What do you currently do?
I am the MD and founder of gadget recycling website, www.cashinyourgadgets.co.uk. We have been running since March 2012 and we’ve rapidly grown since our inception. I actually started up my first company in 2009 when I was just 21 – Stock Sourcing. This is a company that wholesales refurbished laptops and tests electrical products for export. After doing my A-Levels I went straight into working for a trade company that sold old electronics to foreign countries. I stayed there for three years, learning about the export market and working closely in sales but what I really wanted was to run my own business.
When my now business partner and good friend, James, was made redundant, I decided to leave too and together set up Stock Sourcing. We had a similar work ethic and we both knew what we wanted from life so thought we’d make a great team. Stock Sourcing proved to be a great success and cashinyourgadget.co.uk seemed like the perfect idea to help people make some money on their old gadgets lying around the house and we could refurbish the equipment and sell it on to people in need of second hand goods. It’s been a tough ride but we’re really pleased with how it’s gone so far.
What is your inspiration in business?
Success drives me. Success is hard to define but I believe it’s the positive impact on your bottom line and being able to see something that you’ve created develop over time into a recognisable brand. Recently we moved offices into much bigger premises to house all the gadgets we had coming in and that was a result of hard work from me and all the team and it’s that which I perceive as success. Seeing the number of people visiting our website and using our service grow month on month gives a similar sense. Knowing that I’m able to build a future for my young family is also very important to me – I have a one year old son who I hope to inspire and perhaps pass my businesses down to!
Who do you admire?
There are hundreds of people that I admire. I have great admiration of anyone that has achieved success (or is striving towards it), especially if they are doing so by providing a product or service that is innovative and useful.
Also, my Grandfather ran his own business and his success has really inspired me. He created a lifestyle for himself that I wanted so I went for it. You have a dream but as with most things, it’s a lot harder than you think it’ll be, but it’s rewarding – very rewarding.
Looking back, would you have done things differently?
Yes there has been a few things I would have done differently! The most difficult thing was knowing how good an opportunity is when you’re presented with it. For example, we’ve made a few marketing mistakes that with hindsight we won’t be making again. We entered into an agreement with hmv just before they went into administration which lost us some money and we sponsored a football team that didn’t have an impact on our bottom line. You could say that we’ve also been guilty of trying too hard to create a brand rather than simply getting eyes to the website. These are steep learning curves and the only way you learn is by making choices and evaluating your decision.
I wouldn’t re-do anything but have just learned from our experiences. We fell down with marketing in the past; it was nothing horrendous but there were small decisions that we understand were wrong. But you read books about business owners and see how they fail at their first attempt, and succeed in their second so it’s only natural. Even people with all the qualifications under the sun make mistakes and often it’s the only way to learn and make the business better.
What defines your way of doing business?
Customer focused fun. We have great staff that believe in the business and really want to be successful by providing a great service… my job as a director is easy, simply help them achieve this goal.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
My advice is to be confident in the business model you’ve selected and find the right balance between focusing on the day-to-day, as well as the long term, bigger picture. While my business partner, James works mainly on the cashinyourgadgets customer service side of things and marketing, I’m in the thick of it, involved in the processing of gadgets and technical aspects of the company, and that works well for both of us. It’s important to work together with someone that you can trust and who feels as passionate about the business as you do.
Remember that you’re always going to get a setback when you start up. Remain confident on the basis of your idea and tackle problems the right way. Stay true to the path and be confident in your numbers. Be realistic but not overly cautious.