Every Startup Journey Starts Somewhere
Every startup journey starts somewhere. It wasn’t until January 2018, when my dream of setting up a business became a reality. Much like the mythical phoenix bird, Maximum Solutions Consulting Ltd came into existence and continues to rise from its startup ashes. A boutique business advice and coaching consultancy, which supports startups in and around London. Read about Maximum Solutions Consulting and watch the included short YouTube videos for more information.
From an early age, I dreamt of owning and running a business. It certainly wasn’t about money, material things or status that brought me to this decision either. After all, the startup journey is fraught with challenges, stress, long hours and hard work. With hindsight, it was about independence, the challenge and desire to help people and startups Develop, Improve, Grow & Succeed.
By nature, and despite several life events, I’ve always been keen to help people. On a personal level, this stems from childhood trauma and overcoming bouts of depression. With these life experiences, I’ve learnt that being heard and feeling listened to are important skills. It’s what enables effective communication and facilitates rapport. This means I carefully listen to business owners to understand business problems. By doing so, I can then provide expert business advice & coaching solutions.
The Early Years & Pre-Startup Journey
At the age of 11, I created and published my own newspaper/magazine. It started as a hobby and continued until I was 16. For those that remember, I had an Amstrad computer. Most importantly, a very heavy and old-fashioned photocopier, which was parked on a wooden desk. All set up in my bedroom.
One day, I woke up and decided I no longer wanted to be a journalist. Now I realise that writing was my way of expressing what I was thinking and feeling. It helped me avoid what was going on around me. In addition, it taught me a variety of life skills and not just in a business sense. For instance, how to juggle school, manage stress and build resilience. I became a self-starter and I started to learn how to deal with life’s challenges.
When I was 18, I went to University and studied Business Studies and Politics. A strange combination and choice and not one I’d originally decided either. That’s another story in itself. Back then, going to University was about moving to London. Leaving the past behind me or so I thought and learning to live. Most importantly, it taught me how to build and develop social relationships.
Professional Business Advice & Coaching
On a professional level, I have over 20 years’ professional experience. For instance, I’ve worked in large, global and complex organisations. For example, Financial Services, Education and the Consulting sectors. Most importantly, I’ve managed business operations, delivered change and coached people to performance improvement. Watch this short About Steve Wyatt YouTube video to learn more.
At the age of 41, I was fortunate to be able to take some time out and study again. Certainly, going back to study was very different from when I was 18. This time, it was also something I really wanted to do. I studied a 6-month, part-time diploma in the Psychology of Education at UCL. In addition, several distance learning diplomas, which allowed me to travel a bit. For example, diplomas in Mindfulness, Counselling Skills and Life Coaching.
Not only that, but several professional qualifications to support my professional experience and lust for knowledge and learning. For example, Lean Six Sigma, Change Management, Agile project management, GDPR and the NEBOSH General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety.
The Startup Journey Sealed
Due to some unfortunate circumstances, I decided it was time to take the leap. Fortunately, it meant I could take my time in setting up Maximum Solutions Consulting Ltd. After all, as much as I have the professional experience and qualifications, it’s important to walk the walk and demonstrate I have an operationally fit startup. For example, with a robust business plan and cash flow forecast.
Being my own boss was also a key driver, since at the age of 43, I felt ready and equipped. I’ve acquired a lot of experience and skills, which I want to utilise and help startups and business owners. For example, read my blog posts on business process improvement, how to make your business efficient, tips to reduce duplication and waste.
In the UK, 96% of Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are microbusinesses (employ between 0-9 people). Most importantly, within the first 5 years, 60% of startups fail. The reasons vary and depend on several factors, but poor planning, cash flow and management are high up on the list. Read this business advice for entrepreneurs blog to learn more.
With the above in mind, I started Maximum Solutions Consulting Ltd because I saw a growing need. SMEs, including startups contribution to the economy is staggering. For example, they have a combined annual turnover of £2 trillion and they make up 60% of employment. Given this and the high failure rate, it’s important that startups have access to professional and expert business advice & coaching.
The Beginning of the Startup Business Advice & Coaching Journey
I sold my 1-bed London flat, having decided to downsize again. At 40, I wanted to be mortgage free, get a part-time job, study again and live a different life. One with less stress, one with more time to just be. A happier and more fulfilled life, based on good mental health and wellbeing.
I was in the process of buying an off-plan studio apartment and exchanged contracts. It was a dream that was going to facilitate being mortgage free. It was a short-lived idea, thanks to a fraudulent developer. I lost an unspeakable amount of money, but due to legal reasons, I can’t say anymore. It shattered my dream of being mortgage free, even if it would have meant living in a shoebox.
When I first heard about the fraud, I fell to pieces. Certainly, the process and legal case made me look at life again. Most importantly, what I valued most, what was important and what I wanted. I knew I was going to lose a lot of money and so I decided that whatever I had left, I’d use to fulfil my life-long dream. A dream that also supports other business owners and startups.
How Does It Feel to Have A Startup?
Being your own boss might seem like a pipe dream, but anything is possible. It can become a reality, but I appreciate it’s also not everyone’s cup of tea. After all, it’s great that we’re all different. For instance, we have different likes, dislikes, wants and needs. It would be a boring world if everything and everyone was the same.
Opening a business is a test of character and so it’s important to go into it eyes wide open. It’s what makes the difference between managers and leaders. Equally, I believe that luck isn’t found, but made by the choices and decisions we make.
Becoming a startup owner is exhilarating and exciting. At times, it’s also frightening and stressful. This is regardless of how well you plan and organise your business. It comes with a whole host of feelings, self-doubts, worry and stress. That aside, setting up a business advice & coaching service has put me firmly in the driving seat of life.
For me, becoming a startup owner helped my confidence. It’s reminded me who I am and what I’m about. It’s made me feel lucky, even though I lost a lot before making the decision to set up a business advice & coaching startup. Most importantly, it means I can help other startups Develop, Improve, Grow & Succeed based on my professional expertise.