After leaving school, a long, long time ago, I went into electrical retail, working my way from the shop floor to store management within a few years. I then managed to get a job in my company’s head office, as a merchandiser (stock controller). After the business was taken over, I moved to the new companies commercial office (the second biggest electrical retailer in the UK – Comet) and became a buying assitant, but quickly became an assistant buyer and their first buyer of accessories across all product areas. Looking for a new challenge, I moved to the UK’s largest depatment store group, House of Fraser, as the assistant buyer for electronics and then buyer for domstic appliances, the second largest department in the company.
In my mid 20’s I was headhunted to join a very old English electronics brand, Bush Radio, as marketing manager. Within a few years I had grown to be a Director of the business and the largest buyer of TV’s in Europe (+1.1 million) and it was one of my greatest achievements to be part of the team to move the business from £25m – £100m+ and one of the biggest brands in the UK.
Just before the turn of the century, I helped to develop the first mass market TV with a built in email system and then full internet access. I was then seconded to our joint venture (with Virgin Internet) ISP, Bush Internet. During my time there, I learnt a lot about the new face of marketing and promotion and came up with several ideas for creating new revenue streams for the business.
Starting My First Business
In 2000 I decided to take the plunge and start my first business, Box Media, which opened on 1st January 2001. We created a new form of direct marketing by promoting products within the packaging of of other products.
And Then It Started
As much as I loved this business, I missed being involved in product creation and brand development. I was fortunate to be approached by Hyundai to help them build their brand in the UK and, with an old colleague, helped create sales on almost $30m of plasma/LCD TV’s.
We then launched the first domestic ice maker with cold water dispenser!
By now the business bug had really bitten me. I started importing products like digital notepads, USB powered LCD screens and internet telephone products. Whilst doing this, I helped a friend in their antiques event business and eventually become one of the owners, building it to be one of the top 5 organisers in the UK, with the crown jewel of running the UK’s biggest indoor event at Alexandra Palace.
Whilst working in these businesses, I was being approached by family and friends to help and advise them on starting their own businesses. I joined one of the counties biggest business groups and became their chairman in West London which gave me exposure to even more entrepreneurs and startups, some of which required help.
After a few years, it became clear that this group was not moving with the times and representing the real needs of its members, so, in 2014, along with a fellow frustrated chairman, we set up Your Business Community, a breath of fresh air in the business support world, bringing federations, chambers and institiutes into the 21st century.
Over the past few years, I have been involved in helping hundreds of people understand what is involved in setting up and growing a successful business and have developed several projects, like the Business Startup Bootcamp & 7 Day Startup, to provide information and understanding with the aim of helping people to not make the mistakes that too many others do!
Outside Of Work
I am fortunate that I can create a good work/life balance.
I started the family stuff late and have a wonderful wife, Hema, and two gorgeous young girls, Riya & Kareena – everything I now do is for them!
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