Describe a typical day ?
I like to wake up early in the morning and get some exercise in. This helps me clear my mind. I will then check emails and social media (LinkedIn) full of the latest news and action if possible. After that, I check my diary to see whether I have any conference calls scheduled. The morning mainly consists of talking to partners and the senior management team within my businesses to determine developments. Also, what is going on and whether I need to bridge in and help on anything.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Being an entrepreneur is very different to work in a corporation. Your business successes and failures define you and this does reach into your family life. It's positive in some aspects when you have success and negative when times are tough. The hours are tough being an entrepreneur, which sometimes reaches into your personal life; the stress and financial burdens can compound that. It isn't easy to compartmentalise business and personal life when so much is at stake.
What motivates you?
Building businesses is what and seeing them come to fruition is one of my greatest motivations. To take something from an idea to something being real and people using and the ability to look at what you have built, be it a product or a valuable service to people. So I would say in the early stage, money motivates you; however, as time goes on and you build multiple businesses, money is a byproduct of success. You focus on the development of the company and the team within to thrive. There is no better feeling than seeing the team around you evolve and become leaders and successful in their own rights. The expression 'success breeds success'. I firmly believe in it.
What is your greatest fear?
My fears are the stuff you can't control. Whilst everything within your company you can manage and have input in. However,.When you achieve a degree of success, envy, competition can manifest themselves in a negative campaign against your business or you personally. Campaigns like these then reach into your family life end can be a burden. So really, my greatest fear is problems outside the business that affect the business.
How do you come up with ideas?
One of the things is to build a great network of friends and associate people around you that align with the same principles. I value my network highly. They are probably my most valuable asset. To have people that you can sound ideas out and see gaps from their challenges and these possible Gaps that need to be bridged, these gaps are a great opportunity to develop business ideas. In addition, a deep understanding of industries and business models will help with the ideation of new projects.
What mistakes do entrepreneurs make?
Starting a business is exciting, hard work and challenging on all fronts, and one of the biggest hurdles is being able to inject growth capital into the business. So we often look towards outside investment into the company and all too often see the mistake of picking the wrong funding partner or taking the first capital offer available to you. Funding is a partnership, and like any partnership, you need an understanding of each other to make it work. The problem I see is chasing the valuation and not concentrating on the business model to profitability. I would give any entrepreneur the advice 'take your time, choose the right parameters in your partners and a high valuation because investment doesn't mean the journey is finished'.