Who is Nigel Botterill?
Over the past 17 years Nigel has started nine separate million pound businesses of his own from scratch here in the UK and is now one of the most sought after business growth experts in the country. Now, through Entrepreneurs Circle, Nigel helps other ambitious small business owners and entrepreneurs to build the business they want, escape mediocrity and live the lives they’ve always dreamed of.
My name is Nigel Botterill…
I’m a family man, I’ve got 4 great kids and one gorgeous wife.
I’m also the founder and Chief Exec of a business which includes some of the fastest-growing brands in the UK. I’ve started 9 brands from scratch, and grown them all to £million + within a few years. In 2011 I wrote the Sunday Times bestseller ‘Botty’s Rules’ which went on to become the biggest selling business book of the year. Now, I spend my time helping other entrepreneurs and business owners to get and keep all the customers they need.
Here’s some background on how I got this far…
The ‘Employed’ Years
I started my career as a 16 year old at Barclays back in ’82, and worked there for 18 years. I was never a banker though, I built call centres, set up their Internet Banking Service, and even spent a couple of years as PA to the Chief Exec.
In my final role at Barclays I was responsible for the sales of all UK call centres: 6 call centres, 3000 staff and hundreds of millions in the P&L! But I needed to move on…
In 2000, I joined John Caudwell as the Marketing Director for Singlepoint, part of his Phones4U empire. My business education was supercharged with (now billionaire!) John, and I learned loads about managing a business.
In late 2001, I’d moved to Card Protection Plan as Managing Director, working closely with self-made multi-millionaire Hamish Ogston. In less than 2 years I transformed the business, sending turnover soaring from £3m to £35m.
The Big Leap
Working alongside John and Hamish had a big impact on me and I wanted my own train set.
So I swallowed a bravery pill, waved goodbye to my secure six-figure salary, re-mortgaged our house, and set up my own marketing consultancy business, N5 Ltd, in 2003.
It was super-scary, taking my destiny, and that of my wife and children, into my own hands; but I knew that I had to make that big leap – or regret it for ever.
I quickly took on a bunch of clients on big retainers and very soon had a business that I could run from home and that paid £20k+ into my bank account every month. Happy days. I had two members of staff and we were all based on the top floor of my house. It was cosy!
As I was launching N5, my wife Sue (who’d been a stay-at-home mum for six years, looking after our 3 children) had been troubled by our fragile financial state and decided to launch her own mini-business; a local community magazine called ‘The Dicken’s Heath Directory’, with paid-for ads from local businesses.
Totally ill-equipped and with no relevant experience, Sue’s business took off quickly! She was soon generating well over £2,000 a month profit, for only a few hours work that she fitted in around the children.
A year later, and our friends and family had got wind of Sue’s fab little business, and asked how they could copy her success. So… we went to St Lucia on holiday for a fortnight and wrote everything down.
We’d created our first info-product: ‘My Mag’, a programme that teaches people how to set up, publish, market and administer their own local community magazine, just like Sue’s.
Within a few months My Mag was generating more in sales than my consultancy business. So, in the summer of 2004 I (took another deep breath and) fired all my consultancy clients. I figured that there might be a proper business with My Mag but I’d never know unless I gave it focus. I gave myself six months but only needed three.
By the end of 2004 My Mag was flying. We were winning awards, getting great press coverage, and (importantly!) shipping hundreds of our My Mag packs to paying customers.
Nigel and the team with just some of the magazines they helped create through MyMag
I figured that whilst the magazines were great, the world was moving online and was there a way to take the best of My Mag and put it on the internet – ‘thebestof’ was conceived.
We launched thebestof in July 2005 and we were the very first independent online business directory (there was Yell and Thomson but noone else). I marketed it to our My Maggers through a series of ‘Secret Meetings’ and on Day One we had 47 franchisees.
The next 18 months were a complete whirlwind. thebestof became the fastest UK franchise ever to get to 200 franchisees and we began picking up some serious awards. We moved into some great premises and then had to move again less than 12 months later because we’d outgrown the space.
In 2007 we re-branded and re-positioned thebestof to become the complete marketing solution for the best local business. Every business now has to be recommended by local people, and our local franchisees work hard to champion many thousands of great small businesses right across the country.
2008 was an exciting time for thebestof – we won some great awards, and we were placed third in The Sunday Times/Microsoft Tech Track 100. It was also the year I wrote my first seven-figure cheque to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs(!).
Over the next decade my team and I would launch a dozen new businesses – some would flop (and teach us some valuable lessons for next time!), but some would fly!
We ventured into personalised chocolate bars, phone charging machines, magazines for parents, marketing systems for restaurants, even my own line of designer shirts!
I experienced all the highs and lows that come with running a business. But more importantly, through trial and error, we started to understand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to getting and keeping customers in almost any industry and niche.
One thing my corporate background gave me was an understanding of the importance of development. If you’re not improving and learning then you’re going backwards and so, right since the early days of N5 I have always invested heavily in myself.
I have spent almost £250,000 in the past decade (not including air fares and hotels which will probably almost double the figure) on developing my business skills. I have flown across the Atlantic at least 40 times. I’ve met with the best and the brightest: Jay Abraham, Dan Kennedy, Donald Trump, Bill Glazer and Zig Ziglar to name a handful.
Over the last 10 years or so I’ve spent more and more of my time working with and mentoring UK business owners to pass on my knowledge and I soon realised that I properly enjoy working on other people’s businesses. I love hearing about how my experience and advice has helped someone else, and had a positive impact on their business. That’s why I decided to launch the private Entrepreneurs Circle in 2010, and commit to working with a group of smart-thinking business owners and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses dramatically.