James Burke of ActionCOACH Manchester in group coaching session

Local business growth specialist, James Burke, has been shortlisted for a national award recognising his success at such a young age, having started his journey from being homeless a decade ago. Based in Salford, the 30-year-old’s personal story was just one of the reasons he has been hand-picked by judges as a finalist for Franchisee of the Year in the British Franchise Association (bfa) Awards.

“Within 10 years of sleeping rough on the streets, my life has been completely transformed,” says James. “The work I do with my clients is special and to share my story to inspire them to achieve more in their own businesses is great. Not only am I able to have an impact on them, but I can create waves in the wider business community, impacting local residents too. It’s extremely satisfying and being shortlisted for this award is simply recognising that.”

James started his career as a boxer, but his dreams were crushed when an injury cut that career short. This brought on a bout of depression which got him excluded from school, shunned from his family home and forced him to sleep on park benches and friends’ sofas. James was at rock bottom for a couple of years before he moved into Wigan hostel.

“When I was 23, I looked at myself and thought enough is enough. I made sure I was healthy, both physically and mentally, and started looking for a new challenge. I got a job as an estate agent and progressed to Branch Manager, before being appointed Director of Yopa. At that point, I knew I wanted more – I made it one of my personal missions to make a difference to a million people by 2030. I knew that wasn’t going to be possible staying in the property world.”

James launched ActionCOACH Salford in the summer of 2018 and since then he’s helped many business owners to achieve success. He currently works with 50 clients in the area, ranging from start-ups to multi-million-pound businesses, coaching them on improving their efficiency, profitability and workforce. His impact certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed by his clients, who have only strengthened his story.

Helena Louie, owner of women’s clothing brand, Ruby & Daisy, has been attending weekly sessions with James for nine months and has been impressed from day one. “I don’t think we’d have kept up with the growth if we didn’t start working with James – we would have burnt out. The biggest thing was taking a step back and spending time on the business. Every week, James sets up three goals and, every week, we smashed them. In the time that we’ve been working together, we’ve gone from a £400,000 turnover, to over £4.5million.”

James and his fellow finalists will attend a black-tie dinner and award’s ceremony on 30th November at The Vox in Birmingham, where they find out who is taking home the top prize.

For James, though, it’s just another day at the office with grand plans for the future. After his recent expansion to cover Central and South Manchester, he’s now focusing on his personal mission of supporting business owners’ journeys to achieving their own dreams, including the release of his first book, “A Journey to Wealth and a World-Class Mindset’.


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