An Interview with…… Toby Blatchford-Tagg
Written by Tracey Duke
Photography by Pip Andersen
At just 32 years old, Exeter based Toby Blatchford-Tagg has co-founded five businesses, employs over 45 staff and, by his own admission, has got there with a pure, hell bent determination.
I caught up with the man behind the Lead Lab and the award nominated Lukas Barbers to talk culture, influencers and next steps.
A natural born entrepreneur, it’s clear that Toby has a gift for spotting a gap and going for it. He has the art of telemarketing science down to a tee and has successfully placed the Lead Lab as a leader in this, the most competitive of markets.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t exactly certain what I was going to find in Toby; his reputation for enjoying the good life precedes him and getting a date in his diary is, notoriously difficult. When we did eventually meet, it was one of the most pleasant surprises. I found in Toby, a kind, welcoming, unassuming & driven guy who clearly had the respect and support of his team; a man who is very definitely going places.
“It’s not been easy” he explains, “but that’s the fun part of it all. It’s the working out how you can make it work and not fail. It can get stressful thinking about 5 businesses but we just try to turn stressful challenges into a game of win or lose, which can help make it a much more enjoyable experience. If you do lose, don’t dwell on it; learn and move on quickly.
With our team and my business partners, I like to think we all try to help each other to reach our goals; whatever they maybe. It’s not always easy to do and every day is a challenge. Richard Branson says that your staff are more important than your clients, because they look after your clients. I really believe in that; I’ve seen the benefit for my clients that is generated by the culture we try to create internally”.
His pride in his team is clear for all to see; watching his face light up as he talks about supporting his staff is nothing short of inspiring. And I absolutely get where he is coming from; there is something so incredibly rewarding about helping others to achieve their goals. The pure buzz you get from seeing someone achieve and grow is, for me, unlike anything else.
Despite not having pulled the best academic results during his educational years, Toby has never let it stand as a barrier to his success. He openly and honestly discusses his colourful educational past with a slight sense of remorse, for sure, but with the added element of how his choices as a teen, only aided in his determination as an adult.
Getting him talking about his entrepreneurial childhood spirit, is another ballgame; one he clearly looks back on with pride.
“When I was a kid, I used to sell conkers in school during the Autumn. In Summer I would buy 100’s of ice poles from the mini market in Alphington and sell them on for double. They were good times. I think I liked the game as much as the financial reward.
Now, as an adult, I look to social media influencers like Gary Vaynerchuck; I turn to him pretty much every day. He reminds me that you have to work hard and that it’s not easy. Most importantly for me, he lets me accept you will fail and that it’s ok to fail, so long as you get up and go again, learn and don’t dwell too much.
Zig Ziglar is another guy I look to. He’s the guy who says ‘you can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want”. How true is that! It’s a belief I live by.
Yes we have big plans to grow The Lead Lab, Home Lead Gen and to increase the number of barbers in the Lukas chain, annually. We know what we need to do now; we’re older and wiser. We just have to go and do it!”
Follow Toby and his team @the_leadlab & check out their site www.theleadlab.com