Today I’m joined by Mr Brian Taylor from Axiom Solutions. Brian’s also known as the ISO guy and his business helps other small businesses install systems like ISO 9001to help them become more profitable, help them win bigger contracts and be more organised. Brian also lectures in the university, and in his spare time he does a lot of paddle boarding, he’s a very keen guitarist and singer and also teaches martial arts. He’s lives in Barry South Wales with his wife and 2 grown up kids. So, how are you doing Brian?
Andy Stace: Who is Brian Taylor?
Brian Taylor: I’m the sort of person who likes to get involved in all different kinds of things. I can get bored easily, so if you spoke to any of my friends, they’d tell you that I’m always doing something and seem to be rushing around all of the time. Nobody can believe how much I do as I have a number of different interests. I play music, practice and perform and so have a circle of friends who are just musicians. I do stand-up paddle boarding, so I’ve got a group of friends that do paddle boarding and surfing. I’ve also got friends I’ve had for many years from when I used to be in the Lifeguards, we’ve all sort of stuck together, basically everybody worked down the leisure centre. So that’s the leisure centre crew. I’ve done Taekwondo since 1980, so I’ve got friends from Taekwondo. I also get involved in local things. I’m on a management committee for a water front development project for the community, so I have people I associate with there. I used to do Bootcamp, but I haven’t trained for a while. They gave me the nick name, ‘The General’ because they said I was like the General of Barry as I’d be sat there saying, “hiya” hiya”, hiya” and talking to people all of the time. I helped a lot of people just by making connections. So, I’m a very friendly person who likes to try lots of different things, but I’m very lazy.
AS: You don’t sound lazy mate.
BT: This is the great thing; I feel like I’m a really lazy person and I can’t be arsed to do stuff but then I’ll get on with it.
AS: It’s difficult sometimes when you’re so driven that you do so many things to always think that there’s still so much that you can do. Most entrepreneurs are like that.
BT: That’s good then . . . I’m an entrepreneur and I’ve worked for myself since I was 34.
AS: Ok. Where do you live?
BT: I live in Barry just outside Cardiff in South Wales and I’m very lucky because I live on the coast. I love the water, hence the paddle boarding and all that sort of stuff. I was born in Cardiff and haven’t really moved around. I went to university in Cardiff for both degrees and I remember walking up the street when I got my degree and I thought I’m walking up the same street I did when I was 10 years old going to school. Then thought, “God you’re being very adventurous”, when other people went to University. Ironically, I went back and did a master’s and my next job then was in Llanelli, so I travelled there every day. The next job was in London and I hated staying up there, so I travelled to London every day. Then it was Cheltenham and then I looked back, and I thought, why don’t I just keep my mouth shut and have a lovely little job down on the corner that I love. So, yea I’m from Barry, born in Cardiff but basically this is where everything is.
AS: Cool. So, wife, kids?
BT: Yes. Wife Lisa, been married 24 years and been together 30 years. I met her at Taekwondo. She’d just joined, and I was just about to do my black belt I think, so I ended up instructing her. She worked down the leisure centre which started the collection of all the friends who we used to go out with all of the time. She’s 9 years younger than me and we once did a show where they spent the whole day editing different aspects of our lives, a games show. When they edited it the editor came out and said, “so why did you marry your wife”? I said because when I met her, she was 9 years younger than me and she was an aerobics instructor . . . That’s all that came out, so it was highly edited. But yes, I mean, she’s 9 years younger than me, she’s into her fitness, now into her golf big time.
AS: Who’d win a Taekwondo fight out of you and your Mrs?
BT: Ask her and she’ll say, her . . . Ask me and I’ll say her. Lisa’s one of these people, when she was a blue belt there was a tournament going on that was for black belts only. It was England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales fighting each other, we didn’t have enough fighters, so they just put a black belt on her and put her up against an Irish 4th dan world champion, so they chucked Lisa up just to sacrifice her, and they drew.
BT: She’s got more sparring trophies than me, as she keeps reminding me, because she’s just very, very competitive and aggressive. I’ve got more for patterns than her because I’m more delicate than she is. Yea, so we’ve been together for 30 years and got 2 children. Joshua who’ll be 23 in November, who got his degree in police science last year, he was a special, but he had to pack that in to go to Camp America, he was basically a lifeguard, he’s got a powerboat license and a safety boat. He’s hoping to get back in now. And I’ve got my daughter Caitlin who turned 18 last week, who’s into performing arts. She’s very much into acting, singing and in fact up until last year we used to do a lot of gigs where she’d sing, and I’d play the guitar . . . and I’m a much better guitar player when I don’t have to sing. And it was great because she has a fantastic voice, but she just doesn’t enjoy it. I’m sure she’ll come back to it. My wife’s football mad. She loves football. A Liverpool supporter. Josh referees for the Football Association of Wales, he’s on the development squad, he refereed Cardiff City in Taff Wells charity game the other day when 3,000 were watching. So, he’s taught to a relatively high level. This has always been the joke, when the kids were younger, because I’m more musical, I used to take Caitlin to dance and Lisa used to take Josh to football. Traditionally it would be the other way around.
AS: Not a conventional family then, that’s good.
BT: No, but it’s quite nice, we still enjoy each other’s company. We end up going to the cinema together and things like that. I’ve got adult children that actually speak to me, so as somebody said once, that’s successful.
AS: Brilliant. Sounds like a great family life. . . . So, onto your business then, what inspired you run your business? Why did you start up on your own?
BT: It’s really interesting because I always said to myself that I’d get married when I’m 33, I’ll marry somebody who’s 6 years younger than me (I was out by 3), and I always wanted to work for myself, I don’t know why and as I said, I was 34. Basically, it was because I wasn’t happy, and Lisa bought this book. There was also a television programme on in about ’95 on different kinds of happiness. They talked about drilling holes in your head, Angus Deayton did it. She bought me the book on that, but Tony Robbins was on it. I bought the book Unlimited Power and I started reading it and thought . . . I just want to work for myself, I’m not happy with my job. It was quite interesting as I was going around all Welsh companies giving them advice on quality and stuff, but I wanted to work for myself. I went for a walk with the dog at 6 o’clock in the morning and thought, I just need to do it. I was listening to one of the tapes I’d bought, and it said, “just make a decision”. Josh was 6 months old at the time and I just walked into the office and resigned. I’d had inclines that I could do work with other people, so I just resigned. That was it. I wanted to control my own destiny as it were.
AS: How long did it take you get started in term of actually bringing some work in?
BT: I had a really good reputation, so virtually straight away. I had a £6,000 contract and I set up a £20,000 overdraft with the bank just in case. But what I did have, I managed to get access to the old Video Arts, John Cleese video type things and be the sole distributor for Wales. To be honest I was earning money straight away because I had one or two contracts and then with my contacts, I went around picking up work. I’ve never really marketed myself. People tend to come to me or I get recommended or I become an authority figure for example Business Wales or The Welsh Assembly. . . .
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