A day in the life of a Jersey entrepreneur – Luke Smith

14/11/2017

Luke Smith, Founder, Purpose

What makes you spring out of bed in the morning?

I spend each day with lots of different people and my daily goal is to improve their lives in some way through the interactions I have with them – mostly by helping clients’ businesses become more profitable and more valuable, so that the owners can enjoy a better life.

I am proud that we are also able to make the world a bit better through the B1G1 charitable giving platform.  I really believe business can be a force for good and I set about proving that every day.

Finally, I love a constructive argument so challenging “the way it should be done” and getting thank you emails at the end of the day for helping my clients makes me happy.

What does your normal day look like?

I walk into the office for about 7:35 and get some work done before everyone else shows up. Usually emails or preparation for the meetings of the day. From 8:45 onwards it’s mentoring the team and clients and working on implementing new technology or procedures to grow our and our clients’ businesses.  I’ll regularly meet a prospective client and help them pull apart their business (metaphorically speaking) . I run a lot of strategy days for clients working through what their objective, strategy and tactics should be to develop as effectively as they can.

Normally I finish about 18:15, walk home to “help” with the children and then do the washing up after dinner. Normally I catch up on anything urgent before a bit of quiet time.

How did you get to where you are today?

I used to watch BBC2’s Working Lunch when I was 13 and it fascinated me. That led to debates around the dinner table with Dad around the issues of the day and then an accountancy and finance degree, chartered accountancy qualification with KPMG and then a Finance Director role in Industry.

Over the last ten years I have spent a lot of spare time reading and implementing business and emotional mastery theory and learning from successful and unsuccessful business owners debating their issues at monthly or quarterly management meetings.

What couldn’t you live your life without?

Other than the internet, usual gadgets and my family! Confidence. Most of my success and the success I see from those around me comes from the confidence to make a decision and make a change fast. Not having that would make life dull and very frustrating.

Which outsiders (professional services, investors, mentors, family etc.) have been most important to the success of your business?

There are two global legends of the industry who have become friends; Paul Dunn and Steve Pipe, who wrote books and showed the way.  TED.com has been an amazing source of inspiration with Simon Sinek and Brene Brown being true thought leaders. Ron Baker changed my beliefs on pricing and is a huge part of our success.

My team are all good people who make work fun and allow me to experiment and my business partner, Julie Heaven, allows me to go help develop businesses whilst she brilliantly manages the day to day.

Klaudia, my wife, looks after pretty much everything at home and creates a wonderful environment for the children and frees me up to be able to do what I need to do.

My parents and grandparents supported me financially when the bank reneged on a long-term agreement and my Mum was there for us as a family when we had two children under 16 months, I’d just started the business and we both had to work.  I will never be able to repay her.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome?

Self-belief has never been a problem but I have on occasion expected too much from others who have let me down. Since being in charge of my own destiny, the only challenges have, so far, been small ones and we’ve grown consistently every year.

Before that, not being able to make the mortgage with a day to go and not having the control I needed to change things caused a lot of anger and upset.  Getting those issues around control resolved was key.

Winning new work is always a challenge as business owners believe it’s hard to move accountants (it’s not) and that there is a lot of important historic knowledge their existing provider has (there isn’t). I’ve also struggled with a lack of grey hair – credibility as a thought leader is difficult to establish when you’re younger – that’s becoming less of a problem now!

What advice would you give to your younger self before embarking on your business journey?

Take a deep breath and step back more.  Over the last two years I’ve done a lot of work on emotional intelligence and I wish I’d done it 15 years ago. Technical skills and research are all well and good but everything would have been a lot less emotionally draining if I’d known then what I do now. Experiment more and accept you won’t always get it right.  If you can take action from a place of courage and “be brave” you will create a better outcome than if you’re angry or proud or fearful and it will all be more fun.

Website: Purpose

Twitter: Luke Smith

Facebook: Purpose

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