Q&A with Bill Squires, ActionCOACH & Pure Offices Leeds Occupier

Bill Squires is an occupier at Pure Offices’ Leeds Thorpe Park and one of over 250 ActionCOACHES in the UK. His professional goal is to help businesses become commercially successful and enable business owners to have more autonomy over how they spend their time. When he’s not coaching, Bill enjoys cycling and walking in the glorious Yorkshire countryside.

We caught up with Bill to find out more about his journey so far…

 

Hi Bill! First off, what inspired you to become an ActionCOACH?

I’ve specialised growing B2B services companies for years now. For me, it’s now all about giving something back and helping other people achieve their goals. After graduating as a civil engineer from university, I worked overseas in the oil industry. I then completed an MBA in France, before a spell with the venture capital firm, 3i plc.

I emigrated to Australia where I rapidly grew a startup from scratch, achieving a turnover of AUD $1.5 million in just three years. Initially, the big challenge for us was sourcing clients but it quickly became all about finding the best people to work for us.

During my time working in business growth I’ve doubled the size of a company where growth had previously plateaued, from £1.5 m to £3m in just 18 months. I’ve also grown a Facilities Management company from £3m to £9m in three years and doubled the size of a support services business from £30m to £60m in two years.

There’s a lot in the small business press at the moment about how companies are struggling to find the right talent – is this true for your clients?

For most people it’s a mix of finding more clients and finding good people. If you can get these two processes working in tandem, the results can be amazing. I was speaking with someone recently actually – a professional services organisation that were struggling to find talent. They were having meetings every week to decide which opportunities to turn down because they were so short staffed.

So, I asked them what they were doing to find people; what were their sales and marketing teams working on? They paused momentarily, then came back with: “well, they’re finding new leads for us…”

It’s all about asking the right questions!

Do you tend to work for small businesses?

It varies. I work with some high growth startups, SMEs and larger brands. Rather than the size of business, it’s about working with someone who is dissatisfied with where they are; someone who wants to get more out of their business and life and are open to help.

How long do you work with people for?

I usually work with people for the long-term in order to help them build a commercially successful, profitable enterprise that works without them at the helm. By doing this, the business owner can have the freedom to choose what they do.

They can sit back and take passive income or sell the business knowing they’ve maximised its value. Alternatively (and a lot of people do this because they love their business), they can do anything they want in their business, whenever they want, knowing that if they don’t do it that day, it’ll carry on working without them.

The key is to spend time working on the business rather than in it.

Are most of your clients based in and around Leeds?

Yes. It’s possible to coach over videoconferencing and the telephone but I also like personal face-to-face time, which is why I focus on organisations in the local area. I live 10 miles away from the office; I deliberately have an office at Thorpe Park so I have a bit of extra space in a creative atmosphere.

It’s great here – light, airy and the perfect place for clients to come and spend some thinking time away from their usual environment.

How would you describe the business landscape in Leeds at the moment?

It’s a very healthy climate. Leeds is a big part of the Northern Powerhouse and there’s been significant redevelopment in recent years. The Thorpe Park estate we’re on has been growing massively and is a real focus for the future growth of Leeds.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s still a lot to be done to push Leeds further into the future – the rail system is lagging behind, for instance.

Final question! If you weren’t a business coach, what would be your plan B?

Hmm, good question. It’s hard to think of anything I would rather be doing.  I’d probably spend more time cycling and walking in the Yorkshire countryside. We’re blessed with some wonderful cycling country here. We’ve got the Tour de Yorkshire, the Tour de France visited in 2014 and this year we’ve got the UCI Road World Championships.

Yorkshire is literally god’s own cycling country as well as god’s own everything country – it’s a great place to be!

You can contact Bill Squires at billsquires@actioncoach.com.

Bill also runs a series of business growth workshops – find out more on his ActionCOACH website.