‘I’ve always been a self-starter when it comes to my work life’
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 JP Caffery, CEO and Founder of RAMP Global about his journey in business.
When did you found your first business and what inspired you to set it up?
The first company I set up was called Bite2Enjoy when I was 19 and it was a restaurant booking service. It was the equivalent to today’s OpenTable service, where you can book tables at partnering restaurants online.
I founded the company in the early years of a dial-up connection, where commercialisation through the internet was still in its infancy. Prior to this, I worked as a Trainee Manager at Hilton Hotels & Resorts, so the motivation to set up my own company in this space stemmed from my experience of working in hospitality.
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur or did the desire develop over time?
I’ve always been a self-starter when it comes to my work life – I started out doing a milk round at the young age of 13. Since then, my motivations have always stemmed from wanting to do my own thing, so entrepreneurship just felt right.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career and how have you overcome them?
As a business founder, I’ve naturally faced a fair few challenges along the way, but the key to overcoming each and everyone is to always remain focused on customer experience and ensure every decision made is angled at solving their main pain points.
When evolving RAMP Global, for example, we’ve had to work hard to align the platform and value proposition to the needs of our customers in an ever-evolving recruitment market. While we provide a technology solution, the ultimate aim is to resolve problems and remove friction to make our clients lives easier.
One particular challenge we had to overcome was transitioning the business from a marketplace to a vendor management platform. It required careful consideration to ensure the user journey and commercial model was right. In-depth planning meant the transition was a complete success and we managed to retain all of our customers through this transition.
Another hurdle that all entrepreneurs face on their journey is balancing building the team in conjunction with scaling the performance and revenue of the business. There are several factors to consider when choosing the individuals that will join you in the beginning of your journey, and it requires careful investment to grow sales, account management, and product development. If you get it right, however, the next stages of your journey will be a bit easier.
Is there anything you wish you knew before you first started out?
Upon reflection, one thing I wish I’d known – or at least appreciated the full importance of – would be having good people around you from day one and clear plan to build upon.
That industry support network is critical. Of course, it’s harder when you’re younger as you won’t have had the time to build up a strong network of connections. That’s more of an ideal scenario rather than a realistic one. Yet, there’s real value in learning as you go. It ultimately helps to shape you as an entrepreneur and makes each experience unique.
What is your top tip for other entrepreneurs?
Above all else, entrepreneurs should ensure they have a strong support system in place. Founding a company is no easy task – it’s a whirlwind of challenges and successes – so it’s important to be able to lean on those around you. This could be in the form of a co-founder or a group of strategic advisors, anyone who can provide expertise and knowledge in areas you feel less confident in.
This network can also help motivate you in the early stages and provide a pillar of support during challenging times. It’s important to remember as a founder that while it may be your undertaking, you don’t have to do it alone.
What are your plans for the future?
I have two key objectives for RAMP Global as we move forward. The first is to continue our global expansion through customer acquisition, and the second is to rapidly scale our product development to include more integrations.
These integrations with a variety of HR technologies will fuel our mission to make the platform more connected and seamless for everyone. To help achieve these ambitious objectives, an underlying plan is to double the size of the RAMP Global team over the 12 months.
What would you like your legacy to be?
Ultimately, at RAMP we’re creating a new market that never previously existed, so my ideal legacy would be to have transformed and fundamentally improved the staffing agency industry; something that I’ve held a strong passion over the last 20 years. We’re working to make the industry better for all parties, on both the agency and employer side.
I’m also 100% committed to my colleagues, and my work includes providing the people who work alongside me with a platform an opportunity to develop their own careers, while establishing a sustainable business model that will continue to impress.