Getting to Know You: Carl Hasty, Smart Currency Business

What do you currently do?
My role is to oversee the strategic development of our corporate business. This involves managing all aspects of the business, from marketing and back-of-house operations through to sales and trading. I really enjoy it as it is a very hands-on role, and allows me to maintain a broad overview of the business and the relationships we have with our clients and corporate partners.

What is your inspiration in business?
It sounds like a bit of a cliché, but I genuinely find inspiration from being surrounded by like-minded people. It gives me a great boost to work alongside people who have the same ambitions as I do, who are driven to create a business that wants to be the number one supplier of foreign exchange services to UK SMEs. As well as being committed to their goals for growing Smart Currency as a business, our team are all motivated to help SMEs get a better deal and manage their costs more efficiently. Everyone wants the UK economy to return to a more healthy state, but not everyone can see the crucial role that SMEs play in achieving this.

Who do you admire?
Someone who has been a true admiration of mine throughout my life – personally and professionally – is Martin Johnson, the Leicester, England and British Lions rugby captain. He is a natural leader, and the success of his campaigns came through self-discipline and leading by example which helped him earn the respect of his players and translated into how they played on the pitch. It isn’t easy to maintain a vision for how you think things should be and keep your team completely united in that same vision, while at the same time earning their respect, but he is a brilliant example of how to achieve that.

Looking back, would you have done things differently?
Hindsight is both a wonderful and terrible thing. I think it’s important not to dwell on what could have been done differently, but to examine this to see if those same changes could be applied to the business going forward. Years ago when we started Smart Currency, we only offered foreign exchange services to private individuals. However, due to the success of our corporate desk today, it is clear that we should have started helping SMEs save money some time ago. Having said that though, getting the business focus right with individuals helped our corporate arm to launch from a stronger position with which we are better able to serve the needs of our SME clients.

What defines your way of doing business?
I would have to say that at the core of our business are three key principles: operating honestly, reliably and adding value wherever we can. We take great lengths to encourage our employees to abide by these philosophies and it is what we want our customers admire us for. I think these aspects are what makes or breaks customer service, yet all too often in modern business, they are forgotten about in the chase for profits.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
It would have to be this: “small steps can become greater than giant leaps”. Getting carried away with the big picture and trying to do too much all at once can end up limiting a business’ options for growth, as well as increasing the chances for failure. Taking the time to understand international trade can help grow a business much quicker, since it provides you with more options, helps you iron out the crucial details and ultimately enhances the ability to approach a larger market share.