Earlier this year, Kiran Bhagotra, CEO and Founder of ProtectBox was shortlisted for the Duke of York New Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Dubbed the “Oscars of great British Business” by David Cameron, the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards will reveal its winners on 13thNovember.
In the run up to the Awards Ceremony at The Grosvenor House Hotel, we interviewed Kiran about her inspiration, way of doing business and any advice she’d give to budding business starters.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
I fell into cybersecurity a few years ago whilst contracting for the UK government’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office managing international cyber relations. It was there that I spotted that for a small business to protect itself it needed to either hire an expert, at great expense, or spend hours self-sourcing instead of selling.
How much better would a simple, quick and affordable comparison be, which I could see how to do. Although I had never run a company myself before I had helped friends with theirs. The real kicker, for me, though, was why this gap wasn’t being tackled when half of the 5 million small and medium businesses, in the UK alone, were closing due to it.
Plus being told that a sole female founder who didn’t code, like me, wouldn’t be the one to make it happen. So, I put my (little) money where my (big) mouth is and built exactly that in ProtectBox!
Who do you admire?
My “Mummy-ji” & “Daddy-ji” for instilling the values of Courage, Communication and Clan in me. Courage to accept my fears and weaknesses and to ask for the right help to overcome them. In my father’s words, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”.
Communicating clearly, concisely & confidently. Clan, and by that, I don’t necessarily just mean your family, I mean surrounding yourself with the right ‘people’ to turn those fears into opportunities. My mother’s kindness, love and self-lessness have got me through many a tough time in my life. This is why these values are core to how we care about our customers, investors and stakeholders at ProtectBox!
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Not having had a family, but as the gorgeous Kylie would say “I should be so lucky…lucky, lucky, lucky… lucky in love”. But as my hero, the late, great George Michael said “I gotta have faith, faith, faith.”
What defines your way of doing business?
Being simple, quick and affordable is my modern-day business tantra (not mantra). Best mid-life crisis I could’ve had…watch this space for the book, boxset, B(/H)ollywood hit & of course, ProtectBox’s world domination!
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Visualise your deepest hopes and dreams & remind yourself of that same optimism everyday! Life is hard, always try to look for the way forward. Accept your fears and weaknesses, surround yourself with people who can help you to turn those into opportunities. Give back by sharing, listening and smiling or making someone else smile (as it’ll make you smile back) everyday!