Name, title & company name?
Simon Bozzoli, Founder and Chief Executive, The LDN Group.
In five words, tell us what your business does?
Connects young Londoners to businesses.
When did you know that you wanted to set up your own business and what made you finally take the plunge?
Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I think I always knew that I would end up starting a business. When I started working for colleges and training providers in the FE sector I realised that there was a massive opportunity for innovation in the sector. It was this opportunity to create something completely different to other market offerings that piqued my interest and got me thinking about starting the LDN Group.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Waking up every morning knowing that I am going to be challenged in every way imaginable. I love the challenges that we face every day as a business and I love the feeling of overcoming them – particularly when overcoming a particular problem results in something fantastic for a client or in changing the life of a young person.
And the worst?
I don’t think I would categorise anything as ‘the worst’. I suppose it is tough to constantly have to be working – I would like to find the discipline and courage to turn off my emails and slack for a couple of hours a day! Maybe I will do that…
What one thing do you think the Government should do to help small businesses?
I actually think this government has done a lot for small businesses in an environment which has been very tough. We’ve seen massive growth in our organisation over the last 5 years and our business can only grow if other businesses are growing too! Selfishly, if there was one thing I would like the government to do to help our business, it would be to provide a more straightforward mechanism for funding programmes that get people into work. And to enforce a strict rule that apprenticeships can only be delivered for new jobs, and not for people who are already in work.
Who do you most admire in business?
There are a few people. One of my mentors in this business is my dad. He’s run his own business in South Africa for nearly 40 years and is a massive role model of mine. Others include friends of my dad – some extremely successful businessmen who have built and grown their businesses from nothing. I don’t particularly fancy any of the big name entrepreneurs or businessmen – I don’t feel like I identify very well with any of them.
If you could give one piece of advice to small business owners, what would it be?
Don’t do it!
No, I would honestly say that you should only do it if you have a fire in your belly and the strength and support to get through the tough times. I know that I would have failed long ago were it not for the support I get from my wife, my dad and a few other very important people in my life. Other than that, I would say that when you’re having a bad day, try not to get down on yourself and remember that one bad day can completely erase the feeling of the 100 good days that came before it – good times always tend to come back if you can stick it out for long enough.
If you hadn’t set up your company, what do you think you’d be doing instead?
I have no idea. I really can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I love everything about our business and would probably be completely miserable if I was doing anything else. It’s not a scenario I ever really care to think about.
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