If You Can Keep Your Head When All About You Are Losing Theirs…

2016 is shaping up to be quite the annus horribilis. Quite apart from the passing of such legends as Bowie, Rickman, Cohen, Wogan and Corbet, there has been unprecedented political turmoil, with UK’s vote to leave the EU (“Brexit”) and the election of Donald Trump to the US Presidency.

It’s these last two events that have caused all businesses – but particularly start-ups – to face increased uncertainty, difficult markets and most of all, higher levels of risk. Though I think Brexit is likely to affect UK businesses more than Trump’s success (it’s going to be a key topic of discussion at the ‘TechCrunch Disrupt London’ event in December), even sectors such as renewable energies are facing disruption after the election, according to Elon Musk.

“An Entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down” Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn.

So what’s the problem? Entrepreneurs thrive on this risk and uncertainty – without the thrill of riding out the waves of uncertainty there would be little interest in venturing into the world of start-ups to begin with. When uncertainty hits, it’s natural for your brain tell you to panic, but those with entrepreneurial acumen automatically begin thinking rationally – how can they effectively assimilate and deal with this new information? How do you keep your head and continue building your plane?

When I started my last business I had absolutely no money, no staff, no business plan and a sizable amount of unsecured debt to my name – not to mention my wife, Viki, and Ofelia, our six-month-old baby, to support. And it was slap bang in the middle of a recession! Five years later, at the age of 31, I sold my company, E-Tale Marketing Solutions Ltd., in a multi-million-dollar deal; after selling to, and competing with, some of the biggest businesses in the world. Despite the challenges it was something i felt compelled to do. I simply had to do it, and i trusted myself that, whatever the challenge, I could overcome it. The journey was peppered with a huge amount of risk and uncertainty, but it’s how you deal with it that marks you out for success. These are some of the mental strategies that kept me going:

1. Think Positive

During the good times, entrepreneurs can find is easy to forget about focusing their mood, because the smiles come easy. But when the tough times present themselves – and they will – try to find a happy or positive thought to rebalance the panicked reaction. Whether it is a business breakthrough from recent weeks, or a promising event happening soon, remind yourself that good things can (and will) happen and that focusing on negativity will not help you to get through it.

 2. Let Go

As much as the entrepreneurial instinct is to micro-manage everything, there are some things that are simply out of your control – such as the outcome of an election. When these situations arise, you need to be able to accept that, yes, this will affect your business, but no, you cannot prevent it or ignore it. So your job is to ride it out and decide the best course of action to see the other side with minimal damage. Try not to exaggerate the situation to yourself or those around you – acknowledge it with a level head for exactly what it is and plan using the information you have available.

3. Prioritise

Understanding the difference between a make-or-break decision and an inconsequential one is vital for when tumultuous situations arise. The truth is that every decision made during the running of a start-up brings uncertainty, but by using the information available and focusing on the most important decisions first, whilst weighing up a range of possible outcomes will save a lot of your energy and relieve enough stress to allow you to wiz through the small choices later.

4. Trust Yourself

You started the business on your own and sometimes you must trust the same instincts, that used to scream at you that this was a good idea, to carry it forward. Start by listening to your instincts on small matters and learn whether your first impressions are to be relied upon or if you’re the kind of person who needs to research more thoroughly. Many top entrepreneurs know how to settle their brain and focus on the issues – Steve Jobs took walks to make decisions, whilst Einstein went sailing to clear his mental blocks.

5. Stay Agile

I’ve said it before, agility to is the best defence against uncertainty and by adopting an agile, or flexible approach to your business, you gain a competitive advantage. Now is the time to take a progressive view, remain dynamic and revert to Entrepreneur 101: remain agile and look for opportunities.


Knowledge is the key, and whilst it is vital to remember that there will be things you cannot possibly know – you can take the information you do have and build upon it to make plans. Whether it’s finding funding, or choosing the people you want to be by your side, plan ahead and never let negativity hold you back.

How do you see it? Is your business facing new challenges as a result of Brexit or Trump? How do you handle uncertainty? – let me know below.

My experience at the Techpreneur Expo

This post is about my experience of the talks I held from a jam-packed two days at the Techpreneur Expo in London at Kensington Olympia. The event was part of the 34th Business Show, which showcases hundreds of business over the two days, some of those are startups, and that’s what really interested me about the event. My ‘start, scale and sell’ masterclass was a sell-out event.


Each day I had six one-hour sessions on ranging topics, I began the day at 11 am with a talk on ‘Evaluating your idea’. This session focused on knowing if your idea was a winning idea; I was able to speak about my own experiences in the starting up stage and how I created my own ideas.


At 12 pm, I held a session on ‘From start-up to scale-up’. This was when I had a chance to speak about how I achieved making my start-up into a fully-fledged business and more importantly preventing things from breaking.


The 1 pm session was on booking meetings, how to get in front of the big companies even if you don’t have the budget to do so. I was in this position myself, not so long ago and I love sharing my experiences on this, so hopefully my knowledge can help others.


The next session at 2 pm was on ‘the competition’, I think it’s important that you can speak to your competition but remain credible at the same time. From my experience, I was talking about some of the bigger companies I had personally dealt with, but I am hoping my advice can be taken out of context and be applied to any competition circumstances.


The sessions at 3 pm and 4 pm were on selling your company; I mainly spoke about when and why you should sell and then preparing for the process. I only sold my start-up ‘E-Tale’ in 2014, so the process is still very memorable.


The day was a huge success, especially seeing as it was my first speaking engagement of this type; I must admit I was a bit nervous at the beginning of the day! I was hoping to get lots of feedback from the event, as I am writing a book and hoping the tips will help me in the process


I also got asked a few questions throughout the day; it was great to see lots of people were so interested in the talks and wanted to know more.


I would love to hear if you attended the Techpreneur expo or the Business Show, especially if you attended one of my sessions! Leave a comment below, I love to hear feedback!

Start, Scale and Sell Masterclass – 3rd/4th December 2015

Earlier this year I was luckily invited to speak at the ‘Techpreneur Expo’ this coming December. The Techpreneur Expo is part of the 34th Business Show, which showcases other key speakers. The speakers include motivational speakers and business leaders, such as Touker Suleyman from the BBC show Dragons Den.

My masterclass will have the following itinerary across both days:

•    11:00 – Evaluating your Idea – How to know if you are onto a winner!

•    12:00 – From Start-up to Scale-up – Preparing for the big time.

•    13:00 – Booking Meetings – How to get in front of big companies without a big budget.

•    14:00 – The Competition – How to speak about the competition and remain credible.

•    15:00 – Selling Your Company – Part 1 – When should you sell your company.

•    16:00 – Selling Your Company – Part 2 – How to prepare for Due Diligence.

Having created and successfully sold a start-up in the tech sector, I am hopeful that I can share some of my learnings in the hope this will help others do the same. The masterclass sessions will very much be a workshop and I will be open to ANY questions on the day. I think this event should really be a great networking opportunity for everyone involved, including me! I always love to hear others ideas and hope I can help in some way, as I know how difficult the startup world can be.

Important information:

Date: 3rd and 4th December 2015.

Time: First masterclass at 11 am and run every hour until 4 pm on both days!

Price: FREE but you must register!

Location: Olympia London (Not far from Kensington Olympia station).

My most productive places!

I decided to write this blog while on a flight. I always seem to get things done when I don’t have distractions from things like messenger and email. It got me thinking about where my favourite places to work are. So here they are:

  1. Langham Hotel – This is where I was when I sold ‘E-Tale’. It’s nice to sit and work while remembering that life changing day. It gives me that entrepreneurial feeling about anything being possible.
  1. Emirates flight – I enjoy working on a flight, and I also tend to use a notepad as this seems to get the ideas flowing. The only downside is that sometimes when you land, you go to Google and realise that your new idea is well…. Old.
  1. Altapura Hotel – Val Thorens France – Snowboarding is a big passion for me. A lot of people like Apres Ski drinking, but I am always too tired.  So sitting by the fire thinking about the next feature, product or business is where I am most happy.
  1. Jetty Lounge – Dubai: Living in Dubai has some benefits. One of them being the sunshine and amazing hotels. My favourite place in Dubai to work is a beach bar called the jetty lounge. It overlooks the bay by the Palm Jumeriah. Something is very relaxing about watching people wakeboard while you respond to emails.
  1. Our Cambridgeshire home: While I love living in Dubai, my home in the UK is a very special place to my family. It’s the house where both of my children were born and remains our true happy place. It’s very rural, and the open space just seems to make everything seem okay.

I think it’s really important to know where in the world you feel the most productive. Do some places make ideas flow? Do other places help you get your head down? I would love to hear from you in the comment section below about your most productive places.

Jetty Lounge in Dubai!

Jetty Lounge in Dubai!


Hopefully you have already read my bio to get to know a bit about me, but I wanted to give an insight into what I want to achieve from this blog…

I want to be able to give my own perspective on the current technology market and trends, based on my own knowledge from being an entrepreneur myself after working for a technology company for a number of years. I have lots of thoughts I want to share and I am equally keen to hear others thoughts too!

Something that’s interested me for quite a while now is how growing technology could be used by large, major brands, how these trends will impact their businesses but also how these trends could be capitalised on and monetised.

This blog will hopefully be a space where I can share examples of how technology is moving forwards and being used, I also have a passion for technology and start-up businesses, I will be attending a number of events over the next year and will be sure to blog about them.

I would love to hear any feedback about my blog and I hope you enjoy the material I post, I’m aiming to update once a week  at least, so please check back!