‘Have a reason for doing it other than success or making a good living’
Building a company is a difficult task. Whether starting their own or growing an established business, these leaders have made a name for themselves as some of the best of the best. So, what makes business leaders tick and what are they aiming to achieve when all is said and done? We spoke to Keith Foggan, Founder of System, about his journey in business.
When did you establish your first business and what inspired you to set it up?
During uni, I set up a business with a designer creating football culture-inspired t-shirts, very much a hobby that spilled into something that actually could earn us some spare cash. It definitely taught me more pitfalls to avoid than secrets to great success – but it was a fun first swing at making something happen!
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur or did the desire develop over time?
I’ve never really thought of myself as an entrepreneur, more it’s a passion about not being managed and being independent. The creativity it takes, the ‘entrepreneurial’ part, really is just born out of a need to be in control. What drives me every day is not necessarily success, it’s the ability to make my own decisions and explore what I think works.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career and how have you overcome them?
I think maybe the hardest thing I had to overcome was a feeling that I belonged. Coming from a North East working-class background in a privileged industry (which is a problem that needs tackling) can make you feel like a minority. Overcoming that and finding the confidence to be totally myself took time.
Is there anything you wish you knew before you first started out?
That no one has it all figured out. The ones who are successful are those best at hiding the fact that they are winging it.
What is your top tip for other entrepreneurs?
Have a reason for doing it other than success or making a good living. That won’t last. Do it to make someone you love happy or someone who scorned you jealous. Those motives stick.
What are your plans for the future?
Take over the world, one disruptive social media account at a time.
What would you like your legacy to be?
I’ve never been asked this, so haven’t ever thought about it! But, I think it starts and stops with family. I’d trade happy memories for those close to me over any wider impact or recognition.