The company started trading in 2000, with the first web site launched in 2001. It is one of the longest running specialist ship model company. Based out of the UK , it is a registered limited company and also VAT registered. It is also the member of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the British Marine Federation (BMF). The company trades both through internet and shows. It is the best existing model ship company that offers a wide rangeof choice. The success of it can be easily evaluated by the huge number of satisfied customer reviews.
Q. Kindly give our readers an insight to your business. Also, please include location details of the office/offices.
Ans: The business specialises in the manufacturing and retailing of ship models. It was started 10 years ago and now has 15 people employed on the full time basis. We cater to the global clientele in over 60 countries. They all range from middle to high income groups. We also include corporate clients. Over 200 customised models have been developed for our clients. Our offers have increased from about 40 model ships to over 400. We have an unsurpassed client testimonial experience some of which are listed on our website. These cover the quality of our models, our services or our price.
Q. Kindly give us a brief description about your educational or entrepreneurial background.
Ans: I hold a Bachelor degree in Economics and Accounts, a Masters in Shipping, Trade and Finance and I am also a qualified Chartered Accountant. The shift from professional life to being an entrepreneur was about 5 years ago and I have thoroughly enjoyed both.
Q. What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture?
Ans: 10 years ago I got tired of the rat race and decided to set up my own business. It has proved both challenging and rewarding.
Q. How important have good employees been to your success?
Ans: They are key to the business as most of them are the model makers themselves. They have hundreds of years of experience of model making between them and work more hours than they should.
Q. What are the three advices you would give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs?
Ans: My advice to the youth looking to get into business would be that evaluate all options before going down that avenue. It is important to gain some practical business experience with someone established you look upto. It is also important to work in that industry first before thinking of getting into it full fleged.
Q. If you had the chance to start your career all over again, what would you do differently?
Ans: Decide much earlier which route to take, that is professional life or entrepreneur and stick to one.
Q. What according to you are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: To become a successful entrepreneur it is very important to have the guts to follow your instincts. It is always beneficial to do the things your own way rather than just blindly following the crowd. Be modest and always learn from those more successful.
Q. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Ans: I stick around with the idea for way too long. This is one of my weakness.
Q. How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans: I spend about 10 hours working everyday on an average.
Q. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Ans: It has affected my life in a great way. I have had the opportunity of spending more time with my family. It has also given me the chance of being away for long period of time during the tough time.
Q. What motivates you?
Ans: The motivational factors for me are when I get back on the track. Making the business work in a way to beat the recession gives me a high. The contributing factor being the opening of our first shop. The satisfaction of being financially secured keeps me going.
Q. How do you generate new ideas?
Ans: I am an avid reader and this where I derive and generate all my ideas from.
Q. What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Ans: My greatest fear is of not being able to support those around me. I deal with it head on otherwise it gets in your head and becomes much bigger than it really is.
Q. What are your ideals?
Ans: It is very inportant to have ideals in life and also follow them. I believe in living my dream and not giving up. Life is what you make of it whether good or bad, the choice is yours. It is equally important to spend time with those you love and care for. One should always be concious of the company one keeps and so it is beneficial to surround oneself with good people and partners as they always keep up the positivity in life. Lasltly, never cheat on anyone. It not only sours the relation but also will hurt the other person and break that emotional connect and trust.
Q. How do you define success?
Ans: Success is not only defined professionally but also through personal life. It is a complete pacakge of both. It means not having to rely on anybody else for your financial being. People who work for you should enjoy and love to be around and the collegues should be supprtive. Taking out time for others and looking after the less well off is also another aspect of being successful. All this together defines a complete success.
Q. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Ans: Hard work with a dose of good luck defines a perfect formula to achieve success…. Not big on the good luck part!
Q. Where did your organization’s funding come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Ans: The funding for my business majorly came from my personal savings and me working two jobs a day. Currently we are discussing with our first potential investor to grow the business.
Q. How do you build a successful customer base?
Ans: Customers are the biggest asset for the business and so it is very important to keep them happy. They should be looked after well even if sometimes it is on your expense. One should never try to rip them off
Q. How did you decide on the location for your business?
Ans: We are looking for our first shop. In our case, we are looking for exclusive areas given the high end nature of our products.
Q. Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: I dont know if there is a formula for success but yes i do follow one. It is just about getting the first business model right and applying it to the other sectors where it is applicable. It is important to go by your head rather than working according to your heart. As said important to “do your maths”. Always keep in mind that the customer is King.
Q. If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
Ans: It would be someone who lost it all, and got it all back over again. Whoever this happen to be. This would be a very wise person.
Q. Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Ans: Greatest inspiration for me have been Nelson Mandela, Gandhi and Richard Branson. What a mixture.
Q. What book has inspired you the most?
Ans: The book has to be “Business laid bare” by Richard Branson .
Q. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Ans: Being into business has given me quite a few liberties including being my own boss.
I can experiment with things in my own way and I am not affected by any kind of trending corporate culture. I think the best of all is that i get the liberty to walk in late.
Q. To what do you most attribute your success? What would you say are the five key elements for starting and running a successful business?
Ans: Lot of things together team up and contribute to success. I believe in planning well before jumping into anything. It is surely important to keep an eye on the critical things and they need not only be the most noisy things. Also, a great combination of hard work and innovation can do wonders. Lastly, more than anything one should dare to dream big as they keep us going till we reach our goal.
Q. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Ans: Watching the business grow from an idea into reality.
Q. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Ans: An entrepreneur has to work on his own and think on his own. You do not have a boss and the buck stops with you.
Q. What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Ans: By far the most sucessful marketing strategy has been SEO marketing. It was a big mistake when I stopped it.
Q. In one word, characterise your life as an entrepreneur.
Ans: It is too much hard work for too little money. Then again, there must be a reason why I do not give up.
Q. What are some of the biggest mistakes you have made?
Ans: My mistakes would be, not focusing on the business. Placing too much reliance on other people also prooves to be harmful sometimes. At the end it would be not following my gut feeling.
Q. How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
Ans: The best way to go about doing this is to learn from your mistakes.
Q. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
Ans: My free time is spent with my family and friends. I also take out time for gym and other sports. Reading also occupies ample amount of my time.
Q. What makes you happy?
Ans: A happy family life gets a smile on my face
Q. What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: To get into the league of successful entrepreneur I had to make way too many sacrifices. It is all because of hard work and is not everybody’s cup of tea.
Q. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Ans: I admire companies that excel in Customer service.
Q. Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 – 20 years?
Ans: Well in 10 years i would have paid off all the debts and forwarding to 20 years i will get retired.
Q. If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?
Ans: I would ask “Why so many questions?”