Getting to know You: David Mitchell, founder The Buying Power

What do you currently do?
I am the founder of The Buying Power; for the last 3 months, I have been spending a lot of time and effort leading up to the launch of The Buying Power. My day job is developing our strategic partners, identifying new partners, negotiating great deals and developing our member base ensuring we’re delivering great service and great prices to our members.

For over 25 years I have worked predominantly in the Services sector, so the user experience is close to my heart –SMEs need top quality service not just amazing savings. The concept behind The Buying Power came from many years working on procurement deals and recognising that large companies were able to drive better prices for their suppliers giving them better profit margins. Now we want to do that for SMEs.

What is your inspiration in business?
In two words; Imagination and Courage. My father was head teacher in a London Comprehensive for over 20 years and one day, he stopped being a teacher and became a successful businessman in Banking and Insurance. Since then, I have taken this courage and imagination and applied it to my career and am very fortunate to have experienced many facets of business across many different and diverse sectors.

Who do you admire?
My father. He’s a born teacher and a successful businessman. He has the patience of a saint and I owe my work ethic and values to him. Always there for me, providing guidance when asked for it and when I was younger – when I didn’t think I needed it! He has always encouraged me to do what I think is right and now I’m a parent myself with two teenagers, I now know quite how difficult this is! Above all, he has demonstrated the value of imagination and courage in life – “you can do anything you put your mind to – it’s only a case of learning and practicing”.

Looking back would you have done things differently?
My philosophy has been to imagine and to have the courage and belief in “change for the better”; to learn and develop myself; to do the hard yards, prove to yourself you can do your job before wanting more. I started work in production for a SME in document imaging and storage, then moved into sales.

Then I changed completely to be an Engineer for BT. Learning and re-training, re-qualifying and doing the hard yards is what I’ve done throughout my career. This philosophy has helped me move and grow through my life, working for SMEs, global corporations, banking, IT, FM, Telcos, education and procurement sectors and has provided me a solid foundation. Looking back it would be hard to consider where and what I would chose to do-over. My career has been diverse and I have been privileged to work across many different environments and sectors around the world.

What defines your way of doing business?
Being open, honest and treating people and organisations fairly. I would like to think that these attributes are visible in my work. It’s a cliché, but I’ve always worked hard and played hard. Even during tough negotiations, it’s important to demonstrate and demand fairness and honesty in business.

But it’s important to have a good time too – enjoy the now and be the best you can. I have a great opportunity with The Buying Power to help deliver these attributes to our members. Small and medium sized companies – and new start-ups – are at the heart and soul of the UK and we at The Buying Power believe they should have the same access to great deals – helping them save money and be more competitive.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
I spent a lot of my younger years dreaming and imagining of “what might be” – Dreaming of being somewhere or doing something better. My advice for anyone just starting out is to understand and develop the skills and interests that you are good at and enjoy. Use your imagination to apply these skills across different environments.

Be courageous in your decisions – the difference in doing something and not doing something is… doing something! Mistakes help you do things better the next time – especially if you can learn from other peoples mistakes! Never be afraid to ask questions, especially “what deal can we do on this…?”!