Self-Starter Stories: From life as a student to becoming COO.
By: Nadine Burzler
This week's #SelfStarterStory features Xavier Parkhouse-Parker, Founder of the Recommendable app.
' Recommendable lets people share their recommendations for local businesses with friends. It’s easy for users to recommend companies, and their friends can find trustworthy services and retailers using smart search tools.
It’s a very simple test, would you recommend a company, yes or no. We think that simple assessment says pretty much everything anyone needs to know, which is why there are no reviews, thumbs downs or ratings on our site. Recommendations are a simple, one-click process, and the benefits for businesses are long-lasting. '
#PickYourselfUK caught up with Xavier to learn more about his entrepreneurial journey.
Looking back, what lead you to be where you are today?: Whilst at University, taking the opportunity to connect with incredible entrepreneurs and realising that this is what I wanted to do. So, I took every opportunity that would get me there.
What was the most challenging part of starting a business?: Getting the motivation and taking the plunge to actually start. Taking risks but mainly just overcoming procrastination.
What was your last job?: I've never had a serious job, I worked in a number of internships and lead an organisation whilst at University but when I graduated I went straight into my own company.
When did you choose to PICK YOURSELF instead of waiting to be chosen by someone else?: During my first year of University, I decided that I would never take the easy route and work for a big corporate. I remember when I decided, it was listening to a talk by an inspiring entrepreneur with a luxury brand accelerator (marketing) and thought, that is what I want to do.
What did you learn from your worst boss?: I've never really had a bad boss. Only people who taught me a lot or a little.
What is your favourite business book and why?: The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz - because the overwhelming message is that The Hard thing about Hard things is that there is no easy or quick solution. It's also full of practical advice about running, building and growing a company.
Do you do everything yourself? What do you outsource?: Everything is in-house, I've just brought on a new developer.
What is your productivity secret?: Have one goal in mind and make sure everything you do is working towards achieving that goal.
What is your favourite app?: Slack
How do you market your business?: We use a variety of things primarily email and facebook. We also use twitter and LinkedIn but that is mainly to connect with PR people or clients. Emails are great to keep our clients and users up to date and facebook has the best ROI
When you first launched, how did you get your first paying customers?: We ran a launch event, inviting lots of people and businesses we know.
How did you get your first traffic to your website?: We built up a mailing list from our launch events and through a bit of pay-per-click on facebook and it spiralled out from there.
What would you say to someone who is toying with the idea to start a business but haven't yet?: Start. Just start. Don't procrastinate, don't worry about the risks just start and put everything into it. You have to be 100% in it.
If you could have dinner with one entrepreneur, who would it be and why?: Ben Horowitz. I've read his book at least once a year for the last four years and every time I'm able to use the lessons he's learnt or the wisdom he writes about to solve a problem in my business. He's also inspirational and has been involved in some of the most incredible businesses in the world.
To follow Xavier's journey, you can do so via his social media channels and website linked below
Xavier Parkhouse-Parker has qualified for the #PickYourselfUK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award 2017. If you'd like to enter yourself or nominate a small business entrepreneur for this award, please submit your story below.
Voting for the #PickYourselfUK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award 2017 will take place in November 2017 so make sure you get your entry submitted to qualify.