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Ketan Dattani on How To Bounce Back Stronger in Business


Ketan Dattani is the CEO and Founding Owner of Buckingham Futures and knows what it takes to face challenges in business and bounce back stronger. They took some time out to share their insights with The Industry Leaders.


Can you start by telling us a bit about your journey as an entrepreneur, focusing particularly on your experiences with setbacks and challenges? How has this shaped your understanding and mastery of resilience in business?

Certainly. I set up Buckingham Futures in 2013, with the aim of aiding Environmental Health Professionals fill the gap in the employment sector. I was motivated by building something from the ground up, and obviously this incurs challenges.

Firstly, making the jump from employee to entrepreneur, when I had no prior business experience myself, was a huge risk, especially coming from such a well- paid corporate job. It can be very daunting entering into an already established market when you know your competitors are further along in the journey than you are. Self-belief plays a crucial part for any business leader. The confidence and belief in yourself can help you overcome obstacles, make tough decisions, and lead your team to success. Another thing is resilience, one of my favorite quotes is “Success is a journey, not a destination”. You’ve got to be continuously keeping up with new trends and shifts, and be willing to grow and change, because if you’re not going forwards, you’re going backwards.


In the world of entrepreneurship, failure is often seen as a stepping stone rather than a dead-end. How do you perceive failure, and can you share an instance where a failure led to an unexpected growth or success in your business?

Failure is something that everyone should expect to encounter. I look at these as a new challenge, remembering that at the top of every mountain is another mountain. I think that a lot of people don’t realise this. They see people where they are, but don’t see the journey it took that person to get there. In my case, I had actually failed at school when I was younger, and it was my love for the Environment and nature that brought me back into the educational system. Later on, after I had received my Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Biotechnology, I got a job, but quickly realised that working in a laboratory full time was nothing like what I had expected it to be. So, in 1997 I returned to education and achieved my Masters in Environmental Planning and Management. This eventually led me to recruitment, after I had found great difficulty in finding a role in the environmental sector. Fast forward to 2013 and I set up Buckingham Futures. Live is a journey, with plenty of twists and turns, and it rarely goes in the way we expect it to. I don’t see any of these changes of direction as failures, rather pathways that led me where I am today. I wouldn’t be who I am without them.


What strategies have you employed to cultivate a culture of resilience within your organization? How have these strategies made your team more adaptable and innovative, especially during trying times?

Building an effective team can be one of the most challenging – and rewarding – parts of leadership. A team that works well together to achieve goals is crucial to the success of a business. But building a successful team is about more than finding a group of people with the right mix of professional skills. The purpose of a team is that they work together to achieve the common goals of the business using their individual – and collective – strengths, skills, and experience. A well-balanced team is far more productive than individuals working in silos. It’s the key to growth, scalability, and a successful business. Three key things I evaluate when interviewing someone are Emotional, Intelligence, Resilience and Conscientiousness. We’re all here to learn together and every single one of us is going to experience setbacks. Emotionally intelligent team members will pick each other up when their feeling down about a challenge. Everyone will be able to guide each other, and problems get solved and we get all get stronger, as individuals a group.


You've spoken about bouncing back from failure, but I'm curious to know if there is a methodology you follow to analyze what went wrong and how to correct it. Could you describe your process for assessing and learning from mistakes?

Learning is a lifelong process. As the saying goes, you learn something new every day. 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. A good decision-maker must also have humility and be open to learning and adapting their approach based on new information. Learning from your mistakes is crucial. We are all human and there will be more challenges and more mistakes ahead, we brush ourselves off and we go again, ready for the next one.


Many entrepreneurs fear failure to the point that it paralyzes them. How do you balance taking calculated risks with the fear of failure? What advice would you offer to other entrepreneurs who struggle with this?

It’s normal to feel anxious when stepping outside your comfort zone, but you can’t let that be the thing that stops you from achieving your full potential. Some steps I would recommend for anyone feeling this way: 1. Identify negative self-talk: Pay attention to your internal dialogue and identify any negative self-talk. Recognising negative thoughts is the first step in reframing them. 2. Challenge negative thoughts: Once you have identified negative self-talk, challenge it by asking yourself if it is based on facts or assumptions. If it is based on assumptions, challenge those assumptions and look for evidence to support a more positive viewpoint. 3. Reframe negative thoughts: Once you have challenged negative thoughts, reframe them in a more positive light. For example, instead of thinking I am not good enough, reframe it to I am capable and have the skills to overcome this challenge. 4. Practise positive self-talk: Incorporate positive affirmations into your daily routine. Instead of focusing on negative thoughts, repeat positive affirmations to yourself, such as: I am capable and confident. 5. Take action: Instead of getting stuck in negative self-talk, take action towards your goals. Break down your goals into smaller, achievable steps and focus on making progress one step at a time.


Sometimes, resilience requires knowing when to pivot or even walk away from an idea. How do you recognize the difference between a challenge that requires persistence and a situation that necessitates a change in direction?

Life will always throw hurdles and challenges, being willing to adapt to the environment and pivot your approach to achieve your objectives. Ultimately, knowing when can be difficult, but it may involve a bit of trial and error. Research is key, the more you understand the market, and the people that you are dealing with, the more you will understand how to react.


The global economic landscape is always changing, and recent years have seen some extraordinary disruptions. How have you adapted your business to overcome unexpected global challenges? What were the key factors in your successful navigation of these waters?

Change is a natural and expected part of running a successful business. Sometimes external factors can change in ways the founder didn’t anticipate, and in such cases, it’s necessary to take a different approach to your business operations. The desire to take your company to new levels of performance and profits requires change and adaptation. It requires a break from routine and old habits. It will require a mindset shift with a full understanding of the importance of evolving. Thorough market research and idea validation are essential. Create a solid business plan and prepare for financial stability. Diversify income streams, network, and collaborate. Stay adaptable, prioritise customer focus, and manage legal and financial aspects.


Resilience in the face of failure is often linked to personal growth as well. How have your business experiences shaped you personally? Can you share a moment where your professional resilience translated into a personal transformation?

Change is a natural and expected part of running a successful business. Sometimes external factors can change in ways the founder didn’t anticipate, and in such cases, it’s necessary to take a different approach to your business operations. The desire to take your company to new levels of performance and profits requires change and adaptation. It requires a break from routine and old habits. It will require a mindset shift with a full understanding of the importance of evolving. Thorough market research and idea validation are essential. Create a solid business plan and prepare for financial stability. Diversify income streams, network, and collaborate. Stay adaptable, prioritise customer focus, and manage legal and financial aspects.


Your insights on resilience have been incredibly enlightening. For our audience who might want to learn more about you, your business, or perhaps even reach out for mentoring or collaboration, where can they find more information or get in touch with you?



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