There are many ways I may have presented this, however, I have chosen to present it in a chronological order because I had a rather explosive start.
In 1982, following my studies at Manchester Polytechnic, I wrote a computer program that would have reduced the company wages department from 6 to 2 people, improved accuracy and improved payment systems. This was just one aspect of a very demanding job that set me up for the future.
In 1983, after just 5 years of working within the Productivity Department of an industrial textiles company I was offered the position of departmental manager – the youngest in the company. This promotion followed many successful projects, but culminated with my involvement in ‘evaluating and applying new job grades to all staff and managers within the company up to Director level ‘ (approx 184 staff) – this involved working alongside a contracted consultancy agency.
When I was 21 I left full time employment to became the youngest ‘contract work study engineer’ in the UK. I worked for an agency and had 3 successful contracts over a 2 year period – Uniroyal Scotland, Hazleton Laboratories Harrogate and Kirklees Local Authority:
- Uniroyal Scotland: This was a short 2 week contract and I worked as part of a three man team completing an ‘activity sampling’ exercise on the productivity of the fork lift trucks across the 3 acre site. Results from the analysis saved the company over £35,000.
- Kirklees Local Authority, Huddersfield: This was an 18 month contract and I worked as part of a team revising the ‘standard times’ and ‘methods’ for all jobs undertaken by all trades within the local authority. The new times were used for improved bonus payments and new working methods.
- Hazleton Laboratories, Harrogate: This was a 4 month contract and I worked as part of a team undertaking analysis and providing reports on a range of studies performed on animals for cosmetic product application. As a result of this I was head hunted and invited to become a partner in a new consultancy practice called Kingston Management Consultants (KMC) focusing on delivering training courses to the Manpower Services Commission and ad hoc high end consultancy.
When I was 23 I became the youngest Management Consultant in the UK. I initially worked as a partner in a 4 person consultancy practice, before going solo. I ran 3 very successful contracts over a 3 year period for Smiths Crisps and Nabisco plc, I then ran a new business development initiative for SME’S for 12 months:
- Smiths Crisps – Morley, Leeds: This was a short 2 month contract run during the set up of KMC. Following my investigation and report I was asked to take a solo consultancy role for the company. I accepted this opportunity rather than pursue a more narrow ‘training’ role with KMC. Soon afterwards the Director of Smiths Crisps Distribution was headhunted by Nabisco plc and he took me with him.
- Nabisco plc: This was a 3 year contract and I was responsible for managing the changeover of their ‘handball distribution’ to a palletised distribution system. I worked at all their depots across the UK and was credited with saving the company £1.8 million. My main contribution was the introduction, management and training related to a new ‘computerised vehicle routing system. I was also involved in umbrella sales development related to the national sales restructuring caused by the changeover to bulk purchasing for wholesalers. At the end of the contract I was offered a position as Depot Manager at their largest depot in Scotland – which I gracefully declined.
- New Business Development Initiative: This was a 12 month program where I supported a number of SME’s develop their business. The principles I based my methodology on were – Continued Business Justification, Learning from Experience, Defining Roles and Responsibilities, Management by stages, Management by Exception, Focusing on Products, Tailoring to Suit the Project Environment. All these were based on my qualifications as a work study engineer, my experiences in production, systems and sales and the skills I had developed in communication and listening. This type of approach has since become known as Prince, however, I have been working this way for much longer and continue to do so.
At the age of 26 I pursued a business opportunity and left the ‘consultancy arena’ to run my own business (M & M Decor) as a supplier of artificial plant displays. This was a new business development venture that I grew from scratch to success in a few years. I reinvested the profits from an initial contract and established an office, showroom and warehouse. I contacted potential clients and discussed with them their design options and prices for the completed project. I also undertook various exhibitions and events and secured major interior landscaping contracts throughout the UK and Europe. I became very good at B2B sales and at generating new business (over £1million in 4 years). After 5 years I had expanded to become one of the main contractors in the UK. I employed 11 staff and expanded into exterior landscape design, tree surgery and children’s playground equipment.
M & M Decor: This business is an example of my ability to start a business from scratch and develop it to a turnover of over £1million within 4 years.
A small example of the completed projects included:
Retail / FMCG – National refit:
Weigh & Save Retail Group – £1000.00 x 2 x 54 weeks. I won a National contract to refit over 200 new food stores throughout the UK. I fitted out 2 stores per week @ £1000.00 per store for 2 years. This involved interior landscaping to the store front and point of sale.
The Co-Op – National refit:
£8,500.00 / month x 18 months. I won a National contract to supply and fit artificial plants / interior landscaping to the head office and the retail stores of the Co-operative.
Supply of interior landscaping / artificial plant displays: · £1,500.00 – £15,000.00 / month for 18 months. I won the contract to be the artificial ‘planting contractor’ at Gmex exhibition centre Manchester. This provided me with the opportunity to supply / rent plant displays to the exhibitors (the official contractor was the only supplier allowed). Each exhibition was worth between £1,500.00 and £15,000.00
I have extensive experience of the event and exhibition workplace. I have exhibited in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow. I have won ove £300,000.00 worth of business from trade shows and as an exhibition contractor.
I won a contract (£2,500 / month) to provide an office / furniture supplier with a standard range of pre made artificial plant displays for 3 years.
PRESTIGE – I won a contract with the USA company Larson, to design and build an artificial rain forest for The British Natural History Museum in London. This was maintained for 3 years.
£250,000.00 contract: I won a contract to provide interior landscaping for many areas of The Meadowhall Shopping Centre Sheffield.
£50,000.00 – £350,000 contracts: I won various larger contracts with local authorities throughout the UK to provide interior landscaping, theming and rockscapes to leisure centres and public facility areas.
My scale of work and responsibilities within this role were many and varied. I analysed the competition, developed a marketing strategy, minimised costs and improved purchasing and payment options, minimised stock and implemented a cost reduction program. I successfully invested money and time on exhibitions and in ‘opportunity sourcing data’. I recruited and trained staff and geared the business so I could spend more time pursuing specialist contracts. I managed projects varying from £5,000 to £350,000 and worked with sub contractors and managed deadlines and penalty clauses to good effect. My ability to manage multiple complex projects became very good and resulted in very high customer satisfaction, minimal problems and a very happy working environment for myself and the staff. I was also able to relax and take time off with my young family – this was achieved during a period of considerable expansion. I also took on two partners and expanded into exterior landscaping design and build, tree surgery work and established a playground installation business.
At the age of 30 it was my intention to semi-retire and pursue a vocational lifestyle involving sports, recreation and young people.
The ‘unexpected happened’ and due to a number of large creditors failing to pay me I lost the busniess and all my money and undertook a voluntary arrangement and tried to recover the situation.