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Home » About

About

This is not a normal ‘about us’ page.

I wanted to present something more personal and give you an insight into The Big Red Tomato Company and how it started. If you wish to read our ‘more corporate’ version you can do so here on my Corporate About Page.

THE BIG RED TOMATO COMPANY – WHY?

Most of my future clients live a business life of frustration and long hours.

In many cases, they started a small business without much knowledge of starting and growing a successful business.

In many cases they left well paying jobs for a better life, but have now created a glorified job for themselves.

..actually, it’s worse than a job, because everything depends on them.

Soon they become frustrated, overwhelmed and work whatever hours it takes to stay on top of things, but always with the nagging doubt that the business isn’t reaching it’s full potential.

Working so hard that they rarely have time for the important things in life; like taking a holiday or spending quality time with family and friends.

If that’s you then you’re definitely in the right place.

The Big Red Tomato Company exists to help people, like you, work less and earn more, by building a business that works without them.

Quite simply, we provide actionable business growth advice and coaching to the owners of businesses who are fed up with the knowledge that their business is not realising its full potential.

On this site you’ll find 100’s of ideas and how to advice you can implement straight away to take your business to the next level.

Sound interesting?

Then why not join 1000’s of business owners who receive my weekly email packed full of growth hacks and actionable tips (think of it as your inside track to growing your business). 

 

MY BACK STORY

Hello I’m Matthew Needham… I’m a dad, a husband, a Brit living in New Zealand, author and recovering big business finance person. Interesting fact: I share my birthday with two of my hero’s: Guy Kawasaki former Chief Evangelist of Apple and Warren Buffett the world’s greatest investor, but that’s where the similarity ends.

My dad was one of these people who left a well paying corporate job.  4 weeks holiday a year and a pension, by buying a retail pharmacy, when I was 6 years old.

For 16 years he didn’t take a holiday. Or a day off.

In effect he not only created one job for himself, he created many jobs: pharmacist, book keeper, administrator, cleaner, sales person, store keeper….business owner.

As a result I didn’t see him much when I was growing up. I don’t want that to happen to you and your kids.

But despite this we are the best of friends and thankfully it didn’t kill him.

mum and dad at christmas

With the very best of intentions, my mum and dad’s career advice to me was to get a good education and get a get a good job.

So I went to University and got a degree in Accounting and Finance.

I became a graduate trainee with Rolls-Royce and became an accountant working inside the business, before moving onto Experian Plc where I was Head of Finance.

Along the way I got qualified as an accountant and I’m now a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and CPA Australia and also a Member of The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply – basically, I know how to grow businesses and reduce costs.

In the late 00’s I set up and ran a successful wedding photography business, photographing 60-70 weddings a year:

I even managed to take a few photos when I married my best friend, Emma, in Grenada in 2008.

Grenada Sunset

In 2003 I started building a residential property business, which despite a few hairy moments during the financial crisis is still going strong.

I have over 20 years corporate experience in providing advice on strategy, business improvement, change and transformation, as well of course, finance.

Throw into this being a husband and a father, a love of travel (having visited 45 countries and 20/50 US States), cars, power kiting, and mixed martial arts (especially Krav Maga) you kind of get the picture.

Quite simply, I have worked in some of the world’s largest businesses and also some of it’s smallest. I know how business works and I understand that the health of your business impacts the lives of those around you.

 

HOW THIS JOURNEY BEGAN

In early 2008 I decided I’d had enough of the “rat race” and decided to make a new start as an independent interim manager, business coach and consultant.

I have worked with some major and diverse clients such as BT Openreach, DHL and De Montfort University; where I led a project to raise £110m ($160m) through the issue of sterling Eurobonds on the London Stock Exchange.

In mid 2009 I launched this blog as a personal project.  Initially it was a location to keep my notes on books or articles I’d read or ideas I’d discovered and to share some experiences.

But since late 2010 following the birth of my Son, and the desire to spend more time with him and my wife, it’s been a focus for building a business that didn’t require my physical presence, so as well as Interim Management Services, I now offer coaching and courses to the owners of small businesses.

It has been an interesting journey!

A journey that has not only brought financial reward, cool clients, free stuff (always nice), book offers and speaking opportunities, it has also introduced me to some fantastic people who have allowed me to think that little bit bigger and grow my business.

It’s also given me the opportunity to take some of my professional experience working in large organisations and applying that to smaller businesses and seeing the fantastic results that they have achieved.

 

THE NEXT CHAPTER

In February 2012 we took a family holiday to New Zealand. A journey that I was not particularly looking forward to because New Zealand is 11,000 miles away from the UK and our son was then 19 months old.  To put this in perspective, here’s the journey on the map. But despite our 37 hour journey door to door (Emirates can rest easy in the knowledge that the electric window blinds on their Boeing 777 have been tested extensively) it was not as painful as I had imagined. Maybe it was the complimentary champagne.

On the second day in country, we were walking along this beach when I turned to my wife and said:

Oriental Bay

 

“you know, we should move here, it would be a great place to bring up Sam”
To my surprise she agreed.

On return to the UK we set about the process of moving to New Zealand. A journey which as many have written elsewhere, is a bit of a minefield, but nevertheless, we moved  house and flew out on 16th September and for the first time ever we all saw sunshine on Christmas Day.

Xmas Day

So, quite literally, I’m now able to help frustrated business owners all over the world bring control to their lives, give them certainty that the business will operate without them and ability to leverage resources to get massive results.

Would I give the advice to my son my parents gave to me?

No, but you’ll have to read the blog to find out why :-)

Talking of the blog, as regularly as possible, I post actionable advice on one of the following topics:

  • Business Strategy (vision and goal setting)
  • Productivity
  • Case Studies
  • Marketing and Sales advice
  • Advice on systemising your business
  • Getting a grip on your business finances
  • Reviews of the books I’ve read

 

Every once in a while we will include relevant guest posts from other experienced entrepreneurs. If you’d like to write a guest post for us please check our guest post guidelines, but if you’re looking to promote crap, please “jog on”.

Not sure where to start? Then Start Here

Each week I send out my best growth hacks and tips to grow your business.   Think of this as your inside track to growing your business.

If you’d like to know more or see how we  can work together to grow your business click here.

Don’t forget to say hello on Twitter  or  Facebook

Almost forgot:

In case you’re wondering; what has all this got to do with Tomatoes? Well, you can find the answer to that here – what’s in a name?

To your business success!

Matthew Needham - The Big Red Tomato Company

Wellington, New Zealand, January 2015

Boring bit about disclosures:

The Big Red Tomato Company is a commercial organisation. Which means that we make money from selling stuff.

From time to time, we will recommend cool products, books or services which we have tried, read or use. If we recommend these things we do so because we believe they will make a difference to your business, your earnings or your life. Sometimes we may get a small % commission if you buy using these any of the links on these pages, sometimes we wonít.
Either way, if we don’t like something we won’t recommend it. If you do decide you want to purchase something though, please do use the links as it helps pay for some of New Zealand’s finest Sauvingon Blanc (for my wife obviously).

We hope you like our site and buy our products or services, but if you don’t, that’s OK too.