Skydiving for charity, Salisbury, England 2017 – Laurence Winmill (Centre) with Skydive Professionals & Colleagues
Education wise, the only university Laurence went to was the University of Life, and while he admits he isn’t one of the country’s top business minds, his tenacious and pragmatic leadership approach in leading the launch of several businesses has produced a poignant mix of memorable highs as well as some soul searching lows, all of which have been significant.
Laurence’s advertising and publishing career officially began in 1985 at Thomson Regional Newspapers where he held several commercial, training and sales management positions. After some 20 years at Thomsons he continued to pursue his passion for business development managing people, performance, and financial and business success at Newsquest Media holding the title of Regional Advertisement Manager for Wales until 2000. In 2001 however he left the corporate publishing world and after a three year spell as Sales Director in pharmaceuticals, where he helped the business grow its £25 million turnover to £50 million within a 3 year period, Laurence decided to go it alone. The following year he created Swansea Life & Swansea Bay Business Life, two highly successful magazines that admittedly suffered during the 2008 financial crash but are now fully established in their respective markets and owned by the Trinity Mirror Group. In 2010 he made his leap into PR, advertising and marketing to set up full service media agency, SJ&F Media, a venture he has left behind recently to pursue his current project, M4 Media a PR and advertising agency that services businesses across the M4 corridor.
Alongside his work running M4 Media, from October 2016, he took on the role of CEO at David Spear Commercial Vehicles. Throughout his career, Laurence has established a reputation as a transformational leader who is driven by challenge, undeterred by obstacles and committed to furthering standards of excellence, qualities and skills that have certainly come in handy during his current roles. His expertise encompasses all aspects of business development, P&L oversight and marketing, from controlling costs and maximising revenues to harnessing team strengths and improving company-wide performance. Furthermore, his ability to build consensus among stakeholders to promote transparency and influence positive change has been repeatedly proven. Laurence relishes all opportunities to share these strengths, and more, with the respective clients he continues to collaborate with.
Entrepreneurial and driven, his current role as Chief Executive brings together more than 20 years of industry leading experience in performance processes, P&L oversight, marketing, management and market identification. As CEO, it is Laurence’s responsibility to handle P&L accountability for all business activities for the UK’s leading LCV specialist, employing a workforce of 24 and supplying new and used commercial vehicles to businesses across the UK and Ireland.
During his tenure the business has recorded a revenue increase of 28% in 2017 while achieving unit sales growth of 30%. A direct result of the strategic and tactical action plans put into place to grow revenues (excluding investment) and leverage existing utilisation to surpass all current industry standards. In addition to this, Laurence and the David Spear team accelerated the integration of a Dealer Management System, including CRM, to maximise lead conversion whilst managing costs and profit per vehicle. During this period, they also created and launched a highly successful, dynamic new website, embracing the full value of digital technology to enhance the user experience. The digital marketing strategy formulised has propelled the business into the national arena with full access to customers across the UK and Ireland.
As CEO Laurence is proud to have received on behalf of the management team a series of national awards, accolades which recognised the brand’s successes throughout 2017. Their wins include the Auto Trader Digital Click Award for Independent Business Transformation and The Institute of Sales Management’s BESMA Award for Senior Leadership Team of the Year.
2017 was a truly remarkable year for Laurence and this business, a period which has seen the complete transformation of the way they market, sell and manage vehicle sales. Speaking on his recent successes as CEO, Laurence comments “It’s very humbling when customers respond to the values of the business, sales increase and industry experts recognise the efforts that our transformation has produced”.
Laurence is a serial entrepreneur, a risk taker, and that’s been reflected in both his personal and professional life, with examples of adversity that have tested him to his limits and pushed him to the brink on several occasions, but he has never given up on his dreams, desires and passion which drives him on to this very day. His greatest achievements are his 3 great kids and 6 wonderful grandchildren, whilst his real life experiences have provided the grounding to become the adaptable entrepreneur, business leader, motivational speaker, presenter, conference facilitator, trainer and author you see before you.