Member Profile Interview – Brian Williamson of Jumpstart & Brightwork
What was your first job after leaving school/further education?
When did you start your business & what prompted you to do it?
Started my first business in 1994 after a factory I ran was being consolidated with another. I was given the opportunity to run the larger entity but took the opportunity to leave and start a business.
What did you find most challenging at the beginning?
Getting large companies to buy from my small company
Who did you ask for advice & why did you choose them?
I have always courted advice and guidance from every quarter so I had no specific mentors but many business people. I used to ask the same question of several different people and make a decision based on how suitable I`felt the answers were.
How did you fund your business?
Mainly debt from the bank.
What would you do differently now looking back?
The business grew from nothing to £5m sales in three years so I guess not much to be honest.
What or who has helped you to grow your business the most?
Tactics helped a lot as we were in the days pre Euro so we used exchange rates to win European work from Germany. The second benefit was befriending the customers who wanted to help us win work for the UK from mainly German competitors. They helped me understand the dynamics of the industry.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
The time when I almost lost everything I owned (including my mum and dads house) and would have been left with a mortgage, no house for my family and parents and no income
What are the future plans for your business?
To become the defacto standard for our offering in the UK, total dominance.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to set up their own business?
You need to understand the sacrifice you will be making. I have spent my life sacrificing friends and family for large parts of tht to achieve my goals. I have created great wealth but I reflect on what I missed out on. Once you have decided it is for you then speak to people that has trod the path you wish to walk. Learn from them and continue that process throughout your business life.
Tell us something about you that isn’t commonly known.
I wanted to be Jesus when I was young
And finally, why did you join WeDO?
I love networking with people and most of my business experience has come from listening to others and often I learn from younger and smaller businesses. Despite being in my 34th year of running business I think I will learn a lot from WeDO members.