Leaders Perception Magazine is currently running an interview series called – What Are The Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Starting A New Business?
Today, we had the opportunity to interview Craig Dempsey who is a CEO at Biz Latin Hub.
Interviewee Name: Craig Dempsey
Company: Biz Latin Hub
Craig Dempsey’s favourite quote: “You only failure when you stop trying”
Thank you so much for joining us today! Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your backstory?
Craig Dempsey : From rural Australia, attended the Australian Defence Force Academy and had a career in the military spanning 11 years, with multiple operational tours in the Middle East. Followed by a career in mining in Australia, Canada, Peru and Colombia. In more recent years founded and grew the Biz Latin Hub group to be the largest integrated provider of accounting, legal and recruitment services in Latin America and the Caribbean. Active entrepreneur and board member for various non-governmental organizations with an ever growing focus to learn, develop and create things.
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out? Any examples?
Craig Dempsey : Focus on customer centric solutions. Specifically, we look to provider integrated commercial solutions by pulling together multi-faceted solutions including, lawyers, accountants, administrators and recruitments to ensure the solution is fit for purpose and supports the client to establish and to do business within the region. Coupling this with responsiveness and reliability we have grown from a single office in Bogota, Colombia to being a regional market leader. We aim to be the best at what we do and strive for this every day.
What are the TOP 5 mistakes people make when starting a new business? Please share advice/examples for all of them.
Craig Dempsey : 1. If successful, be successful – Too many “startups” are built on failed business models, whereby even if they are successful they will not be economic. It’s important before starting to develop a “rough” business model and to understand the numbers before starting. You need to confirm, if I do this and I am successful will I make money? Will the market reward me if I am successful? If not, it’s best to either pivot the business model or even to stop it at this point. Starting and growing a business is hard (not to be underestimated), and its important to ensure that the reward, whatever form that takes, is there if you pull it off!
2. Cash is King – It is essential to understand that you need cash to survive and to pay the bills, and as such businesses should initially operate on cash accounting and only consider money received when physically in the bank (not based on invoicing). Time and time again small businesses fail because they simply do not have the cash to operate.
3. Believing in yourself (but too much) – It is fundamental that as an entrepreneur that you believe in yourself (in many cases no one else will), but likewise it’s hard sometimes, and for me included to self reflect and to realize what you are doing is not working and instead that you need to pivot based on the market. To be successful an entrepreneur must listen to the mark and to be flexible and pragmatic and move with it.
4. Best People – You should always hire the best people you can afford. Often startups will have limited in cash and will often “skimp” on salary costs, and this is understandable, but you can only be as successful as the people within your team, and hence you need to get the best people you can afford, and target efforts to ensure that available resources are allocated towards key positions that will make or break the business.
From my own experience: When starting my business and to save on initial costs I was able to back-fill and to compensate for skills and experience that I simply could not afford to hire, but as the business has grown this has become impossible to continue, and in-turn also involved building a culture of dependency / overreliance on myself. This was not a mistake and was needed due to financial constraints, but likewise a key learning for myself in the journey as an entrepreneur and something that should be avoided or minimized where possible in a company’s growth lifecycle.
5. Vision – Its not always needed to have a business plan or even to have an exact roadmap, but as an entrepreneur you need to have a vision on where you want to be, and to test critically your key decisions against this vision. Decisions should be made that will help you to get closer to achieving this vision and not further away from it.
As business owners and entrepreneurs it’s easy to reflect upon past mistakes and to learn from hindsight, but what can never be taken away from someone is that they tried. Success or failure is both commendable, but likewise we should not be naive, starting a business is easy, making it successful is what is hard and by listening and learning from past mistakes and others we can increase our chances of success. Few businesses are built on luck, most are built on hard work, very long days and a continuous drive every day!!
Leaders Perception magaizne would like to thank Craig Dempsey for the time dedicated to completing this interview and sharing their valuable insights with our readers!
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