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  • Writer's pictureRomesh Jeyaseelanayagam

INSIGHTS: Business Leaders give us their tips for success

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

Insights: Tom Ahmad, Co-Founder of BABR - The FD Consultant

Gain insights on business growth in our series of bite size chats with Business Leaders, brought to you by The FD Consultant.

We interview high achieving individuals who we believe everyone can learn from, and who bring insight into the many aspects of successfully growing a business.

Today we welcome Tom Ahmad, CEO of Bailey Ahmad Business Recovery. Tom set up his company with Co Founder Paul Bailey in 2007, having gained extensive experience with a leading firm in central London. The Company has grown very successfully and seeks to expand its offering of quality services nationwide.

Hi Tom, please tell us about your business.

My core business is Bailey Ahmad Business Recovery (BABR), which specialises in delivering business recovery and insolvency solutions to those facing financial difficulty. Essentially, we get involved when a business anticipates being unable to pay its debts as they fall due. We use our skills as insolvency practitioners to either rescue the situation or minimise the impact on all those affected and allowing for a fresh start.

Outside of BABR, I am an active investor and strategic contributor to other professional services businesses operating in debt recovery, credit control and accountancy.

I volunteer as the current ICAEW Croydon district society president and sit on the ICAEW Insolvency Advisory Committee.

Friendship, family, entrepreneurship, courage and creativity; if any of those boxes get ticked, I am all in!

What are the key factors which have driven your growth to date?

Bottom line, our values.

Impact – Don’t be half hearted. Do things properly, do them right and they will make a difference.

Authenticity – Be yourself. You are amazing!

Trust – Value and invest in good relationships, which are grounded in mutual trust, respect and care.

Courage – Willingness to commit, back yourself and don’t shy away from the hard stuff when it matters. Welcome change and learn from failure; have the courage to adapt, learn and execute again, but better next time.

What makes you so passionate about what you do?

I love creating and building things, whether that be in business or in my hobbies as a budding artist or working with wood. I get a buzz from facing a challenge (often with limited information and resources at hand) and then designing, building, and implementing a solution that meets it head on.

What do you view as your greatest achievement in this role to date?

Building, nurturing, and developing the skills to lead a diverse team of talented people, grounded in trust and aligned to solve the right problems. Then seeing them collectively succeed is really powerful.

What are the biggest challenges your business faces?

Finding, nurturing, and retaining talent.

Managing the happiness, wellbeing and output of individuals who now work remotely and across two countries. Like many businesses, for the last two years we have had to adapt fast and fix as we fly.

We’ve changed how we work to embrace the opportunities that come with flexible working, whilst maintaining, and in some ways, enhancing the personal connection and sense of belonging amongst those involved in our businesses.

What one piece of advice would you give to those who want to achieve or sustain high growth in their businesses?

Firstly, you should ask yourself why achieving high growth is so important? Big isn’t necessary better, growth isn’t necessarily sensible all the time. Instead, I suggest picking the right problems to solve and build the best teams to solve them.

I have seen many businesses doomed to fail before they truly started because they tried to sell a service or product that was frankly solving a problem that wasn’t needed, or at least not at a volume and price that was commercially viable.

As for building a team, start by defining your core values, nurture trust, then align them with the right tools and skills to deliver solutions/products that customers need and will pay a high enough price to make genuine profit. Then just keep doing it, optimising your team, resources, structure, and size to best serve your market.

But above all, be ready to adapt and improvise at the drop of a hat.

Business is risky – don’t play if you are not strong enough to accept, manage and learn from failure. Those that do with decency, humility and a growth mindset are often the most successful, and the heroes in my book.

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