TJ Duncan-Moir MBE is Founding Director of Business Glu Ltd
What's your industry?
Business Improvement Specialist, Coach, Consultant
For those who don't know anything about you or your work, can you provide a bit of background?
My background is over 30 years in manufacturing and construction. I worked my way up from shop floor to board level of the family business gathering qualifications, skills, knowledge within, Finance, Leadership & Management, HR, Estimating, Procurement, to name a few areas. I left the business in July 2019 as I knew I could do so much more for other businesses and there was more to life than being in a position with no further progression just because of loyalty to my father.
I had to trust my instincts and prioritise my own personal and professional growth. By recognising my own value and seeking out new opportunities to share my skills and knowledge of something I was passionate about and that I felt I could make a positive impact on the business world whilst also finding fulfillment in helping others. This is what helped me to make the decision to leave what was once the family business and start Business Glu. An improvement specialist, as I am not narrowed down to being a Consultant or Coach, I prefer to be known as a client recently called me, 'An imaginary business partner'.
I continued adding to my skills and qualifications with Nottingham University in Marketing and in 2020 I qualified as a mediator.
Also In 2020 I was awarded with an MBE for Female Entrepreneurship and Helping Businesses in Covid 19. Receiving this was a shock but gaining recognition for something I love and so passionate about was beyond any expectations I had had.
What does an average day look like for you?
Every day is different for me which is why I enjoy it so much. A couple of days per week I work fully immersed in clients businesses. I work with the business owners and leaders to identify where improvement can be made to raise the businesses platform for growth and success. Working with the team to implement processes and procedures, restructuring if needed, staff development, reviewing finances, implementing systems or working on a businesses culture.
The rest of the week could include a Working Retreat Day which is a product that I've recently launched to enable businesses to focus on areas that need addressing or implementing away from the business premises. We make it a productive, hard working day with plenty of positivity and treats to make it more enjoyable.
I could also be carrying out coaching with clients, identifying their goals and holding them accountable to them in order they achieve, or I could be holding a mediation meeting to help two sides reach agreement in the best possible way for both sides.
Whatever I am doing, or wherever I am my day starts with the feeding and turning out of the animals at home, mucking out the horses (and sheep) stables, and walking the dogs.
How do you balance the needs of your business with the needs of your personal life?
I set clear boundaries between work and personal life. I decide when I will work and when I won't, sticking to those boundaries as much as possible.
I prioritise tasks and schedule my time accordingly. I make a list of the most important tasks and schedule them first. This way, I can ensure that I complete the most important work during your most productive hours. Its far too easy to keep going without checking the time.
I also schedule personal time just as I schedule work time. Setting aside time for activities that I enjoy, spending time with family, friends and of course my animals.
I learned after giving so much to the family business you are allowed a personal life and it can be balanced.
I now have some amazing friends and business contacts around me and we make sure we regularly meet for coffee or lunch even if its for business purposes, not everything has to be in an office or at a desk.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you on your journey in business?
The best advice I received on my journey was someone who said that the knowledge I didnt even realise I had and the way I could help businesses identify their gaps from walking in their shoes was invaluable, therefore I should work for myself, looking after my own family and progressing in my career. This gave me the support and realisation that Business Glu could bring so much to businesses....and how much I could enjoy my work.
I transfer and embed my knowledge into other businesses in a non-technical, non-businessy way so that my clients enjoy it as much as I do. An ex employee who I had worked with for many years told me to look after me and my immediate family instead of doing what was expected of me as I had done for many years.
Had I not followed the advice of those people I wouldn't be enjoying my life as I do ......or have an MBE for Female Entrepreneurship.
What's been the hardest part about the path you've taken and how would you advise someone facing a similar situation to overcome it?
The hardest part of my journey has been starting in a pandemic and businesses realising that engaging with me was a return on investment not a luxury and an expense.
Leaving the family business wasn't easy but I had realised that others were working against me behind the scenes and that whilst I originally believed I was going to continue the family business as a legacy to my father (who has now passed away), others set barriers for that to happen.
Working for many different businesses and industries has been the best thing to happen to me and I would advise anyone feeling they are stuck and tied to a business should be brave and look at what the future can mean in a different position. Realise their value and worth.
Starting the business in a pandemic taught me that having someone like me in a business is welcomed by the right business owners and leaders. The ones that want to take the business forward and are serious about its future and everyone in it. The start was slower but by building good relationships rather than trying to drive sales the longer game has paid off. People buy from people and if you have something that brings them value and they can work with you you have a good business model right there.
Are there any well-known Books, Podcasts, or Courses that you credit your current success to?
Im rubbish at reading as I scan read and want to finish the book quickly so what I now do is have audible books I can have playing wherever I am. That could be in the car, mucking out or with some headphones in sitting still.
Books that have helped me are ones that I can read so my clients don't have to. I can identify what is relevant to their needs and what will be beneficial.
A great author for business is Mike Michalowicz, Ive read most of his books and got lots of inspiration from them. Patrick Lencioni - 5 Disfunctions of a Team and Verne Harnish - Scaling Up have also given me things to work on with my clients.
I loved my mediation course that I did with Align Mediation, accredited to the CMC. This utilised my L&M qualifications by understanding peoples behaviours, beliefs and values, allowing me to put it into practise.
Podcasts by my own coach Simon Meadows (practice what you preach so I have a coach too) and fellow coach Harlan Hammack are amazing and both have had some amazing guests and discussions.
What do you think are the most important qualities for a successful business owner or executive to have?
There are many qualities that are important for a business owner/ leader to have in order to be successful.
A successful business owner/ leader should have a clear and compelling vision for their company. It should inspire and motivate employees, customers, and investors to work towards a common goal.
Business owners/leaders need to be able to think strategically and make informed decisions that align with the company's vision and goals. Being able to anticipate and respond to changes in the market and adapt their strategies accordingly.
Communication is key in business, and leaders need to be able to communicate effectively with employees, customers, and stakeholders. Including being able to articulate their vision and strategy, listen to feedback, and provide clear direction.
Successful owners/leaders should be decisive and able to make tough decisions when necessary. They should be confident in their ability to assess risks and make informed choices that will benefit the company in the long run.
Business owners/leaders need to be able to understand and manage their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. This includes being able to handle conflict, build relationships, and create trust.
Successful owners/leaders need to be able to adapt and learn new skills and knowledge. They should be open to feedback and willing to invest in their own personal and professional development.
Business owners/leaders need to have a strong sense of integrity and ethics. Be honest, transparent, and committed to doing the right thing, even when it's not easy. This builds trust and credibility with employees, customers, and investors, and helps to create a strong and sustainable business.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out as a business owner?
Starting a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Stay committed to your vision, work hard, and stay focused on your goals, and you'll be on your way to building a successful business.
Identify your unique value proposition. Identify what makes your product or service unique and valuable to potential customers.
Develop a solid business plan
Focus on your customers
Build a strong team
What are the top three things you think are essential for business success?
A strong team: You can't do everything yourself. Build a team of talented and motivated people who share your vision and values, and who bring complementary skills and perspectives to the table.
Strong financial management: A successful business needs to be financially sustainable, with a solid understanding of revenue, expenses, cash flow, and profitability. Make sure you have a sound financial plan in place, and regularly review and adjust your strategy as needed.
A clear and compelling value proposition: Your business needs to offer a product or service that meets a real need in the market, and that customers are willing to pay for. Your value proposition should be clear and compelling, and set you apart from competitors.
Do you think someone can be a great business owner without having many years of experience first?
Yes, you don't necessarily need 'years' of experience to be successful in business. While experience can be helpful, What's as important as experience is a willingness to learn, a strong work ethic, and the ability to adapt and pivot as needed. Successful business owners are often willing to take risks, work hard, and learn from their mistakes.
Having some relevant experience can certainly be an asset in business. It can help you build a network of contacts, gain insights into industry trends, and develop the skills needed to run a successful business. But it's not necessarily a requirement for success.
A good career behind you shows you that you have walked the walk as well as talking the talk but moving forward and the ability to do that with the right help and advice is pure gold dust as you cant do everything on your own.
In general, do you think the world is producing better business owners in 2023 than it was fifty years ago?
In some respects yes but in some no.
Obviously technology has allowed them to progress in the last 50 years, changes in the global economy and things such as education. But its also added some challenges such as increased competition, a much higher expectation of legislations and increased costs.
The need for respecting and looking after employees has improved the business owners. People now having more rights has made the owners appreciate their employees more.
The business owners now have much more stress and responsibility. Health and Safety, Employment Law and Policies have added to this, whilst they are there for protection it is another responsibility but thankfully making awareness and the business world not such a dangerous place.
I feel the business owners now have more respect in many cases, in days gone by it was too easy to dismiss safety, employees needs and values and less rules allowed them to 'do as they pleased because they were the boss'.