The Portfolio Executives

Adrian Leatherland

Adrian Leatherland of The Portfolio Executives
  • Specialism: Sales and Business Development for the aviation and aerospace sectors.
  • Track Record: Group Business Development Manager at Qualitair Aviation Group; Head of Business Development at Linea Resourcing; Resource Group; Midlands Aerospace Alliance
  • Offer: Professional Business Development for Aviation and Aerospace including Sales Strategy Development; Outsourcing Sales Operations; Trade Show support; Representation for Companies outside the UK; Market sector assessments; Feasibility Studies / Business Plan Development; Project Management; Training Centre projects.
  • Adrian says: “Aero BD will work with you to provide professional business development for Aviation and Aerospace”
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After being made redundant in late 2019, I set up a limited company as a “Plan B” while I was searching for a new role. This was my fourth redundancy since 2014 and it was getting increasingly difficult to get a new role as I got older. I was frustrated that in every role, I had performed over and above, bringing in hugely profitable contracts for my employers – but still being made redundant. I wanted to work for someone who probably wouldn’t make me redundant …. Me !

I set up my limited company and created a small web brochure so that I had an on-line offering I could point people to. I also saw posts from Charles McLachlan and that prompted me thinking about becoming a Portfolio Executive. I had previously been a freelancer and I was aware of the impending IR35 legislation which would make working for a single client a more risky venture. So establishing a portfolio of clients would be optimum for a long term business.

I was asked to help with the recruitment of graduate sales team by an old contact of mine (who thought I was still working in that business). I said to him “Mike, you don’t want graduates -you want me !” I offered to send him a proposal, which I did offering 3 days a week. It was discussed by their board and I was invited to meet the GM and the company owner. That all went well and I have been working for them ever since.

One key learning point along the way for me has been that keeping track of the tasks I am doing for each client and making sure that I am meeting all of their expectations is central to maintaining a successful long term business relationship. Being flexible is appreciated by my clients but I have also learned to make sure that each of them understands that I do work for other people apart from them. Communication and trust are essential – especially in the post COVID world. So doing what you said you would do and in the timescale agreed is essential for this. I would also encourage anyone to take time to keep your company and individual profile up. It is vital to cultivate and maintain your pipeline contacts and “presence” to secure medium to long term business.

I have a busy working portfolio with 4 diverse active clients and others waiting in the wings. This gives me a level of security that I didn’t have in a permanent job. Also, my work-life balance has improved immeasurably with much more time at home than hitherto.

As I continue on this journey i hope for longevity with my current contacts rather than lots of new clients. I am working 4 and half days a week for my current clients and that gives me some time for my own business development. If I can migrate the workload to more closely fit the 20% rule then that would be great but I think this is a long-term goal more than a short term target.