know that, right, they don’t know that those sorts of things are available.
So everything from ways now so I’m showing my age now. In the old days, you have to literally go to a high street bank. If you didn’t have what they call friends, family or falls around you, or politeness the falls. go free apps around you, then the only option for you was to go to a bank, right, because you have to go to a bank manager have a conversation with the bank manager would assess your idea, and see whether the bank would loan you some money. Now, there are so many different ways crowd funding platforms, business 49:11 networks, and also still though friends, family, and 49:14 who will want to try to get an advantage by investing in somebody else’s idea, rather than just leaving their money in the bank.
The opportunity I think now is so vast that the key thing that is different today than what it is, when I was starting, is the access of the World Wide Web. The reality is that you, in addition to starting up a business really easy. You can have a global facing business by purchasing a domain with a .com on it, and by creating a website using 49:47 measure website service, you could essentially be marketing to the world.
Yes, obviously there’s lots of competing things. But by doing that you can essentially open up a shop window, how you get investors in is by talking about your business idea. The reality is that six degrees of separation is probably the first way to start because within your network, you should be sharing what your idea is, so they can start sharing. I think one would I give you the money. Very clear point, know what you’re asking for first and how much you need work that out, get it really quick. Just don’t say I need some money, like what for what you’re going to do, but how much do you need. If I gave you this, what would you do, you got to have those answers reel to brain, and then start doing the research around that anybody in that network know any business people who are interested in the sector that I’m trying to do, and might want to partner with me and going forward with it.
The other thing to think about is that, could you find partners to work with, Who could also bring money and experience to the table to bring that money in so it comes back to that thing I talked about firstly how determined are you to make this thing a success because if this was something that your life depended on what would you do to make this happen. What would you do because lots of people say, I saw something the other day they said, Actually money is not always the first thing you need with a business, because actually, it’s about how determined you to make success so there’s a video it’s going around on the internet you might have seen it where it says there’s a guy who wanted to start a landscaping business. He ran out, He went to an invest in, he said, Only 20 grand to start a business do I need to buy a van, I need to get a website, I need to get a uniform and all this different stuff, and the investor looked at me said, you want 20 grand he said yeah made 20 grand cuz that’s what I’ve worked out what business planning says I need this, he goes, Do you know what you need. He said, no we’re gonna you need to go down to B&Q and 51:41 and it costs you 12 51:46 you need to get on your two feet, your God given vehicle, your two feet and knock on every single door, he said because the second you do that the first customer you ever get, you’ll be profitable because that money will pay for your shovel, and your lunch, and everything else, and you just replicate, so you don’t need anything, you actually need to get off your backside and do something so I don’t know what grants businesses or what he wants to take forward, how he gets involved, but I’d be really looking to bare brass tacks of what it is to say, what do I actually need to get off the ground.
And before I go to any investor, whether it’s my business or any other, I need to have a proof that I’ve put in as much as I possibly can to make it successful before I go and ask somebody else because if somebody comes to me and says, Tim I want my business I need to give me 100 grand. So what have you done, well I’ve just had the business idea, sorry mate. Not gonna work, it don’t work because if you haven’t done anything to move forward whether it is building a website to show you ways or a product, taking it and making a mockup of it, to see how it might work, then why should I have the energy to make use except for when you haven’t got as much any to prove that you’re willing to do it so I really would like to understand what does grant feel he needs the investor for what the business actually idea is, and what all that money actually bring because when you break it down into those levels. Actually, there may be more ways to make the things happen that you want.
So for example, a business that we worked with may have the understanding that they need to do a lot of research, it was could cost them like 50 grand from a marketing consultancy, you value that somebody in their network who worked at a university, they work to get university students to do a pilot project for a course they were doing when they got that research for free from great the best brains in the country you have zero pounds benefits from it, from a business person’s perspective, you have to start out with that mentality is, how can I do the most with the least, because if the beginning, you’re never going to make it in terms of the higher echelons that you needed to.
So say some really interesting stuff there from say I’m really interested in, you know the side story 100% And when you look at that from an investor’s perspective, it’s, you don’t want invest in someone who’s lazy, right and lazy with their concept right it’s not even lazy like they want to probably want to go and do the work, but they’re lazy with their concepts and they haven’t gone done everything and then demonstrate what they can do with it, why you can invest in them, you know you need an investor wants to see a proof of concept, and they want to see a proof of concept working, so they can add some value and drive it on. They don’t want to just see an idea, an idea is that 1% You know, the rest is the 99% right, that’s the one tweaks was 100% quite great advice there from Tim really.
54:35 talks about we’ve been in business for 10 years. And he talks about he dipped his name in there but it’s a great point underneath that I’ll come back to the minis question in a second. But the point he raises is that he’s got to business, to a certain level, has he get investors to the next level. The great thing with creating a business that’s already got cash flow associated with it, it’s easier to attract more money to it because if you’ve got a history. There’s Tuesdays in the business right to stay in the business day before you’ve done anything and it’s after you’ve done something.
The best time to ask lots of money before you’ve done anything because it’s a dream, right, and people can buy into the dream, the worst time to offer money is when you actually started, because then you can’t do it based off a dream it needs facts, and if the facts are good, and if you’ve been in business for 10 years, the facts should be good, then actually it should be easier to get access to investors. And from my perspective as a business owner you want to be holding on to as much control and equity of your business, for as long as you possibly can.
So the first point should be if you’ve got a cash generating business going out for some debt, there’s never been a better time because, good day, where you get money in to accelerate the business to raise more money. That’s an easy thing to do, banks are desperate to give out money to successful businesses that are growing at a decent rate, and also the interest rates around that money has never been better. So actually, if you’ve got a successful business, we need to get rid of this idea that debt is bad, because I grew up with it, borrowing any money, HP, you were seen as a pariah in our community, you’ve got money on tick, you’ve got all this stuff, blah, blah, you’ve seen as a negative, but once you start to learn how it really works actually good depth is in a way to accelerate your business and get out for from the situation you are so I’ll go back to the Diems now if you wanted to put that 56:21
Yeah. So the 56:23 very similar. 56:26
So the 56:29 is great that you’re in Cameroon because we’re doing a huge amount of work. Yes, we’re doing a lot of stuff over looking at Africa now because for me the continent is a huge opportunity so my current position now. We have a global company called OSTC long regional head of Africa for business, so I’m looking specifically to take the truck trading business that we have, so we trade futures contract and take that into the continent of Africa, an incredibly exciting project with a brilliant company of entrepreneurial founders, led by an amazing man called Lee right, we’ve had a great conversation. And now I’m leading the charge around we take it to Africa so that way the dean will probably, hopefully I’ll see you in Cameroon at some point when we are keeping contact right, but it goes back to what I was saying before, you’ve got to look at the position. If I need a lot of money to start my business from day one. Maybe it’s better that I go work for somebody in that space to really understand it to make sure I’ve now, all the different elements of it, and how can I create a pathway for somebody to give me money that’s going to accelerate the idea that I’ve got, because if it needs money to kick it off. There’s bigger risk associated with it.
And also, you’re going to have to give away some control because the most expensive equity you’ll ever give away in your business is earliest stage, because when there’s nothing to show for it. That means I’m going to ask for a lot of it in exchange for my money because I’ve got to build in the risk that you might not be able to make that business plan a reality right.
So, if you can’t do it with nothing and you need money, then it’s about finding business communities, either business owners in similar sectors, who might be willing to invest into your idea or business owners in general, who have capital, which is sitting around, which they might not want to pay through tax system, but you might want to invest it to actually grow more money from there because the good thing that I’ve learned is that money likes to grow. It’s a natural thing; it’s the best fertilizer in the world money right if you get it. You’ve got to have the right proposition to attract that money to you. So, have you got a corporate structure that is attractive to money? Have you got an idea that is attractive to money? Are you as an individual representing your company attractive to money, all of those things you’ve got to get ready before asking for a handout right and that’s not a negative thing because sometimes we need a hand, but once again stand in the shoes of the person asking for the man that you’re asking the money for and see would you give it to yourself.
Nice advice there without a doubt. All right, we’ve got. So I think we did this one then we did that one, were we done that while we probably just got a couple more before we finish up, again, a lot of thank you, you know to add a lot of value there grants were saying I really appreciate that. That’s great advice. So lots of things. This one, I don’t know this is a question here. These days they want Yeah. Brilliant stuff so I think we’ve done all the questions tonight so just want to say you know Tim, that’s amazing advice and guidance there tonight, and you’ve really given up your time we’ve been, you know, given a louder, louder content tonight. Even listening tonight to business growth secrets you’re listening on iTunes or Spotify, make sure you go and give us a five star review and give us a bit of feedback right make sure you subscribe as well. Even listening live tonight can put in the comments if you watch all the way through. For a player, so we can see if you’ve been an A player from the very beginning, I can see a few of you have been played he’s joined somewhere in the middle and put simpler if you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s like what you want about I don’t know I’m just joined the guy. So for that in there. Can we say a big thank you to Tim has been actually amazing? Thanks so much been an amazing guest, and thank you to everybody who’s been watching tonight, another great episode of business growth secrets and Tim do you ever come to do live events, my friends at something you do.
I do a lot of events I get, I’m very fortunate I often get booked to speak at events, particularly around business motivation self-reliance and discipline number thing. So often around the country now the world’s opening up again, we’ll be back on traveling and doing some stuff. I’m always available I will do some nonsense on Instagram; find me at Timothy Campbell underscore MB or Tim Campbell_MB.
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You know we get into one of our events as well I think that lots of people enjoyed it tonight. So thanks everybody and good night. You’ve been awesome. Good night everyone.