Globaleap is headed up by Chris Howard, a British national who has lived and worked in 6 countries over the course of his career. Truly international, Chris has been at the front end of fast-moving businesses for many years, both large and small.
He has worked for some iconic brands and built multi-million-dollar businesses for them. Starting out at Burberry in Paris as a management trainee, Chris moved to Calvin Klein as Sales Director before taking on senior commercial global roles at Guess Inc and Swarovski. Chris also has a close understanding of the smaller SME industry; he grew up in the family business and has also worked more recently for other owner-led businesses. He also brings senior board-level expertise and the gravitas of being on the Executive team of a high-profile business.
What are the main areas where you feel you have driven most impact in a business over the past 15 years?
When I look back at what I have really enjoyed and been successful at, I see three core themes emerging
Taking a smaller business and fast-tracking growth by over 20% a year. I have worked for some demanding firms expecting to see consistent profitable double-digit growth, and I am proud to have done this at Guess, Swarovski and the UK’s Royal Mint, delivering substantial profits back to these businesses.
Building high impact commercial teams. I have built some great teams, all of whom have been highly motivated and empowered. Each having a clear roadmap, goals and belief in delivering their objectives. As both a coach and mentor to each team I have empowered them to delivering high growth levels.
I have been at the forefront of change on several occasions. As part of a senior turnaround team at the family-run business Mamas and Papas, restructuring the company entirely. Then at the UK Royal Mint, where I was part of the Executive team taking a rapidly declining business and industry into new markets and channels, ensuring future profitability and job security for over 1000 employees.
What is it you believe you bring to the table for the SME sector at Globaleap?
‘I have been there; I have done it. I have never been afraid to push the boundaries and to fail if necessary. Of course, no-one wants to fail, but failure is about being brave and taking an unknown route. If you fail, learn and move forward.
The message is that if you want to substantially grow your business then there must be an element of risk in trying new strategies and ideas. Of course, with our clients we want to minimise that risk as far as possible.
I have learned that by combining 3 main concepts, a business can substantially grow profits at a level beyond 20% a year. In fact, the results can go way beyond this. Larger organisations spend a lot of time and money on data analytics, research and recruitment of top-flight commercial teams, but I have found that by keeping to 3 principles, SME’s can transform their businesses both above and below the line in a cost-effective way.
Pulling together a well thought-through pricing strategy. Too many businesses have no strategy at all in this space, and very few create a long-term plan. Get this right, and profits flow through. Price is the key that unlocks profits.
Too many businesses simply compete against their competitors. A gladiatorial contest to outsmart each other with product and pricing, often a race to the bottom with diminishing profits.
In every sector there are undiscovered markets full of ‘non-customers’. Its just a question of finding them. SME’s are often highly entrepreneurial by nature, so finding undiscovered markets is often part of the SME DNA.
Having high performing teams. The commercial arm of the business needs to be highly motivated and goal-focused to deliver double-digit growth. We apply techniques applied in much larger organisations to unleash the sales capability of SME’s.
You have lived and worked in countries. How do you think this will relate to SME’s?
I am privileged to have lived and worked in different places, from London, Switzerland, France, Italy, the US and now Barcelona. I am fascinated by different cultures and ways of working and believe this richness adds to what I bring. Of course, it helps that I speak 3 languages too.
Barcelona has a lively start-up culture in tech and a lot of family run SME’s. Switzerland brings a rigour and structure I have never experienced before that is a part of German-speaking cultures. Italy brings creative spirit, entrepreneurialism and a degree of chaos which is also exhilarating, whilst the sheer scale of doing business in the US is extraordinary.
My work has allowed me to travel extensively and build businesses in all major markets globally. For the SME, I bring a global perspective and expertise to the table.
Our goal is to deliver value-led solutions to SME’s, early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs to scale their profits by at least 20% a year. We engage with our clients to create highly collaborative, innovative and dynamic partnerships to deliver shared outcomes.