We meet Paul Winterbottom, Owner at The Alternative Board, for an interview over a Coffee in our spring issue of Chamber Matter’s newsletter.
What type of coffee do you mostly go for, and how do you take it?
Usually an Americano with hot milk; and if there’s a choice, purchased from an independent outlet as I prefer to support local entrepreneurial businesses when I can.
What was your inspiration to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ when it came to starting your business?
In my corporate life I worked closely with SME business owners for over 20 years and enjoyed working alongside them to enable them to develop their businesses. I’m a firm believer that life is too short to do things you don’t enjoy, and a business restructure meant I wouldn’t be enjoying the next stage of my corporate career if I’d stayed; so I left!
I spent time considering my options which is when I first heard about The Alternative Board (TAB); I really liked what I heard and the more I researched it the more attractive it became. I set up my TAB business in 2014 and haven’t looked back!
Who makes the best coffee at work?
As I work on my own, that has to be me! But I spend most of my time chairing and facilitating Board Meetings with my board members, and following those sessions up with 1:1 coaching sessions at their premises. I also enjoy meeting business owners, learning about their businesses, explaining what TAB is and the type of business owner that makes a good Board Member.
So, I do end up drinking a lot of coffee in many different locations!
Like cake makes the perfect extra to coffee, what does your business offer that sets you apart from your competitors?
This might sounds surprising, but what sets TAB apart is that it’s not all about me. Let me explain. I currently facilitate 3 Boards, typically each of those Boards have between 5 and 7 members who meet monthly. At each of those monthly Board Meetings every member brings a topic relating to their business that they want some help with; that might be how to overcome a problem, deal with a difficult situation, provide some alternative solutions, test out their thinking, review their plans, provide a different perspective or help evaluate an investment decision.
And it is the other business owners sat around the board table who, by sharing their own experiences and ideas, help the business owner to make a better quality decision.
However the best decisions aren’t worth anything unless they are implemented – so outside of the Board meetings I meet each of my clients for a private 1:1 coaching session and hold them accountable (and help them implement) the decisions they made at the Board Meeting.
Other than drinking plenty of coffee, what would you advise business owners as most important for success?
Two things; running a business can be a very lonely and isolating experience. It doesn’t need to be. TAB helps business owners overcome that as they learn from the experience of others and have a trusted, confidential group of fellow business owners helping them.
Secondly, I come across too many business owners who have lost sight of why they are running their own business, and often who have sacrificed a lot personally to the business. So I’d advise every business owner not only to have a clear vision for their business, but also a clear vision for their personal life and set yearly goals for each.
If you think your business could benefit by speaking to Paul at The Alternative Board, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 07799 868198.