We kicked off our look at Tomorrow’s Leaders for 2017 by meeting with Joseph Munns from Bakedin, the subscription box service helping the nation to bake with pre-packed ingredients and simple recipe cards.
This month, we spoke to Sean Mallon, CEO of Bizdaq. Created to help the sale of small businesses, Bizdaq helps connect hundreds of buyers and sellers, and has been named one of the Everline Future 50 most disruptive UK businesses. Sean spoke to us about his very brief stop in university and how he learned the importance of personal downtime.
What’s your career story in a nutshell?
I left school and attended the University of Liverpool for a whole two days; that was enough to know that I’d had enough of traditional education. I left immediately and fell into a job in advertising, focused on small businesses. One of my clients was a business broker and they gave me the opportunity to work for them. After a couple of years learning the industry I decided I could do a better job myself and set up my own company when I was just 21.
Nearly 10 years later, that company is a market leader with around 80 full time staff. I launched Bizdaq to disrupt the very market we work within like never before.
What has been your proudest career moment, so far?
I think employing so many great people was one of my greatest achievements so far. I enjoy providing opportunity and autonomy to get the best out of people.
Through Bizdaq we’ve served thousands of clients since we launched, and to see how the business has advanced and positioned itself as the market choice is another proud moment.
Describe your workspace. Are you tidy, or do you work in organised chaos?
I’d say I’m in the middle. I believe I’m organised, however my team would say the opposite! That said, I know exactly what’s going on so I think I’ve found a way of working that suits me and the business. I’m always looking to improve, though!
Tea or coffee?
Coffee – at least five a day.
Which stationery item could you not live without?
Sticky notes – I always have several stuck to my monitor at any one time with ideas and reminders!
Who is your business idol, and why?
I find inspiration in anyone who runs their own business, of any size. I think the passion and dedication required to be successful in any business is impressive.
As I founded a tech company, I also find inspiration in people who took on an industry and disrupted it to the core, such as Brian Chesky of Airbnb. His story is quite incredible.
What’s the best thing Bizdaq has allowed you to do?
It’s allowed us the platform to truly disrupt a stale and archaic industry, providing a greater level of service and choice than ever before. From a personal perspective, having the ability to draw up an idea and execute it, then see the results for users (often within days) is incredibly satisfying.
Which workplace habit can you not stand?
Selfishness of any sort.
What advice would you give to people starting their own business?
Be clear and plan well ahead. Setting yourself short term goals is the easiest way to keep track of whether you are being successful. I’d also suggest not to delay if an idea inspires you – if you have the itch to start your own business then do something about it.
How do you switch off?
I never used to switch off at all, however, as I’ve matured and become more experienced, I’ve realised that to be at my best I need to have downtime. Even if it’s just an hour in the gym or a morning out of the office.
What’s next for Bizdaq? What are your plans for the future?
We’re currently on a steep growth curve, approaching 500 new users a week, but our long-term goal is to be the global marketplace for anyone wanting to buy or sell a business.
Have you left your mark on an industry and have advice for young start-ups? Get in touch with us on Twitter at @viking_chat if you want to become a part of the Tomorrow’s Leaders series.