A transport café serving weary drivers is easily viewed as a place where dreams are crushed rather than made but, for business coach Adam Stott, it was springboard for an astonishing career.
His mum was struggling to raise her three children after divorce forced the family to swap a spacious detached home for a bungalow behind the busy café where every penny counted.
Adam was just eight-years-old but the early lessons of having to work hard to make ends meet were the foundation of a spectacular rise to notch up more than £50 million in product sales and become a respected business guru.
“My parents had been successful but then a recession came along and then they divorced,” says 38-year-old Adam, who runs a business coaching empire and is a member of the Forbes Coaches Council. “We went from a nice lifestyle to a terrible lifestyle. “
The family’s tough times were compounded for Adam when school failed to ignite his interest or recognise his talents. It would take a while for the elements to fuse together into an award-winning career which has included sharing the stage with boxing superstars Floyd Mayweather and Anthony Joshua and fashion icon Calvin Klein to discuss the secrets of success.
“The common factor with a lot of successful people is that at some stage they have had to deal with conflict and it is how they deal with that conflict that matters,” adds Adam.
“Success is not simply a hero’s journey, it is about recognising opportunities and grabbing them.”
There were little signs of success when Adam left school with minimal qualifications and no clear idea of what profession to follow.
“I was terrible school.,” he says. “I just wasn’t academically minded and there was nothing there for people who didn’t fit the structure. I was told I would never achieve anything; how many successful people have been similarly written off?”
After a job in sales at an electronics superstore Adam, from Essex, transferred his talents to cars and joined a luxury dealership where his sales success continued.
At 25, Adam was earning a six-figure salary and had bought a house but his success came to a grinding halt when he set up his own financial services company just before the financial crash of 2008. His savings evaporated as the company faltered in a hostile trading environment.
The setback was short-lived as Adam backed his recovery idea of setting up a broking company to buy and sell cars. Big Cars was born.
“The basic idea was to establish as virtually an estate agent for cars and it flew until the market changed.
“But, despite working hard and being one of the most motivated people on the planet, I recognised that there was no real business coaching around for someone like me.
“I started to go on courses and really improved how I approached finances and staff. I really gave my life to the business, working 9am to 11pm six days a week and we grew to nearly £40 million a year in sales.
“I then learned about branding. Your brand is your reputation and is what someone says about you when you are not in the room.
“I also discovered the power of social media in its early days and we used it to provide explosive growth for the business.”
With regular visits to America to attend business development workshops, Adam acquired the skills to analyse the core elements of success and use them to boost business – it became the start of his successful venture into wealth coaching.
Adam’s Big Business Events company now runs seminars and courses packed with insights and practical measures to guide a new generation of entrepreneurs.
“I don’t have a magic wand to make you wealthy because there is no substitute for hard work. But there are so many people out there you are prepared to do that and, with guidance, they can achieve.
“Britain is full of business talent, energy and ideas and I’m proud that I’m helping people realise their potential.”