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myHRdept’s entrepreneurs

myHRdept’s monthly profiles of UK entrepreneurs

Each month we’re featuring a profile of a myHRdept entrepreneur, to gain a fascinating insight into what motivates them, the challenges they’ve faced and their top tips for others planning their own venture. This month’s profile features coach Allan McGregor, who left behind a lucrative corporate career to become a coach, mentor and trainer to others – what challenges did he face and what advice does he have for other would be entrepreneurs? myHRdept met with Allan to find out.

Allan, please tell us about the business you’ve created AMA Associates

What does AMA  do? 

AMA offers bespoke leadership and team development. That can involve different elements i.e. personal 1-2-1 coaching: design and facilitation of practical and participative leadership and management workshops and personality and motivation profiling. A lot of our clients have used our services for many years and have become friends too.

What did you do before you became an owner?

I held senior roles in blue chip industries including Cadbury Schweppes.

When and why did you decide to start/take-on your own organisation?

The politics, bureaucracy and tortuous decision-making were grinding me down – I wanted to be more autonomous and independent, and through my career I’d experienced many management development programmes, and felt that I could make a better job designing and running them myself.

What was your greatest challenge, and how did you overcome it?

Leaving behind my corporate salary while having a big mortgage and 3 young children. I gave myself 6 months, promising my partner that if it didn’t work out, I would return to corporate life in some capacity. 3 months in, all was well, and I’ve never looked back!

What was your most memorable mistake, and what did you learn from it?

In the early days I thought I needed a partner with complimentary skills, managing the back office and marketing while I fronted the operational aspects. I should have been more challenging on delivery versus reward, as the partners I engaged contributed little but still expected half the fees I earned. After dispensing with my third partner, I realised I was better off learning how to do the back-office things myself – 10 years later I’m happiest doing my own thing.

How optimistic are you about the future of AMG Associates?

Very. The vast majority of my business comes from repeat business and through referrals and recommendations. That’s been the case for many years. My business development philosophy is that if I do a good job every time, people will come back for more. It has worked for 30+ years. I’ve always been busy and tried to demonstrate high professional standards.

What key pieces of advice would you pass on to someone contemplating starting their own business or organisation?

  • Do your research & be clear about what you will offer, to who, how you’ll offer it and what makes your offer special
  • If you have a family, make sure they’ll support you – new businesses take a lot of time, effort and energy to get off the ground, and you might not have a lot of income in the early stages
  • Don’t underestimate the personal energy, belief and resilience you’ll need
  • Once you’ve made the decision to go, be brave…..fortune favours the brave!

Calling other owners, tell us your story!

What a great insight into  approach to creating a successful business! Allan decided to do what he enjoyed, and to leave behind what he didn’t enjoy – the politics and bureaucracy of corporate life. It’s said that work isn’t a chore if you enjoy it, but how many people ‘see out the clock’ on a corporate career simply because it’s all they know? Thank you for sharing your thoughts Allan, and for offering us an insight into your world.

If you’re an owner of your own enterprise and you’d like to be profiled in these columns please contact me:

If you’re thinking of outsourcing your HR, payroll or employment law needs, why not contact myHRdept? Call us on 01628 820515, email us at to discuss your requirements, or contact us via our website and we’ll call you back.

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