Getting to know you: Paul Swinton

What do you currently do?
I’m CEO of Payment Card Solutions. We are a program manager in the prepaid cards space. Prepaid cards are a relatively new payment mechanism which look and feel like a credit or debit card but are prepaid – like a PAYG SIM card.

There are hundreds of potential uses for these for businesses and individuals including employee payments, incentive payouts, travel money and for general spend including internet. We tend to customise the product to fit the market need, often identifying really quite niche areas with a problem and putting together a comprehensive solution. We do all of our tech development in-house so this is something that i think we are good at.

What is your inspiration in business?
Taking a really good idea or a situation with a problem, turning it into a relevant product and finding people who love it.

Who do you admire?
This is probably a common answer, but Richard Branson springs to mind, particularly the early days when everything was a challenge and a struggle against the “established” way of doing things.
Someone who can put two fingers up to the “right way of doing things” and do it there way

Looking back would you have done things differently?
Taking the plunge and bringing other people on board earlier is something i would have done differently. New ideas coming in really help generate some enthusiasm and really helps your business. As long as they are the right ones. First, second and third hires are absolutely essential.

What defines your way of doing business?
Hands on – despite growing it is very hard to give up knowing what is going on across the business. This creates some challenges and is something that every entrepreneur struggles with.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Really challenge yourself in terms of your initial idea, get as many inputs and as much feedback from friends, colleagues, mentors etc as you can. It is very easy to get a bit blinkered early on with a specific aspect be it product design, marketing, general admin, etc. Know what your skills are and what you need to lean on others for. The hardest thing to do is keep your head above the parapet and focus on the big picture. Also, you will make mistakes, but the true mistake is not learning and adapting.