About James

Professionally:

I began my working life as an Environmental Scientist, becoming an expert in waste management, especially in the field of packaging recycling.  I was headhunted by Biffa to run their business unit Biffpack – from start up to a turnover in the millions.  I learnt a lot about sales, stakeholder management, corporate life and staying awake whilst traversing the motorways of the UK.

But I got bored, and I found something else that floated my boat – coaching others to find success – so in 2002 I gave up a successful career and started out as a sole trader.  Since then I have grown a coaching business with a team of coaches across the UK, exited it and now am back as a sole trader, closer to my customers and enjoying the work of helping clients.

I have written several books on business development, delivered programmes at Cranfield School of Management and Cass Business School for owner-managers, and worked thousands of hours, with hundreds of clients, in dozens of sectors.  My smallest client has a turnover below £50,000 and the largest has a turnover over $5 Billion.

I enjoy writing blogs, newsletters, books and articles to share my ideas.  My e-newsletter has been running for 15 years and my articles have appeared in such diverse places as the BBC website, The FT, and Cosmo.

In my time working with others who run businesses, and running my own, I have come to believe that we make things more complicated than they need to be, and often drift through business life without a clear idea of where we are going or why (most importantly).  I love to work with owner managers to understand just that – where they want to go, and why.  It is then but a small step to develop a plan: a clear, focussed road map to success.  I have seen it work time and time again, and so firmly believe that success can be simple and sustainable.

Personally:

My passion is to see more people living by intention – understanding what they want from life and working out what will get them there.  I live that belief in my own life: from my teenage years I have consciously made choices that fit the plan I have for life.  That plan has changed many times – I no longer aspire to drinking Frascati, or have to worry about which barber to choose – but the current plan remains one that I find inspiring!

I have a clear route to retiring in my 40s, and I am almost there (almost retiring, I am well into my 40s!).  I have lots to enjoy in life beyond work – my lovely wife, investing, real ale, port, my travels both globally and through Europe in my motorhome, and a whole array of things I want to learn – philosophy, French, science and history to name but a few.

I have a strong sense of community (values installed in me by my dear Mum) and am the Chairman of a local charity running a large community building, which I helped to get built.  For many years I helped run a charity supporting a community in South Africa, which has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds and had a lasting impact on many lives.  I continue to support the charity from outside the committee – not least by swelling takings at their annual Beer Festival!

I give time to a homelessness charity in Oxford (who do unbelievable work) and also have an interest in those wrongfully convicted or falsely accused, because a dear friend has suffered that injustice. All these community passions stem from my belief in a creating a fair and just world, and in being the change we want to see in that world.