- Started first successful business whilst at school
- Studied Business at Loughborough University.
- Attained various business qualifications that include the Institute of Customer Services ‘Gold’ Award and the Institute of Directors Diploma in Company Direction.
- Turned around a non-performing multi-million pound finance company in under 4 months.
- First business developed from start-up into an over £10 million pound turnover financial services firm.
- Chaired a business forum increasing it’s membership twofold in just 12 months.
- Worked on Solihull Borough’s Visioning and Strategy Review with other Chief Executives including those of Jaguar Land Rover, Ramada Jarvis Group, NEC Group, Birmingham International Airport & John Lewis.
- Taken 3 separate companies from start-up to profit and successful exit.
- Reversed the fortunes of an educational business in less than 18 months.
- Voluntarily assists schools with ‘Business Day’ Programmes and Events.
An ‘Entrepreneur’ before he knew what one was!
Whilst he never realised it at the time, it seems that Clive was always destined to become a business owner and entrepreneur.
Having failed his 11+ he found himself in a hard ‘all boys’ school environment. Initially he found it difficult to settle but over time Clive found ways to survive through humour, inevitably some tough knocks and now what you may recognise as a dogged entrepreneurial spirit.
His most successful ‘school’ business venture was undoubtedly a sandwich business that saw him make enough money from ‘morning break-time’ sales to fund a daily canteen lunch, a gambling ‘kitty’ for the lunchtime game of cards or ‘against the wall’ and it also supplemented his pocket money improving his wardrobe and prized record collection (a must for any young lad about town at the time Clive recalls). It only came crashing down after 18 months when his mother found out from an irked brother that it was not the insatiable appetite of an athletic young son that required copious amounts of sandwiches each day, but instead a thriving business!
It almost didn't happen!
Clive had left school and was ready to start college when he got the bombshell with just weeks to go that his father could not afford to support him as he had been made redundant. The message was clear, ‘Get a job son, and quick’. Those that planned to enter work after school rather than go to college had already secured jobs, so there were few opportunities. He frantically looked around and beat off over 200 other applicants to secure an office junior role within a firm of Accountants, being paid the princely sum of £31.50 per week! A big chunk of which was paid into the family home.
At 19 years of age he demonstrated his confidence, independence and commercial awareness by deciding to buy his first property.
Having had various jobs, been promoted a number of occasions and received some prestigious accolades along the way, he was given his greatest challenge to that point whilst working in Personal Finance. It was to turn around an acquisition his employers had made in purchasing an under-performing mortgage portfolio. It was generating around £6 million per year but at a 31% ‘Received versus Due’ it was significantly under-performing due to mis-management over a number of years. He hand-picked a team and within 4 months they had significantly exceeded the Board of Director’s two year plan expectations, almost trebling the revenues.
His next project with the same firm rekindled his entrepreneurial spirit and gave him a great idea for a business that would have made and saved his employers millions of pounds and would have helped their customers in the process. It was a ‘Win-Win’. He spent ages putting a board proposal together only for it to not get a fair hearing. Being unimpressed Clive ended up leaving to do it himself.
Whilst scary at the time, had they accepted his idea he may never have become his own boss.
And so it all began
Having sought finance for working capital from the usual sources it was clear everyone (especially the banks) were looking to take advantage of the new ‘start up’. So he invited friends and family to his home for a presentation and promptly raised what he needed via a consortium of personal investors.
He planned not to pay himself for 6 months but a hard start meant it ran to 20 months. In that time he had a very tempting and potentially lucrative offer to build his company as a subsidiary of another firm, but walked away to continue his own journey.
After two years his firm started to take off and he had an approach to buy the firm soon after the anniversary. The offer was not enough, so he carried on.
After five years he had a further approach from a firm who had bought and sold other firms in their sector and saw his company as a possible client. After an audit they valued the firm at a minimum of £1.6 million. Whilst a lot of money again Clive decided to shun the proposal, instead choosing to push on to build the business further.
Operating in a highly regulated market his firm developed an enviable reputation and was invited to spearhead the birth of a new trade association. They sat on the Board for five years, and played a major part in creating an approved professional qualification that raised standards across the sector.
At the same time he created another firm from scratch, developed a ‘European’ subsidiary and exited them both in 2011.
He sold most of the portfolio within his first business in 2012, transferring the surplus staff to another new firm he had created just 9 months beforehand. Within two years his third firm had around 2000 customers with an estimated fee value of £2.7 million. He sold this business in 2016.
Leaving a business success legacy
Clive now says he is ‘living the dream’, being inspired each and every day by the business owners he comes into contact with. He also considers it a privilege to be invited into their Company, and is always excited by the challenge of helping them deliver more success and achieving their personal goals.
Up & Personal
Born in Eastbourne, West Sussex, Clive’s family moved to Birmingham when he was just 5 years old.
Brought up a as ‘Brummie’, he became an avid fan of Aston Villa FC and the Warwickshire Bears cricket team. He enjoys participating in most sports and still plays football each Thursday, believing his experience makes up for his lessening athletic ability when compared to his younger team-mates.
Despite hating needles he gives blood regularly after he found out that he has a rare blood group. Having researched this further he believes in this passionately and says ‘Giving blood really saves lives, and what greater gift can you provide to fellow mankind than that?’
Finally, but definitely not least, his pride and joy are his four fabulous and fun children and his gorgeous partner Becky.