James Bellis: Learn to fail. I had a huge fear of failure when first starting out in business, and to a degree, that was a superpower because I used it to harness creativity

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💼 How did you end up as a CEO? What was your route to this position?

I launched Balance Coffee at the start of the lockdown after my circumstances were temporarily flipped upside down.

Closing one early-stage business because the hospitality market collapsed and the decision to proceed did not make sense for the medium term. I decided to launch Balance Coffee on a mission to bring a healthier range of coffee products to the UK market. Optimized for productivity, focus, energy, and longevity.

💼 Why are you the right person to be the CEO of your company?

My vision is what inspires the trajectory of the business, keeping it aligned to the core values of health and wellbeing, not sacrificing quality at any cost and particularly not at the cost of our customer’s health and wellbeing.

I lead a small team across multiple channels to deliver the growth we require to become. Sustainable business.

💼 What gets you up in the morning?

Apart from the obvious (coffee), I believe working on something you love every single day is one of the core foundations of happiness.

My work provides me with a huge sense of purpose and fulfillment, and I love tackling problems that first feel impossible but always seem to become attainable with enough effort and focus.

💼 Who helped you get to where you are today?

There are many mentors who have helped me get where I am today. Two old bosses in particular, Andrew Tucker and Augusto Melendez, were integral to my early growth in sales and business for the majority of my twenties.

In more recent years, online figures like Tim Ferris, Alex Hormozi Gary Vee provide that daily inspiration when things aren’t quite going your way, and you need that boost.

💼 What is the best or worst business advice you have received, and from whom?

The best business advice I’ve heard comes from Alex Hormozi – if you focus all of your attention on providing an unreasonable amount of value, so much so that it would be unreasonable to not charge higher prices, be more profitable and acquire happy customers for a long period of time.

It’s kind of obvious, but It helped me realise the emphasis on product and service is paramount above all else.

💼 If you could go back in time to when you were a teenager, what life advice would you give yourself?

Learn to fail. I had a huge fear of failure when first starting out in business, and to a degree, that was a superpower because I used it to harness creativity.

But I went through a lot of stress and pain at the time, so I’d suggest slowing down and not setting unrealistic expectations.

Most things take two to three times as long to execute if you want to do it well, so taking a sustainable approach to business expectations would be the headline.

💼 What are the most important values you demonstrate as a leader?

For me personally, it’s important to lead with a vision and to continually share and remind team members of this shared goal for success.

However, not at any cost – being compassionate and empathetic is critical to look after your team and the success of any leader.

💼 How can a leader fail?

Leaders fail when they prioritise themselves over their team and their customers. Adapting quickly to change is also essential in leadership.

💼 What do the next five years hold for you?

My dream is for Balance Coffee to become a household name for healthy coffee in the UK. Sustainable growth globally is expanding our product range into a new category (mushroom coffee) which we’re working on as we speak.

💼 Mentorship is a big business in the West. Do you have any experience with it?

I have mentored several people at different levels. My preference is to always give real-life examples of business scenarios rather than textbook advice.

Allowing people to get hands-on is also the best form of mentorship, from my experience, so they are creating the narrative for themself, not just from your version.

💼 If people want to reach out to you or your business, what is the best way for them to go about doing that?

You can find me a few ways: Instagram: @imjamesbellis [email protected]

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Written by Fredd

Andrew Lockhart: “there are no shortcuts–any achievement of substance will be the byproduct of consistent effort.”

Jacky Lee: This is a famous quote purportedly by Richard Branson: “Business opportunities are like buses; there’s always another one coming.”