Rob Hill: How to work smart and spot business opportunities

Hey Rob, so what’s the story?

My business idea came to me over 10 years ago, when I was 24, whilst working in the events industry as a hen party chaperone. At this time I realised that in the pre- nuptial celebrations niche industry they didn’t have many businesses that organised stag do’s.

So I quit my stable accountancy job and started The Stag Company

I learnt to build my own business from scratch and later bought out the original hen party company that hired me.

I then expanded the portfolio in 2009 by setting up the corporate party organisers Eventa.co.uk.

Did you always want to run your own business?

From a young age I always had a strong work ethic which was installed into me by my working class parents.  I began a career in accounting but realised that the corporate world wasn’t for me? I wanted to be excited about my job and be the master of my own destiny. It wasn’t until I began a job in the events sector and identified a gap in the market that I had the courage to start up the Eventa Group.

What’s your best entrepreneurial skill?

I think my best entrepreneurial skill is that I spot business opportunities and go for them. I am pretty fearless when it comes to making new business decisions; I set up Eventa.co.uk during the recession in 2009, which was one of the biggest recession's the UK had experienced in years. Most entrepreneurs wouldn’t have dreamed of starting new ventures at this time but I saw a gap in the market and went for it!

What’s the best advice you have been given?

Someone once told me ‘Don’t work too hard, work smart’ it was great advice which I live by today. It’s easy as an entrepreneur to put your heart and soul into your business and work all of the hours under the sun, but you must think of the bigger picture and work smart, look to where you will be in the next  5 years.

What has been your biggest barrier/mistake and how did you overcome it?

My biggest mistake when I started out was that I did every area of the business by myself; designed the website, sales, admin, marketing, accounts and I was working 90 hour weeks with little social life, it was extremely hard. 

The only way to overcome this and for the company to move forward was to employ staff, my first employee Nick Shuff, who is now a company director was a revelation.  By hiring him I was able to delegate operational aspects of the business and concentrate on the marketing and planning growth.

I couldn’t have grown the business and make it a success alone, good staff and delegation is key.

What do you love most about running your own business?

I can honestly say I wake up every day excited about the day ahead of me; I get so much satisfaction out of running my own business- I love the challenges, the thrills, the highs, the lows and the people. 

How did you make your business a success?

I think the success of the Eventa Group really is dependent on the CRM systems that we have built and the expert staff. Having staff that deliver beyond their call of duty is what sets our events company apart from any other event planners.

What’s the biggest lesson you have learnt?

I think it’s important to keep things simple and not to over complicate things. It’s vital not to confuse your customers, deliver the best possible service without making it difficult and provide outstanding customer satisfaction. 

What inspires you?

Richard Branson has always inspired me; I am a big fan of his autobiography. I think it’s essential for any budding entrepreneur to read other inspiring start up stories they are extremely motivational.

Additionally, my wife also inspires me, she has always been very supportive especially when I first started the business and there were a number of times that I almost gave up on my dream.

When did you realise your business was a success?

If I did have to pick one specific time that I sat back and thought ‘wow this is it!’ it would have to be the two occasions that we have celebrated the Virgin Fast Track 100 at Richard Branson’s house. Being in a room with the other successful businesses that had also made the league table was certainly a huge highlight for me.

Plans for the future?

The next step for us is to expand our portfolio of offerings by diversifying the products we offer. We currently have a vast database of blue- chip clients and suppliers so it makes perfect sense to do this.

Sustainable growth is the ultimate goal for the business and something that we strive to achieve.

If you could export overseas, which country would you choose?

Plans are in progress with international agents in Europe and USA in order to expand operations.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a business?

  1. Do not be scared to give it a try and take the plunge with business ideas.
  2. Make sure you know everything about your product, service and importantly your customer.
  3. Get a good bank manager- you must stay on top of your finances.
  4. Invest in good people and build a positive working environment.
  5. Always keep your eye on the competition.

To find out more about Rob Hill, you can follow him on Twitter. For more information on Eventa you can check out their website, Twitter page or like them on Facebook. 

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