Features - Entrepreneurial Alumni
Posted 01 May 2016
New York Programme
September 2005 Intake
Gordon is a graduate of Bath University. He recently setup RDI Worldwide Ltd. in Seoul, Korea.
Describe your business and your role.
I have setup the first overseas branch in Seoul, Korea of Research Direct International (RDI) a British company specialising in Executive Search and Professional Development. We are focusing on Korean companies who are trying to expand overseas, help them find the right talents and build successful partnerships in local markets. Our slogan is “Passionate about People” because we are a people business- our clients and the candidates we place are central to our entire business model. I am the country manager working with a business partner whom I met during my MBA here in Seoul.
How did you get into this line of business?
The business was setup in 1996 by my family, so I have been familiar with it for a long time. I have always wanted to run my own business, but it took ten years of working for big international companies to get to where I am to be able to offer a unique service to clients.
How did you go about setting it up and getting established?
I have been living and working in Seoul for almost six years, during which time I have been gaining experience on the Korean business environment and culture. For more than one year I was working full time and planning how to setup, preparing our website, doing market research and discussing collaboration with my business partner. Finally we both had to quit our permanent jobs to devote ourselves full time and kick-start the business. We decided on a branch office in order to make the establishment simpler and require less Foreign Direct Investment. Still a lot of paperwork had to be prepared in the UK and sent over to Seoul.
What else is in the pipeline?
In order to be able to grow quickly and smoothly we have setup in a serviced office business center with the option to add more desks as we hire people. We plan to be able to open up more offices next year as the business continues to grow. We are always looking to hire and place international talents!
What has been the proudest moment in your working life thus far?
When we won our first client, we got validation that we were now a real business - that was a proud moment to have created something and be totally responsible for the output and final service delivery.
What has been your biggest mistake/learning experience?
Whilst you have to trust a lot of people to get things done, don’t be too giving without ensuring backup or at least guarantee of recognition for work done. I learned this the hard way after so-called ‘partners’ jumped over me to deliver to the client my product whilst labelling it their own!
Any words of advice/wisdom would you impart to others thinking of setting up their own business?
Truly believe in yourself, many people have the skills to run their own business, but few have the determination and self-belief to make it a success.
I would also add that everyone should find a way to remain constantly open to new opportunities, there are many ways to do so, once you find yourself sinking into comfortable habits then you are not pushing the business forward; you may well miss opportunities because often the best ones are the most unexpected.
More info at: www.rdiuk.com