What do you currently do?
I’ve just launched www.JobBounties.com – a unique peer-to-peer job referral platform that lets users headhunt their friends and also helps firms save money.
Recruitment is worth $480 billion a year globally, but hiring is just too expensive, so we’re aiming to disrupt the industry by allowing a company to set a fair price for its jobs, turning everyone into recruitment consultants – a far more efficient way of doing things! We then screen the applications to make sure the firms get the best candidates and only pay if they hire, so everyone is happy.
I’m still directly involved with my other businesses including Oxbridge Applications, which I started in the last year of my University degree and Bright Network, which now employs 25 people and has helped over 70,000 students apply to leading UK universities.
What is your inspiration in business?
Entrepreneurs should exist to innovate and ensure that people get new and better offerings that avoid the current market players taking too much control.
My inspiration comes from seeing a vision coming together, providing a better service than the competition and ensuring our clients are getting what they need – if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be with us. On top of this, the idea that as a company owner you’re paying taxes and creating jobs is very satisfying.
Who do you admire?
Great British entrepreneurs are high on the list such as James Dyson and Richard Branson. Also, sportsmen who really have a dedication and single mindedness to do what needs to be one – Bradley Wiggins is just immense with his achievements on the Tour de France and at the Olympics this year.
Looking back, are there things you would have done differently?
How long have you got?! I started my business straight out of university with zero business skills, in retrospect, doing something like New Entrepreneurs Foundations would have been an amazing way to learn some basic things pretty fast.
Also, timing is everything in business – I started a recruitment business in March 2008, which was possibly the worst time ever. Somehow we survived the worst economic downturn since the 1920s. However, you have to put all these mistakes down to experience, and so long as you don’t make them again, that’s OK (!)
What defines your way of doing business?
In a nutshell, I like to find the best people and let them do a great job; I don’t worry about things at the margin, life is too short. I believe keeping clients happy is the most important thing and going the extra yard should be the norm.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Just go for it! Imperfect action beats no action and the best way to learn is by doing. James Dyson built over 5,000 models of his vacuum cleaner until he got to the one that worked properly. Be humble, take advice, work hard, stay focused. Expect that you will get knocked down but follow the rules of logic – if you refuse to stay down and just keep going, you will get there.