Getting to know you – Danny Waters, CEO, Enterprise Finance

What do you currently do?

I’m the CEO of Enterprise Finance – a specialist distributor of secured loans, bridging loans and commercial mortgages. In plain English we’re a company that intermediaries such as mortgage brokers go to in order to help them get the right specialist loan products for their clients. We sit between the specialist lender and the intermediary with the client, if you like.

I joined the business when I was just 18 as an A-level student looking to earn some cash to go travelling before Uni, but the comfort of a well paid job without a crippling amount of debt lured me in and I never left!

What is your inspiration in business?

Starting at a junior level in a business and then rising up through the ranks is very satisfying. Now that I have achieved that my next goal is to continue to grow the company I have been part of for more than a decade. In that sense, I would say the drive for growth and market share, and to build a company I believe in, but that also creates shareholder value, are what inspire me in business.

It helps that we are in a dynamic sector with huge potential. In recent years, the bridging sector has been one of biggest growth sectors in UK property finance. We currently command a significant portion of the bridging loan and secured loans market. Secured loans have the potential to become a mainstream product and again I want to play my part in helping that happen.

Who do you admire?

I admire many people from the world of business but overall the person I admire most would probably be Nelson Mandela. What he achieved in his lifetime, what he went through, and the change he managed to bring about was something extraordinary.

Looking back would you have done things differently?

Yes and no. Of course I have made mistakes along the way, as has everyone in business, but looking at where Enterprise Finance is today, I feel there is a lot we have achieved. Our motto is that you need to get the big ones right – we understand you can’t be spot on with everything, but as long as you get the important things right then you’re on the right track.

What defines your way of doing business?

I think we are a business that defines itself by its service levels and the standards it sets itself. Without strong relationships with brokers and intermediaries, our business simply could not succeed and so always striving to add value and go that extra yard for your clients is key. Our focus is never on how to offer good service, but how to offer a better service, which is at the centre of everything we do.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Stick to what you are good at and know well – it’s your best chance of success. Know who your competitors are, what people want from your product or service and always strive to do what you do better than anyone else is.

Make the most of all opportunities that come along and understand timing is everything. Although it is important to be cautious when you’re starting out, you have to embrace an element of risk in order to be successful.

Work cleverly and operate as leanly as you can when you start out in order to avoid unnecessary costs. Following the MBO we scaled back considerably which was a great strain and meant working some crazy hours at the beginning, but it was essential and we are now reaping the rewards.