Getting to know you: Chris O’Connell, CEO of Timothy James Consulting (TJC)

What do you currently do?
As Founder and CEO, my role at the company is to lead, mentor and motivate a group of 45 talented consultants as well as overseeing the general operations of the business. Day to day activities consistent of working in an open office environment, engaging with both employees and clients on a first-hand basis.

Whilst maintaining the core specialisms of our business we have expanded over the last eight years to provide Senior Appointment solutions to the following market sectors: Retail e-commerce; Media, Publishing & Broadcasting; Telecommunications; Public Sector (NHS & Local Government); Financial Services; and Oil & Gas.

What is your inspiration in business?
Having started the business in a humble environment in Bristol with just two other individuals on-board, we developed the business to three market-leading offices (an office in Mayfair, another in the Central Business District of Manchester and our headquarters, which remain in Bristol) servicing the nation and a range of international clients. We would never have done this without the right employees – who have inspired the direction and development of the business.
We are in the people business and I genuinely believe that our consultants are the heart and soul of TJC. Encouraging a non hierarchal, open office environment gives every member of staff the opportunity to inspire one another and feel part of the business.

Who do you admire?
Other entrepreneurs, particularly Richard Branson, James Dyson and Richard Reed spring to mind and we are very happy to have James Caan on board as a partner and advisor.

Looking back are there things you would have done differently?
Hindsight is a beautiful thing but mistakes are valuable too as I’ve learnt a great deal from them. I think it’s more important to look at how you handle mistakes and negativity and seeing how well you can turn it around – in reality and in business there are always ups and downs.

What defines your way of doing business?
Setting up the business, I placed emphasis on 6 core values which are still the backbone of the business today: they are Hard Work, Respect, Understanding, Consult, Engage and Deliver. Leading by example I believe that the CEO and Senior Management Team must abide and live by the principles that they promote.
My vision for the business was to grow the company organically, rewarding employees for their hard work and commitment. With this in mind, I’ve developed a commission structure, a consistent training programme and a portfolio of rewarding incentives for my colleagues, which keeps the best of talent at TJC.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Specialise – be an authority in a particular sector and don’t spread your business idea or the talent you recruit too thinly. Furthermore, listen to the ideas of every member of staff.