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On the spot: James Ross - TAB North Chilterns & Oxford

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On the spot: James Ross - TAB North Chilterns & Oxford

James joined us in January 2021 as TAB facilitator for North Chilterns and Oxford. In this quick-fire interview, James shares a deeper insight into his career, motivators and the time he fell off a treadmill.

James Ross (1)

What inspired you to pursue your current career?

I have always enjoyed mentoring and coaching my employees in my corporate career. When I set up my property business, I realised how lonely it was to create an SME, so TAB seemed like the perfect match.

Can you describe a moment that changed your perspective on business?

I was advising a friend who owned a company that sold crystals and beads. The business was profitable, and sales were going well.

But they had to invest in more staff, the stock was growing, and the business almost folded as it ran out of cash. Banks today do not lend money to SMEs when they need it, only when they don't, so the company almost went under.

Thankfully, we arranged some short-term finance, and now it’s in good health.... but it was a great lesson for them to focus on cash as well as profit.

Advice: It does not matter how good the product or service is; its liquidity kills businesses.

What hobbies or activities help you unwind after a busy day?

I love running, snowboarding, watching national hot rods and horse racing.

Who has been your biggest mentor, and what did you learn from them?

Nadeem Kiyani (fellow TBO for Northeast London) inspired me to create my property business, which helped me get out of corporate life.

What is a book that had a profound impact on you and why?

The book ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki prompted me to reconsider my life and the importance of generating passive income.

I was working long hours in Investment Banking, had two children in private school, and paid significant amounts in taxes. This made me realise that unless I found a way to earn passive income, it would be very difficult to ever leave this situation. I identified with the "poor dad" in the story.

The book inspired me to start a property business while I was still working, which eventually allowed me to leave the city and start a coaching business that I am passionate about. This change also relieved the financial pressure, allowing me to do what I love without the sole focus on earning money.

How do you stay motivated during challenging times? 

'The power of the picture'. I remind myself of where I am trying to get to, why, and what that looks like visually.

If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to leave corporate life sooner and start investing in passive income streams earlier, such as investing in HMO properties, receiving dividends from Venture Capital trusts (with a 30% tax rebate), putting money into corporate loans backed by personal guarantees that pay 10% interest, and participating in the Enterprise Investment Scheme (which offers a 30% tax rebate).

What are the core values that guide your leadership style?

Fairness, honesty, openness and challenge.

Can you share an unexpected lesson you've learned from a failure?

"You learn more from failure than your successes."

Early on in my TAB journey, I was trying to sign a prospective member, and I let him control the meeting. He then proceeded to tell me, in no uncertain terms, that I wasn’t very good. It was a great reminder of the importance of controlling a sales meeting.

What future trends do you think will shape business coaching in the next decade?

AI is going to change how businesses work, so coaches need to be attuned to the opportunities it can bring their members. There are huge opportunities to reduce staff costs and automate tasks that previously required people (lawyers no longer need to hire paralegals). AI can also provide guidance on improving efficiency and speed, as well as offer insights on various marketing strategies and content creation.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

I would like to be able to go back in time and see how 2 different courses of action would lead to different outcomes.

What's the weirdest food combination you've ever tried?

Horse stroganoff... which I accidentally ate at a restaurant in Zurich.

If you could switch lives with any fictional character for a day, who would it be?

Harry Potter, because it would be cool to fly on a broom, cast spells and hang out with my friends.

What's the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you at work?

I fell off a treadmill when running really fast and dislocated my shoulder.

What song would you choose if you had to sing karaoke right now?

Hungry Like the Wolf, Duran Duran.

About James Ross

James Ross and Dale Harris - Blueblood

James Ross has a wide range of experience, having spent 20 years working in tier 1 Investment Banks as a qualified accountant running large Finance teams and as a Prince 2 certified program manager running large projects for the front office.

Having left the city, James set up his own business, investing in property and renovating old houses into high-yielding quality shared living accommodation for professionals in Oxford and Greater Manchester.

James has a passion for coaching and mentoring business owners and has unique experiences in helping business owners with exceptional problem-solving abilities.

Get in touch with James today to learn more about how joining TAB can help you and your business thrive.



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