Describe your role in no more than 100 words.
I am responsible for the growth and overall vision of the Mr. Singh’s brand. From starting the business in our family shed, I have led the business to where it is today. My role includes winning new business with large retailers, raising funding, marketing strategy, and almost all other business roles one can imagine because as a start up a person wears multiple hats until you can hire the right colleague! Recently I have set the target of Mr. Singh’s becoming a brand valued at over £10m within 5 years.
What is it the company does?
Mr. Singh’s is a family business which produces a range of hot chilli sauces and cooking pastes. We started in our garden shed by destemming chilli by hand and selling at food shows. Today we supply the likes of Selfridges, Booths, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Ocado and over 450 independent stores. We are known for our innovative and fun marketing with our last social media titled "Spice Boys" reaching over 1m people:
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I dropped out of university at 20 because I no longer enjoyed the challenge. I "blagged" a job at Burberry for a year before my first role as head of marketing for a furniture start up. During this role I purchased my first home and promptly got made redundant 8 months later! After a brief stint as an estate agent, I broke into the city as a trainee stockbroker at 23 and remained there for few years. I was then approached to join the investment team of a real estate broker specialising in property from India. After a year my friend and I decided to purchase 5.6 acres of land in west India, build and sell 152 apartments. During this business venture, Mr. Singh’s was born and so in 2012 I left the property business to concentrate on my own brand.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
In my opinion putting other people before yourself makes a great leader. Ultimately, those who are in your business are your responsibility as a leader and so if they are taken care of your business will reap the rewards. Knowing a person is important will empower them, invigorate them, foster creativity and create loyalty.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Learning to pick myself up when plans do not work out or major challenges arise (which invariably happens a lot). Mentally, it is easy to become overwhelmed, start feeling depressed, doubt yourself, fear the unknown, etc and start a negative spiral. Learning methods to affirm my own strengths, knowledge and ability lead to renewed confidence and ability to try one more time (which is usually all it takes!)
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
My personal method to alleviate stress is to acknowledge none of what happens matters in the grand scheme of life. I remind myself how lucky I am to have loving family, incredible friends, a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food in my stomach. We are fortunate to live in a place free from some of the suffering we see in the world and so once this is put in context any inclination of feeling stressed melts away. This aside, I meditate, exercise, laugh as much as I can and go on dates with my wife!
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Happy and in love! Hahahaha, I know it sounds corny, and it is true. I probably watched too much Saved by the Bell! Actually I found an old notebook and it said I wanted to be a F1 driver. Come on Kuldip Hamilton!
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?
My brother loudly "breaking wind" because he knows it annoys me. The benefits of working with family! There is not a lot I can do about it unfortunately!
Where do you see the company in five years time?
Within 5 years I see Mr. Singh’s valued at over £10m and one of the largest brands in the UK with 100,000s of followers supporting the brand. Ideally a TV or social media show and our range of products being sold nationwide by all retailers.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life. Trust in yourself and follow your instinct because it is always right.