Paul Holmes, PCH Business Support
As the Founder of a business consultancy and senior leader in several other ventures, Paul Holmes has a true entrepreneurial spirit. Paul talks to the Industry Leaders about how he balances his interests and how more than 70,000 hours of rock and heavy metal helps him switch off.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
I had a 25+year corporate career in manufacturing, Engineering, Capital Projects and operations. I also built a factory, founded an engineering college (UTC Swindon), and worked at Director level within a Local authority, where I discovered a passion for helping businesses to succeed. From there, I set up my own consultancy 5 years ago.
I have an entrepreneurial spirit and also run a second coaching business while being a director/shareholder in a small manufacturing business and consultant in a business accelerator.
What kind of work does your role involve?
I work with multi-million-pound businesses to help them grow. I primarily work with overwhelmed business owners, which involves strategic, operational and commercial support. Also, I work closely with growth hubs helping businesses from pre-start through to large scale organisations, problem-solving and growth. I also have roles as a high-level business consultant, non-exec director and business coach.
What gets you excited about your industry?
My passion is for helping businesses see a different route forward, lateral thinking and then helping them succeed through a process of change. I almost don't need paying when it happens!
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
The best advice I received was to stop selling time (no day rates) and instead sell outcomes. Let clients know what they can expect to achieve with your help.
What, or who inspires you?
I am inspired by clients that learn to be successful and then find their own ambition.
In terms of the people around me that I admire, I would list Robin Waite, Gordon Petrie and Paul Holbrook for their support and inspiration.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
I work across a wide range of organisations connected to business, Including Inspire by Wessex, OxLEP and Oxfordshire Growth Hub, GFirst LEP and Gloucestershire Growth Hubs, Fearless Business Accelerator, as well as membership in a range of business organisations and writing in several business publications. Also, a significant presence on LinkedIn and extensive connections/network means that I am well connected to my industry.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
I've recently been involved in helping a business that has tripled in size through the pandemic. The company survived from the brink of disaster and overwhelm - they had no serious processes in place at the start of the pandemic and were experiencing significant stress overwhelm and employee unhappiness. I worked with a drowning business owner and helped them build the management team, build a strategic team, and overcome the business challenges.
The journey is not over yet, but the business has survived due to a structured process and sheer hard work from everyone involved.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
Alongside running my various businesses, I have a long history of working with charities and community projects, often with limited funding. So I would love to create a trust to support projects with seed funding and work with them to achieve. I would also complete the expansion of PCH to help as many businesses as possible and offer more free sessions for startups.
How do you switch off after a day at work?
There has been little switching off while growing the business, though switching between business interests provides some change.
Music is a huge part of my world. I have music playing almost continuously, which is part of relaxation. Rock and Heavy Metal are my passion, and I racked up 74,000 minutes on Spotify in 2020! My family, two young boys and dogs, fill the rest of my world.
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
I would love to see the industry embrace support and accept help without business owners considering themselves as failures. Bringing in a business consultant when the business is in trouble may be too late. The best time is when things are calm and going well. A coach or consultant can help maximise the business potential, avoid pitfalls and importantly, help the owner be strategic, not overwhelmed operationally.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
For me, it's the E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber - designing for success and designing the business to run without you. These are the principles that underpin the process to transform my clients. Reading the book fundamentally changed the way we operate, and we have seen a dramatic period of growth since.
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