What if there were an organisation that facilitated daily operations for businesses that are struggling to cope with all the administrative facets of their enterprise? A company that helped you source contractors so that you don’t need to waste your (or your staff’s) time and money sourcing and chasing?

This is exactly the kind of service offered by Advanced Management Options, CEO Trevor Mallia’s brain child which has become a game-changer for local businesses. Advanced Management Options is actually divided into two branches – the AMO Academy, an MFHEA-accredited training institution, and the operational management services branch. Both operate under Trevor’s leadership, and were conceived from an initial spark of inspiration when he identified a gap in the market and turned his side hustle into a full, operational business.

“After years in the police force, I opened my first business – two retail shops. This put me in contact with many small enterprises, and eventually, I became the go-to for anyone needing business contacts. Sometimes I’d offer the needed services myself, while at others I’d refer them to another professional, receiving a finder’s fee. I realised that there was potential in this, but it was only after I saw the film Pretty Woman that I nailed exactly how I could turn this into an entire business concept,” Trevor starts off.

Weird reference, you may think. Not really, when you remember that the movie included the character of the Concierge, who used to solve all the problems of the hotel guests. Anything they needed, he provided. What if Trevor could be the concierge for local businesses?

“And that’s exactly what happened. The operations management side of Advanced brings together service-providers and clients, with the costs being absorbed by the end supplier as a finder’s fee. Initially, the company was called Forefront Business Support and I operated on a smaller scale. Then, the gaming industry erupted and brought in an influx of foreign clients. The need for such services from people who weren’t familiar with the Maltese infrastructure was phenomenal,” Trevor explains.

And it was after helping the CEO of a gaming company with a medical emergency that things were taken to the next level.

“This CEO was my main inspiration to give structure to my leadership, transforming the company into Advanced Management Options and strengthening my role as executive coach and motivator. This business was born out of the love of helping people,” he tells me.

A few years down the line, he met another entrepreneur and fellow Coach, whom he now considers one of his main mentors and motivators when it comes to leadership. Trevor was motivated to pick up his studies again, eventually receiving an MBA in Coaching & Mentoring.

“This person had a large part in shaping me into the person I am today and he inspired me into becoming a coach myself. Today, I offer training and coaching to companies and their staff, emphasising on selling skills and work motivation.”

He says that coaching is yet to pick up in popularity in Malta, with not many appreciating what is involved. He uses an analogy to explain better, telling me if he were to coach me, he wouldn’t be teaching me how to write an article.

“You’re the expert there, I can’t teach you anything. What I will do is help you achieve your next level from a business perspective and open the door to opportunity. In a way, the Academy branch of the organisation was also born out of this, although its focus on offering MQF accredited courses related to training verification, health and safety and first aid. We are now also working on introducing new programmes where there are gaps in the market, such as courses for neuro-divergent people.”

Even here, he makes it a point to instil the ethos in his team that the main objective is helping people, rather than making money. While acknowledging that businesses need to make money, he insists that this cannot be the prime motivator.

“This is what I tell my team. Of course, we will make money in the process but, primarily, we need the passion to help people. My leadership mantra is ‘don’t sell people something they don’t want’. If we don’t offer what they need, we refer them to competitors. We have a duty to our clients – both myself, as a coach, and through the Academy as educators. We only give people what they need, not what we sell.”

He takes a step back and says that actually, he doesn’t believe in competitors but in collaborators. The biggest satisfaction, he adds, is receiving a recommendation or reference from someone who didn’t actually use their service.

“It may be because the timings were wrong, or we didn’t have exactly what they needed. Whatever the reason, clearly our approach and support makes an impact because we often receive such recommendations. I guess it shows that my drive is to help people,” he says.

This is true of Trevor not only in his role coaching clients, but also as CEO leading his team. He describes his leadership style as based on empathy.

“Put it this way. If someone’s performance dips, what’s the better response? Your performance has dipped, watch it or we might need to let you go? Or is it: Your performance has dipped, is anything wrong?”

On the flipside, he gets immense satisfaction when a member of his team reaches his level.

“Many leaders and managers get insecure when they see someone who responds to them climbing up the ladder. For me, that’s the biggest compliment because I know I had a hand in getting them there. And what can be better than knowing that you have changed your team’s lives for the better?” he concludes.

This interview forms part of the Digital 50 Business Leaders project. These high-profile interviews are exclusively featured online at MaltaCEOs.mt, highlighting 50 distinguished conversations with business leaders, CEOs, and emerging entrepreneurial talents. Through these discussions, we aim to showcase the remarkable journeys, achievements, and successes of Malta’s business leaders.

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