The first episode in our new podcast series, HeadBox Connect, was an interview with our very own CEO.
Find out all about the craziest things Andrew has done to get a business off the ground, what he values in employees and how he’s got to where he is today. Read the highlights below or listen to the full episode here.
Ann-Marie: How did the idea for HeadBox come about?
Andrew: So the idea of HeadBox came about for two main reasons. The first was at my last company, Face, which was a research and social data analytics business, I had to find amazing Spaces for large corporate clients such as Unilever, Coca-Cola and Nokia and the process of searching, booking and paying for a Space was incredibly out of date. It was very manual, it was very time consuming and very inefficient. So I thought there must be a better, simpler, faster way of being able to find amazing spaces all in one place, quickly and easily.
I think the second main reason for HeadBox is that I noticed the Spaces we were booking, and I assume this was the case with lots of other people, were the same old Spaces. It’s not easy to find the unknown and the untapped Spaces in a great city like London. It was really hard to find them. You had to go to lots of different places and even then I felt there were Spaces out there that we just didn’t know about because no one had taken the trouble to get them all together in one place on a platform like HeadBox. I felt there was a real opportunity to open up people’s imagination to the different uses of Space.
Ann-Marie: What made you decide that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Andrew: Being an entrepreneur for me is very much about being my own person. It’s about not following the crowd. It’s about following your own path in life; always taking your life in the direction that you want it to go in, stepping towards who you want to be and where you want to go rather than it being controlled or dictated to you by somebody else. It’s by doing that, that I am being true to myself and that’s when I am at my happiest. Being an entrepreneur for me is also about ambition. I think you have to be ambitious in your life and go out there to try and do big things and make big things happen that can have a meaningful impact on people’s lives and the world around you. It’s also about solving problems. I’m a curious person by nature and I always look at different things and I think HeadBox was a good example of where I questioned the status quo and asked “why”.
I think the final thing for me about what’s important about being an entrepreneur is that you never stop learning, that you’re constantly stimulating yourself with new things and new ways of doing things, and that means putting yourself out of your comfort zone. It means sometimes taking that step into the unknown, but I think you learn a lot from doing that.
Ann-Marie: When you are growing businesses and expanding your teams, what do you look for in the people that you hire?
Andrew: I look for a number of things in the people I hire but I’d like to pull out one area that is really important to me when I am interviewing potential candidates, and that is really understanding their core values.
I think core values are as important in your work life as they are in your personal life. As an entrepreneur, these core values are inextricably linked. You can’t separate the values you have in your personal life from those that you have in your business, so that’s why I like to look for that in people that come to work for me. I like to see whether they’ve really thought about what their core values are.
I think you can see whether people understand the importance of values, and that they really do help you navigate both work and life through the twists and turns and ups and downs. They are fundamental to driving a successful culture within a company. I think if you are really clear about what your values are you live them, you breathe them, and you display them in everything that you do.
Ann-Marie: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start or perhaps has already started their own business?
Andrew: My piece of advice would be if you have an idea and you are passionate about it and you are excited about it then do it, because that very act of commitment, that very act of doing something, takes you to a place that you could never have predicted would be there from the comfort of an armchair.
So, my advice would be if you want to set up your own business, do it, make it happen, because you’re more likely to achieve it by just doing it rather than thinking why you can’t do it or thinking about the things that could stop you.
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