Self-awareness PRISM
self awareness


Improve your self-awareness via PRISM Brain Mapping – a sophisticated, online, neuroscience-based instrument specifically designed to identify the behavioural preferences that directly relate to personal relationships and work performance. It will help you to win more business from existing clients and convert more prospects in your pipeline. For more information about PRISM Brain Mapping for start up businesses please click here.

Cost: £150 per profile.

Please call 07957 480460 or email for further information or to book some time with me.

Business plan review
business plan


Give your business plan a “health-check” – enjoy the benefit of knowing that you have a robust start up plan capable of implementation.

Cost: £300.

Please call 07957 480460 or email for further information or to book some time with me.



Sign up for start up helpline support – for your own peace of mind take advantage of having access to an experienced practitioner who can help you navigate through choppy waters.

Cost: £25 per month (minimum 6 months).

Please call 07957 480460 or email for further information or to book some time with me.

Distance mentoring
distance mentoring


Sign up for start up distance mentoring – an impartial sounding board could help you to prosper rather than merely survive.

Cost £75 per month (minimum 6 months).

Please call 07957 480460 or email for further information or to book some time with me.

Ad-hoc face-to-face mentoring
face-to-face mentoring


Take advantage of “ad-hoc” face-to-face mentoring – dedicated start up advice and guidance as and when you need it.

Cost £150 per hour.

Please call 07957 480460 or email for further information or to book some time with me.

Strategic planning (workshop)
strategic planning


Put your business through a strategic planning and implementation process. Give your start up business the luxury it deserves and build a plan which will enable you to achieve what you want for the business and what you want for yourself.

Cost £600 per half-day.

Please call 07957 480460 or email for further information or to book some time with me.

Retainer face-to-face mentoring
face-to-face mentoring


Sign up for face-to-face mentoring – combat the potential loneliness of your start up business and have someone walking alongside you as you embark on your journey.

Cost £150 per hour.

Please call 07957 480460 or email for further information or to book some time with me.

Book: 'From Crew to Captain'


There are plenty of “start your own business” books available, but none written by people with

David’s practical experience in this area. He truly has been there, done that, and now … he’s written the book

!” John Hamlen, Simply Business Skills

I wrote “From Crew to Captain” to help people understand the transition from working for a big institution to working for themselves. I have made this journey, and helped many others do the same. I want to put the odds in your favour that your start up business venture brings you everything you wish, and that you prosper rather than merely survive. My book includes a number of practical tips and hints, examples from my own experience and that of others, and a number of interviews from people who have made or are making this journey, and for whom success has looked very different.

Cost £12.00 per copy or available for download £9.60 (VAT inclusive).

UPDATE: the new edition of “From Crew to Captain” with updated start up case studies, expert content, ideas and inspiration to help you succeed has now been published.

Useful Resources

Expert Articles
#45: Top Tips for Start-Ups – Insurance Issues

Welcome to my final Start-Up Business expert article! It’s been a long road and a pleasure to have you long for the ride. I do hope you will refer back to my expert articles in the future, as well as the insights in my newsletter. Over the past few articles I have been sharing my...

#44: Top Tips for Start-Ups – Information Technology Issues

Today I follow on from last week’s articles on top tips on people and legal issues, and move onto a very 21st century problem – information technology. 1. IT Budget Budgeting and choosing the right equipment for the tasks that are required at the beginning, and that will be us...

#43: Top Tips for Start-Ups – People and Legal Issues

So you have launched your business and are well any truly on your way to becoming a big success, congratulations! Over the next few articles I will be sharing my tops tips for start-ups, starting today with any people or legal issues that may come your way. Let's start with the lega...

#42: Delivery, monitoring and launching your business

We really covered this in my pervious articles under “Characteristics of a Successful Business” in the Reflection Phase. The key, if you recall, is to follow a process that enables you to have satisfied clients, who either buy from you again or refer other people to you. Just...

#41: Closing A Meeting – Part 2

Last time I went through various ways to close a business meeting, each one having a different result but all with the aim that you have won the clients business. Another situation you may face is where they say they will think it over, which often is a polite way of saying no. If s...

#40: Closing A Meeting – Part 1

Now that you have your sales pipeline sorted, the final part of the sales process is asking for the business. Let’s start with the “alternative close”. If the meeting has gone well, you could use this. In my world a successful sale is typically when somebody agrees to do some k...

#39: Sales pipeline

Over the past few articles we have been looking at the key components of your sales process, from identifying what a Salesperson actually does, the difference between the features and benefits of your product and why it is important to know these during meetings, and your USP. Anot...

#38: Unique selling point

There are a lot of questions you’re inevitably going to get asked in business; “What is the aim of your business?”, “What are your key values and how do you meet them?”, “Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?”. Some of these you might find fairly easy to an...

#37: Sales – Part 2

Last week we looked at the first of two articles on sales, looking at how a ‘Salesperson’ is generally perceived and what I consider to be the three main attributes of a successful salesperson. This week we are going to take a look at some of the things that can happen in sales...

#36: Sales – Part 1

Over the past few weeks we have looked at why small business fail, potential problems with business partnerships, and networking. The next key component is sales. When I run my workshops I do a little word association exercise; I say one word and ask the delegates to write down the...

#35: Networking – Part 2

Today we are going follow on from my last article where we looked at the first type of networking - your existing network - and how to develop it further. The second type of networking is opportunistic. You go to an event, an exhibition, or a trade fair, where you will have opportu...

#34: Networking – Part 1

Gathering business contacts to create a valued network can take time, as not everyone will be on the same page as you in terms of what they want and need. Some people will be on board from the start, others will need a bit more convincing. The obvious place to start is your existin...

#33: Awareness

Now that you have learnt how to successfully structure and run your business, as well as hearing some horror and success stories of business partnerships, you should be in a place where you are ready to get your business out there. Let’s try a little mental exercise: Today is...

#32: A Success Story

Last time I told you a harrowing tale of a business partnership that went south due to one members change in commitments. I’d like to contrast this unhappy tale with my working relationship with Stephen, which demonstrates a successful mechanism to deal with changing circumstances....

#31: Further Problems

In the past two articles we went through the different reasons for why small businesses fail, namely because they were unaware of what they were getting into and issues with client payments. But there can be other reasons why a small business would stop trading, such as choosing th...

#30: Why Small Businesses Fail – Part 2

In my previous article we stared to look at the main reasons why a small business might fail, and today we are going to continue with this. If you are doing business to business it is a different game. If your clients are other small businesses you will need to be careful. Some...

#29: Why Small Businesses Fail – Part 1

Today we are going to move on from the financial aspects of running a business and how to structure a start-up correctly. Now is the time to really focus and concentrate instead on the main reasons why small business fail. If I put my black hat on and talk about the main reasons that...

#28: Financial Plan

Last time we went through how we going to structure and run your business, as well as the different options you will have when setting it up financially. This puts us in the perfect position to complete the finance part of our one-page plan. What I have assumed (for you!) is that by...

#27: Operations

Now that we have finished going through your strategic plan which we covered in my previous two articles, we can move onto something even more important; Operations. How are we going to structure and run this business? I am grateful to my Accountant David Beckman who has helped me gre...

#26: Business Plan

Over the last few articles, we have looked at your business image, the importance of research and your strategic plans. Now it is time to turn our attention to your business plan. There are a vast number of templates available to you, which are all pretty much variations on a theme....

#25: Strategic Plan – Part 2

Following on from last week, I have decided to take as an example someone whose core business is going to be providing virtual operational support to the small and medium sized business (SME) market. Imagine for the moment that this could be you, and it might help you appreciate how...

#24: Strategic Plan – Part 1

 Now you have got your business image sorted out, we can move on to your strategic planning process. I always describe the planning process as a journey. Imagine you were going to the South of France on holiday; once you have identified the resort the next thing you would do, assu...

#23: Image

Welcome to my first expert article of 2015! Ready to get started? Over the past few articles, we have been looking at market research and why finding out who your competitors are is key to your own success. One of the issues we need to think about at this stage is what you are goin...

#22: Research Exercise

Research is one of the most important aspects of building your business successfully. Finding out who your competition is and how your business competes with them on a professional level will enable you to plan strategies around them, so that you don’t lose customers and, inevitably...

#21: Competition

Now that we have finished looking at propositioning people and businesses and you have a clear idea of how to portray yourself, properly, within your professional area, we must move on to tackling the issues associated with these propositions. More specifically, the things that could...

#20: Proposition – Part 2

This month we follow on from last month’s article on propositions and what this can do for you and your business. If your market is “business to business” there is only one reason why they are going to buy from you, and that is money. If you cannot get into your message that you...

#19: Proposition – Part 1

It is really important that you can articulate with absolute clarity what your business proposition is. This is vital because, unless you are really fortunate, there will not be many occasions when you meet somebody for the first time who is ready at that moment to buy what you do....

#18: The Risk Spectrum: High Risk Case

This month sees the final instalment in my articles on The Risk Spectrum. So far we have already looked at low and medium risk case studies. Now we will look at high risk. High risk is where everything you have learnt thus far is not directly relevant to your business idea, and in...

#17: The Risk Spectrum: Medium Risk Case

Following on from our work with your business skills list, we are currently looking at different case studies concerning technical skill around start-up businesses. I have divided them into three categories: low, medium and high risk. Last time we looked at a low risk business start...

#16: The Risk Spectrum: Low Risk Case

Now, having looked at the business skills list, let’s go back to what I call the “technical skill”. Saying small businesses fail because they run out of cash is about as helpful as saying the patient died because he stopped breathing. It’s 100% accurate, but it tells you nothi...

#15: Know your business skills: Part 2

Last time we looked at a group of people setting up a company and how they divided the key roles between themselves. Not everybody will be starting up with a group of people though. Most of us start out on our own, then grow into a team as time goes by and the business expands. If yo...

#14: Know your business skills – Part 1

Going back to my previous article on business inventory skills where you will have looked at your own strengths and knowledge, it is now time to turn to those in your team. This business skills list is highly relevant, whether the business is going to be just you or more than you...

#13: Business skills inventory

Now we know the key characteristics of a successful business, which we covered in my previous article, it is now a good time to take stock of our Business Skills Inventory; bearing in mind we have in all likelihood left a business world where we had developed specialised functional sk...

#12: Further characteristics of successful business

Following on my from my previous article on the Characteristics of a Successful Business, we are now going to look at the next three, which business owners need in order to run a business successfully. The first was making sure that from the day the business starts, the owners have...

#11: Taking the pain out of exit

Happy New Year everyone! 2013 may have come and gone, and hopefully you have found my expert articles helpful in developing your skills and businesses. Now is the time to put these newfound skills into action. In my last article, we touched on one of the key characteristics of runn...

#10: Planning: Characteristics of a successful business

Over the next few articles, we will be looking at the characteristics that successful business owners have adopted in order to allow their businesses to grow. The first characteristic is that on the day the business starts, the owners know how they are going to end it, i.e. they ha...

#9: A source of encouragement

This month I want tell you another story featured in From Crew to Captain about someone I have worked with, and who has become not just a business associate but a good friend. Her name is Christine and if you need motivation or inspiration, her story is a great example; particul...

#8: Personal qualities part two: Passion

In my last start-up expert article we looked at the first of the traits that I consider to be particularly important in business - Integrity. Next comes passion. If you can’t be passionate about what it is you are going to be doing, then don’t expect anyone else to be. One o...

#7: Personal qualities part one: Integrity

There is a full list of suggested qualities in From Crew to Captain, but there are some traits that I consider to be particularly important. The first of these is Integrity. Irrespective of what you call your business, you and it are joined at the hip from day one. And as in all wa...

#6: Motivators

Let’s take stock for a minute. Why would you want to do this? Are we all individually or collectively mad even thinking of setting up our own businesses? Do you really want to give up the security of a regular, predictable salary? How do you feel about having to work to a surviva...

#5: Finding your ideal mentor

Your mentor - it could be somebody who has done something similar to you i.e. gone into the same line of business. Therefore they know the world you are going into quite well, and can give you a great deal of sector knowledge; they may also have a useful rolodex of contacts to contrib...

#4: Start-up mentoring

When starting your own business it’s important to have the right attitude and mindset which can be enhanced through finding the right mentor. Start-up Attitude and Mindset I have repeatedly seen with other people that if you have the right attitude and mindset to make the adju...

#3: Perseverance, Tenacity and Determination

Perseverance, tenacity and determination are essential qualities if you’re considering starting up your own business. I thought I’d share a couple of stories with you. You can find more like these in From Crew to Captain but they give you the gist of just how important it is to...

#2: The Adjustment Process Part Two: Replacing the Infrastructure

The second big change I remember was all of a sudden the infrastructure I had taken for granted was not there anymore. The two things that hurt me most were firstly research and secondly legal. Because of the nature of my former job I was heavily dependent on research; Deutsche Ban...

#1: The Adjustment Process Part One: Working from home

The first thing I would like to share with you is the adjustment process, which I remember I went through back in 2001. It is quite a huge change, moving from working from a big institution to working for yourself, even if it is to be yourself plus others. One key part of the adjustme...

Creating a Portfolio Career

A portfolio career is not a new concept. Charles Handy introduced the idea back in the 1980’s, when he could see that the corporate world was moving from great monolithic and paternalistic organisations (cradle to grave) to the leaner and meaner businesses of the 1990s and beyond. I...



Nicola Clissold

Tenir Property Consulting Ltd

David has been a necessity for the nurturing and development of Tenir Property Consulting. He has grounded and guided me through my one-page business plan which I have failed many times previously to produce, and has provided valuable advice for the marketing of the company plus a never-ending supply of contacts. He is knowledgeable, reliable and attentive. Thank you. May 2013


Lisa Thompson

Managing Director, Blue Acorns

Under David’s watchful eye both I and my new business, Blue Acorns, are in safe hands. His continued support and guidance has steered me from taking the seedling of a belief and turning it into a successfully launched business inside 2 years. On a professional level David provides a calmness and clarity of mind at times when I may feel overwhelmed at the enormity of the task ahead, and on a personal level he has helped me to develop the confidence needed to step out of the world of employment and into that of the entrepreneur. May 2013


Christine Stedmann

Director, Zentime Living Ltd

I first met David in June 2008 whilst attending his one day workshop on “How to start a business” during my membership at Fairplace Cornhill, London branch. I had plans to start my own Concierge & Lifestyle Management business – Zentime. Prior to this, I had been working in the financial industry for over 11 years, and my entire world evolved around the banking industry. My challenges were very evident:- to branch out completely on my own, start a new business venture at the beginning of a recession, and I also did not have a support network to act as my “sounding board” – to bounce off my many business ideas and turning them into a viable business. David was instrumental during our six consultation sessions together. He was not only a good listener but he also was spot on when it came to identifying my strengths which we used as a framework to expand and shape my Business Plan. I always walked away feeling motivated, refreshed, and full of innovative ideas following each consulting session with David.

Zentime has grown from strength to strength, expanding our list of services to Event/Wedding Planning, DIY home improvements and Business Admin Support services just to name a few. We’ve been featured in many media channels showcasing our services that is proving increasingly popular as being a part of Corporation’s employee benefits package. I’ve enjoyed my previous career in the financial world. However, the last 2 years have been an incredible journey for me with Zentime, and the rest they say is history…

Thank you for making a difference in my life, David and many congratulations on your book launch! April 2010


Mark Lauber

M.D. Highgate Capital

Making the decision to move from working for big institutions to independent work can be a big step; there are many daunting obstacles which appear insurmountable. I suppose that’s why so many people in big organisations wish they could get out, but never do. David was a big help in finding the answers to the two big questions of ‘what do I want to do’ and ‘how can I get from here to there’. His enthusiasm for what he does, coupled with sober and wide ranging thought, good ideas, and willingness to help, made him both a catalyst and the ideal mentor in my decision to set up Highgate Capital. Many thanks, David! April 2010


John Hamlen

M.D. Simply Business Skills

After a 20+ years working for big institutions in the financial sector, leaving the City to start my own venture in a different industry was daunting and exciting in equal measure. Making the leap so successfully would have been impossible without David’s expert guidance and mentoring. There are plenty of “start your own business” books available, but none written by people with David’s practical experience in this area. He truly has been there, done that, and now … he’s written the book! April 2010

Book: 'From Crew to Captain'