Rob is the managing director of the Vino Beano. Along with a head for business, he is also a fine wine enthusiast. Prior to founding the Vino Beano, he worked for 15 years in the finance industry.
1. Why did you become an entrepreneur?
I became an entrepreneur because I didn’t want to be limited in terms of options and earning potential that you generally get as an employee. I have always been inquisitive, and always wanted a very diverse career; and I love the freedom that comes with being an entrepreneur.
I love to work, and even better I love to work for my own personal rewards. I started my first business at 23 years old, and 9 years later I am now even hungrier to set up, and grow a business, than when I did for the first time.
2. What are you like as an entrepreneur?
I have a big finance and audit background, so believe I am a very level headed, logical and practical person, which rubs off in the way I do business. I try to keep emotions out of all decision making, yet I remain open to ideas, opinions and opportunities, and treat every case on its own merits.
3. What makes the story of your personal career interesting?
I think coming from a working-class background, with a very humble (yet happy) upbringing meant I have had to work to open all doors in my career, and never had anything handed to me. That adds drive to my career, as I want to be able to have the opportunities personally, and for my family, that weren’t available previously.
It also makes me appreciate what I have and focused to what I am working towards.
4. What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment would have been turning a business from a company managed solely by me in my spare bedroom to a business turning over approximately £1m per annum with 12 full time employees and a good contract base within a year.
Growth was funded by some small levels of investment both internally and externally, but a majority was through organic growth and re-investing revenues to expand the business.
5. What is your biggest professional blunder?
In the same business, I made the mistake of looking to grow too fast. It is extremely difficult to not ‘ride the tide’ and not want to lose momentum. However, looking back I can see that the risk was not always justified and that foundations are not always as solid as they seem.
It was a huge learning curve and something that has held me in good stead since and will continue to do so going forwards.
6. What is your dream for your company?
I want to see The Vino Beano as one of the leading and most respected wine merchants and to be known for being the ‘go to’ place for stunning, high quality artisan wines.
I want people to be aware of the brand as being something that gives the end user/consumer a complete 360-degree wine experience. I believe we have the products, the team and the desire to be able to make that happen.
7. Who is your role model and why?
Richard Branson and Alan Sugar. I cannot really choose between them. Both have humble beginnings and worked from a very young age to build a lasting career. Both have taken risks and diversified, and not always succeeded. However, that level of fearlessness and drive is something you cannot fail to completely respect.
8. What motivates you?
Success motivates me. Everything I do is to make myself, my family, my team, and those around me successful. Success is relative, but to me it means purely having a profitable and reputable business(es), that gives me (and my investors) a good living, and great returns.
I believe success brings happiness and helps put other pieces of the life puzzle in place. I have experienced failure, but it’s the determination to succeed that means I can take what I need from the failures to ensure I do not fail again. I seek constant and never ending improvement.
9. Why crowdfunding and why with Invesdor?
I think crowdfunding opens the doors to people who are not necessarily high net worth individuals, or are frequent investors. It expands our reach to take on investment, but also gives casual or new investors the opportunity to ‘test the water’ and have a diverse portfolio rather than committing to few projects.
I chose Invesdor because of the fact it can attract investors from the EEA. Many UK crowdfunding sites do not necessarily cater for, or have the reach to attract such investors, meaning there is a huge amount of options for UK investors. I like that Invesdor focus more time on less business to ensure the success of the campaign.
10. Why would you invest in your company? Give three reasons.
I would invest because:
1) We are a group of young, hungry and enthusiastic individuals, and have the knowledge and experience in all areas to match. The credibility we have for such a new business is far beyond what I could have imagined before our launch.
2) We have many unique offerings, and really offer the wine drinker, buyer, collector, investor everything they would need, in a very personal way. This will make for a long lasting, and loyal client base.
3) We have high end and super reliable infrastructure that rivals the best in the industry. It means we can fulfil all client requirements safely, and extremely swiftly.
Want to read more about the Vino Beano? See their pitch.