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Friday Interview: Vadim Adams

Vadim is a highly versatile business leader with an in-depth knowledge of sectors spanning across public sector, defence, retail, finance and telecoms. Vadim has strong sales and business transformation track record backed with excellent analytical and technical skills.

Vadim began his career in technology consulting sector and had the privilege of taking on a number of roles, ranging from business analysis and project management to change management, sales and business development. Vadim always wanted to own his own business and when opportunity presented itself, he finally took the first step and has never looked back since.

Vadim, tell us a little about yourself and what your company does.
I began my career in consulting and have taken on many multiple roles within organisations. I was often part of project teams but have quickly progressed to senior management level. However I always knew that I wanted to own a business and once I had enough capital I decided to take that first big scary step.

I decided to base my business on what I know, which is primarily how to run projects, optimise businesses and use technology to improve customer experience and drive value-adding transformation projects. The company is still very much of a start-up and has been operational since February 2015. Since starting the company, I have joined forces with some extremely clever people who can constantly push and challenge me and this partnership working has been fundamental in terms of growing the company as well as extremely good fun.

Why did you leave a career to start your own business?
I suppose I am one of those lucky people who has a pretty good idea of where I want to get to, despite not always knowing how. Ever since school, I knew that I wanted to get into technology consulting world, this has guided me to pursue relevant courses in College and then University. Soon after starting my career in the real world, I found out that I want to run my own business as by my nature I am extremely curious and want to choose projects that I work on.

What were some of the challenges you faced while starting Hibou Consulting?
One of the first lessons I have learned was that having people that will push you to keep doing the work is key. It is very easy to focus on wrong things when running the business. Therefore clarity and focus have been extremely important and I could only achieve it by having people around me who would challenge my hypothesis and help me clarify my vision.

Apart from being crystal clear about what we do, I had to build the sales pipeline, sell services and do the actual work. The trick here is that whilst you are delivering, it is difficult to sell and whilst you are selling, you are not delivering. This is the reality of a small consultancy and requires real discipline and long working hours to keep doing both.

Finally, understanding my clients processes and sales cycles has been key. Different organisations work at different paces and some organisations have a much longer sales cycle than others. Understanding this earlier on would have helped me to avoid quiet periods.

How did you find funding for your business? Any advice for others looking for funding?
For consultancy business one typically needs about 3 months worth of funding available, in case there isn’t a lot of opportunities available in the market. Apart from salary pay the main other expenses were things like insurance, website, accountants etc. This was not a major cost and there are many companies that can help with all of these aspects and it is possible to set everything up for under £500.

In terms of funding advice, there are many ways to get additional funding if required. There are business angels, bank loans and many other options. In addition to these there is a growing popularity in crowd-funding websites. All of which are extremely plausible, the key to finding funding however is having a robust business plan and having a really good understanding of your target market and who your customer is. Many well established businesses still do not really understand their customers and their markets so when introducing a new product, it is extremely important to understand how your product/service will compete against them. As an example at Hibou Consulting, we will not take on a project where we feel we are not able to make positive difference and shape the project. In addition to this, we believe that consultants are not simply there to implement a project in isolation, we therefore encourage largely client design and implementation team and our consultants effectively act as design authorities, who can manage and influence at all levels within a project/programme and ensure that all parts are well co-ordinated and aligned to business strategy.

Top 3 tips for budding entrepreneurs out there.

  1. Understand your customer
  2. Understand what business you are in
  3. Ensure you have people around you who will encourage, challenge and support you. This will help you to really love what you do and you will take pride in your product/service and thus will keep challenging yourself to get better

 

Twitter: @vadimadams

LinkedIn: Vadim Adams

If you would like to be involved in a social enterprise whose mission is to help migrants improve their lives by starting their own businesses, get in touch via email campaign@thisforeignercan.com.