Optima Training (Part 1): A growth story
On Tuesday 12th November it will be our birthday; Optima Training will be ten years old. This is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the journey so far and celebrate our success. From starting life in a back bedroom home office, we are now an award winning company working with clients from all over the world.
Our investment in virtual classroom technology means that we are able to provide highly flexible training solutions for all of our clients both in the UK and overseas. Our training delivery team is passionate about learning, focused on results and are great to work with. Optima Training has come a long way and we are growing. Next year, we are planning to take on an apprentice and further investment in our technology platforms is planned.
The journey actually starts well over 10 years ago in 1997 when I made the decision to leave a secure (and fairly well-paid) job to set up Specialist German Language Services. Looking back it all sounds quite glamorous. My job involved working for the European Commission, with lots of overseas travel and substituting for my boss at conferences. I’m not sure why I wanted to ‘go it alone’ and can only think that I have inherited an independent streak from my granny who ran her own sandwich shop. Whatever the reason, I decided I didn’t want to represent my boss – I wanted to be the boss.
I can still remember the combined feelings of fear and excitement as I walked out of my employer’s building carrying my cardboard box and a cactus. It was a defining moment in my life. (Unfortunately the cactus hasn’t survived, in case you were wondering). I set up my office in the back bedroom and my mum took me out to buy my first set of office supplies, including a stapler which is treasured to this day. The business focus was on providing small companies with business German language and culture training. I also did a lot of sub-contracting work for larger language training companies.
I operated as a sole trader for several years but became increasingly frustrated by the constraints of working for language training companies and the feeling that I was ‘small fry’. I didn’t just want to offer German but rather a range of languages and business support for my growing client base. I wanted to do things differently … I wanted to do things better.
I had my Vision and I just needed to make it happen. Optima Training was about to be born.
Find out what happens next in Optima Training (Part 2): Becoming a limited company