Getting to Know You: Angelos Koutsoudes

What do you currently do?
I am Commercial Manager of the Overseas Guides Company, an internet-based firm that generates pre-qualified leads for companies operating in international real estate. We do this through data capture and providing quality information to people buying overseas property or emigrating.

My responsibilities are quite broad, but my primary concern is on a B2B level, ensuring the team is always maximising lead generating opportunities with business partners, who include property agents, overseas home insurers, a currency exchange specialist, financial advisors and removals firms. This involves co-ordinating our call, editorial and marketing teams, to ensure we maintain an informative but commercially targeted approach when communicating with our subscribers and the public.

What is your inspiration in business?
It’s two-fold really. On a personal level, I’ve run my own property business before and know how hard it can be at the top. So these days, my inspiration is more about becoming an influential and knowledgeable industry leader, ideally someone that everyone in overseas property would want to do business with.

Equally though, I believe business is about sharing success – and sometimes failure, through creating conditions that allow individuals in a team to thrive and progress their careers. As a manager, seeing this is very satisfying but it can only happen through hard work and by providing people with the right tools and support.

Who do you admire?
I’m from Cyprus, so you won’t be surprised when I say Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis, who is also of Cypriot origin. Through hard work, outstanding business acumen – and a bit of old-fashioned Greek willpower – he has become a household name in the UK’s retail industry. He’s associated with a number of high street brands and is a mastermind of making a success in all types of business environment – start-ups, mergers and acquisitions, and take-overs.

I also admire Sir Alan Sugar, whose story is a classic rags to riches one. For me, his simple, no-nonsense approach to business puts things in perspective. Buy cheap, stack them high and make decent profit margins – for many years he was ahead of the trend in the consumer electronics sector and was able to adapt quickly to changing markets.

Looking back, would you have done things differently?
If I could rewind my life, I would probably have stayed in England in 1999 after graduating and not returned to Cyprus. However at the time, the thought of a warm climate and more relaxed family life took priority over the high-flying corporate world. It’s not my nature to look backwards though. In Greek, we have a saying that means “the die has been cast”, so I don’t believe in trying to change the past – it’s better to look to the future, but learn from past mistakes.

What defines your way of doing business?
One word: logic. Whenever I decide to do – or not to do – something, it needs to make sense and I need to have a clear reason for arriving at my decision. So no random movements or questionable tactics. I’d add that I always try to work to clearly thought-out processes, but remain able to adapt quickly to new market conditions or competition.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Firstly, never listen to doom-mongers who shoot down your ideas at every opportunity. Only you know what truly motivates you. Clarify in your own head what really interests you; what drives you, which industry you want to work in. Then focus your job search, your CV and, later in your career, your whole attitude and business sense around that. Listen to people who have done it before, accept constructive criticism and use it to help you move forward. Never forget, unless you’re very fortunate, getting to where you want to be in life isn’t meant to be easy, however it should be satisfying along the way. Finally, if you don’t get it right the first time, don’t think it’s the end of the world. Step back, take a lifetime perspective on things and do what you want to be doing. Not many of us end a career in the same line of work we started out in – just ask your parents!