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Simon Hawtrey-Coombs

Simon Hawtrey-Coombs on the mindset of growth

By Simon Hawtrey-Coombs

Franchisee, DPD

With an adaptability that has enabled him to turn his entrepreneurial hand to numerous businesses and industry sectors, Simon HC is somewhat of a metamorphic maverick.

Simon spent his early career working in the hospitality and food industries, and then a period in estate agency and property. In the 90s he diversified into the parcel sector with a decade working for DPD, and the biggest brands in the world, but it was later when he became a franchisee for the parcel giant that Simon’s entrepreneurial potential prospered.

It’s a business he still owns today, as well as a commercial cleaning company and a boat charter business, and his pool of knowledge and passion for wellbeing is shared and channelled through Peer2Peer – an inclusive membership organisation for 100’s of business leaders wanting to grow, both in business and personally.

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You’re very entrepreneurial by nature; what’s your entrepreneurial style?

I have always tried to have an understanding of people and create engagement with customers and the team.

Always having a purpose, a vision, and a goal is also part of my style: I’m very KPI-driven and mindful of results.

What we’re doing at Peer2Peer is about business growth but it’s also about wellbeing. The greatest reward for me is seeing someone go from shrinking violet, struggling to hit the million-pound turnover mark, to three years later owning the room, having £5 million turnover but also the balance to be able to take time out of their business for themselves.

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"Don’t create to-do lists; create to-who lists. Rather than thinking how can I do this? Think about who can help you to do it."

You’ve had quite an entrepreneurial journey and much of it is self-taught, what advice would you give to your younger self today?

To let go of things. Don’t create to-do lists; create to-who lists. Rather than thinking how can I do this? Think about who can help you to do it. The biggest thing if I was to look back is that I wish I’d got a coach and a PA 30 years ago.

People get consumed by being in their business rather than on it. The key is to unbusy yourself in every walk of life. Take time out for yourself – yoga, meditation, a run, goals around wellbeing, health, diet. It’s very difficult because everyone knows what to do, but we don’t do it.

You’ve run businesses in the area for over 30 years; how would you describe the south coast business scene at the moment?

I think that there are a lot of pretenders and a bit of a veneer over reality, but there’s also a lot of hope. To have everything in life at a perfect level is very difficult to manage because life is tough.

I think there’s a lot of positivity on the south coast. There are a lot of super amazing people, but I don’t think that they realise their potential of where they are, and what they can do with the tools and resources that are available to them in the UK. I think there’s a lot of hopium without execution.

People are very head down and they’re running very fast within their businesses and within their lives – they’re missing so much, and they’ve got a good chance of falling over. We need to slow down to speed up. Everyone rushes around trying to squeeze in as much as they possibly can every single day but they don’t always do things well.

"The key is to unbusy yourself in every walk of life. Take time out for yourself – yoga, meditation, a run, goals around wellbeing, health, diet."

Simon Hawtrey-Coombs

Do you have any mentors who have guided your career?

My favourite mentors are Robin Sharma, Gary Vee, Grant Cardone, Tony Robbins, Dan Sullivan, Simon Sinek, and Dan Priestley.

I think the best book I ever read was over 30 years ago and is by Dale Carnegie on How to Win Friends and Influence People.

You’re particularly passionate about mindset management and health and wellbeing, can you tell us a little bit more about that?

There’s a great analogy by Warren Buffett about having the car of your dreams but it being the only car you’re going to have for your entire life. You would clean it, service it, look after it, and put the best fuel in it: but we don’t do that for ourselves, we’ve each got an average of 1000 months on this planet and we need to look after ourselves.

We now have so many distractions around us: social media, emails, Netflix. We survived without any of that about 15 years ago and now we are totally consumed with it and it’s ruining our lives and our wellbeing, creating anxiety and depression. I think you need to be aware of all this stuff to be able to circumnavigate your way around it.

Fit leaders create fit businesses. There are 2668 billionaires on the planet and 80% of them don’t drink. For me, the game changer is sobriety, as well as yoga, meditation, running, and keeping fit.

How do you look after your own mental health and wellbeing?

I love yoga. I love paddleboarding. I love nice spa retreats to chill-out and slow down. In order to be efficient and effective we must slow down and recharge.

You can create the life that you want for yourself if you stop people pleasing and saying yes to everybody: it’s OK to say no with a smile.

Simon Hawtrey-Coombs