Junior Chamber International (JCI) UK is committed to raising awareness of young people doing amazing things in our businesses and communities.
This blog series is to promote the achievements of our country’s young entrepreneurs and provide others with insights which will allow them to consider the potential of becoming young entrepreneurs for themselves.
Please give a brief summary of you, your business name and what it does
My name is Josh Valman, CEO of RPD International and we help companies develop and produce new products. We work directly with senior management and R&D or Innovation teams, to solve problems, develop sustainable solutions and bring them to market.
Question 1: At what point did you decide that the life of an entrepreneur was the one for you? How did it come about?
I never made a formal decision. These things just kind of happen! I was working on small projects, for really small amounts of money, and it escalated from there. Over time people would introduce my work, rather than me – and I was able to get access to some much bigger corporate work. I spent a couple of years working on international supply chain projects – all remotely, for success fees. A lot of the skill in this, was having complete ignorance. Supply chain is often a legacy business, and so stupid questions uncover big opportunities.
I was fired when I was 17 – nobody had thought to ask my age, and once it was revealed I quickly lost a lot of my work. Going from 20-hour work days, back to just school – university seemed a good challenge. I applied to some top schools and attended some of their example lectures. I really struggled. Whilst they talked about technical problems, in isolation of the real world – all I could see were the commercial realities that were being totally overlooked.
I couldn’t bare the thought of spending 4 years discussing technical issues, and ignoring the commercial problems.
If it was possible to have so much impact on my own – it was a valid mission to see whether such an approach would scale.
Question 2: What has been your proudest moment? How did it make you feel?
I’m proud of the team we’ve built and the environment they create. It’s an incredible place where every single person room, in every office, is doing what they love. We’re proud of the fact we don’t retain IP created, if not linked to projects. So a lot of our teams are working on their own products, with access to the facilities. As much as developing a high value company is important – the most important feeling is that people love where they work.
Question 3: What has been your toughest challenge? What did you learn?
Whilst our proudest achievement, people are also the toughest challenge. We spend a huge amount of our time, thinking about how we can help support our people, and the people at our client companies. We’ve learnt that time spent on understanding each individual person, is the most important trait to scale in a business. We’ve also learnt that this is a very good way to scale sales – working with out clients to understand how we can support them to achieve their goals within the business.
Question 4: What is your vision for your business? Where do you want to be in the next 5 years?
10 years ago, corporates had the majority of control in any market. They moved slowly, and knew exactly who their competitors would be – so this was possible. Nowadays, there are 3 person companies that come out of nowhere, to steal market share. The corporates don’t even see them coming, let alone have the ability to compete at this speed. For us – we are here to create impact. We’re here to give corporates the ability to simplify getting products to market, and unlock the enormous power they hold. Similarly, we’re here to support those startups looking to have a major impact on the world.
Over the next 5 years we’re looking to have a greater impact, through our clients.
What happens to the world, if some of the world’s largest Pharma and Consumer companies start launching every product in record times?
Question 5: What advice would you give to other budding young entrepreneurs?
There is no reason why not. Try it. Understand that only 1/100 things will succeed, if you’re lucky. Take that, and understand that means you might need to find 99 things that don’t work first. The critical path to success, in product development, business, and life has to include some failure. If you can work out why, and build on that failure – it becomes useful.
And, finally, tell us a little bit about yourself
Favourite book:“The hard thing about hard things” – Ben Horowitz
Favourite film: Madagascar
Favourite song/band: Coleen – The Heavy
Favourite Person: At the moment it’s my assistant, or my brain extension as I call her!
Favourite Quote:“Believe you can and you’re halfway there”, Theodore Roosevelt
If you would like to be featured in our Startup #ShoutOut for Young Entrepreneurs then please send your answers to the above questions to Philip Cockayne, Commercial Director at JCI UK via firstname.lastname@example.org.Tags: #ShoutOut, Business, Startup
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This post was written by Philip Cockayne Cockayne