Bournemouth On The Move: Start-up Businessman Adam Maton – in profile

Business life can be full of highs and lows – and for Bournemouth’s WeMove removals boss Adam Maton, there was no mistaking the low point.

After eight years working in insurance in a comfortable but unchallenging role, he was soon to find himself in a hole…literally…labouring on a building site.

How had he got there…and more importantly, would he ever return to do business again? At that moment, success appeared a long way off.

It’s a journey which had begun when he decided he’d had enough of corporate life. He’d enjoyed working for Liverpool Victoria in Bournemouth – they’d been good to him – but something was not quite right.

“One morning I woke up and decided I didn’t want to live that life any more”, said Adam, now 32. “I had a house and a car but I wasn’t happy. There was a lack of challenge and I wanted more of a sense of adventure.”

In the space of a week he had packed in his job at LV and enrolled on a course to teach English as a foreign language.

Six weeks later he was in China, teaching English to a class of 20 or so primary school children from affluent families in a small village near to the city of Guangzhou.

He was happy, and soon embarked on a new business venture while continuing working in the classroom. His idea was to enable others to follow in his footsteps. He launched Travel and Earn Recruitment, for people wanting to work abroad.

The business was ultimately doomed to fail. But the experience in China – unbeknown to him at the time – was to provide crucial experience for his next business adventure.

“The travel business was never going to be successful because I didn’t have a plan. I hadn’t worked out who the competition was and I wasn’t doing anything different to anyone else”, said Adam.

“But while in China I met other ambitious business people who were also working on ideas for start-ups. It gave me confidence to push out and do my own thing.”

After a year in China he came back home to Bournemouth. As the travel business started failing, so he turned to labouring to pay the bills.

“I was at the bottom of the food chain – it was really demoralising”, he remembered.

Then one day a van driver arrived at the building site operating a simple man & van removal business – but charging more than £200 a day for the service. Adam was impressed and adopted the idea with his brother, Jack. They called it VanMan and business began to pick up. Adam decided to launch properly, and to learn from his experiences in China. He spent six months fully researching what the business might be and how it might differentiate itself from competitors.

Said Adam: “I knew I wanted to move into the removals side so I pretended to put my parents’ house on the market and asked several existing removals companies to come around and pitch for the ‘job’. It allowed me to see where our market position might be, and identify gaps in the market.”

WeMove launched in the Spring of last year with three members of staff and remains a start -up company, but one with a very clear focus on service. Said Adam: “We identified that the biggest factor in moving was that it was stressful and so settled on the tag line: Moving is stressful, but moving day doesn’t have to be…”

The company operates from the Store and Secure offices behind CastlePoint in Bournemouth, and now has ten people working there from its three vans on most days. It already has ambitions to expand to other parts of the South.

Adam’s philosophical about his personal business journey so far: “A lot of people who fail in business lose money, but I am fortunate in not having done so. Although it has been quite an uneven journey it’s been exciting, and I made sure I learned from it.”

Adam’s early vision was to launch a company which was new and, ideally, original. And yet, he finds himself doing house removals – a service which has been around an awful long time. “I simply realised you could do something which is old – but find ways of doing it much better,” he reflected.

That’s not to say he’s not ambitious. Having dug himself out of a hole on more than one occasion, he seems a man intent on not landing himself in another.



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