To start off an amazing April, we celebrated Prime’s record month, hitting our highest numbers since launch. It’s a great achievement, as we have all worked incredibly hard to hit our targets. We rewarded ourselves with a target hitting club night out around Manchester visiting a lovely restaurant and a number of bars.
We also had the pleasure of congratulating our newest recruit, Dan Hartley on his first of many deals for Prime. Dan has settled in really well, and we’re delighted to have him on board.
As regards to public speaking, my highlight of the month was speaking for Everyone Active in Bristol, a health club chain that also offers online training services. With over 10 years of experience in the leisure sector, it was great to go back to my roots and meet up with some old colleagues.
I also took part in the ‘Once upon a Smile’ charity football match at Altrincham FC’s ground. There was an incredible turnout, with over 3000 tickets sold for the game. The event was held to remember Isaac Maley, a young local boy who sadly passed away last August at the young age of 10 years old. The event raised £34,000 for the charity, which is astonishing! It was such an honour to be a part of, and it feels great to have played a part in the fundraising.
The 31st of March was my birthday, the first I’ve had since the birth of my daughter Lucia. It was a great night, but just a quiet night in with the family. I must be getting old!
Now on to May, a busy month ahead for speaking engagements and hopefully another record breaking month for Prime……
Firstly, I would like to apologise for the lack of blogs recently. It turns out it’s quite hard to find spare time when you’re managing a business, bringing up a daughter and slotting in lots of public speaking events 🙂
There has been a lot going on at Prime since my last blog, as we hired our seventh team member and moved into our new office on Hewitt Street in Manchester. We achieved a six-figure operating profit in our first year, which we’re all really proud of, but we are pushing further in year two, with a hope of doubling our turnover and hiring another three members of staff.
It seems that the efforts were also recognised by others, as I was a finalist in both the IoD awards for ‘Start-up of the Year’, and a finalist at the Made In Manchester awards for ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’. Although I didn’t win the awards, it was great to recognised alongside such tough competition.
I have recently been involved in a lot of public speaking at many different events. I spoke at the National Apprenticeship Week event for Easi Drive, which is a local company that invest heavily in apprentices. It was great to see such aspiring young professionals making their name in the world of work at such a young age.
I also had the pleasure of speaking at a Women in Business event in my hometown of Warrington. There were over 200 women at the events – I wasn’t sure whether to be excited or intimidated! Jokes aside, the event was very memorable for me as the event was in aid of the Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace, where I am a patron. It was a significant time for the foundation as it marked the 23rd year since the Warrington bomb, so it was great to see so many people turn up for the event and show their support.
My daughter Lucia is now 9 months old, meaning it’s coming up to her first birthday. Time is going far too quickly. I’m still struggling with the duties of being a father, but I couldn’t be happier with how things are going at the moment!
It’s been a few months since I last blogged, so there is a lot to update you on. My business, Prime, has been going from strength to strength, adding a fantastic number seven to our team (no, not Ronaldo, Beckham or Cantona!), as Chris Jones joins the team. We’ve also moved offices – we’re still in Manchester city centre, but gives us the larger space we require to continue our growth.
The results speak for themselves. After an excellent first 12 months, we were shortlisted for the Start-Up of the Year category at this year’s North West Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, something we are really excited about and proud of. This is just one of the reasons I am excited for next year, where hopefully we won’t settle for being a finalist!
Aside from Prime, my speaking is also keeping me extremely busy. It has me travelling up and down the country, attending events recently in London, Liverpool and Leicester (I just need spots in Luton, Lincoln and Loughborough to collect the full set of ‘L’s!). Last week, I was the keynote speaker at the British Franchise Conference and Awards in Milton Keynes, which was a great experience. After that, there’s nothing better than heading home, giving a speech at the Styles and Co event in the mighty Warrington! My other business interest, Out There, is also going from strength to strength, as we have now grown the franchise team to cover 30 areas across the UK.
On a personal note, I was included in this year’s ’42 Under 42’ list by North West Business Insider. It’s a huge honour to be alongside such innovative and exciting entrepreneurs, with many of the previous list going on to be extremely successful. I also found out this week that I’ve been shortlisted for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award at next year’s Made in Manchester Awards, which I’m really looking forward to!
I have also been watching this series of The Apprentice, and doing some media work, with radio reviews and a blog to talk about the candidates – I’m not sure who I fancy as the winner yet, but I sense Vana and Charliene will go a long way.
Closer to home, my baby daughter Lucia is now five months old – how the time has flown! I’m loving being a dad and she’s certainly keeping my hands full! In between time spent with my daughter, I’ve finally cracked my 10k target time, completing it in 41:52 – a full eight seconds under my target time. It’s only taken me a year!
With all these exciting projects and developments, I’m looking forward to having a great family Christmas, and I wish you all a happy Christmas and New Year period.
With summer flying by, I’ve been spending my time across a number of projects. Firstly, I’ll fill you in on what’s been going on at Prime. We’ve hired our sixth team member, with Liam Taggart joining the team!
We’ve been expanding rapidly in recent months, and with an increase in candidates, and a number of big grad workshops coming up, a sixth person was definitely needed.
However, my biggest achievement this year came when I gave my keynote speech at the Business Show at the Excel in London, alongside the likes of Dragon James Caan. It’s the UK’s largest business expo, with people coming from around the country to visit, so it’s excellent for making contacts. To present my business and offer some words of advice was a great honour, and something to tick off my bucket list!
Outside of Prime, I’ve been heavily involved in promoting the youth of the region, either through charity events or my motivational speaking. I hosted and presented the Apprenticeships of the Year at Trafford College, as well as giving a talk for enterprise students from across Manchester.
It was also an honour to be invited to take part in Key 103’s ‘Cash For Kids’ initiative, designed to inspire and motivate businesses around the region to raise money for the amazing Beechwood Cancer Care charity. Based just outside Stockport, it’s an incredible day care centre to help and support patients and families affected by cancer, and the £100,000 we raised will make such a huge difference to the provision of cancer care in the local area. For more info: http://www.beechwoodcancercare.org.uk
Speaking of charity events, I also encouraged the guys at Prime to take on a monumental feat – breaking a world record. Ok, so it was the world record for amount of Post-Its stuck to your face in one minute, but they all count, right? With a daunting 60 to beat, Kyle did best at 32. Dale’s effort was less impressive, as he managed only three!
I’ve also been making the most of the good weather to try and bring my 10k time down. I’m not yet at 42 minutes, but it’s getting close! I hope to have better news for the next post.
On a personal note, five weeks ago, I became a father to Lucia Monica Clough. She came six weeks early, so I’m still in shock, and it’s certainly a challenge mixing sleepless nights with running a business, but I’m loving every minute.
It’s been a busy month! My sales recruitment business Prime has been going from strength to strength in the last couple of months. We’ve achieved 60 per cent growth in placements since the start of the year, and with graduation coming up in June and July, we’re looking forward to working some of our country’s brightest and best.
So if you’re a student looking at a career in sales or recruitment, or even if you’re unsure about what to do next, give me a call or visit the website: www.thisisprime.co.uk
As well as looking to make sales a career of choice, I’ve been busy with my motivational speaking. I hosted Manchester University’s ‘Entrepreneur Conference’ at the Comedy Store, joined by guest speakers including ex-Dragons Den contestants Josh Cook and Naomi Timperley. It was also great to be around John Bird, founder of the Big Issue, as he is such an inspirational character.
I am also proud to be involved with a number of charities, all of whom do hugely valuable work. Firstly, I’ve been supporting Factory Youth Zone, which has been looking to help young adults get back into work. The programme has a 76 per cent success rate, which is outstanding, and really makes a difference to a huge amount of lives. Have a look here http://www.thefactoryyz.org/
I’ve also signed myself up for Key 103’s ‘Cash for Kids’ initiative, helping to launch its ‘Superheroes Day’. We’re looking to raise as much money as possible, so on the 4th May, put on your best Batman or Catwoman costume and help children in need across Manchester!
Finally, I’m really looking forward to the new season of charity football games with the Once Upon A Smile football team. Our first game is in May, so I’ll be sure to keep you updated on our progress, but whilst you’re waiting, why not have a look at the great work these guys do: http://www.onceuponasmile.org.uk/
With so much going on, I’m sure I’ll have plenty to update you all on over the coming months!
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged – as you’ll see from the date of my last post! The busy summer turned into a busy autumn and winter, and you may have seen my review posts on this season of The Apprentice for Manchester Evening News, TheBusinessDesk and the Warrington Guardian! I’ve also been on The Apprentice: You’re Fired, and took part in weekly slots for BBC Radio Manchester, Lancashire and Surrey.
I’ve also been hard at work with Prime. Since launching in October, we’ve recruited a couple of new consultants to become a five person team, and with a number of exciting propositions on the horizon, 2015 should be a great year for the business.
My other business venture, My Travel Pal, is also performing strongly. Having franchised at around the same time as I launched Prime, the business now has 12 franchisees – impressive growth over such a short period!
However, the main thing I wanted to discuss was my motivational speaking, which has really been picking up over recent months. I’ve been working with a number of schools, universities and business expos, including being asked to be an ambassador for Trafford College, which has been really rewarding – it’s great to offer students an opportunity to understand the potential that sales offers them once they graduate.
I’ve also been working with the Princess Trust Charity to help vulnerable and disadvantaged people get back into work – another rewarding experience. Looking forward I’ll be continuing my work with schools, culminating in hosting the ‘What Next?’ event for Manchester University at the Comedy Store in late February.
Finally, as well as my business targets, I’ve been progressively working towards getting my 10k running time under 42 minutes. I’m nearly there, being at 42.57 and hope to break that barrier by the end of the month – I’ll keep you updated!
Things have been incredibly busy and exciting for me in the past few months, with numerous projects taking up my time. However, I’ve finally taken a moment to jot down my news and share with you my new venture…
Motivational speaking has been a key focus of mine for a while now – it’s a talent I discovered while on The Apprentice, and is something I feel passionate about. Inspiring self-motivation in other people from all areas of business and industry, as well as school, college and university students is hugely important to me as it provides me with a platform to help young people advance their careers.
It’s a good job I enjoy it because this week has been non stop in terms of speaking, with numerous events up and down the country filling much of my diary!
Tuesday morning saw me visit Manchester’s Great John Street Hotel, speaking at an event about the importance of supporting local businesses. As a Northerner myself, I could easily relate and engage with my audience, allowing for a rewarding morning filled with inspiration from local business people. I enjoy it when I get as much back as I give, and I always jump at the chance to learn more about my audiences.
Yesterday saw me down south, speaking at two events – one for new business startups with a company called Outset Swindon www.outsetswindon.co.uk, and the afternoon with the great team at Creative Junction www.creativejunction.org.uk)
Outset Swindon was a wonderfully engaging event – as a business owner I fully understand how important it is to help up and coming businesspeople turn their business dreams into reality.
Creative Junction is a social enterprise investing every penny of profit into providing young people who aspire to run their own businesses with a support service. It was such a fun event and great to see aspiring entrepreneurs finding their feet in the world of business.
As well as motivational speaking, I have invested a lot of time into the development of Prime www.thisisprime.co.uk – a unique service changing the perception of sales and removing the risk of recruitment. We recruit, we train and we guarantee success. Prime does things differently, working with both clients and candidates to ensure long-term success.
The amazing team at Prime are currently on the hunt for talented sales people. With over 35 years combined sales experience, our expertise speaks for itself. If you’re a company in any industry sector in need of the best sales team, require further training for your current staff or are a sales professional, we’d love to hear from you. Put simply, we cherry pick the best, then make them even better.
In the little time I have outside of work, I can’t help but put my football boots back on and get out on the pitch. I’ve been a member of a number of charity football teams, raising money most recently for Once Upon A Smile ww.onceuponasmile.org.uk. It’s a great way to earn valuable funds for a worthwhile cause, and I particularly enjoy getting to play in some of the country’s most famous football stadiums!
That’s all from me for now,
By Neil Clough, Aug 1 2014 01:08PM
It’s been a busy few months and sadly, blogging has fallen by the wayside – but that doesn’t mean I don’t have lots of things to share with you now!
I launched NWC Consultancy with a £10K Competition, and I was delighted to award the prize to Nicola Kelly – a very inspiring businesswoman. Nicola has fought back from bankruptcy after the breakdown of her relationship, to set-up her own home-furnishing business, The Willow Tree Home Boutique in Warrington
She’s faced an uphill struggle to get her business off the ground, and it’s a sign of her determination and enthusiasm that The Willow Tree is up and running today. I’m very excited to be working with someone with such drive and passion, and I’ll keep you updated on the work we do together. https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Willow-tree-home-boutique/645118185538466
I have also taken up Non-Executive Director roles at both Tem-po.co.uk and My Travel Pal.
Tem-po.co.uk is an online estate agency offering a more convenient, lower cost approach to selling or letting properties. This was the premise behind my Apprentice business plan, I knew that the fundamental assumptions were sound, however the devil, as they say, is in the detail and that is ultimately what led to my departure from the show. We are now looking to recruit Sales Associates to join the team http://www.tem-po.co.uk/website/page/about_us_join
My Travel Pal is a unique website and mobile application that promotes the best local and national offers available wherever you may be. We are now at the point where we are growing rapidly and offering exciting franchise opportunities http://www.mytravelpal.com/blog.aspx?Cat=0&Id=976
But of course, all work and no play is no fun for anyone, so I managed to squeeze in a few celebrity charity football games as well. The first was at Wrexham FC, the second at Sheffield United FC where I scored the winning penalty – I can’t believe it either, with last game at Blackpool FC all in aid of the Once Upon a Smile Charity. These guys work with hospitals, hospices, schools and charities to offer financial support for those who need it, as well as some much needed respite breaks. Having been a semi-pro footballer “back in the day” it was something of a boyhood dream of mine to play at proper stadiums, and I had a great time with lots of money being raised for such a great charity.
I was also lucky enough to present an award recently to Joanna Lee at the Inspiring Women Awards, held at the Midland in Manchester. Joanna does some incredible work to ensure that care leavers and other looked after children are supported effectively, and it was a truly uplifting evening all round.
Finally, In February this year I was honored to become a Patron of the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. The charity was founded in 1995 by Colin and Wendy Parry following the Warrington bombing that killed their son 12-year-old Tim Parry and three-year-old Jonathan Ball. The foundation works both nationally and internationally to promote peace and non-violent conflict resolution. In aid of the charity, I competed in the Gael Force Challenge on 28th June 2014 in Ireland. It’s was a 64km race which included 19.5km running, 42.5km cycling and 2km kayaking. I had never done anything like it before but with 2k being raised for the charity I just had to cross the finishing line, which I did in just over 5 hours – it was tough going. http://www.foundation4peace.org/
Speak again soon,
Today has been my first day of self employment and although I am proud and excited to announce the launch of NWC Consultancy, the experience is nerve racking and will no doubt be another steep learning curve for me.
Since the apprentice experience, I have spent time focusing on my strengths, understanding where and how I add the most value to both businesses and people and believe that by focus on sales consultancy and training, I can become the right man with the right plan.
There will be lots happening in the coming months with a chance to win £10,000 worth of sales consultancy kicking things off. The website has free tools for organisations, sales professionals and people looking to get into the industry. so please do visit www.nwcconsultancy.com for more.
Thanks again for continued support.
By Neil Clough, Mar 10 2014 12:07PM
So much has happened since I was fired from the apprentice earlier in the year and there are lots of people I need to thank for their continued belief, support and encouragement. I have been presented with lots of opportunities and am spending my time considering all of them, understanding what I will be doing next and really enjoying sharing my story and experiences with others.
I am really pleased that I have a new site to showcase what I have been upto and hope people will continue to support my journey and contact me in the future . I will be writing here regularly about both football and business so please stay tuned and give me a shout if there is anything you want to discuss with me.
Thanks so much – Neil.