Entrepreneur Matt Haycox on Business and Charity

Entrepreneur, Matt Haycox has set up a foundation to support a multitude of causes after being inspired by his experience of donating £16,000 and helping a young schoolboy suffering from cerebral palsy raise £50,000 for a life-changing operation, which would enable him to walk unassisted and pain-free.

9-year-old Alfie Smith dreamed one day of being able to walk unaided; a dream that his family desperately wanted to fulfil. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 16 months old, Alfie had until June last year to undergo surgery, or his condition will have deteriorated too greatly for him to be eligible for an operation.

His family started a campaign to raise money to fund the selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) surgery, and after a chance meeting with Matt at a Hartlepool United football game, they were able to raise enough money to fund the surgery thanks to Matt’s sizeable contribution.

Buoyed by the experience of helping change Alfie’s life for the better, Matt has set up a foundation aimed at making a difference to causes that are close to home. The Matt Haycox foundation aspires to raise funds to ensure cases like Alfie’s receive the financial backing and emotional support they require.

Being an international investor, Matt has multiple projects under careful watch; however, he was quoted as stating that the foundation is the most important investment he has ever made.

He has now launched the Matt Haycox foundation a charity which will help disadvantaged people and charities across the UK

You started you charity after you helped a young boy with Cerebral Palsy, but your charity is for all those who are ‘disadvantaged’, why did you choose to include all disadvantaged and not just CP sufferers?

It’s always such a tough call to make in any ‘charitable’ or ‘giving’ situation of who you choose to support. In the case of Alfie, I chose to support him as an individual, because of how I felt towards him and his family, not specifically because he was a CP sufferer. I wanted to change his life and help him, regardless of what was the cause of those issues.

We are always going to be limited by our resources and want to keep our mission as wide as possible, so we can support as many deserving cases as we can.

Do you think your success as an entrepreneur influenced your charity work?

Well, it has obviously given me the financial resources to support my charity work, but it has also given me a fantastic contact base to tap into, so we can ensure the foundation gets off to a flying start. I will be treating this very much like any other business I am involved in, to ensure we deliver on our goals with no bureaucracy and maximum efficiency, making sure we provide maximum value for our supporters and causes alike.

How did meeting a 9-year-old boy with Cerebal Pausey influence your life?

I met Alfie at a time when I had just done particularly well in a deal, so seeing someone in need with a problem that I could solve just felt like the natural thing to do. I wasn’t out looking for a cause to support, it was just a case of us both being at the right place at the right time, for both of us! But as soon as I got involved with supporting Alfie, I knew it was just the beginning.

And how did you experience his life changes and progress after the operation?

It’s still early days. The operation has now taken place and the hard road to recovery has begun with the daily physio sessions and a lot of support. But things are looking good for far and I can’t wait to see Alfie walk without assistance in the not too distant future.

What do you want your charity to achieve in the next 10 years?

I’ve never been a 10 year planner, I just tend to put a strategy in place and take each day as it comes. But 10 years is a long time so if we haven’t supported many hundred of cases during that time, whilst throwing some great fundraising parties at the same time, then I will be very disappointed.

You as an entrepreneur have gone through some hard times, what did you do to keep yourself motivated?

Unless you are incredibly lucky, building businesses and talking risks has plenty of ups and downs and some very dark days. There have been 2 particularly hard times for me in my career, moments when it could really have been the end for me. I kept myself motivated by the fear of public failure, what I feel would be embarrassment in front of my peers, and letting down my daughter. I have so much more to achieve so if I am having a bad day I lock myself in dark room to chill out for a couple of hours, then come back swinging.

You were quite young when you started your own business, do you have any advice for business people that have just started or think about starting a company themselves?

The main advice I have found myself repeating to people over and over again lately is to be persistent yet realistic. People never see the sleepless nights and 7 day working weeks that go into building a business, they just see the finished product. So when it comes to starting their own business they think things are going to be an overnight success and become despondent when that doesn’t happen. Whatever line of business you are in, it takes to build a customer base, a pipeline, a following, interest in your product – if you have the right product and the right plan in place then the sales will come. Just don’t give up home if it doesn’t happen in the first month!

Do you have a mantra you live by?

I just like to work hard, doing business with people I like, selling products I would want to buy myself. I want to be proud of everything I am involved in and enjoy going to work. Pretty simple really! 😉

You advise people on their finances, what is the best advice you ever got given?

I’ve had and still have some great mentors over the years who have come from all walks of life and different business sectors. And no matter what the sate of the economy or the latest fad, the oldies still remain true! ‘Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity and cashflow is king’, is something I remember my dad talking to be about when I was still in school. It is s so true and ignored time and time again, by businesses young and old. It doesn’t matter how good your product is or how many of them you are selling, if you can’t turn those sales into cash, and keep more cash coming in than going out, then there is only one eventual outcome.

As well as an entrepreneur and face of a charity, you’re also a writer. What was your main inspiration as a writer?

Despite some of the set backs I have had during my career, I wouldn’t change my journey as that has got me where I am and made me who I am today. But that doesn’t mean others can’t learn from my mistakes. I am writing about real world situations and giving real world advice, that I have learnt from deals I have done, both good and bad. There is too much theory out there and I am just telling you as it is.

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