Love Business with Alan WickSep 12, 2023
Practising law through purpose, with Martin Bunch
Bates Wells is a truly purpose and impact-driven law firm; the first in the UK to be certified B Corp. The firm sees it as its purpose to create a positive impact on people, communities and the planet.
The law firm that helped to launch the Better Business Act, fighting for workers’ rights, Bates Wells works with clients who are like-minded change-makers and leaders, and some of the world’s leading charities and social enterprises.
Martin Bunch, the Managing Partner at Bates Wells, is passionate about walking the talk, successfully combining running a profitable business with a real social purpose - positive people making a positive impact.
Bates Wells goes above and beyond the role of a traditional law firm, proactively and optimistically challenging conventional wisdom and seeking out opportunities to seize the initiative and champion better outcomes, believing that actions speak louder than words.
It was a breath of fresh air talking with Martin and getting an insight into how Bates Wells’ values are pivotal; how the firm shapes its decisions and the way their team lives and works.
You can find out more about Bates Wells’ forward-thinking way of doing business in the legal world here.
In our inspirational conversation, Martin:
Summarises Bates Wells and its history, detailing its B Corp journey which led to it becoming the first law firm to be certified B Corp in the UK.
Explains its climate programme and solicitor apprentice scheme.
Highlights the significant pro bono work the firm did for Uber drivers, a case which was eventually heard in the Supreme Court.
Talks about how the firm has adapted to hybrid/remote working.
Expands on some of Bates Wells’ work, including how it successfully changed disability discrimination laws.
Observes how having a clear direction attracts potential employees and clients, and why trying to be 'all things to all people' isn’t a successful approach.
Shares his thoughts on adding purpose to the concept of the 'triple bottom line', the concept of 'purpose-washing' and the nature of purpose for Bates Wells.
Delves into the Better Business Act, which was drafted by Bates Wells, and the progress it’s making.
Describes how bringing specific people in to run parts of the business has been very effective, despite the costs involved.
Outlines the firm’s pricing model and stresses the importance of transparency with clients when it comes to costs.
Focuses on how helping people is part of the company’s culture.
Examines lessons learned along the way, including what happens when you try to change things too quickly – evolution, not revolution, is key.
Looks to the exciting times ahead and expresses the progress he’d like to see with the B Corp movement across other businesses.
Spinning a yarn of eco-packaging, with Angela Morris
Woolcool® is the multi-award winning pioneer and innovator of the Sustainable Packaging Revolution. Founded by the effervescent Angela Morris in 2009, they use natural materials – 100% wool - to change the world.
How? By breaking down barriers and changing traditional perceptions of green options.
Their innovative insulated packaging is not only sustainable, biodegradable, recyclable and renewable, it hasn’t compromised its performance. Their range is trusted globally across the Pharmaceutical and Food Sectors for the shipment of temperature-sensitive products.
‘Created by Nature, Driven by Science’, Woolcool® is continually investing in R&D, committed to their tireless quest for a world where the most environmentally conscious materials are used from cradle to grave.
Woolcool® is rightfully proud to be a certified B Corp, a UK-based manufacturer, a two-time winner of the Queens Award for Enterprise in Innovation & Sustainable Development categories, and a family-led business with strong values at their heart and soul.
It was an honour to meet Angela, hearing her tireless passion to change the world in this tangible, practical way.
You can find out more about Woolcool®’s trailblazing work here.
In our enlightening conversation, Angela:
Describes how wool is an effective insulating material, holding food and pharmaceutical items for up to five days with no further outside cooling required, and goes into detail about the manufacturing process.
Talks about the scale of the business – c70 staff and a turnover of several million, with more companies’ consideration of sustainability driving a move towards wool packaging.
Explains why, overall, Woolcool®’s packaging is competitively priced compared to polystyrene, and actually significantly cheaper for the pharmaceutical industry to use.
Comments on the changing attitudes of the pharmaceutical industry towards packaging, and how her extensive experience in the packaging industry sparked her experimentation with wool.
Identifies the key milestones at the start of Woolcool®’s success, as Abel & Cole then others started moving across to greener packaging.
Expands on her experiences in the company’s first few years and how, after working on her own, she took on a business partner with complementary skills, (whom she later married!).
Mentions the Innovation UK award, and how important the resulting funding was.
Details Woolcool®’s business development through the early-mid 2010, which included two of her daughters joining the business.
Shares anecdotes from the now King Charles’s visit, a keen wool enthusiast, after Woolcool® received The Queen’s Award in 2018.
Observes that, because their brand is so strong, and their knowledge so significant, it makes it more difficult for potential competitors.
Talks about the B Corp process and the tangible benefits of being B Corp certified.
Focuses on her future aspirations for the business and her desire to give back to their local area, Stone and Stoke-on-Trent.
Highlights some key learnings, including how believing in yourself can help in difficult moments, and the importance of having investors that are on the same page as you.
Spotting and filling a gap, with Eccie Newton
Necessity breeds invention! When Eccie and her sister, Gini, struggled to find kitchen space to support their office lunch delivery company, Karma Cans, Karma Kitchen was born. They are growing dramatically, driven by the desire to help food businesses find spaces that suit their needs, without having to build their own kitchens.
Karma Kitchen provides co-working and commercial kitchen spaces across London. Over the next five years, they are planning to open 50 new sites, supplying affordable workspace to over 5,000 startups and SMEs across Europe.
It was fascinating talking to Eccie, shining a light on the world of ‘dark kitchens’. We learn about her dynamic journey to date and her ambitions for the future.
You can find out more about Karma Kitchen’s great work here.
In our illuminating conversation, Eccie:
Describes the concept of ‘dark kitchens’, converting unused light industrial real estate into kitchen spaces used by food delivery and other food industry businesses.
Talks through Karma Kitchen’s current locations, different sizes of kitchen space available, and their plans for expansion.
Explains Karma Kitchen’s business model and how it all began.
Shares the different stages of funding that allowed the business to grow from one site to multiple sites.
Highlights the perils of diluting equity and espouses the virtues of Seed Legals, whose founder has single-handedly changed the face of legal work for early stage start-ups.
Compares the very different experiences of running their first and second businesses.
Discusses their future aspirations for both Karma Cans and for Karma Kitchens.
Reflects on how her working relationship with her sister, who is also her business partner, has evolved and strengthened.
Focuses on the lessons she’s learned in business so far.
Combining meaning and style, with Gregory French
Gregory is a natural born adventurer, serial entrepreneur and venture builder, led by a lifetime of experience across the continents.
This experience of the world, combined with a deep interest in sustainability, an acute insight into different cultures, and a love of wildlife and nature, have combined to form Atlas Accessories, grown from Gregory’s personal search for jewellery that combines meaning, durability and style.
As well as producing distinct pieces with an aesthetic underscored by designs that place connection, depth of meaning and warmth at the fore, his brand is equally focused on the marking of meaningful experiences, empowering storytelling and using success to power change.
Gregory wants to elevate and enrich people’s lives by changing the way we relate to jewellery and to the world around us.
He believes in being ethical and accountable and treating the planet like a stakeholder as he creates purposely designed jewellery pieces that connect people to feelings, meaning and memory and last a lifetime.
It was fascinating hearing Gregory speak with such passion, and an enlightening introduction to the world of storytelling through jewellery.
In our enjoyable conversation, Gregory:
Explains how Atlas Accessories began, and describes the visual identity of the brand.
Explores the organic appearance of the jewellery, going into the detail and the stories behind particular collections.
Gives an overview of the brand’s business model, the scale of the operation, and his views on online and high street presence.
Highlights the importance of his networking strategy, and his plans to have more of a physical presence in future.
Pinpoints the company’s pivotal moments of success.
Talks about challenges Atlas has faced on their journey, and how they overcame their adversities.
Delves into the separation of an owner's personal needs and the needs of a company, and the importance of getting the right balance between the two.
Acknowledges being careful not to get so caught up in the creative rush you neglect more logical business matters, and realising you need to recognise your own weaknesses.
Expresses his hopes for the company’s future, including how they can give their customers more opportunities to tell their own story through choosing and combining materials to make unique pieces of jewellery.
Shares his many learnings, stressing that the most important by far has been to keep the right balance between head and heart – creative or business.
Creating workplace happiness, with Henry Stewart
What does Happy mean to Henry? As his title at Happy embraces, happiness is something Henry thinks about a lot.
Named on the Thinkers50 list Guru Radar of the top 50 business thinkers worldwide, he loves speaking at events - sharing his enthusiasm about how to create great workplace cultures.
Happy, the company Henry founded, focuses on helping organisations to shape happy workplaces, by working with their leadership to enable a culture of trust and freedom.
They know that people don't like being micromanaged, being told what to do, and blame culture. What they do like, and what enables them to thrive, is doing something they are good at, having the freedom to do it well, a manager who coaches rather than dictates, and a culture that celebrates mistakes.
What an uplifting and infectiously heartwarming experience it was talking with Henry. I hope you enjoy it too.
In our uplifting and empowering conversation, Henry:
- Explains how Happy helps businesses to create positive workspaces, and his role as Chief Happiness Officer.
- Expands on how Happy delivers training, relevant to businesses at all stages of their business journey, and how their government funding works.
- Drills down into company facts – how and why Happy started, its size, its turnover and its pricing.
- Describes Happy’s recruitment philosophy, including why they interview people in groups of six.
- Talks about the moment Henry first realised a business like Happy could succeed.
- Highlights some of the unorthodox ways that Happy is structured, including having no managers, and empowering the staff to decide Henry’s salary.
- Discusses Happy’s B-Corp certification, the process they had to go through to get it and what they’ll need to do to keep it.
- Shares an overview of Happy’s early years, and how they work today – for example how they measure staff happiness, how amazing their staff retention rate is, and their core values including the number one: ‘make people feel good about themselves’.
- Opens up about future plans – working with as many people as possible to create more happy workspaces, and learnings he’s picked up along the way, including trusting people, letting yourself make mistakes, getting rid of middle management and letting people define their own roles.
- Explains the concept of psychological safety – the idea that anyone can speak up, and ways you can structure meetings to have more positive outcomes.
Cutting through the status quo, with Gaz Booth and Tom Walker
Holy Moly, guacamole! Tom and Gaz, with their team at Holy Moly Dips, are shaking up the chilled dips aisle, on their mission to bring us dips that taste great and make you feel good — by doing things the right way, not the easy way.
Passionate about their range of products tasting great at the same time as being produced sustainably, and by only using the finest natural ingredients, they were tireless in their quest to achieve the convenience of ‘shop-bought’ with the wholesome deliciousness of ‘home-made’. No compromise.
Their products caught my eye when they first hit the shelves, and their seemingly overnight success is intriguing, as is Tom and Gaz’s unconventional career path into food manufacturing.
I was delighted to get this chance to interview Tom and Gaz and hear all about their story, which I’m excited to share with you too.
Making EV charging easy, with Phil Nunn and Charlie Bodycote
Mission NOT impossible. Jumptech is trailblazing their way through the world of electric vehicle (EV) charging points.
Their smart-tech is taking the hassle out of the EV charge point installation process, making it easier for companies to quickly and efficiently install charge points and other low-carbon devices in the most compliant and scalable way possible. And it’s a premium end-user experience.
Simply put, the greater the ease of installation, the greater the uptake – it’s good for the planet and good for everyone involved.
It is exciting to see them accelerate the worldwide adoption of electric vehicles and green, clean technologies by streamlining installations and connecting stakeholders.
Steering the ship of such a rapidly expanding business doesn’t come without its challenges, and I loved talking through Phil and Charlie’s experiences and insights in this brilliant interview.
In our dynamic and inspiring conversation, Phil and Charlie:
Explain what Jumptech is all about and how they provide their customers with a frictionless experience.
Describe the many types of customers and companies that use Jumptech, and how they win big contracts.
Share Jumptech’s journey, from its founding moments to the present day, as well as their and their team’s backgrounds.
Drill down into the specifics of the technology side of the business and how they resource that side of their operations.
Highlight that they are a purpose-led business, why they feel this is important and how it impacts on their recruiting process.
Explain how a young, unknown company like Jumptech managed to get some big hitting clients on board.
Delve into the charge point sector, how it has expanded, and how competitive the market currently is.
Share the learnings they gained from working together in the past, how they’ve worked out their roles as founder and CEO, and insights they have for other businesses to learn from.
Discuss their plans for Jumptech’s future.
Fusing creativity and sustainability, with Matt Hocking
Their apt name evokes energy, activism and vitality, which Leap has in spades.
Matt founded this eco-centred, change-making design agency in 2004. His passion for creativity, sustainability and designing for change formed Leap’s foundations. Leading Leap from the front, Matt sets the course and culture for the agency and enjoys generating new and exciting relationships.
His effervescent enthusiasm is infectious, and his role as an ambassador for B Corp is inspirational. Leap was the first design agency in the UK to be awarded B Corp status.
Matt is curious, values-driven and an everlasting optimist. He believes that creativity has more potential for environmental and social change than politicians, environmentalists and scientists combined.
In this interview we find out why. Matt:
Talks about his various pursuits in business, focusing on Leap, his planet-centred design agency, touching on other companies he’s set up in the past.
Enlightens Alan about Goodfest, a festival that he co-founded, now in its fifth year. It curates 'creative conversations on the beach', with ecological issues at the core of its programme.
Explains that he sits on the board of a range of B-Corp businesses, talking about 'Good F*cking Eco Advice', where he gives eco advice using strong language for impact.
Shares his enthusiasm for everything he does, and how it gives him the energy to push forwards with his jam-packed schedule.
Highlights the negative impact of digital design on the planet, and that it is important to Leap to always consider the planet as a client.
Describes Leap’s company culture, their ethos, financial ecosystem, how important it is to take on good staff, and their excellent staff retention rate – one staff member even has a company logo tattoo.
Covers how he advises similar businesses who want to be awarded B Corp status, and how he sees B Corp status as people using business as a force for good, comparing B Corp certification to Fair Trade.
Gives an insight into his future dreams for Leap and talks about the importance of not being complacent, and not being distracted by things that are outside of your values and foundations.
Canning sparkling wine, with Henry Connell
Do wine and cans go together like strawberries and cream? Henry thinks so!
England is now the most exciting sparkling wine region in the world. Causing some of that stir is The Uncommon, the revolutionary British winemaker. Their innovative choice to can, rather than bottle, their wines has a lighter environmental footprint, is brilliantly convenient and keeps their spritzy, aromatic wines fresher for longer.
The Uncommon came to be in 2017, when Henry Connell and his partner, Alex Thraves, decided to make and market ‘unbelievably good bubbly’ in the South East of England.
They are proud to be the first winemakers in the UK to be Certified B Corp, joining a global community that uses business as a force for good.
And their quirky, distinctively designed packaging says a lot about their brand’s personality!
In this interesting and motivational interview, Henry:
Shares the story of how packaging their wine in cans came about, going on to talk about some of the benefits of canned wine, including sustainability and convenience for the customer.
Talks about why a new business he’s developing is based in New Zealand, and his plans for starting similar businesses in Australia and North America in the future.
Delves into how the stigma of new world wine and English wine has affected the perception of The Uncommon, and why England is excellent for sparkling wine production.
Describes the wine varieties that they produce, the grapes that they use, and some of the locations in which they produce the wine. He also touches on the effects of global warming on grape growing.
Gives an overview of what a B Corp is, including what The Uncommon had to do to be awarded the certification, and explores the mentality of balancing making money from a business versus sustainability in a business.
Reminisces about how The Uncommon got off the ground as a business, and the early opportunities they embraced, before going on to outline his goals for the business over the next few years.
Talks about having a pioneering spirit in business, and about educating the market by selling something that people don't yet realise that they want or need.
Discusses his work life balance, especially considering potential extra travel to New Zealand in the near future, and the strain that the first few years of a start up can put on finding time to focus on things outside of work.
Highlights some of the learnings from his time running The Uncommon, stressing the importance of partnership, hard work and passion, and not being too precious about equity or debt.
Nurturing family through managing wealth, with Michael Aitken
Their business might be all about managing wealth, but their purpose is all about family.
Mike Aitken established Magus Wealth over 25 years ago. An independent, boutique Financial Planning and Investment Management business, they are proud to be a chartered firm - a status that only the UK’s best financial planning firms qualify for.
I love the story behind their logo. It’s the ‘Dara knot’, meaning ‘everything back to family’. It’s a sentiment close to their heart, and it runs through their business like a stick of rock.
For the Magus team, helping their clients to grow, protect and pass on their wealth is about more than money, it’s about building personal, lifelong relationships. Connecting, listening and understanding is at the heart of their business.
In this refreshing and warm interview, Mike
Reflects on how Magus Wealth has changed in the four years since I last interviewed him, and why they transformed the business's philosophy.
Describes the changes they made in the company’s board and leadership team, and sheds light on some of the impacts that these changes had, especially on the company’s culture.
Gives an in-depth explanation into the purpose of Magus Wealth’s ‘Academy’.
Talks about some learnings from this period of change, including the advantages of being brave, being open minded, and having conviction in yourself and your company.
Shares an insight into how his business partnership with Dante Peters functions, and how their different skills and approaches complement each other.
Contemplates the structure and position of Magus Wealth now, relating it to the metaphor of a family.
Discusses the importance of company culture in shaping the future growth and longevity of a company.
Manifests his hopes and his visions for the next one, three, and 10 years of the business.
Passes on some key learnings for entrepreneurs in the early stages of starting up a business.
Using capitalism for sustainability, with Rob Gardner
What is this refreshing alchemy that successfully blends environmental, social and financial goals?
Meet Rebalance Earth, helping companies to meet their Net Zero and nature-positive targets more efficiently and transparently.
Capitalism can be a force for good in its sustainable form. That’s Rob Gardner’s passionate belief. He’s determined to make a real difference in the face of climate change challenges and biodiversity loss, using his experience from a successful career in banking and investment to develop a platform for natural assets that creates a biodiversity net gain, captures carbon and creates new job opportunities.
Rob has a pioneering spirit, and embodies the power of having clear non-financial goals.
In this enlightening and energising interview, Rob
- Talks about two of his companies: Redington, a pension fund management company with a strong corporate social responsibility ethos; and Mallowstreet, an online community that helps companies achieve financial security. Both are Certified B Corporations.
- Describes how his undergraduate dissertation on a glacier in the alps, and engagement in subjects around loss of biodiversity at COP26, led him to co-found his new start up, Rebalance Earth. It’s a Community Interest Company ‘CIC’ and their intent as they grow is to become a B-Corp.
- Explains how Rebalance Earth takes a market mechanism approach to tackling climate crisis issues through ‘nature credits’ and functions as a data source for natural capital.
- Discusses the lack of financial education in British culture and how living in Argentina as a child informed his attitude to money and his career in finance.
- Recalls the difficulties and successes of his first business, explaining the process of learning from mistakes and how you can enhance decision making.
- Expresses his hopes for Rebalance Earth, expanding on the positive impacts he wants to make for the planet and for people through his business.
- Shares his mantra ‘being with the end in mind’ and the process he takes in achieving success through long-term thinking.
Managing mental health, with Gareth Dauncey
How do you manage your mental health? Are you in touch with your moods day to day and aware of your feelings? Gareth Dauncey found a brilliant, visual way to manage his own wellbeing, which he went on to develop in an app to improve many people’s lives. Mood helps people to better manage their mental wellbeing with one tap a day, and share how they feel without the need for words.
In this personal and revealing interview, Gareth
- Explains what Mood does and how he came to develop the app after difficult experiences with his mental health.
- Talks about his positive experiences at Frazzled Café, a space set up by Ruby Wax for strangers to talk about their feelings, which led him to transform his mood tracker idea into an app.
- Gives an insight into the process of developing the Mood app, including how one particular partnership encouraged him and supported him in areas he was previously unfamiliar with.
- Highlights the positives of not overcomplicating things.
- Describes some activities he finds helpful for positive mental health.
- Shares some of the realisations he has come to in his struggle with his mental health.
- Expresses the hopes he has for his app in helping others, and his ideas for how the app can de-stigmatise conversations around mental health.
Creating inclusive and stunning environments, with Jonathan Smales
Imagine a living in a beautiful place that is affordable and inclusive, where people thrive and economies flourish alongside stunning landscapes. Sounds too good to be true?
My guest on this show doesn't think so.
Jonathan believes passionately that it’s time to create a new generation of places, homes and shared spaces that regenerate where we can live well in ways that respond to the crises of climate and nature. Human Nature’s unapologetically ambitious vision is to create remarkable living spaces, growing strong communities with architecture and landscapes that surprise and delight.
In this fascinating and visionary interview, Jonathan:
- Gives insight into his background and how the shift in attitude towards the environment in the 1980s influenced his goals.
- Describes some of the built environment projects he and other members of the Human Nature team have been involved in, both with and before Human Nature.
- Relates the process of co-production and collaboration in Human Nature to Alan’s description of Steve Jobs' approach to innovation.
- Talks through how the Phoenix project in Lewes, East Sussex, UK started; its scale, the development and planning process, how they plan to make the project carbon negative, and the solutions and the resources that will be available on the estate to create a sustainable neighbourhood and a ‘living landscape’.
- Outlines the financial side of the project, revealing some of the challenges they have faced and how they have overcome them through different streams of funding and investment.
- Discusses aligned values and how, in the case of the Phoenix, this also includes residents, business owners, and investors.
- Shares his opinion on what factors currently prevent equitable projects that create a vibrant community.
- Reveals his background of business training as a civil servant and working for Greenpeace, recalling mistakes he made along his career and the lessons he learnt working with a friend.
- Expounds on some of his learnings from both Greenpeace and Human Nature, including mentality, values, and the power of doing good and surrounding yourself with good people.
Reconnecting with nature whilst learning, with Andy Middleton
How exhilarating to learn and to be inspired whilst on the wild and beautiful St. David’s peninsula. That’s exactly what the TYF Group provides with their leading sustainability, adventure and education business that helps people reconnect to nature, to possibility and to each other. They have been on a mission for over 35 years to inspire customers of all ages with low-carbon, eco-friendly outfitted adventures, training and education programmes, all nestled in nature’s best surroundings. We discussed how Andy’s passions have combined with business over the years.
In this energising and inspirational interview, Andy Middleton
- Outlines the activities and services that the business provides, and how he manages a wide variety of revenue streams.
- Describes some of the fundamental issues he’s seen repeatedly in businesses over his long career.
- Talks through the early days of the business and when he first knew he was ‘on to something’, including some of its early successes in terms of impact on individuals.
- Discusses the process and funding behind turning a hotel into an organic adventure lodge in his 20s.
- Stresses the importance of the public and private sectors working together towards common goals.
- Recalls how introducing the ‘ambition design framework’ steered the trajectory of the business, and how this focus allowed the business to drill down into its wider impact, instead of being motivated by money.
- Reiterates the importance of finding and developing leaders, and of focusing on creating positive impact by involving people from all backgrounds.
- Explains what a company needs to do to become a certified B Corp, and some of the positive experiences that he has had in meeting with other B Corp businesses.
- Shares key learnings from his time in business including harnessing potential, asking yourself what the world needs you to do, and that ideas are worth little if your team isn't infused with your vision.
Reawakening your entrepreneurial passion, with Shaun Russell
Did you find your vocation later in life? Shaun Russell certainly did. His belief that a more Scandinavian approach to life is better for all - a proven model of societal and environmental better practice that the world can truly benefit from - led to him founding Skandinavisk in 2012 to spread the word. We discussed his motivation in starting the business ‘later in life’ and the many valuable learnings he’s picked up along the way, whilst building and adapting the business over the past 10 years.
In this educational and insightful interview, Shaun
- Explains the origins of the brand, focusing on the history and importance of candles in Scandinavian culture, and why Skandinavisk moved away from producing a range of regular candles to concentrate on home fragrance and body care to reach a wider audience.
- Describes the many issues he faced when he launched his brand, such as trying to sell products that spanned a range of categories including textiles, ceramics and fragrances.
- Expands on two key mistakes he made: 1) assuming that the brand would sell poorly in Scandinavia and 2) planning to focus on selling direct to consumers rather than via wholesale.
- Discusses the importance of 'pivoting' or changing course in a business when current methods aren't successful.
- recalls how close the business came to failing because of issues presented by Covid-19, and the streams of revenue that kept the business going.
- Talks through the ethical reasons which led Skandinavisk to replace its entire product line.
- Gives a detailed overview of the experience and process of becoming B Corp certified, what it means, and what the ongoing responsibilities are.
- Outlines the scale and purpose of the B Corp Beauty Coalition, of which he Chairs the Supervisory Board.
- Recounts his earlier career history and why he was happy to walk away from corporate life aged 40, as well as explaining the skills he had to learn in his new business life and the importance of mental health and clarity helping you to ‘stay sane’ as you run a business.
Seeing pain in a new light, with Richmond Stace
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about pain? Nothing too positive, I’m guessing. Richmond Stace is a pioneer in his attitude to pain management. We talked about how he applies his extensive experience in nursing, rehabilitation, physiotherapy, coaching and neuroscience to help individuals manage and improve chronic pain, embracing people’s strengths and the potential to improve their lives. He runs his business from the heart, prioritising his clients’ wellbeing over his balance sheet.
In this refreshing interview, Richmond
- Describes how he helps people with persistent pain issues, and subsequently looks at ways in which they can move forward.
- Explains why he has a holistic approach, applying his skills with elements of science, psychology and philosophy.
- Illustrates how broad ranging in background and lifestyle his client base is, as pain is indiscriminate.
- Highlights how he communicates his service to his clients who sometimes come with pre-existing perceptions.
- Stresses the importance of his clients understanding the relationship between their bodies and their external environment.
- Talks about his education and career path, how he got started in business, how he values his work-life balance highly, and is motivated by the reward of helping his clients.
- Reveals his lightbulb moment in his understanding of the pain field.
- Expounds on his future plans, including publishing his upcoming book, and his hope of doing more talks and tours, with the aim of helping as much of society as possible to understand pain, and change their attitudes towards pain, as well as issues with funding and social/gender biases.
- Shares his learnings from his experience in business, stressing the importance of putting yourself ‘out there’ to create the space for new opportunities, of continuous self-improvement and learning from your mistakes.
Reducing environmental impact, with Nick Russill
When your passion serves millions of people and the environment, through a successful and sustainable business, it’s a pretty powerful combination. Interviewing Nick Russill for the 2nd time, we focused on Snow-Forecast.com, a business he co-founded over 25 years ago. Now one of the internet’s most widely-used specialist weather websites, along with its sister websites it supports a global audience of over 50 million users each year. Nick is passionate about using his voice to help people become more aware of ways to reduce their environmental impact and to acknowledge climate change.
In this insightful interview, Nick
- Summarises the purpose of his website, snow-forecast.com, with an insight of its scale of users and the site’s business model.
- Explains the website’s different revenue streams, and his preference for subscriptions and direct deals over advertising an income revenue.
- Details the turnover of the business and the vast increase in subscribers following the Covid-19 pandemic, recognising the impact of snow-forecast's 'sister websites' on the increase in users.
- Recounts how his education and personal life led him and his partners to create forecasts for specialist activities, and the decisions that led them to launch a public website.
- Enthuses about the community served by the website, and that community's impact on decisions they make in operating the website.
- Pinpoints the moment when he realised the business was sustainable and successful, as the website started to create revenue.
- Highlights the new challenges involved operating the five sister websites and shares his hopes for the growth of the websites, and some new innovations for future proofing.
- Stresses the importance of a strong company culture and how their own company culture allows them to turn issues into advantages.
- Reveals lessons he’s learned from the business, including not pursuing side streams that aren’t lucrative, and the importance of consulting other sources for innovation and technical input.
Achieving financial freedom, with Alexlouise Thomas
Financial freedom is an ‘end of the rainbow’ concept for many people. Alexlouise Thomas has made a successful career out of helping people find theirs. She began investing in property and in personal development courses, before retiring from catering at the ripe old age of 32. We discussed how she helps others to live their dreams of financial freedom and fulfilment, and how she loves seeing the transformation in people’s lives. We also discuss the joint ventures that make possible things that an individual couldn’t achieve alone.
In this fascinating interview, Alexlouise
- Explains the purpose of her company, how she aids other businesses financially, and how she helps clients to recognise their goals.
- Expands on what the term 'joint venture' means with regards to the property market, and how it works to pool resources and get people on the property ladder.
- Shares a success story of one of her clients and the five-year process behind it.
- Recalls the factors and experiences that led her to start her company and then shift its business model.
- Talks about learning from mistakes and dealing with bumps in the road.
- Describes her goals of building a community, and to start farming within the next five year, as well as the positive and negative effects of giving yourself a timeline for goals.
- Delves into her learnings along the way, including the importance of patience, the huge value of having a business coach, and asking questions without the fear of looking stupid.
- Gives advice for people starting up a business, emphasising that it is very important to give success time to grow.
Achieving your goals, with Guy Rigby
They did it! It was fantastic to interview new World Record holder, Guy Rigby, again, now he’s back on dry land! Guy and his fellow rower, David Murray, completed the challenging feat of rowing 3,000 miles from the Canaries to Antigua over 53 days, making them the oldest pair ever to row any ocean to date.
In this ‘behind the challenge’ interview, Guy:
- Describes his training regime in preparation for the race, how he and his crewmate structured their rowing schedule, food and water logistics, the emergency procedures they had to be aware of and the tech issues they faced.
- Explains the challenges of adapting to various weather systems and conditions they encountered, and the impact they had on their progress.
- Reveals how he and his crewmate overcame disagreements, and the difficulties involved in managing a challenging sleep schedule.
- Gives an impression of the scale of the challenge, some of the reasons why other crews took part in the race, and how Guy and his crewmate gained sponsorship.
- Talks about the charity, UnLtd, which they are raising money for. It’s not too late to donate!
- Shares the low point of the race, and the absolute best moment of the experience.
- Discusses some of the physical problems he’s faced since being back on land, and his ambitions for the future.
Igniting children’s passion for reading, with Lulu Skantze
Igniting children’s passion for reading is giving them a powerful gift for life, and that’s what Lulu Skantze does every day, through the business she founded, Storytime magazine. Since its impactful launch in 2014, it continues to be the UK’s leading and most dynamic children’s magazine. Lulu has extensive expertise in children’s literacy, along with a passion for collaboration and language. She shared her ambitions of growing the digital side of the magazine and of becoming a leader in inclusivity, as well as being a strong presence in education.
In this insightful interview, Lulu:
- Outlines how the magazine was born, its content sources, various formats and subscription models.
- Gives an insight into the differences between the revenue streams, one of these differences being the marketing approaches.
- Highlights the division between print and digital content, talking about scenarios in which children are more likely to choose one over the other.
- Explains the structure of the company and why they have a large team of freelance and contracted contributors.
- Recalls what it felt like when she realised the company was a success.
- Describes the struggles with being a self-funded company, and how she managed cash flow.
- Stresses the importance of being agile; for example being flexible with goals and plans, and how letting go of ego is essential in order to make sensible business decisions.
- Shares her hopes for the future – growing the digital side of the magazine and its licensing partnerships, as well as her wishes to be a leader in inclusivity and a strong presence in education.
- Reveals some of her learnings; focusing on her values of curiosity and engaging with the world.
Reading people, with Alan Stevens
Can you read people with your eyes? Observing and interpreting every tiny gesture to understand and interact with them better? Alan Stevens, Creator & Host of the #WeTogether initiative and The Campfire Project is a real pro at it. His expertise is in showing us how we can read people to build successful relationships, negotiations, improve teams and staff loyalty, and close deals faster. Amongst other things, in our conversation he expanded on micro-expressions and how we can benefit from learning to pick up on them and read them accurately.
In this eye-opening interview, Alan:
- Explains how, by reading and responding to people’s personalities and micro-expressions, we can all build better relationships.
- Reveals why he finds working with families most rewarding.
- Shares examples of companies he’s worked with, helping them to improve relationships with clients and their own teams.
- Expands on micro-expressions, describing what they are, how we can detect them, and the benefits we can gain from reading them, as well as listing some online resources where listeners can learn how to pick up on micro-expressions.
- Describes how open questions trigger body expressions that indicate that someone may be lying, adding a few tips on how to be a good poker player!
- Recalls experiences in his past that led him to be interested in body language.
- Shares his hopes and ambitions for the future, for his company and for helping others.
Celebrating the personal touch, with Greg Smith
In this digital age, how wonderful and refreshing to champion the beautiful art of real handwriting and to see how impactful this form of connection can be. Greg Smith’s Australia-based business, Send Handwritten, provides a unique lead generation service globally, driven by the need for a human connection in the sea of electronic communication. Providing bespoke and creative cards, wax sealed and written by real people, they help businesses stand out in the sea of sameness. In his past life, Greg founded and ran a successful adventure-based outdoor learning business.
In this insightful interview, Greg explains:
- How businesses can stand out in the sea of sameness, especially in this saturated digital age.
- His assertion that loyalty is based on one thing: being true to your word, and that loyalty loyalty begets loyalty.
- How caring can be profitable.
- Why he feels passionate about going ‘counter-culture’; bucking against the digital trend and championing the personal connection.
- His belief that you should never, ever give up — be adaptable, reiterate, change direction, but never give up.
- And, finally, how the way he handled the Covid-19 pandemic strengthened his client relationships.
Supporting creative agencies, with Spencer Gallagher
Do you know when to reach out for support? Its impact on the success on your business can be incredibly powerful. Spencer Gallagher and his team have worked with over 1,000 creative, tech and innovation agencies over the past 10 years. We discussed how they help agencies overcome growth challenges to create successful outcomes for their businesses. As Co-Founder of Agencynomics, the community that supports agencies of today and the future, he helps steer them in making the right business decisions.
In this inspiring interview you will hear:
- How Spencer helps agencies unlock their growth mindset and how to shift away from the wrong decisions to the right ones.
- The power of yin and yan in business - how pairing with the right partner has been the key to his success.
- How by removing hierarchy and embracing 'holacracy' in a business can increase efficiency and improve teams.
- The importance of constant learning. He also shares some amazing book recommendations!
- The value of outside advice to help avoid self-sabotage and overwhelm.
- And finally, how the incredible power of having a single vision, focus and a strong belief system is the key to success.
Planning an ambitious endeavour, with Guy Rigby
For some people, it’s not enough to reach for the stars. They’ve got their eye on the moon, too! Guy Rigby is one of these inspiring individuals. Not only is Guy a respected Chair for Entrepreneurial Services for Smith and Williamson, but he’s rowing the Atlantic for The Entrepreneur Ship, in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in December 2021 and attempting to break the record for the oldest pair (combined age) ever to row any ocean. It was really interesting hearing all about his and his rowing partner’s thorough preparations for their epic voyage.
In this interview you will hear
- How Guy started his career in the early 1970's as a chartered accountant, working in the music business for Chrysalis Records who managed singers such as Jethro Tull and how his career led him to work with entrepreneurs.
- Guy sharing his motto: "Who cares, wins", - explaining the importance of having a good service ethic, as the key to building a business from scratch.
- How hitting the 50-year mark of his professional life inspired him to 'do something real and give something back', which led on how he's going to row the Atlantic with one other team mate on a 25-foot ocean marine boat from the 10th December. They will be rowing alternately, two hours on - two hours off - 24 hours a day, for approximately 60 days for UnLtd, the foundation for social entrepreneurs, whose aim is to develop a generation of social leaders with enduring impact.
What an amazing challenge. You can hear how Guy got on in my follow-up interview with him. And, if you would like to, you can donate here.
Starting young and cleaning up, with Rachel Flanagan
An 18 year old starting up what has become an award-winning, multi-million pound company? That’s quite an achievement, and quite a story! I was excited to quiz Rachael Flanagan on what’s driven her on this successful journey. Mrs Buckét is a commercial cleaning company delivering services and facilities to a range of businesses, helping them maintain a high standard of hygiene in their workplaces. During the interview we discussed how Rachael started her business at such a young age, and how it has developed and grown into the successful company it is today.
In this fascinating interview you will hear:
- How Rachael has grown her business from distributing a box of flyers to a 300+ workforce with a 96% staff and client retention.
- Why developing a niche in the market is vital and how it has made Mrs Buckét stand out.
- The value of using quirky and innovative techniques to win new business.
- Why it is so important to look after people and how Mrs Buckét develop their staff, wanting to be known as ‘Employer of Choice.’
- How Mrs Buckét consistently strives to be innovative and the ‘go to’ industry expert.
Exploring geophysical mapping, with Nick Russill
Honesty. Agility. Harmony. Saying no. Sounds refreshing, doesn’t it! Nick Russill is a co-founder of TerraDat, a company using state-of-the-art geophysical mapping techniques to map the subsurface in a non-invasive way that can rapidly map large areas and reduce the chance of missing buried targets. He is also a Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence and a photographer. We covered how TerraDat Geophysics started, and its 28 years of steady growth.
In this fascinating interview you will hear:
- How to continue to grow your business by innovating and staying agile.
- Why it’s important to sometimes say ‘No’ to new business.
- The value of honesty, when it comes to ensuring repeat business.
- How to work in harmony with your partner, by knowing your strengths and weaknesses.
- The benefits of sticking to what you're good at in business.
Blending business and burlesque, with Paulina Tenner
Have you ever considered how the worlds of burlesque and business can complement each other? Paulina Tenner has! She is a serial entrepreneur, investor, keynote speaker, writer, and burlesque performer. We discussed Paulina’s novel Holacracy based organisation, GrantTree, which has arranged over £200m in equity-free R&D funding from the government, to help SMEs. We also talked about the highs and lows of investing in small tech businesses.
In this fascinating interview you will hear:
- Insights into how a ‘no bosses’ culture can help a business thrive.
- How allowing staff to curate their own career unlocks true potential.
- The benefits of having a completely transparent, open culture, where staff set their own salaries.
- The highs and lows of investing in small tech businesses.
- How a burlesque persona and a business persona can complement each other.
Developing a successful events brand, with David Hieatt
When did you last feel inspired and energised; have your perspective challenged? Hearing others’ stories can be incredibly inspirational. For me, David Hieatt is right up there on my list and I’m pretty confident you’ll find him inspirational too. In this second time of interviewing David, he shared his story, starting on the far edge of West Wales on an old farm in 2007. This is where the idea for The DO Lectures began, as a space for the world’s ‘DOers’ to feed their dreams. He talked about the belief, the struggles, and the resilience involved in developing one of the most unique and exclusive events around, the power of purpose-driven brands, and lots more besides.
In this fascinating interview, David explains:
- How The Do Lectures changed attendees’ lives.
- How you can be influential and small.
- The benefits of community.
- Playing the long game (ideas need patience).
- How, sometimes, passion and belief are more important than data.
- The value of cultivation and purpose in a business.
Delightful Dissent - Love has no place in business
Delightful Dissent - Love has no place in business
Developing a culture of self-responsibility - how can organisations do that?!
In this podcast, Alan explores the legacy of command and control, KPIs and the rigidity of 20th century management thinking.
In terms of self-responsibility, he discusses:
- What are realistic goals for large or highly regulated organisations.
- How to work in organisations driven by big personalities where leaders are "leading hard" and the transition to distributed power feels large.
- Why developing self-responsibility requires a more gradual change and the case for "pre-paving" for the change.
Hear Alan troubleshoot and take listeners through a range of real-world examples of where self-responsibility has got stuck.
Psychographics and selling more effectively
In this podcast, Alan focuses on owner-managed businesses that want to scale up. He discusses the Minimum Viable Audience (MVA) approach and importance of niching down, so you can focus on who you really want to serve. He encourages listeners to:
- Think about demographics and targeting your audience based on traits like age, geography, education, gender and income.
- Think about psychographics, to understand what motivates and moves these people and explore their needs, wants and behaviours.
- By understanding why people really want what you offer, will help you communicate what you do in a much more effective and engaging way.
So by putting out the right messages you won’t have to hunt for your customers, they’ll be looking for you.
Going behind the scenes in hospitality, with Peter Backman
Most of us really enjoy a good restaurant experience, but we probably don’t think too much about what goes on behind the scenes that makes it great. The frantically paddling feet beneath the gliding swan! Peter Backman is a leading expert on the structure and dynamics of the hospitality sector, and its supply chain in the UK and across Europe. During this interview, Peter talked about his remarkable life, what it takes to go from zero to hero in business, his advice to young entrepreneurs, his philosophy behind his book ‘Restaurants Also Serve Food’, and his thoughts on the future of the hospitality industry.
Listen to our conversation to hear more about:
- What it means to be an entrepreneur.
- The benefits of working in the hospitality industry.
- Why it is so important to have clear goals.
- What it takes to go from zero to hero in business.
- The advantages and disadvantages of a partner in the business.
- The future of restaurants and the philosophy behind Peter’s book ‘Restaurants Also Serve Food’.
- Peter’s advice to young entrepreneurs.
The Minimum Viable Audience
When you're launching a new product or business, focus on who you want to serve, because if you try marketing to everyone you appeal to no one. In this podcast, Alan discusses the idea of the Minimum Viable Audience (MVA) and why it's so important to focus. Listen to hear more about:
- Why to avoid trying to go broad and selling to everyone. Instead, you should pick the people who'll love what you do and find out what their dreams, wishes, hopes and fears are.
- How to be clear about who you want to serve and how you want to serve them.
- How this will help you to develop the right product or service and position it in the right way, so your target market absolutely gets what you offer and the value it provides. This will make selling much easier.
- Remember, you may only need 1,000 or even 100 customers to make a successful business. But unless you can define your MVA, you'll never know.
Listen to the show to learn more about the benefit of picking the people who'll love what you do, rather than trying to market to everyone.
What I've learnt from working with 1,000 startups
- What big companies can learn from startups about team size.
- The power and curse of a start-up style "force of nature" personality in your leadership team - how to handle it, how best to use it.
- Understanding the concept of "Partneritis" and how it can handcuff companies.
- How to develop self-responsibility when people feel far away from the results of their actions in a large company.
Building a strong brand identity, with Juliet Barratt
What a massive adrenaline rush to build a big, recognisable brand with huge exposure. Juliet Barratt knows how that feels firsthand! She is a brilliant and inspiring leader who has made Grenade the world's fastest-growing nutrition brand. We talked about how it’s crucial to create a strong brand identity and be mindful of your business’s culture. We also covered the key role of distribution channels, the positive and negative effects of investors, and why you need to surround yourself with people who you work well with.
In this fascinating interview, we discussed:
- Juliet’s recipe for success.
- The importance of branding.
- The key role of distribution channels.
- The positive and negative effects of investors on your business.
- The key to surrounding yourself with the right people.
- Understanding the language of different markets and how to make them work for you.
- How to nurture the culture of your business and keeping it the way that you want.
- What business mentors could do for you and your business.
Exploring the power of sound, with Julian Treasure
Let’s shout about sound! I guarantee you’ll think of it in a whole new light after listening to this interview. Julian founded The Sound Agency . He’s also an author and an international speaker who has been invited to do five TED talks on aspects of sound and communication. We discussed ‘the business of sound’, his TED talks and the over 100 million views they have garnered. We also talked about how it felt to be marketing a product/service that was such a new concept, and the thinking behind having confidence in your business’s future success.
In addition, we discussed subjects including:
- What is ‘the business of sound’ and how it can benefit businesses.
- The importance of having a very clear purpose.
- The challenges of offering a product or service that people don’t know they need.
- How to build a successful business with a virtual team.
- The difference between having faith in one’s business & knowing it’ll succeed.
- Julian’s most important learnings from his long experience as an entrepreneur.
Delivering garden dreams, with John Wyer
In this show, I interviewed John Wyer, Co-founder and CEO of Bowles & Wyer. John has more than 35 years’ professional experience and is a widely published and respected designer, lecturing on his work both in the UK and abroad.
We discussed the growth and the success of his company, including topics such as:
- Why trust is important for your business and brand
- The benefits of understanding the difference between B2B and B2C
- The importance of customer satisfaction for business valuation
- The value of having a business partner
- Effects of internal and external factors on business performance
- John’s advice to people who want to start their own business
How much should people pay me for what I do?
Pricing and charging are often seen as the same thing. They're not. Pricing a product or service is a strategic decision, whereas charging is tactical. In this podcast, Alan explains to listeners:
- How to set the price for a product or service correctly
- Business charges for a product or service and how to vary or alter them according to the circumstances
- How to successfully discount. Remember, it's crucial always to show the full price, as well as any discount, so that the original perceived value is not lost.
- The importance of pricing products and services that is carefully thought through - i.e. it is seen as a strategic decision - it says what you, as a business owner, value your products or services at.
The show has real-world examples which will help you to understand the best way to price products and services.
Chad Pytel interview
In this podcast Alan interviews Chad Patel, CEO of thoughtbot. During the discussion, Chad discusses the lessons learned from starting the business, the company's methodologies as well as looking towards the challenges and opportunities of the future. Listen to learn more about:
- Finding your vision and the impact on business
- The importance of being dedicated and fulfilled in your company
- Standing by your principles and learning to say "No"
- How making mistakes contributes to success
- The importance of real sustainability in your business
- Why purpose is essential to a company
Swimming against the food tide, with Emma Killilea
They say necessity breeds invention and that’s what certainly drove Emma Killilea to build her brand, Delicious Alchemy. After being diagnosed as a coeliac and realising the limitation of gluten-free products on the market, Emma decided to dedicate her life to making gluten-free options commonplace, to help more people live a happy and healthy life.
During the interview, we explored her extraordinary story and discussed topics such as:
- Why it is so important to understand the needs, wants, and demands of your customers.
- The positive and negative effects of the COVID 19 lockdown.
- The importance of innovation in business.
- Benefits of having the right product at the right time.
- How personal ambition drives business success.
- Why you must get your customer value proposition right.
Sharing time management skills, with Carrie Bedingfield
Juggling several businesses, I’m not surprised that Carrie Bedingfield has a lot of good advice to share on time management. Carrie is the founder of Onefish Marketing, a company with the knack for articulating complex services and energising the market you need to sell them to, and 50th Generation, which provides training, funding, mentoring and a powerful community for companies who want to create meaningful, joyful and purpose-led businesses. She is also a TEDx speaker, and the founder of FewerFasterBolder.
In this interview, Carrie shared her thoughts on:
- Increasing productivity through effective time management.
- How to manage multiple businesses.
- Childhood traits that lead to entrepreneurship.
- The importance of strong business relationships.
- When you know it’s time to let your business go.
Training in a different way, with Bob Bannister
Every day’s a learning day, and it’s refreshing to hear about a new take on training. Bob Bannister has built iManage Performance as a training company with a difference, focusing on blended learning (combining face-to-face and online learning). Their sole purpose is to change people for good, through a process of challenging learners to think in new ways and to put new practices into daily action. Their learning is always totally engaging, without a powerpoint presentation in sight!
We discussed various topics, including:
- How to successfully manage remote teams.
- The creation of high functioning teams and how to get people working well together.
- The importance of trust within remote teams.
- How to encourage professional intimacy.
- The impact of flexibility at work on lifestyle.
- The silver linings that can come out of difficult times.
Succeeding in leisure, with Alfie Best
Sometimes true stories are more captivating than a best-selling novel. Alfie Best’s story firmly fits in this category. From scratch, after being born in a caravan to a poor Romany Gypsy family, Alfie has built up Wyldecrest Parks, which now has 75 residential mobile home parks, seven holiday mobile home parks and a golf course in Hertfordshire, along with a 50% share in 15 sites in the US. This success has led to him being featured in the Sunday Times UK rich list.
Alfie shared the extraordinary story of how he started, as well as talking about:
- The importance of reinvesting in the business.
- Effective leadership as a key to organisational success.
- Why organisations should encourage employees to recognise mistakes and learn from them.
- His ‘’always say yes’’ policy and why the customer is always king.
- Alfie’s secrets of his success.
Regenerating local industry, with David Hieatt
A new company making jeans in Wales? We explored the extraordinary story behind how David Hiett got his town, Cardigan in Wales, making jeans again, with the launch of his successful business, Hiut Denim. It sounds like it should be made into a film!
It was fascinating discussing David’s extensive experience as we delved into his thoughts around:
- How storytelling can make such a difference to a business and brand.
- The power of purpose driven brands.
- How having a clear purpose makes you strong.
- What to look out for when you take investors on board.
- The most important sales tool.
- How to deal with a crisis and avoid defeat.
- Understanding the culture of a business and its impact.