What do you currently do?
I’m the CEO of Sooqini – your trusted mobile marketplace. We’re a startup based in London, and we’ve just launched our service. People have been calling us “an eBay for anything” – you can request goods, services and information (pretty much anything) – on Sooqini, and the other people around you will try to make it happen.
We realized a year ago that if you need something in a hurry, or in a specific location, there wasn’t really a way to find what you needed. So Sooqini was born to fill that need. And it’s timely, especially with the Olympics about to start, the service is the perfect way to beat the queue.
We’re also different because it’s all driven by the buyer. The person who needs something is the person that posts the request. Sellers offer to help, and the buyer can choose between them. We are particularly keen to serve buyers who are entrepreneurs – in these tough times getting good deals and aligning costs with income is particularly important – and we know what it’s like to be a small business!
What is your inspiration in business?
I’m a huge believer in using technology to help people achieve their goals, and ever since my first real job at IBM in Basingstoke, it’s always been about that. I think that, done right, we can make a positive difference in people’s lives. Sooqini is all about that – buyers getting things done, and providing opportunities for work for the sellers.
I’m also convinced that business works best when people enjoy what they’re doing and I’m constantly amazed by all those wonderful entrepreneurs out there who work all hours but couldn’t see themselves doing anything else – there’s nothing more inspiring than that!
Looking back, are there things you would have done differently?
Goodness, where to start! I definitely suffered from not being proactive enough in trying to get things done, and in speaking up when things weren’t done right. I was overawed by the hierarchy and all those layers of management. Now I understand that nothing happens unless you push for it (in the nicest possible way, of course).
What defines your way of doing business?
Empowerment is vital – everyone involved needs to be able to affect the outcome, and there is nothing better than working in a team that really hums. I believe we have to do things the right way, or simply not do them. And whatever we do, it has to be towards our ultimate goal of making a difference in the world, otherwise, what’s the point?
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Be true to yourself – listen carefully to others, and then form your own view. Find the things that excite and inspire you and go do them. Generally speaking, hard work will out, but there’s no harm in making sure people know what you did. And, if you can, be entrepreneurial – it’s a hard road, but ultimately very rewarding, and you’ll learn like nowhere else.