Small business success: I’ve found the last 12 months exhilarating, says LDC Award finalist Daniel Priestley

Many business owners have found the last year a challenge, but for Daniel Priestley the last 12 months have been “exhilarating.” Daniel’s approach and attitude was a key factor to him being named a finalist in this year’s LDC Entrepreneur Of The Year Award.

He is an entrepreneur who’s built and sold businesses in Australia, Singapore, and the UK and is the co-founder of Dent Global, one of the world’s top business accelerators for entrepreneurs and leaders to stand out and scale up. “Since 2016, our leadership team were expecting disruption that we thought would come from Brexit,” he says.

”As a result, we made significant investments of time, focus and money into digital assets. We had been preparing the business to be less reliant on our geography and more ready to attract customers anywhere,” Pre-pandemic, Dent had published 100 episodes of a podcast, several hundred videos and four books with an aim to reach a wider audience.

“We had also moved our operations into the cloud and become an Investors in People company to formalise our culture. All of this became an essential ingredient in 2020 and 2021. It felt like we had a surfboard underneath us when a wave came along.”

Daniel learnt that so much of the value in his business is intangible. “Our culture doesn’t rely upon a physical office. Our services don’t require being in the same room as our clients, and our products don’t need to be touched physically to be understood. We learnt how to do things differently, too. We’ve found that eight-hour days are often not as powerful as three-hour sprints.

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“We learnt that some of our team prefer to work later in the evening and some are morning people and that’s OK. We learnt that taking care of people’s mental health is a powerful business strategy.”

When looking at the long-term impact of the pandemic, Daniel has a refreshing approach: “We think of pre-2020 as a completely different business and a different time. We aren’t trying to get things back the way they were, we are instead looking forward to the way things are headed. We will forever be a more digital, global and dynamic business. Our business going forward will look more like it did after lockdown than before.”

Daniel says talking to thousands of entrepreneurs is “inspiring”. He says that “on the whole, people are focusing on the potential opportunity and working hard to create something better than they had before. We have a saying that businesses fail but entrepreneurs don’t. An entrepreneur can always learn, pivot, innovate and adapt to change. The conversations we have with entrepreneurs are about what opportunities now exist and we see plenty.

“There’s never been more money around, more talent available, more tools and technology or bigger problems to solve. It’s like a perfect storm for entrepreneurs.” How has the pandemic impacted on Daniel?

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“On the one hand I’m now more resilient because I’ve now faced two massive disruptions to business (The Financial Crisis and Covid) and come through each of them with a better business. On the other hand, I’m looking forward to a bit of stability going forward – and a proper holiday – to fully recharge the batteries.” “LDC has been backing the ambitions of entrepreneurs for 40 years,” says Jonathan Caswell, origination director of LDC the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group and sponsors of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

“We have invested in more than 650 SMEs across diverse sectors and all regions of the UK economy, helping the leaders to grow their businesses. We’re excited to celebrate Daniel and all of this year’s finalists in the LDC Entrepreneur of The Year Award.”

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