Founder, Mint Performance
True experience is built not only upon the achievement of success, but equally upon the lessons of the losses, and straight-talking Andy Hollands has garnered a grounding of both highs and lows in the corporate world.
Through founding Mint Performance, the business guru is now using his entrepreneurial wisdom to give guidance to companies and executives on their own enterprising odysseys.Connect on LinkedIn
You’re extremely passionate about sharing your experience to help others; what have been the lessons of your entrepreneurial journey?
My first business was called the UK Water Group. My partners and I pioneered a brand new, plumbed in drinking water dispenser into commercial offices. We positioned ourselves as the market leader and we grew that business over seven years to £3 million turnover and 53 staff. We sold it for £6.4 million, which was beyond our wildest dreams.
After three years out and two years as MD of another company, I joined another business. I poured a lot of money into it and I became a 50% partner. My partner was taking money out of the business and I lost £320,000. That's still very painful to me today, it was a big eye opener.
I’ve learnt some big lessons of both success and failure which led me to start Mint Performance in 2008. I’m trying to help other business owners, not to make the same mistakes, but also to benefit from what I have learnt building a successful and profitable business. Most business owners are technicians of their trade with corporate backgrounds; when they set up on their own, they need guidance on running other elements of a business: finances, HR, operations, processes, sales and marketing strategy.
You work with many young entrepreneurs; how do Millennial and Generation Z entrepreneurs differ from their predecessors?
For 10 years I focused on the 55-to-60-year-old entrepreneur with eyes on their exit strategy. COVID expedited the retirement of those clients. It prompted me to turn the business on its head and target young entrepreneurs who've got the same energy and zest that I had when I was in my twenties. I can talk to them with honesty and frankness, and they’re more aware that a business coach can bring them accelerated growth. If you're in your twenties or thirties and starting out on your entrepreneurial journey then I'm the man for you, because I get excited about what I did when I was that age.
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"Most business owners are technicians of their trade with corporate backgrounds; when they set up on their own, they need guidance on running other elements of a business."
When mentoring a new client, what are your processes of evaluation and strategy?
The first step is to have a one-to-one, where I ask some very awkward questions about them and their business. I will be as forthright as I can be because I’m very straight-talking.
Second step is an intensive assessment, lifting the bonnet on the business and going through everything with a fine-tooth comb. I want to know where they’re taking the business and what their exit plan is. I want to know what they want to sell it for and how they think they’re going to do that.
Thereafter, I run a monthly board meeting with them, and I will check in with them every fortnight, to make sure they’re delivering objectives and monthly actions. I become the Chief Accountability Officer.
How much of your coaching focuses on preparing for the unforeseen for businesses?
If you build a house on weak foundations, and there’s a storm, it’s going to fall over. The same is true in business. I’ve had many conversations where COVID is being blamed for problems when fundamentally the business is built on weak foundations.
Everything I talk about is based on strong foundations; preparing the business to be strong, profitable and with reserves in the bank account. You cannot foresee things that come out of the blue, whether it’s something like COVID or a competitor, but if you’ve got a profitable, successful well-run business, you can invariably withstand them.
What influence is the Old Bond Store having on the local entrepreneurial culture?
It’s created an amazing hub of entrepreneurs, which is fantastic. I’m working with about eight or nine entrepreneurs in the Old Bond Store, which is wonderful. I want them to flourish and to do well with my help and guidance. The success of the Old Bond Store is based upon the success of the members so it creates a very positive entrepreneurial culture.
What are your aspirations for the future?
I love what I do; it’s a lifestyle business for me. My aspiration is to keep giving back to those younger entrepreneurs as much as I can, for as long as I can, and enjoy my lifestyle business.
In terms of that lifestyle, what do you enjoy outside of work?
I enjoy walking and being outdoors with my partner Jude. I enjoy fitness training and off-road motorcycling through the green lanes of the UK. I love golf; I’m a member of Salisbury and South Wilts Golf Club. I’ve got two children; Livvy 31, and Ben 29, and I enjoy their company. I love going skiing, mountain biking and being in the mountain air.
"Everything I talk about is based on strong foundations. You cannot foresee things that come out of the blue, whether it’s something like COVID or a competitor, but if you've got a profitable, successful well-run business, you can invariably withstand them."
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