Why I’d Like to be Starting Up Again Today
By Pat Lewis, Chairman, Source One Consulting
Aged 16 and looking for my purpose in life, I left school with two O Levels and no formal business qualifications. I was hopelessly unacademic and very shy, so when I was presented with the opportunity to work in the Post Room at Fisons, I jumped at the chance.
I didn’t thrive at school and was hungry for an environment that provided stability and excitement. I soon realised that I had an energy and passion for work, and I think this is where my motivation to succeed first came from.
I discovered my real love was understanding business and connecting with people. So, when an opportunity in the office stationery and furniture market arose at the age of 20, I took the chance. I was helping with deliveries initially, but I really wanted to be a Sales Rep, knocking on doors. Was I capable? Well I got a company car, so hey, sure I was!
By 2002, I was working at an office interiors company. After being passed over for a directorship, I decided to start-up Source One, a company founded to create dynamic, innovative and flexible workplaces for SMEs.
The wonderful thing about being young and possibly naïve is that I was bold and fearless, giving no real thought to the consequences of going out on my own. At that point I had a family, but I knew I had to do this now. Was I capable? I just thought I’d give it try. I knew I could make it work, and with the right people in place to provide the knowledge and skills, I would succeed.
Building something is a passion of mine and in some ways, I wish I could start my business again, not least because the technology available today to help you was only very primitive when I started out. There may have been less competition back then, but technology can open so many doors and I believe there are more opportunities today than ever.
For one, it’s far easier to gain funding for a new business, enabling entrepreneurs to focus on realising their business goals and fulfilling their capabilities.
I believe that if you have a strong idea for a business which solves a problem and makes people’s lives easier and more convenient as a result, then you have a great shot at succeeding and can achieve anything. As my mentor, Stan used to say, “sell the sizzle, not the steak”. We all have the tools to be successful, so I encourage everyone to take a leap of faith.
I remember several significant people in my life doubting that I could achieve success, but that only inspired me. Running my own businesses had always seemed like the natural thing to do.
As a business, moments of connection, belonging and culture are extremely important and now success for me is helping charities and other new businesses to reach their goals. My newest project is only a few months old in the business of sport, talent and people management.
And am I capable? Well, yes, I am!
Pat Lewis is Founder and Chairman at Source One Consulting. E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 08456 031 585 Visit: sourceoneconsulting.co.uk