A British entrepreneur, I am the Founder of alldayPA, the UK's largest 24-hour telephone answering services provider and the CEO of Isher Capital, a boutique private equity fund.
At the age of 19, I founded Miss Attitude, a fashion accessories retail chain using the £4,000 I had saved. My first store was in a tiny kiosk in the Arndale Centre in Manchester. It was a great idea: sell girls accessories and make-up together in one shop. Today, many successful stores use this business model, but at the time it was a unique and unusual idea. The chain grew rapidly and by 1999, there was a chain of Miss Attitude stores across the UK.
I sold the company and founded alldayPA. It was a great success very quickly. It filled a gap in the market for high-quality UK-based call handling and telephone answering services. Within two years, alldayPA had signed deals with T-Mobile and MBNA. In 2002 Forbes Magazine valued alldayPA at more than £90m and later at over $150m by a private equity fund.
At age 25, I was grateful to be called me the 'British Bill Gates' by The Sunday Times and have my net worth estimated to be £80 million by the Mail on Sunday's Rich Report.
I was invited by Prime Minister Tony Blair to serve on a Government Advisory Panel and a Government Task Force. I was also a Founding Member of Government's Small Business Council and appointed by the Prime Minister Government as an Ambassador for Entrepreneurship. For three years running I won the Entrepreneur of The Year Award and in 2002 I was named Asian Entrepreneur of the Year at a ceremony attended by Prince Charles.
I was honoured by HM The Queen at Buckingham Palace and honoured by the World Economic Forum at Davos as a Global Leader of Tomorrow. MIT Boston Technology Review Magazine gave me their Innovator Accolade and I had my portrait hung in the National Portrait Gallery in London.
The strongest year of my career but so rapid was my rise and so great the hysteria that, looking back, the only possible way was down. By early 2005 my fortunes had changed dramatically. Looking back this fall was inevitable due to some of the mistakes that had been made. I ignored correct advice and chose to take incorrect advice. I restructured and refocused alldayPA and began fighting a court case against a major bank. I quickly realised you cannot easily fight such a large institution. I lost the case and was forced to file for bankruptcy in 2007 and was discharged in 2008. I was discharged from my bankruptcy swiftly and without any problems. Despite the testing period I learned so much from this very difficult time. These years are my inspiration today.
Throughout this time I did not lose my seat on the alldayPA board and focused on growing the company to the multimillion pound success it is today, and in 2010 I launched Isher Capital. It was also both disheartening but satisfying to learn later that others, including judges, believed the decision served against me in my case was in fact unlawful and wrong.
What does the future hold for me? I’m an entrepreneur. You ask any entrepreneur and they’ll say: I’ve got some great ideas! And that’s true for me too. Meanwhile, I’m focussing on continuing to build alldayPA and Isher Capital. I’m also continuing my passion for hands-on charity work and encouraging young entrepreneurs to follow their dreams no matter where they take them..
Receive my updates. Enter your email address below.