We interviewed Peter Lynagh from ABLE Academy at the Kingston Business Expo 2017


Tino: So welcome back to Business First TV. My name is Tino, coming today from the Kingston Expo. And this is Peter. Hello Peter, how are you?
Peter Lynagh: I'm very well. Thank you very much.
Tino: Did we chat last year?
Peter Lynagh: No. This is the first time I think we've spoken.
Tino: Have we met before?
Peter Lynagh: No, we haven't met before. No.
Tino: Okay. Just checking. What do you do?
Peter Lynagh: Well, my name is Peter Lynagh. I'm the CEO and founder of the Academy of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs. It's a peer group learning process with a difference. But if I may ask, as a business owner sometimes you can find it very lonely, do you agree?
Tino: It can be for certain people. Yes.
Peter Lynagh: Equally it can also be a little isolating. Do you agree?
Tino: Absolutely.
Peter Lynagh: Well, being a member of the ABLE actually overcomes those two key elements, and I think that is really one of the important things that we do in our peer group learning programme.
Tino: So your target market are what? Solopreneurs or businesses, such as small businesses or ... ?
Peter Lynagh: It varies really. We're looking at businesses that have been around at least five years and well established. A minimum turnover of half a million pounds a year, up to 50 million.
Tino: All right. So that kind of excludes a lot of that smaller businesses who are solopreneurs and aren't making that sort of money just yet.
Peter Lynagh: Agreed. But then there's a lot of my members that started out that way, who have now developed their businesses. In fact, one is over 100 million. So they've all started as entrepreneurs, as I did, at 58, when I decided to go out on my own.
Tino: Is this what you're doing now?
Peter Lynagh: I started out when I was 58 as a business consultant. And then an old friend of mine reminded me that I was a member of the peer group programme, and I became a chair of that particular organisation. And over a period of time I felt that I should be really looking at the value for my members, and decided four years ago to form ABLE.
Tino: What sort of support does ABLE offer then?
Peter Lynagh: It's a community environment where non-competing businesses gather each month, depending on what group. I run two groups in London and one in Kingston. And it's creating a safe environment, where those members feel very comfortable to speak very open and honest, because it's under Chatham House Rule. Whatever we do in that meeting is held very, very confidentially. That's why we have non-compete, because this isn't an example of getting together once a month and having a batch of wine and enjoying ourselves. At times, it can get really quite difficult, because we really get under the skin ...
Tino: Oh, really?
Peter Lynagh: ... of the challenges that these people have.
Tino: Fantastic. What sorts of things happen then? I mean, what sort of challenges, without naming anyone, have you come across?
Peter Lynagh: I think the one that brings a smile to most people, is that we had a guest a few years ago, and his challenge was that one of his board directors was having an affair with one of his senior female managers. After two minutes of grilling, it was very obvious it was him, and he admitted to it, and we were able to help him in the obvious way. That I think is a rare example, but it's that type of thing.
Tino: Sounds very interesting. How do people find out more?
Peter Lynagh: Well, you can contact myself on www.able-academy.com. Or you can speak to my colleagues, or current members, or check out the website, which again is www.able-academy.com.
Tino: We are coming to the end of the day here, but can you tell us what sort of timings you have available? I mean, is it a morning thing? Is it an all day thing, or is it an evening thing?
Peter Lynagh: Well, the process we have is that we offer the opportunity to come and try a breakfast taste meeting, which is at 7:30 to 10 o'clock. We specialise in the ABLE Clinic, because most people can understand our speaker workshop environment, but do not quite understand the ABLE Clinic. So they get exposed to that, and if they like that, we invite them along as a guest for a day, for the full day, to get the full experience of the speaker workshop, plus the clinic. And if they like that, and like the group, I offer a quarterly introductory membership. But the commitment is, one day a month. And I've got a three-months notice period, but we're looking for people to join us for the long term.
Tino: Absolutely amazing. And just remind us again, what type of people were you looking for?
Peter Lynagh: I'm looking for CEOs, MDs, or business owners of companies with a turnover of half a million pound to a 50 million pound area.
Tino: Peter, thank you very much for your time.
Peter Lynagh: Thank you very much.
Tino: Thank you. So Tino from Business First TV, here at the Kingston Expo. It's all over.

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