In this interview on The Logros Show – in association with The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce – Lee Dinsdale talks with Robyn Lee from HS Property Group, Kamran Maqbool from Green Cloud Hosting and David Bilsborough from Nuntaria Media about life as female director in a male dominated industry, how do you define business strategy and employability advice to young people
How can a young entrepreneur be successful?
Edited Transcription Highlights.
Kamran: My name’s Kamran and I am the managing director of a company called Green Cloud Hosting and we provide technology to small to medium-sized businesses to help them work in the cloud.
Lee: Thank you very much Kamran, welcome and David?
Dave: I’m Dave and I’m one of the directors at Nuntiare Media and we provide high quality public address announcements offering a streamlined end-to-end production service connecting businesses with their customers.
Lee: Finally Robyn?
Robin: I’m Robin and I’m the ops director at HSPG so we are a real estate company and we create demand-driven social housing for vulnerable people across the UK.
Lee: Brilliant so welcome everybody. Today’s show is all good and we’re going to find out a little bit more about what each of the businesses do. We’re going to find out some practical tips of employability, how did you got into the roles.
The theme of today is talking about business planning strategy planning so for everyone listening out there who has a business or is looking at developing a business then we’re going to hear your top tips and some personal stories as well. Firstly Kamran tell us a little bit more about Green Cloud Hosting.
Kamran: We provide the technology that helps people work from anywhere by using cloud technology so that’s people being able to access the files, folders, documents, phone system – anything they need to be able to work from anywhere. That’s what we do for businesses so small medium size and public sector. So people like professional services, accountants, solicitor’s recruitments NHS and that’s what we.
Lee: What would you say is like the main kind of impact that you have for your customers?
Kamran The main impact we have I’d say is that we enable people to work from anywhere. I mean especially now, we’re going from companies that have been associated to working from a fixed office and then having to do a big massive change because of covid. They are having the need to be able to work from anywhere enabling staff to work from anywhere including home and god knows where else. So that’s the biggest impact and biggest change that we do. Enabling people to do that.
Lee: Brilliant and Robyn how about yourself?
Robyn: What we do at HSPG is that we essentially work very closely with different stakeholders and different partners. That can be anyone from housing associations to care providers to local authorities and we work with them to really address this under supply of affordable and supported housing. To actually do that we’ll acquire, develop, manage and then sell the property within these different areas of social housing. It could be providing houses for homeless people or asylum seekers; domestic abuse victims and then also on the other side of things it’s also supporting people who want to get onto the property ladder within shared ownership.
Lee: We’re going to talk a little bit more about shared ownership and some of the barriers to housing and certainly the reason we invited you on today was around the working with vulnerable young people as well because it’s something that you know we do here a lot at Unity Radio so thank you very much for joining us today. David?
David: Nuntiare Media provides pre-recorded announcement and background music services primarily for the airline industry so on board announcements on planes and in terminals as well. we take the client and the customer from the start of the concept of the project through to the end delivery providing scripting translation services, voice over recording, production services and technical confirmation of media files and providing them in an array of media formats and technical specifications that are found across the industry.
We’re really looking to kind of energize this end-to-end process and streamline it making it quicker and easier to turn around a project because as the impact of covid has shown there are a lot of important updates that are constantly coming out that companies like airlines need to be on top of.
Female Director in male dominated industry
Lee: Robyn you emailed me and we were talking about what things we can discuss as well and once you’ve got your kind of strategy and you’re rocking and rolling one of the things you brought up is being a female director in a very male dominated industry. How has that been for you once you’re involved in these kinds of strategy conversations and you’re round the board table? What’s been the impact?
Robyn: I think that the advice that I would give to any fellow females is know that you are there because of your skill and that’s definitely what I found. People respect you for the skill that you have and if you respect yourself it doesn’t matter whether you are male or female if you’re respecting your own knowledge and the value that you can add then other people will do the same. It’s almost about just being okay with the fact that you are maybe in a male-dominated industry as a female or even vice versa in a female dominated industry being male and just embracing that and rolling with.
Lee: Great advice there and Kamran just over to you now because I know we were talking earlier a bit about your career history, what were you doing when you were 16, 17?
Kamran: Well it’s this boring story but I’ll tell you anyway. I started at the markets at 12, 13, 14, helping the market stalls open up and close up. I carried on doing that and I enjoyed that, I loved it with the market traders and all that having a laugh. I did rubbish at school ,I think education is quite important but I didn’t do too good at school and I then went on to college I dropped out of college after a bit because I just thought it wasn’t for me.
From there I decided to start a market stall and started selling ladies clothes there but when I look back I think I might have been a bit short-sighted because at the time market stalls were closing down but it was something that I loved doing. So I did that and then after that I kind of stopped doing that because a lot of the work was at the weekends you see so obviously that with going out etcetera didn’t really work too well for me. I was turning up late and told off from the market stall owners saying you are late again and that kind of thing so I just thought I have to do something different and I wanted the weekends to myself.
I just got a job at the Inland Revenue an office job and then slowly carried on from there. I’ve always wanted to do something on my own and I took the opportunity to start this company really and that’s where I ended up.
Lee: These are always good stories that when someone’s working in a place and they say right that’s it I’m going alone – what was the trigger for leaving the Inland Revenue?
Kamran: Honestly it was really boring and on the market you get to have a laugh with people and in there it was like, don’t talk too much, just do this do that. I thought well if I start my own business nobody can tell me that so I can do whatever I want. I lost all my money starting this business to be fair and ended up working for an insurance company in the evenings but that’s another story and I just cracked on with that until we got to where we are.
What are the tips for business success?
Lee: Well actually on that note for everybody listening, the resilience there and you did say you lost money, you cracked on – what was it that kept you going?
Kamran I’ve been working on my plan and one of the guys I’ve been working with said it’s to do with, I want to achieve what I set out to achieve. I didn’t want to give up on that dream. I thought if I give up on that dream then that’s me giving up on everything. I just thought you know what sod it, I’ve run out of money but I’m going to work in the evenings which allows me to work in the daytime so I’ll carry on doing that until we get enough money to sort of sod that job off and that’s how I ended up. I think I did it for six to twelve months working through in the evenings and the weekend and then we got to where we are
Can you run a business alone?
Lee: What advice would you give to everyone because that’s a good story? what kept you going?
Kamran: Listen for me it sounds really cheesy to be honest you know something like you hear on X Factor but set your goal out and then just focus on that without looking anywhere else. Can I just say one really important thing about this because there are a lot of things about focus on your goal, just go for it and don’t look back and you know you’ll have a brilliant time.
Well you’ve got to appreciate that you’re going to have really rubbish times if you’re going to do it. Some people do some people don’t but don’t think it’s always oh god I’ve got to go for that goal and it’s all going to be brilliant; it’s not it’s going to be hard but if you want it you got to keep going for. It is as simple as that and I’m not there yet either, I’m still going for it so you got to keep going.
Lee: Brilliant thanks Kamran. David you also set up your business during covid. what kind of support have you had along the way and what advice would you give to people now looking to do something similar?
David: We’ve had a lot of support from a lot of different organizations. My co-founder and I are both Salford Alumni and so we’ve had a lot of support from their business Incubators and their Advantage Programs and they also run a launch Kickstart program for Salford graduates and students. That was really kind of invaluable. We had a lot of experience in the technical side of the work. we knew what we were doing on that avenue and the production side but the actual business ideas and looking at marketing and financing – all that stuff that was all new to us so that was really beneficial to have them in place there.
The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce has been very helpful. They have a lot of tools online that we’ve dove into and a lot of networking events that kind of really have assisted us completely in that sense.
How do I prepare for a business interview?
Lee: As we draw to the end of this part of the show we’re going to ask a bit of advice really from panellists. I will start with Robyn, what advice would you give to young people now in terms of education training or employment? what’s your view of the world?
Robyn: When it comes to education i would say that yes education is great and i am very grateful for my education but i would never want anyone to think that if they don’t have a further education that is going to prevent them from doing anything that they want in life because it won’t.
That would be my first tip on education and then training wise just ingest and digest all of the training that you possibly can. there’s so much resource available right now – especially now that pretty much every single business has had to move online. absolutely get all the training in that you can and it will always be beneficial.
Then i suppose my one employment for the youth out there making me sound very old is just whenever you are going for an interview remember that you’re interviewing the company just as much as they’re interviewing you. Always make sure that you’re happy with the vibe of the place and you’re not just going there saying, i hope they’ll give me a job; you’re going there thinking you know they’d be lucky to have me as well! This is a two-way thing.
Lee: Okay, lucky to have you. great, brilliant advice and Kamran over to you?
Kamran: I was going to say the same thing really I mean I didn’t do well in education. To move on from that if we talk about something to do with training or going into education and employment, don’t think that starting at the bottom of any job that you want to get into is the be all and end all of it. the main thing is just to get started. if it’s a company that you think you can go for where you can learn something, because on the job training is brilliant now in a lot of companies – just get there and get involved and then appreciate what training is out there for you. that’s what I’d do – that’s what I did.
Lee: Yes direct experience is that. David over to you.
David: I don’t want to come across as just kind of wishing I’d done better in my youth as well but regardless of whether it’s education training or employment just making sure that you take advantage of every opportunity that’s presented to you and available to you within those areas. Grabbing each and every kind of experience available with both hands and viewing everything that you do not as the be all and end all, but that it has the potential to have a real positive impact in the immediate future or in your long-term future. See everything that you’re doing as positively impacting who you’ll become as a person and as a business leader.