Getting To Know You: Dominic List, CEO & founder, Comtact ltd

What do you currently do?
I am the CEO and founder of Comtact ltd, a leading supplier of IT and Telecoms solutions that capitalise on converging voice, data and networking technologies.
I founded the company in 2006 and our turnover and profit have grown at an astounding rate from £750,000 in 2006, our first year, to this year’s forecast of £10.5 million which has lead us to be recognised as one of the 100 fastest-growing private tech companies in the UK for the second year in a row in the Microsoft Sunday Times Tech Track 100. 
What is your inspiration in business?
I did a lot of manual labour jobs when I was young in the Midlands, working in factories, warehouses and even sewage treatment plants.
You meet a lot of people in those environments who pour scorn on your ambition and tell you that you’ll never achieve much in life. Pretty sad really but I turned their negative energy into my drive and determination to start my own business, which I knew would be my fastest route to success.
Who do you admire?
I admired many people in society for their achievements, be it academic, sporting or business related.  
When I did Channel 4’s the Secret Millionaire however, I met lots of people who are doing great work for others for very little reward other than the having the satisfaction of helping another human overcome their adversity. 
To me those type of individuals get my greatest admiration.
Looking back, are there things you would have done differently?
There’s a lot of great business knowledge that can be acquired by reading, MBA courses and entrepreneur “how I did it books” and I thoroughly recommend all of these.
However when you’re in a start up on your own, a lot of it is trial and error and what works for one entrepreneur doesn’t always work for another as so much of it is execution of the idea than the idea itself.
I’m glad to say that we’ve learnt a lot from our early mistakes.
What defines your way of doing business?
Exceptional customer service – understanding our clients’ business first and making technology fit their needs. By aligning all our work with our clients’ business strategies we ensure a return on investment that is fast and significant.  
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Don’t be tempted to give away any equity unless you really have to. It’s a mistake I’ve made previously and I see it all the time in the Entrepreneur workshops I run. 
If you have the idea, can deliver it on your own and already know where you can get your first bits of business, do it on your own and own the company yourself. There are plenty of ways to get funding from day one without giving away a large piece of your business, which you may regret later.

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