Friday Interview: Guy-Edward Waterland – board member and strategy advisor mi-HUB.com
Guy is an experienced entrepreneur as well as a corporate & business development executive focusing on adding value to companies. Guy is also the strategy advisor for mi-HUB and we are happy to welcome him to the team.
Where are you from and why did you choose to move to London?
I am originally from Paris where I was born, and chose to move to London after school to take my university degree here. I thought the experience more attractive than the French one, and looked forward to the opportunity to discover my true self and freely experience new things away from the comfort of a familiar environment.
Was there any challenges you initially faced when moving to the UK, if so, how did you overcome them?
Although I have some British family (not London based) and hence the UK was not completely new to me, it was hard to leave a place where I had my close relatives as well as all my friends who still hung out together every weekend. In addition, my English was good but it was hard in the beginning to transition into thinking in English for advanced studies (I studied maths & physics). Finally, I found it hard to have no real constraints in how I managed my life (apart from financial), even if that meant much freedom on the other hand. Naturally, the answer to these issues is to create new relationships and a local structured social life.
What provided you with the inspiration for you starting your own business enterprise?
I was initially approached with a business idea by a former colleague who it turns out is also a migrant. He, another Swede and I quickly got on very well and things just evolved naturally from there to the launch and growth of a successful business headquartered in London.
In terms of developing your network of contacts, what steps did you take in order to facilitate this?
I had already studied and worked in the UK for some years and as such already had a good network. However, it was not in the relevant industry my new business was operating in, and I therefore had to create new connections from scratch. So we attended events, advertised, did some PR, asked for introductions and joined some professional societies such as the IoD.
Were there any events in particular you attended in which aided you on your business journey?
The events which I attended that helped with the business journey were mainly industry specific, such as InfoSecurity Europe, IFA and CeBIT.
What has been your biggest entrepreneurial achievement so far?
I think the biggest achievement is that, even after many ups, many downs and indeed sideways progression at times, the business still exists, grows and employs people today after over 6 years. I am also proud that we provided products that had a positive social impact, like helping with the online safety of children.
What does the future hold for you and your business?
I hope the business and I can carry on evolving, improving and adapting to our surroundings so as to remain successful.
As a seasoned entrepreneur, do you have any words of wisdom for those seeking to become an entrepreneur?
There are many sources where young would be entrepreneurs can read and learn about what they should or should not do when considering starting a new venture. Aside from these fundamentals, I would say focus and decision-making are paramount in early stages of a business, as efficient resource allocation (time, money, etc.) is probably the most important consideration. In this regard, having clear objectives and being able to say “no” to what potential opportunities lie outside is in my opinion vital.
Guy is a board member of mi-HUB.com, advising on strategy and business development.