Getting to Know You, Frazer Fearnhead, founder, Blue Silver

Getting to Know You, Frazer Fearnhead, founder, Blue Silver

28 Feb    Finance News, Profiles

In this exclusive Q&A with Frazer Fearnhead, the visionary founder of Blue Silver, delve into how he empowers SME owners to transition their businesses into assets, liberating them from being mere operators and enabling financial and lifestyle freedom through strategic transformation.

Many SME owners work long, stressful hours. They may be business owners but unfortunately, the reality, in many cases is that they have simply created a job for themselves, and the business would not exist if they weren’t working.  In a nutshell, I help them transform their company into an asset so the business works for them, rather than them working for the business. I do that by helping them unlock the hidden profits in their business using a 7 step system then, scale it, systemise and automate it so they can attain both financial and lifestyle freedom.

 What was the inspiration behind Blue Silver ?

I have previously built, sold or franchised several companies which taught me how to build systems and create a valuable asset that can be sold or can continue to run without the owners involvement.

I started my last company in 2011 and I made the mistake of not creating systems from the start. It was a complex business model and I struggled for years to build a team and automate it so I could step away.  It took a long time to accomplish, and we invested several million to do so.  As a result of the investment in staff and tech, cashflow was tight, but we were on the brink of signing a couple of deals that would have quadrupled the company’s revenue overnight.

Then the pandemic happened, the deals went off the table, and we basically were unable to generate any new income for over 12 months. It crippled the business and in the end we decided to put it into administration.

I’d put my heart and soul into that company for 10 years with little reward with the intention of selling it one day. I ended up losing it. It was a painful experience and I struggled to bounce back.

But for a long time I’d had a dream of living in Mallorca. I’d put on hold for years whilst I tried to transition my way out of the company and employ others to run it. The only upside of the company going into administration was there was no longer any reason to put off moving to Mallorca.

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I had no desire to build another company employing lots of staff. So I decided the best thing I could do when we moved here was to create a simple online business where I could mentor like-minded business owners. I could help them achieve financial and lifestyle freedom by sharing what I’ve learned on my 23 year journey as an entrepreneur, together with all the insights I’ve gathered from decades of studying business strategy, personal development, philosophy and psychology.

Who do you admire?

I admire people with a strong vision and purpose to improve the world and the confidence to do what they believe is right regardless of others’ opinions. There are many people I could list but the first two that spring to mind are Elon Musk (as he’s always in the news and I watched a documentary about him recently) and Ayn Rand who has been hugely influential for many years in shaping my philosophical perspective on life.

Why?

Musk because from what I understand is totally motivated by a desire to help humanity and the world and despite his wealth does not appear to be driven by financial gain. He’s put his own money where his mouth is time and time again on hugely ambitious projects that others thought impossible – and proven them wrong. He is undoubtedly the greatest entrepreneur of the century.

And Ayn Rand for her philosophy that in order for humans and society to flourish, individual rights, logic, reason, free markets must be given pre-eminence and government interference and taxation should be kept to a minimum.   I’m not sure I would have liked her as a person though. She was not apparently the most kind-hearted and empathetic of people.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

Like any entrepreneur I am comfortable with taking risks. And sometimes they don’t pay off.  I have made plenty of mistakes. And sometimes things have gone wrong. Badly wrong.

I am eternally optimistic. I always see the best in people and I always think things will turn out fine. My main weakness is I’m not good at foreseeing potential risks.

So, a recurring problem I’ve experienced throughout my entrepreneurial journey has been trusting or relying on people I should not have trusted and not taking proper steps to protect myself.   That was, combined with Covid, the fundamental underlying reason why my last company was put into administration.

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What defines your way of doing business?

Transparency integrity and going the extra mile: doing what you say you will do and delivering more than what you promised.  I have always done my best to live up to that in both personal and business life and I believe I have, to a large extent, done so.

I deeply regret that I was no longer able to do so for our investors and clients when the board voted to put the company into administration.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

Well, I could be here all week on this one, but I’ll just keep it to four key pieces of advice.

Firstly, make sure you choose the right sort of business – what I call a ‘Freedom Business’. You will inevitably have to work hard initially but if you don’t choose a business that can be scaled, systemised and automated, you’ll be tied working to it forever.

The more your business has the following elements present, the greater your chances of successfully scaling it.

  • Controlled by you
  • High barrier to entry
  • Proven need
  • Time/Income separation
  • Leverage
  • Scalable customer base

Secondly, life coaches and others tell you to ‘follow your passion; do what you love’. But I think in 99% of cases that’s terrible advice.

However much you like singing or playing football (or whatever your passion is), unless you are genuinely the one in a million who combines  exceptional talent, with  extreme dedication and also good fortune to boot, you are not going to reach your desired superstar status.

Whilst it’s good (perhaps essential) to be passionate about what you do and have a purpose for doing it that you believe in, it rarely makes sense to start a business around one of your ‘passions’ or hobbies unless you are happy for it to remain a lifestyle business.  If you are happy to be a tennis coach or sing in bars and restaurants then great by all means follow your passion. But bear in mind that if you turn your passion into a full-time occupation that you have to work on 50 hours a week to survive, it’s likely to become a chore and won’t be your passion for much longer.

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The Law Of Compensation states that you will be compensated according to the need for what you do. You will most definitely not be compensated well just because you decide you want to do something you love. The harsh reality is nobody cares what you love doing or that you want to earn money from it.

If they don’t need what you provide, then they will not exchange their hard-earned cash for your goods or services. Research has shown that 90% of new businesses fail because they are based on fulfilling the owners’ desires rather than providing for external market needs.

I would suggest it’s preferable to start a business and make it successful and you will soon find you become passionate about it. So instead do your research and make sure there is a genuine need for something you would be happy to spend your time working on. Then as you learn to become very good at it success (and the passion for it) will follow.

Thirdly, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. It’s too hard (believe me I’ve done it).

There’s no need to try and invent something completely new.   There are plenty of opportunities to improve on what is already working well and do it better – gaps in service, unsolved problems or emotional disconnects.

Keep your mind open for opportunity and start to notice products and services that could be improved.

As Isaac Newton said when he asked how he accomplished his achievements and said, “I stood on the shoulders of giants.”  Success can be modelled.  You can look to other industries or other countries for inspiration.  Find out what makes similar businesses successful and model (not copy) what they do.

Fourthly: always aim to exceed your customer’s expectations. This is a lesson I learned from Tony Shieh the CEO of Zappos. Don’t just leave your customers satisfied. Surprise them with better-than-expected service, quality and bonuses. Not only does it make for happy customers, it leads to happy staff who deal with happy customers and, as a result, love working for your company and stay loyal… and it will grow your business exponentially by word of mouth referrals.

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