Andy Iddon: Business and Sales Strategist
Andy Iddon doesn’t like being called an expert and yet, it’s difficult to find a word more suiting for a man who has worked 20+ years as a successful digital consultant and business strategist.
“I’m not a fan of the term [expert]. Anyone who goes around calling themselves one comes off as arrogant and probably isn’t one.”
Andy has been working with the CB team as an independent consultant since early 2019 and helps with business strategy and growth. Having completed a 360-degree review, Content Bloom developed a four-year strategy and business orbit mapping out the expansion plan for Canada, USA, Europe, and APAC. The analysis identifies new services, opportunities, and partnerships.
“The guys [CB’s founding members] have a solid business legacy. I’ve told them to stop keeping what they do a massive secret because there’s so much impressive stuff. Tell your story.”
As a former founder of Building Blocks (UK, USA, ES 2007-2017), Andy has an impressive background, having worked with enterprise businesses in over 14 countries delivering a range of digital solutions. Starting out initially as a software engineer, his career evolved as he progressed through the tech consultancy ranks and eventually became an Enterprise Sales Consultant. It was here that he found his love for sales and decided to start his own company. He’s done it all – FD, MD, CEO, Global Sales Director, tea maker, you name it.
According to Andy, leaders get things done and set the standards. They are versatile, embrace change, and identify new opportunities. Leaders have an innate instinct that allows them to know when and how to move forward with an idea or project, even if that means leaving everything you know behind.
“To run a business is a 24/7 gig. You’re constantly thinking about it and it becomes the number one priority. That’s just the way it is. So if you have a dream, if you have a goal, do it. Give it a go, be successful, and maybe fail. But it doesn’t matter. Give it a go and stop just talking about it.”
His very first job in software engineering involved process control systems with the C-130J Super Hercules where stakes were high and mistakes made in his team’s process manual creation could cost lives.
“The kind of projects I worked on were unlike anything I have done since. In this role, if I didn’t do my job correctly, airplanes could literally fall out of the sky. This taught me two things, the first was to focus on quality and the second was the meaning behind RTFM (read the f!@#$ manual).”
As a veteran of the digital industry, Andy’s ability to analyze and optimize a business is one of the many qualities that make him so valuable.
When asked how he’s gotten to where he is, Andy replied, “I think that it comes from perspective. I like to try and see a problem from all angles. Say what you see and think outside the box. Most people get so excited thinking they know the answer to the questions being asked. However, they don’t step back and determine if what is being asked is actually the right question. You have to step back and try and understand the bigger picture.”
Q & A with Andy
What makes someone an asset to their team?
You need someone with vision. I like hiring people who are more clever than me in their field. Also, you want someone with a good personality, a go-getter.
What was the best piece of advice anyone has given you?
I met a very successful CEO (of a shoe repair and key enterprise) at an awards ceremony around 2009. We were backstage chatting about growing a business and the biggest challenge being finding the right people. He offered me the following advice, “I can train someone to cut a key or sole a shoe but I can never stop them from being an arsehole – always hire based on personality and grow from there.”
What made you decide to sell your company (Building Blocks) and leave everything you’d built behind?
I think it was Ferris Bueller that said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” We were approached by an up-and-coming agency that had ambitions of becoming the largest digital agency in the world. Initially, I thought that sounded good – great possibilities, etc. The reality, however, was very different and I was no longer in charge. My work-life balance was still like a seesaw with a Sumo wrestler sitting on one end. I decided that family was more important, so I knocked it all on the head. To be honest, I am really enjoying working with the agencies and businesses that I’ve met since leaving and the golf is going really well also.
What is something you cannot live without on a professional level, materialistic, or otherwise?
I have always lived by the mantra of transparency and honesty. In all walks of life, I believe these are the essential building blocks of any relationship.