After 10 years as a sales employee, Russell Attwood felt it was time to set up on his own. He'd spent five years working in call centres and used that experience to launch Call Centre Technology in 1997, a company providing technology, data and software solutions for call centres and other businesses. Six years on, Attwood, 33, is running a company with a turnover of pounds 9 million a year, and enjoys a client retention rate of 97%.
Setting up wasn't easy. He had to find a sizable chunk of investment, and, as he admits, 'salesmen are not the greatest when it comes to paperwork'. With the help of an accountant, he drew up a business plan and raised pounds 1.25 million.
Attwood has attracted some high-profile clients, including Securicor, easyJet and the Daily Telegraph, and he's never looked back. 'The moment you walk away and break the shackles of paid employment, you're either ready for it or you're not, and I was absolutely mad for it,' he says.
Some things were hard, such as learning how to delegate. 'It's a leap of faith that the rest of your team can do a better job left on their own than you could do yourself,' he explains. The team has grown - Attwood now has 122 employees across the UK, and he hopes to maintain the company's pace of progress. With revenue growing at 30% year-on-year, that challenge will keep him busy.