What do you currently do?
I am the co-founder and CEO of Bark.com – a local services marketplace, where consumers can find local services online and businesses can grow their business and get more leads.
We are a free and easy online service, which helps to connect buyers and sellers by doing the legwork for both parties, securing leads for buyers and multiple quotes for customers. We work in partnership with sellers and are determined to make their lives as easy as possible; hence we are always keen to hear feedback from users of the site.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
For me, it was listening to people speak about their experiences of trying to find local, reliable and affordable service professionals both online and offline. Be it, spending hours searching the internet across a variety of sites or waiting for professionals to get back with a quote, we thought there had to be a better way. We really felt the frustrations of the public and were driven to give them a quick, easy and more wide-ranging service.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
I have definitely learned lessons along the way but I am not hugely one for having regrets. A big thing for me is that you have to be prepared to take risks. Never be afraid to make the wrong call, as the worst decision you can make is doing nothing at all.
What defines your way of doing business?
I’ve always been involved in online businesses – I love how fast-paced the internet is, which is definitely a factor within our business. The team and I are always driven to find ways of staying ahead of the competition. We are professional and fair with everything that we do and feel that this is reflected by our satisfied customers.
Who do you admire?
Richard Branson is certainly someone I hugely admire. Anyone who is willing to take a risk and give something a go, then keep going, innovating and growing their business until it surpasses expectations has my respect.
What advice would you give someone starting up?
While you should listen to others around you, it’s important that you ultimately trust your gut instinct. You have to be confident that you’ve got to a certain position because of your decision-making skills. It is imperative to listen to customers though, as they are essentially the lifeblood of any business and their feedback is invaluable.
Hiring a great team is essential in any venture. You need to select talented people with the right ethos and then let them get on with what they do best, that’s when you see the most positive results.
Never give up if you fail the first hurdle, plan A may not work but do not be afraid of plan B, C and D – many of the most successful business and individuals have had to endure their fair share of rejection so you’ll be in good company. But make sure you learn from any mistakes! You also have to be extremely nimble and be able to adapt as things progress. Of course, you will lay a strategy and plan in place but this has to be flexible and open for negotiation.