The Idea That Turned Into A Company

On October 24, 2011, in Stories, by admin

Why quit the corporate life?

Many people have asked what led me to giving up a high paying corporate job, striking out on my own and founding Executive Action. Short answer: “It was now or never!” I’m grateful I did. However obvious the following might seem, here’s what I learned…

Time to wake up – and get on with it!

Late 2009 was a crisis point: fed up working hard in a job I had come to detest, for a company with a potential that would never be properly realised. It was a decision I had been putting off for far too long – I needed an exit – fast. I simply wanted to be more productive (for my family and those I actually wanted to serve) and get on with building something genuinely worthwhile – feeling good whilst doing so. The clock was ticking. As Branson says, “Screw it, Let’s do it”.

Apart from sheer relief and a burning sense of excitement, there was also fear. Until that point I’d been in a relatively high-paying corporate job. With a family to support in what appeared to be a worsening global economic crisis (little did I know) replacing my income wouldn’t be so easy on the outside. There was no corporate safety bubble (a convenient illusion). Whilst scanning a selection of the many lifetimes’ of knowledge on offer in the business section of a London bookshop, inspiration struck. This is what I realised…

You CAN design your own future…
Income is just a product of how much value you can add to a marketplace.

Since income is directly connected to the value you can add to your marketplace, by knowing how to add value to a particular set of customers, success then becomes a choice – not luck.

My embarrassingly obvious realisation has been that by choosing to add more value to more of the customers I really want to serve, I can design my own future where a company depends on me, not the other way around. With this mindset, one actively pursued by almost all the successful executives I know, I can choose almost any career path.

In my case, after a rational analysis of my sadly over-developed work ethic and almost uncontrollable impatience with all things bureaucratic, I have concluded that, success, measured initially in terms of financial and locational freedom, is something I believe I can achieve faster by building my own company. But it doesn’t have to be this way for everyone. My company, my rules – that’s a personal attraction to an uncapped potential to create value, complete autonomy to choose where and how to do so, and ironically a far greater security over my earnings. I remain in complete control of my speed, success or failure. There’s no upper limit. There’s no lower one either so I appreciate these odds are not for everyone.

Who to serve?

I like working with go-getting Executives. The type that are switched on, ambitious, (usually) know what they want and have real get-up-and-go. You see them everywhere, often sitting just below the top tier. But even though they’re the busiest and hardest working amongst all their peers, sadly so many are still dying to be released on the big initiatives where they can show what they are really capable of. To serve this community I know I must to appeal to the thing they value most, perhaps their scarcest commodity – TIME.

TIME: It seems to me that most executives already know how to make more money for their companies, it’s having the proper TIME to think and perform to their full potential that they lack. I believe that if I can save them time, I can add the greatest value of all. I can set them free. Free to create more value and faster, and to lead less corporately constrained and cluttered lifestyles. This has become my vision, my market and my measure of value contributed.

Saving time for busy executives?

How? By leveraging expert practitioner knowledge to help my executive customers get what they need faster. Developing simpler, more competitive service propositions. Preparing quicker, more effective communications for customers and the boardroom. Publishing executive summaries, re-usable templates and blueprints for action that save the constant ‘wheel reinvention’ in environments where sharing best practice is uncommon.

Practical use is the key to value here. Quick references that not only inspire action but also provide “Keynotes” as useful memory aids for every day use. Resources that condense learning time, promote quicker recall and guide more effective and productive action. In short – high quality, time saving solutions for busy executives.

Knowledge as you go. Less time studying, more time practising.

Taking this a step further, we all appreciate that we learn better and faster by doing. So ideas about the rising popularity of mobile learning, online learning and on-the-job training have guided me to develop the concept of “Knowledge as you go”. Speed and ease of adoption are vital for busy executives. More than just inspirational guides and study aids, I believe we can contribute far more by enabling the reader to become a ‘User’ who can immediately take the knowledge and directly apply it to their own every day situations. Less time studying, more time practising. Templates must be blueprints that can be regularly used and re-used – encouraging executives to take the right action quickly and efficiently whilst avoiding common mistakes.

The decision that turned an idea into a company.

And so Executive Action was born. A little idea and a vision on which I have decided to act: building template-accelerated toolkits to speed up common sales and marketing tasks; providing re-usable innovation, presentation and reporting tools to save further repetition and reinvention; delivering accredited fast-track coaching courses to share learning more quickly; and authoring a unique range of one- and three-minute summaries for continuous every day reference (for those of us who forget things easily and need to be reminded efficiently!)


For me this is a passion. A channel through which I am free to exercise my own creativity and judgement, providing solutions directly to the people I want to serve at an accelerated rate. For as long as my customers continue to see the value, I will continue to systematically apply these principles and help them get results faster.

It has taken much hard work to get to this point, but as I write this update in 2012 (just over 2 years in), I am grateful to be successful, free and as motivated as ever to finding new ways to help busy executives save time and achieve more.


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