Ketan Dattani is the Founding Owner of Buckingham Futures and took some time out to talk with The Industry Leaders about free marketing tactics that any entrepreneur can use to grow their business this year.
What's your industry?
Environmental Health Recruitment
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
As with many people in the Environmental field, my career path has stemmed from my deeply rooted love for nature and unbridled interest in understanding natural ecosystems.
As far back as I can remember, I loved animals, plants, and trees — really anything that was outdoors and wild.
Simply put, I was fascinated by the natural world. Having failed in the school system it was my avid interest in Environmental matters that led me back to education and to my academic choices of undertaking a Bachchelors degree in Environmental Biology and a Masters's degree in Environmental Planning and Management.
I set up Buckingham Futures in 2013, a specialist Consultancy supplying Environmental Health personnel across the Private and Public sectors on a nationwide basis as I identified an opportunity to aid Environmental Health professionals to fill the gap in the employment sector caused by significant challenges to the global economy caused population growth, increasing demand for natural resources, soaring costs of energy and escalating impacts of climate change.
My philosophy is one whereby Environmental factors are drivers of my business success. This means that we always go the extra mile to understand the business objectives and operating environments of our clients.
What kind of work does your daily role involve?
My daily role involves overseeing all operations and business activities to ensure they produce the desired results that are consistent with our overall strategy and mission, making high-quality investing decisions to advance the business and increase profits, building excellent relations with key partners and stakeholders and acting as a point of contact for important shareholders whilst maintaining a deep knowledge of the Environmental Health sector.
What gets you excited about your industry?
Buckingham Futures are the market leading provider of professional Environmental Health recruitment services throughout the UK. Our clients value our honesty and integrity and we work in partnership to develop long standing relationships across our network that allow us to deliver a professional and reliable service.
We recruit for contract, permanent and interim roles, and work with candidates at all stages of their careers. We work with public and private sector organisations to manage their Environmental Health resource challenges at both strategic and day-to-day levels.
What particularly grabs my interest is that Environmental Health has never been more important than it is now. Healthy environments are inexplicably intertwined with human safety and emotional well-being
In the face of environmental tragedies and climate change, it’s difficult not to feel despondent. It will make a difference to protect plant and animal species, conserve healthy green spaces, and reducing emissions. By taking care of the environment, humans can conserve the earth for future generations.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you on your journey in business?
Learning is a lifelong process. As the saying goes, you learn something new everyday. Whether I'm in a parliamentary meeting, at a networking event, or speaking to one of my 4 children - I always believe in absorbing as much information as possible.
Best advice I received on my journey in business was 'success is a journey - not a destination'
South Asians in particular attach too much of a stigma to failing. I've learned that failure is part and parcel of the journey. It’s the only way you learn and it makes you stronger.
Every successful person I know has suffered their fair share of setbacks along the way. All of them will tell you how important those setbacks were in helping them become successful. Rather than letting it deter you - pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes and go at it again.
What's been the hardest part about the path you've taken and how would you advise someone facing a similar situation to overcome it?
The hardest part about the path I've taken was my leaving my corporate recruitment career in 2013 and starting my own business, Buckingham Futures.
It was undoubtedly the biggest career risk I ever took was to quit a very well-paid corporate career to set up a self-funded Environmental Health Recruitment Business from scratch from my parent’s box room with no prior business experience.
The best advise for someone facing a similar situation would be to be deliberate about the people you associate with and listen to. Whenever you step out from the norm you will attract naysayers. Some of them may even be people who are close to you, but you can’t let that stop you from going after what you value.
Instead surround yourself with people who are going after their dreams, overcoming their fears, and developing their talents, and you will do the same.
In the current climate especially, many CEOs are looking for ways to cut costs, with marketing budgets usually one of the budgets to be cut. Is that wise?
As a knee-jerk reaction, I see a lot of CEOs and business owners cutting marketing costs as doing so has little immediate effect on sales, so it can be seen as a decision with no downsides. But this is to misconceive the nature of marketing because its effects are lagged.
Cutting marketing budgets may may seem like a risk-averse move, but the lockdown proved that businesses can make large gains in down markets if they continue to invest in marketing. If you have the option to continue marketing, it can only be a good move in the long run.
For people thinking of starting businesses in 2023, would you say it's still possible to build a big business with little or no marketing budget?
Starting with limited capital doesn’t mean your path to entrepreneurship is over. I started Buckingham Futures in 2013 with little money. What I did have was patience, the willingness to work hard, creativity, and the readiness to try new things.
I quickly learned that there are many creative ways to market a new business that are quite effective, despite not costing an arm and a leg.
Can you share one or two of your favorite free marketing strategies that a business owner in your industry can use.
Marketing Buckingham Futures in an industry as crowded as recruitment was a huge challenge and working hard as a one-man band can only get you so far.
What recruitment business owners need to think about is what recruitment marketing tips they can implement that nobody else is already trying in order to stand out in a crowded market.
Deciding to operate only in the niche technical discipline of Environmental Health, my strategy has always been to maintain a narrow focus and excel in my chosen sector.
I started by creating free business accounts on the big social media sites—Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. This was a way to grow Buckingham Futures while expressing the brand’s personality and building trust with my audience. This is something that can be done for free whenever you have a few minutes to spare.