Name: Terry Forrester
Job: Managing Director
For: ibd Business Advice Group Ltd
The story so far:
Bristol University B.A. (History with English)
Sponsored through University by Staffs Police Force on an accelerated programme.
Staffs police Force.
Sales – pottery company
MD of Irish subsidiary
CEO of print & packaging division.
Set up small business (sold after 3 years)
Set up ibd Business Advice Group Ltd in 2000
PCBA Univerity of Chester.
Visiting lecturer at the University of Chester.
Hi Terry, what do you do?
I’m the Managing Director of ibd Business Advice Group Ltd. ibd is a network of business advisers who can help companies improve their productivity and profitability, and I’m responsible for running the company.
What do you think got you to where you are now?
The University degree has not really been of benefit. I Joined the Police Force on an accelerated programme to be a Police Inspector within 7 years. However, I joined the dog branch which had no promotion possibilities.
I left the Police Force and began my selling career with a pottery company. I then joined a large industrial group, Norcros. I joined as a salesperson and rose through a series of promotions to become MD of the Irish subsidiary. After two years I became CEO of the print and packaging division, but left that position because of the extensive travel abroad. I then started my own company which I sold three years later, before starting out as a self employed business adviser.
I started the company ibd Business Advice Group ltd in 2000 and have now built that up to have 230 business advisers covering the whole of England and Wales. We also employ 8 people in admin and finance roles, and I have 8 regional managers responsible for training.
What does running the company involve day to day?
Together with one other director, I have general overall control of the company, which covers everything.
That includes training, recruitment, lecturing, sales, marketing and staff issues, which include general management, discipline and grievance hearing of the advisers and other staff within the company.
What takes up most of your time?
Building relationships with other bodies which could assist my company in growth.
Training and general management of the managers.
Assisting the training managers to deliver the best training programmes to both new advisers and those that have been with the company for some time.
What’s the biggest challenge?
Mainly the challenge of growing the company in the current recession.
Are there many other companies like yours?
We don’t have a great deal of competition because we work almost entirely with small and medium sized companies and start ups. There aren’t many companies such as ours in this field. We‘ve introduced methods such as an electronic health check which allows us to establish a company’s problems, opportunities, strengths and weaknesses. We also train our advisers to obtain a Professional Certificate in Business Advice (from the University of Chester). Both the electronic health check and the PCBA are unique to ibd, so there aren’t any companies that do exactly what we do.
How much do you have to work?
It’s difficult to state. My hours of work vary from week to week, ranging from 35 to 60 hours depending on the work load.
Who might be good at your job?
To do my job you need to be an experienced businessman or woman, having been a main board director with a fairly substantial company. On top of that they need to be able to work unsupervised, long hours at times and have a desire to work with small and medium sized companies.
Where do you work?
I mainly work from home although we do have a Head Office in Cambridge. I work closely with other directors of the company, and we are in constant touch through the company’s intranet system, which allows us to communicate with everyone else within the company.
Do you leave work at work?
I try to switch off from work and enjoy swimming with my grandchildren, who I spend most of my free time with. I make sure that I always have frequent holidays and I try never to work at the week-ends.
What’s your favourite thing about your job?
Training, meeting clients, and meeting other people in senior roles throughout Government and other bodies. I enjoy promoting ibd too.
And your least favourite?
I want to do what you do. What advice can you give me?
It’s difficult, because people can’t start out in my field without extensive experience as a director of a substantial company. The person doing my role or that of the advisers role would have to have the credibility to be able to convince managing directors or owners of small and medium sized companies that they have the necessary skills to be able to make a significant contribution to these companies. Being able to work with small companies who have serious problems, and almost always a cash flow problem takes a special type of person.
Is there anything you’d change about your job?