With career experience at Microsoft and Accenture under his belt, Satbir Sandhu was gaining strong exposure to the corporate world. However he always knew he wanted to work for himself one day. And it was this entrepreneurial drive that brought him to Imperial College Business School. Completing his MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management in 2015, Satbir went on to fulfil that dream by setting up Ladoop ltd, a strategy and marketing consultancy.
“My consultancy, Ladoop, combines the skillset of a creative marketing agency and a strategy consultancy with a full development team to build applications and websites. I got the idea for my business after working for a strategy consulting company, which bought a marketing agency. Although there was potential to combine the two skillsets, what I saw was two completely separate business divisions that never worked together. And there was no benefit to the clients from the acquisition. I had several connections with marketing agencies and decided that the combined skillset would be my key USP in the industry.”
Launching a new business is never easy and there are always challenges along the way. Often this starts with who you choose to bring with you on this journey.
“The greatest challenge was finding skilled employees/freelancers who would be able to deliver to the standards that I wanted. It was also a challenge to attract clients without being able to cite work that the company had already completed. But my network was very supportive of the idea and this meant that I was confident that I would be able to secure clients.”
The network that I had built was critical – in fact several of my clients are Imperial alumni. Furthermore, the support that I have received from the faculty and also from fellow alumni has been amazing. In terms of what we actually learnt, the broad range of the modules that were covered mean that I am able to offer a lot of considered strategic advice which is a key USP of the business.
Looking back over the last few years on what he has learned from the experience, Satbir advices that forward planning is vital.
“Have a long-term business plan, but then create detailed plans either weekly or bi-weekly. This will ensure that you remain on track to achieve goals and will not be distracted by everything that seems to come up when starting a new business. I also believe it is important to remain disciplined. Although I wanted to attract new clients, I didn’t want to agree to anything that could not be delivered to the highest standards.”
Reflecting on his time at Business School, Satbir certainly believes it gave him his business USP, as well as a supportive network of contacts:
“I was keen to work with like-minded people that I would be able to learn from and collaborate with. Imperial places a lot of emphasises on entrepreneurship with a great support network for start-ups and is a great incubator for those who eventually want to start their own businesses.
“The network that I had built was critical – in fact several of my clients are Imperial alumni. Furthermore, the support that I have received from the faculty and also from fellow alumni has been amazing. In terms of what we actually learnt, the broad range of the modules that were covered mean that I am able to offer a lot of considered strategic advice which is a key USP of the business.
“I enjoy the fact that I am able to make a real difference to my clients and offer great value for services that are usually not available to small businesses.”