Wednesday, 2 April 2014
60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Gavin Dixon
GAVIN Dixon is an experienced finance broker who recently moved back to Bridport, where he went to school, to take up the position of managing director in his own business, Gavin Dixon Finance Solutions. He lives in Bridport with his long-term partner.
YOU came from a traditional farming family - how did you make the switch to finance?
My dad was a dairy farmer and has owned a couple of his own farms. He also was the estate manager at Ashley Chase Estate in the Bride Valley, which was why we moved to Bridport. I was unsure what I wanted to do in life but was sure I did not want to milk cows 24/7 so I thought that going to university would give me more options in life. I was applying for jobs in my final year when I saw a job advertised working for BNP Paribas Lease Group in their farm division. It seemed to make perfect sense to me as I knew farming and I knew finance, so putting the two together was a logical step. I have been working in business-to-business finance ever since.
CAN you give us a brief summary of what service your business provides?
Gavin Dixon Finance Solutions Ltd. is an independent finance broker business which assists local business in finding finance from funders who are not on the high street for the purchase of assets. In simple terms, if a farmer was looking to buy a new or used tractor we can help that farmer get finance for that tractor to make it more affordable, and it also helps companies protect their cash flow. I can help all companies find finance, whether they are farmers, builders, haulers and so on, as long as there is an asset, we can find the finance.
YOU moved back to Bridport after working for companies in London - what was the reason behind the move?
The reason for the move was that I changed my role at Hitachi Capital Business Finance and became a national broker manager. Part of the deal of taking the job was that I had to relocate but the company did not mind where I moved to. As I have always classed Bridport as my hometown and have a lot of friends down here, I chose to move back. After three years of driving the length and breadth of the UK and spending four nights away a week, I decided to set up my own business.
IN what ways is your job different in Dorset compared to the capital?
The basics of the job are the same - I am helping customers find the most competitive finance to suit their business. However, my previous role was to assist the brokers to ensure they gave me the business rather than giving the business to any of our competitors. Now I am dealing with local dealerships and the customers who are buying the equipment and my old customers, the brokers, are now my competition.
IS business in Bridport strong? Was it a motivating factor to try and help business in your hometown?
There is a lot of business in Bridport and some local businesses have been very supportive. However, like in any job I have struggled with some of the larger companies in the area which seem unwilling to give me the time of day. When starting my business my main aim was to give something back to the community that had welcomed me when I was 11 and now class me as a local lad who has a funny accent! Helping other local business is definitely my main goal and in time as the business grows then recruiting local people into my business will also be very important.
WHAT do you like about working in the industry?
Working in finance is a very interesting role as you get to meet lots of different people and lots of different businesses - some businesses you have never heard about so you get to learn lots of new things. It is also very rewarding to know you have helped a business buy a new machine which will then in turn assist them in growing their own business. Indirectly my business can help lots of people and businesses grow and meet their full potential.
HOW challenging was it to set up your own business? Do you prefer working for yourself?
Starting my own business was challenging as I have never done it before but the process is fairly simple, as long as you get the right advice from a good accountant and also from friends or acquaintances who have set up their own businesses. The scariest element of setting up your own business is not knowing when your next pay cheque is coming in - after being employed for 13 years and being paid on the same day of every month to suddenly not knowing if you are going to be able to make a mortgage payment is very unnerving.
If you stay focussed, work hard and never give up you will always be able to make things work and 11 months later I am still here and loving every minute of running my own business. I can honestly say I do not think I could ever work for anyone ever again - being your own boss and reaping the benefits of your own hard work is so rewarding. My only regret in life is that I did not do this sooner.
DO you have any ambitions for the future?
My long term goal is to be able to buy a farm or small holding and set up a charity so that disadvantaged and/or disabled children can come and enjoy a farm experience, my partner looks after disadvantaged children and my sister fosters children, and with my Dad’s farming experience I believe we can run a successful charity and help lots of children.
ARE you settled in the area now, or do you think you will move again in the future?
I cannot see myself leaving the area but you can never say never as you do not know what life can throw at you. I came back to Bridport beacuse I love being in the beautiful countryside and so close to an amazing coast. In my 34 years I have lived in a lot of places - cities, towns and villages - and not one of them comes close to Bridport for me.