ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

Top tips from someone who's got the t-shirt

Perkbox's co-founder Saurav Chopra gives his top five tips for any entrepreneur setting up their own business.

Saurav Chopra, Co-Founder of Perkbox, has been on an interesting business-journey in recent years – a journey that’s delivered, thanks to a willingness to keep flexible.

This piece, over in London Business School, sets out that journey – from founding Huddlebuy, in 2011, to launching Perkbox in 2015, which was the company’s third iteration.

‘Perkbox offers organisations more than 200 staff incentives and discounts, ranging from cheaper cinema tickets and restaurant meals to schemes focused on financial, physical and emotional wellbeing’, says the piece.

‘Perkbox’s turnover has grown from £4.3 million in 2015 to £34 million in 2017’, says London Business School, ‘and is expected to hit £50 million in 2018.’ 

It’s also gone from employing 25 to more than 200 people, and Saurav Chopra has been ‘named one of the winners at the 2018 Accomplished Entrepreneur Awards.’

Invaluable, then, to hear what he’s learnt from this last few exciting years.

5 top tips

The piece summarises his ‘top five tips’ for any entrepreneur.

  1. Be prepared to change direction’ – you have to be flexible, and not ‘fixated on your original business model’, he says. If your original plan isn’t working, don’t give up: why not relaunch your business as one that might?
  2. ‘Experience isn’t everything when building a team’ – you don’t have to employ ‘experts with tonnes of experience’, though you do need ‘a great team around you’. ‘All-rounders who can be flexible as the business evolves are ideal,’ he says, ‘because businesses do change. You won’t find many successful tech companies today with their original business plans.’
  3. ‘Keep an eye on the cash’ – he remembers the stressful early times, stretched for cash; and how much easier it became once his ‘company was financially self-sufficient’. Key is never to lose sight of the money. ‘When it comes to money, you should never lose focus. Companies that achieve great success are capital efficient and have the financial flexibility to expand or evolve.’
  4. ‘Establish your company values and vision early on’ – know who you are, is his suggestion. It will help with attracting the right people to join you, and avoiding, in terms of personnel, too many false starts. ‘One thing some growth companies do is leave it too late to establish what the business is about and work out its mission, purpose and culture.’ You want to be flexible about the route you may end up taking; while clear about who you are, and why you’re on the journey.
  5. ‘Celebrate small wins’ – creating a good atmosphere, and motivating your team, are of course important. So never neglect to ‘celebrate a successful project or winning a new client’, says Saurav Chopra. ‘At Perkbox, we recognise people for their hard work and workplace behaviour by offering training, organising team-bonding exercises such as sports days and providing free beer in the office every Friday. We also offer job training and focus on people’s wellbeing with mindfulness classes and counselling.’ He doesn’t doubt the business benefits.

Read Saurav Chopra’s advice in full – and more about his entrepreneurial journey – over in London Business School.

August 2018