Mark Beckham from Suffolk served a long career in the HM Armed Forces; 1990 – 2000 in the Army and 2000 – 2018 in the Royal Air Force (RAF). During his 28 years in service Mark traveled extensively, from which his love of nature and the environment stemmed. His passion of being in nature and the environment it offers, whilst enjoying teaching people new skills led him to start up his own business.
In Mark’s own words
“I wanted to be my own boss and have the ability to plan my own workload”.
After Mark’s service in the Armed Forces he attended the award-winning Business Experience workshop run by X-Forces Enterprise (XFE) & Help for Heroes (H4H).
“H4H and XFE have been by my side all the way, with all the information provided, they made the necessary steps to enable me to qualify for a H4H grant. I used the grant to purchase equipment for the business. Both H4H and XFE continue to provide help to grow my business with advice and ideas, they constantly offer support with regular phone calls months after the course had finished”.
Like most businesses Mark came across a few rocks, which didn’t deter him on his journey to success. Some of these rocks were
“Finding a woodland to operate from and having to make a woodland that hasn’t been managed for many years, but I’ve turned this into something that’s now a great place to be with a main camp area, woodland classrooms, food prep area and a composting toilet. I had to complete a chainsaw course to be able to carry out some of the work in the woods. Finance was a challenge; the company wasn’t earning money as I hadn’t started trading. The funds were provided out of my pocket which made things very tight”. Now Mark is at the stage where he is planning to expand the business to build a regular customer base, increase the courses he currently offers, operate from more than one location and generate more income that can be used to research expeditions worldwide.
“The most enjoyable parts of running my own business are the freedom to plan the training calendar, providing bespoke training to charities and corporate companies as well as the public, choosing my working hours and challenging myself on a daily basis to improve what I do to be as successful as I can.”
Mark has provided words of encouragement for individuals in the Armed Forces community.
“Go for it, don’t let doubts stand in the way of success. There is plenty of help available out there, ask the questions and take guidance, you’ll be proud of your achievements when things start to work out. Always be positive and focused, you can do it. If you don’t give it a go, it will haunt you down the line wondering what could have been.”
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X-Forces Enterprise (XFE)
Is an award-winning Community Interest Company that nurtures entrepreneurial ambition in the UK military community and are the official delivery partner to the governments Start Up loans scheme and the Careers Transition Partnership (MOD). XFE have supported over 1,300 entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and has helped thousands more through training, events and mentoring provisions. X-Forces.com