Adam Stott is a man on a mission and clearly knows where he is going and why. Everything this young gentleman does reflects that sentiment. He has mapped out his path early on and taken the necessary steps to reach the goals that he has set for himself. His can do attitude and why not thinking has laid the path for each step in his journey and no doubt will continue to do so. This journey has taken him from humble beginnings to the visionary entrepreneur, international speaker, innovator and philanthropist that he is today.
Having to face life changing choices as early as aged 15, Adam took this in his stride and made the difficult decisions of doing whatever it took to survive and to better himself. Notwithstanding the terrible jobs he accepted or his living standards as he grew up – he used this to drive himself to learn as much as he could in his chosen field and come out on top. Step-by-step he progressed up the career ladder and made sure he cemented his position, always standing out and standing strong, so that at the age of 25, he quit his well-paid job to start his own business. Within eight years built it up from zero to 40 million UK pounds in turnover and employing over 70 staff members.
His story is very inspiring for many men and women who want to enter the business world and be determined to succeed in overcoming all challenges and obstacles they face on their journey as entrepreneurs. This interview with him will teach you more than you think.
You have managed to grow your business to a very high scale at a time where many are complaining about the financial crisis. How did you achieve this?
My mentality has always been not to let what I cannot control concern me, the economy I can't control, but my work ethic and my persistence and what I do within my business I can control. There have been times in my business where the economy had a huge impact, what you have to do is to adapt to those issues. Business is never smooth sailing and that is what I love about it, it is a constant challenge and battle of wits, it weeds out those who have a poor mentality. For me the business owner mentality is very important, it's something that I believe you have to develop, as it is not natural to a lot of people to be able to take the ups and downs that come in business.
The more you develop yourself as a business owner the more your business will grow.
The more you develop yourself as a business owner the more your business will grow. I have a zero tolerance for excuses or complaining in my business, everyone that works for me knows that, because I firmly believe we create our own results. Once you remove the excuses you are free to work and create the results. Also we worked very hard to make sure we used innovation in our business. We haven't followed the crowd. We do things differently and pride ourselves on that, which has helped us create explosive growth, by just taking the time to think and create strategies on how we can improve our business is a key factor.
How did you start with ‘Big Cars’ and what motivated you start this business?
What motivated me was the glass ceiling I had working for other people. In my business I always look to provide growth to the people that work for me, and frankly had I been able to grow when working for others I may have not been in the position I am today. I also wanted freedom and the flexibility to create something and that is something I enjoy. Once I started my business I viewed that as a commitment. I have always been successful in my other roles and starting my own business no matter how hard it can or would get, I always saw that as my responsibility to see it through and ensure I was equally successful in running a business. There have been times where I lacked certain skills but when those times arrived I either got the people who had the skills or developed myself. As I mentioned earlier, in my opinion working and investing in yourself is key to becoming successful in business.
In my business I always look to provide growth to the people that work for me
What was your dream as a child? Did you always know that you have this entrepreneurship spirit?
I knew from the age of 16 that I wanted to be a millionaire, I told people who laughed but that spurred me on more. What I didn't know was how much I would enjoy growing a company and developing people, I am now coaching other business owners and am able to quickly raise their levels and help them to achieve massive success in a very short space of time, and I find this extremely satisfying. I don't think it matters if you are 16 or 50, if you decide and make the commitment to become a success and you get the right people around you, I believe you can achieve it.
Many successful business people say that before they reach their success they have faced many challenges. What are the biggest challenges you have faced to become who you are today?
I have had lots of challenges from lack of funding, to staff and friends betraying me, stealing from me, setting up rival companies, stealing data from me, and other companies trying to discredit my business. All sorts of challenges but I just see them as an opportunity to grow and learn from these issues as lessons, when something challenges you it's a great opportunity to refine and improve your business to make it better and more resilient.
Can we know a little about your personal and family life? Who is Adam when he is not doing business?
I spend most of my time with my partner Hannah and my young son, Samuel. I like to spend as much of my spare time with them as possible, we like doing things together and going on nice holidays and visiting new places. I do weight training around 3-4 times a week and I love football. I am a big Tottenham Hotspur fan and have followed them my whole life. I have a close group of long-term friends and love to socialise with them, like going to nice restaurants, horse racing, sporting events etc. I am perhaps one of the only men that also enjoys shopping, ha ha. I also like watching films and reading motivational and inspiring books and biographies.
You have many employees in your company – what is the role of women in your company?
We have increased staffing this year with the opening of two new showrooms during 2016 and have 70+ staff. The role of women in my company only depends on the skill set of the individual. I have always liked working with women and find them to be more approachable, more pragmatic to situations and they have a higher level of attention to detail. That, of course, isn't always the case although those are traits over the long term that I have found.
I have always liked working with women and find them to be more approachable, more pragmatic to situations and they have a higher level of attention to detail.
I have quite a few females in senior management, my Head of Marketing, Head of Events and Head of Accounts among others, who are all female, and they are all excellent at there respective roles. Our actual ethos is to promote from within, however, when we promote, we want to make sure that the individual has the skill set to do the job they are promoted to. This is why we always train and educate within my business, to allow people to continue to grow. Even when promotion opportunities are not there yet, we find it is best to prepare people far in advance for the job that they want, to ensure they are successful.
How do you promote and encourage women who work with you?
We encourage women to be confident. We are always encouraging, especially when people are performing highly in their role. We have schemes including ‘Employee of the Month’, ‘The People's Champion’, as voted for by their peers, ‘Manager of the Month’ and ‘Department of the Month’. Everybody has an equal opportunity, which is how we have always done it. We find that females often make great leaders.
Many business people complain about being “Busy” and not having enough time – how does a business person like you manage time?
I'm action orientated, I ensure I have a clear plan of what I want to achieve daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. I stay focused and don't let things deter me from the goals and targets I have set. I do use software to help organise myself, like trello, which if used well is very effective. I understand that you can't do everything yourself and have mastered delegating tasks, I also don't allow myself to get overwhelmed. Instead I break things down and focus on the most important tasks first.
What is the biggest ambition that you have in life?
My biggest ambition has always been to create the largest used car brand in the country. I have other important focuses like being a good Dad and ensuring I am there for my family. Also with the coaching for other businesses I am doing, I take it very seriously when I take on a client, I feel I have made a commitment to them and their business. I must deliver success to those individuals, it's a challenge that I enjoy immensely.
What would be the wisdom that you can share for people who aspire to achieve success with their businesses?
My advice is simple:
- Invest in yourself, you only get one of you
- Commit to things and follow them through to the end
- Master what you are doing before you do ten more things
- Don't quit, you never know where the next breakthrough is coming from
- Get the right voices around you and listen, you have two ears and one mouth
" I have persistence when it comes to business and a never say die attitude. I have an ability to solve people’s problems in business quickly and practically. I am not afraid to take sensible risks, or explore avenues other people will not. I have an ability to take ideas, form a vision and create it."
"Challenges happened early on in my business which made me stronger and taught me to toughen up in business, not to involve personal relationships in business and to become better organized, more structured and improve everything within my business, including recruitment and lots of other areas."