There are skills you can learn which hugely improve your confidence, and see your performance in multiple areas of your life improve. Public speaking and presentation skills fall into this category, helping you to do better in your career and beyond.

One entrepreneur drawing on his own experiences to empower teenagers and young adults to improve their public speaking skills is Tom K Bailey. His business, Succeed through Speaking, helps students at schools and universities across the country improve their public speaking and presentation skills - something that could have a huge impact on their future. We caught up with Tom over a cuppa.


1. Explain your business in the time it would take the kettle to boil.

Succeed Through Speaking is a training business focused on developing public speaking, presentation and communication skills for young people in schools, colleges and universities across the country. At Succeed Through Speaking we offer group workshops, one-to-one coaching, online support, video presentation analysis and anything else you need to help you become better speakers and presenters. The skills you learn through working with us will be invaluable at university, in your careers and in your personal lives.

2. Where are you based and why is it a good location for your business?

Succeed Through Speaking is based in Wolverhampton. With the city’s selection of prime office space, low crime rates, below-average office fees and affordable cost of living, Wolverhampton was recently listed as the fourth best UK city in which to start a new business.

3. How did you come up with the idea?

Having suffered with a crippling fear of public speaking through school, university and my early career, I know how life-changing it can be to overcome this fear and start to enjoy speaking in front of people and delivering presentations with confidence. I have been developing my speaking skills for the past six years now and have recently become the president of the Wolverhampton Speakers Club. This business is a way to go back to where it all started and help others achieve what I have.

4. What’s the business model?

Succeed Through Speaking is a training business specialising in public speaking, communication and presentation skills training. Currently I am the only trainer in the business focusing my efforts on delivering group workshops and developing online products, which will be available soon.

5. Who are your competitors?

There are very few, if any, competitors specifically working with young people on public speaking, communication and presentation skills. Most schools, colleges and universities offer their own training internally. Other presentation skills training businesses focus on the corporate markets, as there is more money there.

6. What’s unique about your business?

Succeed Through Speaking is a presentation skills training business which helps young people become more successful in their lives through learning to speak with confidence, authenticity and passion. The young people I work with can go onto achieve greater things in life through having the confidence to stand up and speak in front of any number of audience.

7. What stage was your business at when you applied for the Start Up Loan?

When I applied for my Virgin Start Up loan, my business didn't have any income and was very much at the ideas stage. This business is an idea which I had been sitting on for around two years.

8. How have you used it to grow your business?

The loan specifically has helped me to produce a website, and purchase the marketing materials and equipment required for me to go out and start delivering training workshops in universities and schools in the midlands.

9. Who is your mentor and how have they helped you?

My mentor is Peter Robinson, who is Principal Lecturer and Head of Department for Marketing, Enterprise and Leisure Industries at the University of Wolverhampton. Peter has helped me map out a timeline for my business, consider my branding, and set some useful and realistic goals to help grow my business. Peter has also made introductions to other people who will be able to help me.


10. Who is your regional delivery partner and how did they help you get a Virgin StartUp loan?

The University of Wolverhampton Enterprise Department is the regional delivery partner for Virgin Startups in the Midlands. The partnership I have with the university has allowed me to work closely with expert mentors to develop a business plan, create business goals and achieve them. I also have access to shared office space and monthly networking events.

11. Biggest achievement so far?

My biggest achievement so far has been working with the Wolverhampton City Council in delivering a number of pilot training workshops to schools in Wolverhampton. This has allowed me to showcase what I can do to help young people, and given me the opportunity to work with the city council going forward.

12. What’s next for your business?

The next project for Succeed Through Speaking is to create an online training product which will be an affordable solution for university students and young people to improve their public speaking and presentation skills.


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