In the next of our series we introduce CEN President, Parveen Dhanda, who since leaving Cass has founded her own business, Stubble & Strife. Find out more about the business here: http://stubbleandstrife.com/. You can also find them on Twitter: @StubbleStrife.
1) Why did you get involved with CEN?
I wanted to initially meet other alumni entrepreneurs.
2) What’s the most rewarding thing about being President?
To be able to host events which bring together industry, alumni, students and those that are interested in entrepreneurship. I love connecting people and it is great seeing these connections starting at our events.
3) Tell us the elevator statement that describes your business.
Bringing you the best of British male grooming products. We serve moustaches, beards and bare faces.
4) What gave you the idea to be an entrepreneur?
Opportunity to be able to start an idea and be part of its growth. Also I did not want to rely on an industry/job for my career path.
5) In what way has being involved with Cass helped you as an entrepreneur?
Studying for an Executive MBA has helped understanding all disciplines of business. It has also helped with networking.
6) What has been your biggest challenge to date and how did you overcome it?
No different to any other start-up. However for us it has been resources and inventory. By utilising my network and having such close contact to City University I was able to recruit a talented young team. By networking within Tech City I met a company in the Bakery who developed a solution for POS and inventory called Vend.
7) What funding have you had so far? How did you secure it?
We have decided to self fund (hence why I have a full time job at City University) until we can prove the concept works and is scalable.
8) Has being in London been important to your success?
Yes because we sell at Greenwich Market which is a prime tourist destination. By being in London, we have access to talented resources and we are also closer to our suppliers. We can also pop up easily around London, as we are based in Greenwich.
9) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Get to know your customer.
Not sure if this was advice given, however recently I learned to let go, to empower your staff to do a great job and make great decisions. Sometimes they get it wrong however that is part of the learning process. And also to use best practices in all aspects of your business.
10) And what piece of advice would you give people just starting out in business?
Don’t give yourself a hard time. We all know we should do more however you normally do not have a team and there is only so much you can do. Don’t seek for perfection in the early stages, as long as it is functional, prove the concept works before investing more. E.g we can all get hung up with design and brand, however this can always be changed later on. You need to understand if there is a demand for your business and build from there.