Daryl Woodhouse, a leading authority on mental health awareness as a mental fitness and productivity keynote speaker and coach tells us why he founded ABP, the multi award winning growth consultancy and leadership training company.
What do you currently do?
With my two main brands, Daryl Woodhouse and ABP, I help entrepreneurs, leaders and their employees to achieve a healthy work-life balance and mental fitness alongside productivity and business growth. Alongside my team, we achieve this with a range of knowledge transfer products including mental fitness coaching and productivity transformation.
I spend my days coaching c-suite executives, delivering keynotes and training. At the moment though, lockdown has wiped 85% of our revenues from in-person keynotes and mental fitness and productivity workshops, so I have restructured these service offerings into a 21 day virtual productivity transformation. Like many, I’m also juggling working at home with home schooling young children.
I also decided to throw in a fundraiser for mental health charity MIND, where I had my head shaved via live stream and was gunged by my three children whilst sharing practical hacks for building strong mental health. If I wasn’t busy enough, I have also been posting short coronavirus advice videos in a 14 day YouTube series.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
After a career in corporate leadership and talent development, I started my first business in 2012. My inspiration for setting up Advantage Business Partnerships was to follow my passion for helping business owners and leaders, and a desire to move away from corporate boardroom politics and the ‘corpse oration’ culture.
In 2016, a tragedy in my personal life combined with pushing myself too much as a workaholic entrepreneur caused me to fall into a major burnout. Following a long recovery, in 2018 I felt a duty to become a mental health advocate.
Now, alongside my original business ABP, I deliver keynote talks and mental fitness workshops sharing my story of the emotional, financial and physical damage caused by burnout. I openly share how I recovered from burnout to become happier than ever, mentally fit and more productive in my business with a better work-life balance. I use my experience to inspire and help others to take achieve mental fitness.
Who do you admire?
There are many business people that I admire but my admiration recently has been for a close relative who has shown enormous positivity and determination in these testing times. In the days before coronavirus restrictions were imposed across the UK, my relative shared some personal news with us. She had cancer which had spread aggressively to become terminal.
This news was unexpected and came at the worst possible time as this put her in the vulnerable to COVID-19 category, so we’ve been unable to visit and support her in person. I admire this relative and her husband because they have worked together during this unimaginably difficult time. Further, despite being terminal, she has chosen to take chemotherapy to do her best to hopefully slow the cancer down and extend her currently short life expectancy.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Life can be so cruel and short. If I could advise myself of 15 years ago, I would say to slow down my ambition and work to achieve a careful work-life balance. I’d advise myself to have more fun and quality time with loved ones and friends. In doing so, life is more enjoyable, and we can actually become more energised, creative and productive in the workplace. Nowadays, there are research insights which further support the theory that smart work creates far greater results in less time than long hours of hard work.
What defines your way of doing business?
For me, it’s about meaningful business with a quality over quantity approach. This is about two key principles. Firstly, it’s about not trying to conquer the world and win every person or every business as a customer.
It’s about really narrowing down to support a niche, targeted customer base who share your values and then using your true super talents to provide a really high quality, high value set of solutions. Secondly, this should also be applied to employee and supplier hires. Only working with the best who share your values and integrity generally breeds more friendship, fun and more rewarding business success.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Stay true to what you enjoy doing, and what you do best. Recruit talent around you in colleagues and suppliers that enjoy the stuff you don’t and whom are strong at your weaknesses. Don’t see these hires as a cost, see them as an investment. If you’ve sought the right advice, and taken time to get your strategy right, then the cost of any spending will be far smaller than the returns.