|An impending redundancy from his well paid corporate job in the banking industry left Geoff Alexander pondering his career direction. Rather than apply for other corporate roles, he used the experience as a catylst to follow his entrepreneurial aspirations.
In October 2004 he established his own marketing company. Out of that he spawned the idea for a separate online company called BeautyandHealth.com...
DS: What inspired you to quit your well paid corporate job and set up the Beauty and Health Ltd?
GA: Well, I had been growing restless for some time, and had been evaluating various opportunities outside my ‘day job’; when notified that my position was going to become redundant, this seemed like the perfect time to ‘go it alone’. Beauty and Health was one of a several ideas that were brought to fruition as a result.
DS: Did you have any help setting up Beauty and Health Ltd or were you going it alone?
GA: I sought advice from numerous areas and read extensively. I still own 100% of the shares.
DS: What was the biggest challenge you faced in bringing your idea to fruition? How was it overcome?
GA: One of the biggest challenges was the steep learning curve for the everyday practicalities for setting up and running a business, and having to re-learn and apply marketing techniques to the online world.
DS: What makes you most proud about your achievements with Beauty and Health Ltd?
GA: I think the fact that, from scratch, I learnt to build, market, and run an online business.
DS: How did you actually fund your business to get it off the ground?
GA: I set up the company using savings and redundancy compensation.
DS: What attributes make a successful entrepreneur?
GA: A dream or goal, desire, self-belief, tenacity, ability to learn, adaptability, resourcefulness…. to name a few!
DS: What do you believe are the necessary elements for a business venture to succeed?
GA: Timing is important, but you need to have USP’s (Unique Selling Points) and a hungry market. Then you need have to have sufficient resources, or else find out how you can access the specific resources that you need to make it work.
DS: How essential do you see a University education in acheiving success as an entrepreneur?
GA: I would say that it is not essential to have a University education to be an entrepreneur; you only have to look at the Rich List or the number of dropouts that have made fortunes! However, having completed an MBA at one of the top schools in Europe, I would have to say that it has given me essential knowledge, confidence and very good contacts.
DS: What are the three most important lessons you have learned about business and entrepreneurship?
GA: There are many lessons that I have learned since taking the plunge, so to name only three is difficult – but amongst the most important are definitely: 1) you HAVE to have a deep belief in yourself and be persistent…if something doesn’t work out as planned, modify your approach; 2) Be prepared for the unexpected! Often success is determined by the amount of uncertainty you are able to cope with; 3) be flexible in your approach to dealing with problems as they arise – the higher your goals, the more obstacles you will need to overcome.
DS: What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
GA: You really have to believe in yourself – even when those around you doubt you or knock your ideas. Then you need to be persistent, and willing to learn from your mistakes, and more importantly, from others’ mistakes.
DS: What's the number one book you would you recommend to aspiring entrepreneurs?
GA: I have read many books that have inspired me, but for an all-encapsulating book I would recommend would be ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napolean Hill.
DS: What memorable mistakes, if any, have you made in business? What did you learn from them and how can they be avoided?
GA: As an entrepreneur, it is easy to think that you have to do everything yourself – however there will always be someone more specialised in each discipline you will need to address as a business owner. The trick is to discover how to obtain the maximum output for minimum input, or to become increasingly efficient as time goes on.
DS: What are the best and worst things about being an entrepreneur?
GA: The best thing about being an entrepreneur is the immense sense of freedom that you have – the downside to this of course is that whether you succeed or fail is largely down to you!
DS: Are there any other thoughts, insights, or advice for aspiring entrepreneurs that you’d like to add?
GA: Though it sounds like a cliché, I would say that you have to have a clear idea of your short, medium and ultimately ‘long term’ goals – this will give you direction and focus when the inevitable curveballs are thrown your way!
About the author:
Damien Senn helps entrepreneurs create compelling businesses. He is one of the UK's top Business Coaches as well as a fully qualified Chartered Accountant.
Damien is the author of the 'Senn-Sational Success Journal' and has developed his own coaching model called the 'Senn-Sational Success System'.
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