Ten Lifestyle Management benefited from a more risk-friendly business environment when Alex Cheatle and Andrew Long set up the company in 1998. They were able to attract high-quality people to the start-up (including a former McKinsey consultant and two former owner-managers) because “it was the late nineties and it was okay to take big risks”, according to Cheatle.
Initially, everyone was put on a salary of £16.5k and Cheatle, previously a brand manager with Procter & Gamble, manned the 24-hour helpline for clients. These days, those clients include wealthy individuals, corporates such as Coutts private banking, and the public sector. “As we grew, we were able to demonstrate to clients that we were very innovative but also low risk,” Cheatle says.
Sales at this “lifestyle management” firm have grown by 90 per cent in the past four years to now stand at £7.1m, but Cheatle expects turnover to reach £20m next financial year. The biggest challenge is recruiting senior personnel. “We’re growing so quickly that we can’t cultivate all the talent we need at the top by bringing them up through the ranks.”