Always-on-the-go entrepreneur Reuben Singh runs two successful companies: alldayPA and Isher capital. He tells BQ about how he got this far and the lessons he learned.
What is it the company does?
alldayPA is the UK’s largest 24-hour call answering service, providing omnichannel, outsourced customer services to businesses with a priority on excellent customer experience.
Isher Capital is global private equity firm investing in entrepreneurs and fast-growth businesses.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
Entrepreneur, leader, mentor and visionary for the company and its future. I disrupt the internal goings-on and always question what we do – I’m not the executor or planner.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
alldayPA started in 1998, as I saw a gap in the market for a service that could greatly benefit a lot of businesses. The experience of setting up the company, along with the funding that alldayPA has generated, has granted me the ability to grow my business portfolio to include a string of other businesses over the years; which include Isher Capital and ADP Call Centres.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
I’m not afraid of making mistakes. Failure is the single most important lesson I learned in my career, and indeed arguably my greatest success. The world of business will always bring up unplanned events and unforeseen circumstances, and the ability to be able to adapt and change a plan on the fly is critical.
What has been the biggest challenge in your current position?
Letting go and realising I am not the best executer or manager. You can’t be good at everything, but as a business leader, it can often feel like you have to be – it’s your company after all. Instead of trying to handle everything yourself, you need to surround yourself with the right people who can fill in the skills that you perhaps lack. You may be the brains behind a project, and it’s okay for your team to be the executors.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
My passion for family, food, films and friends. It’s hugely beneficial to have interests outside of your business to help you wind down, so then when you are in the office, you can be the best version of yourself.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My dad - I wanted and still want to be the inspirational man that he is.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
I hate mess and I also hate planned agenda meetings, I think they stifle creativity.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
We would aspire to be the world’s largest independent contact centre. To move us closer to this ambitious aim, we intend to invest in contact centres across the UK that would otherwise go out of business or move their operations overseas. Not only will this grow our group turnover from nearly £30 million this year to £100 million, it will also create and secure vital UK jobs, which would otherwise be lost or moved to another country.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Fail. Fail big. Fail soon. And then learn to get over it. Fear regret, not failure.
The first question I ask any prospective entrepreneurs who pitch to me for funding is “have you ever failed?”. From this you learn if they can handle failure - not everybody can.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Don’t follow the money. Follow your passion and follow being the best at what your company does. Money follows clients, clients do not follow money.
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