Starting and running a business isn’t easy, but don’t worry, this is where we step in. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, The GBU podcast unlocks tips, advice and lessons learnt the hard way, from those that never stand still. Alex speaks to new founders every week about their journey, what went right and more importantly, what went wrong.
Subscribe if you want candid, honest insights from entrepreneurs to help you on your startup journey. New episode every Thursday.
Episode 14 - The Leadership one
IIn this episode I speak to someone who, along with his Dad, took an Engineering business from the spare bedroom to being a leader in its field, employing nearly 40 staff, with 20,000sq ft of factory and contracts across the world. And if that wasn’t enough, he is also the former Chair of the Institute of Directors and someone who has a real passion for leadership and governance. Ian Dormer CBE is the Director of Rosh Engineering, he has been hugely supportive of the work I have done in the startup space and has held numerous board positions from the third and private sector.
Ian talks openly about trust and why you must trust those around you, about balance and why you need to have a break, about building a board and looking at the risk appetite of your business and the board itself. We also cover that leadership in a crisis and how dealing with COVID-19 is tough for many businesses but, we have faced crises in the past and dealing with them comes down to how the board and business are willing and adopt innovative approaches to problems they face. The lessons Ian shares are relatable and clearly given, this is an important listen for anyone in business, be you a startup or an established company. This episode is called ‘The Leadership one’ and that for me sums up who Ian is and in our chat, I hope this comes across.
Episode 13 - The lucky one
In this episode, I speak to a friend who has experience from Non-Executive Directorships to being a mentor, is someone who has been a Founder and has held CEO positions. Phil Jones is very much in the influencing connections space and has just won the 2020 Creative Influencer of The Year award. Phil is also the Founder of Podge Events, he has worked and led both startups and larger corporates in a variety of sectors form digital and design to sports and branding, he is a true trailblazer, and the best networker I know. Phil has been there, done it and then done it again and again!
This episode is called the lucky one, now it could be an obvious nod to the episode number (#13), but actually, it is talking about me! I have been hugely lucky to know Phil and he is someone who has supported me when I had to make major decisions over the years and has been there for me when things have got tough. I feel truly lucky to know Phil and call him a friend and it was fantastic to have such an honest and open chat with him. I 100% know you will get a lot from this episode :)
Networking - the importance of networking, but truly altruistic networking and how to get this right
Skill sets - why it is key to understand what you are good at and where you have gaps
Fun - why you need to sometimes bring fun into a business
Episode 12 - The community one
Starting a business can be hugely exciting, but what happens when you face challenge after challenge and numerous barriers in your way? Samanah Duran is the Founder of BeYourOwn, a venture that came directly out for the challenges she faced when setting up her own ventures.
‘Some times you need to make mistakes to build up your resilience’, it is tough to admit this and scary to face this, but Samanah opens up about the mistakes she has made and how that helped shape her journey going forward. How do you face those days when you have to make those really tough decisions? Sometimes there is a real beauty in showing your venerability, and this is what helps create amazing communities like BeYourOwn.
Episode 11 - The film journey one
They say it isn’t about the destination, it is about the journey that gets you there. In this episode, I chat with Sheridan De Mayers who is the Founder of Running FIlms. He had a passion to get into the film and TV space from an early age, now with numerous tv programmes and feature films under his belt, he shares his story. It isn’t all high budget shoots in exotic locations… Hard graft, it is a term alot of us hear in the business world, ‘you need to put in the hours to get anywhere’.
The film and TV space is a hyper-competitive one, as a viewer we see only the on-screen talent, but the talent behind the camera is key to get the look and feel you want and to create the production you need that will resonate with your target audience. The sector is changing, enabling new content to get in front of potential audiences easier, through the likes of Netflix, (Sheridans Film The Weekend is on there, check it out), it is helping. But hard graft is still a must and learning your trade from the bottom up will help you make it in the sector.
Promotion - the old and the new, from influencers to distributors, how to get the content out there
The talent - not on screen, but behind the camera, you need the very best people
Give back - the important in playing your role to give others a break, especially from BAME backgrounds
Freshen up - the importance of bringing in new teams to get a different approach to what you do
Episode 10 - The customer love one
Over 10 years ago I visited the LoveFilm HQ in West London. When I walked in their reception they didn’t have customer testimonials emblazed on the walls, they had a board showing customer complaints! This emphasis on putting the customer was a key reason for LoveFilm’s success.
In this episode I chat with Simon Calver, he led LoveFilm for over 7 years and was at the helm when they got acquired by Amazon for £200m+ million. He was CEO of Mothercare plc, kickstarting the turnaround plan and accelerating international expansion in over 30 countries. Before this, he worked at multi-nationals such as Unilever, led PepsiCo in the UK, and was General Manager at Dell. He is currently Chair of the UK Business Angel Association and Partner at BGF Ventures.
Customer focus first has always been at the core of Simons leaderships style, ensuring they are front and centre in everything the company does. For LoveFilm, their fastest-growing new business channel were referrals from their customers. In this episode, we go into the importance of data to a business, we discuss what investments look like from an investor and why clear effective storytelling is key to getting engagement internally and externally.
Episode 9 - The period poverty one
You never know where life takes you or who can influence you on that journey. Alison’s life changed when a 14year old in a classroom said ‘ we need sanitary products’. Period poverty is a very real issue across the globe with affordable and easy to access sanitary products hard to come by for many girls and woman. Alison Wood is the Founder of Lily Pads and has set out to solve this problem.
So how can you make sanitary pads that are easy to access and affordable, especially in developing nations? How can you change attitudes in society that have been entrenched for years? Do you go it alone or do you look for partners? How do you know when you are the right person to lead, and more importantly when others might be the best placed to help change attitudes on the ground? This is one episode where you will learn and be inspired in equal measure!
Great host, great guests.
Really great show, timely with lots of gold nuggets in it, must listen for anyone interested in start ups and entrepreneur space.
An interesting mix of topics and speakers. 👍👍
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