Orega's very own co-founder, Zach Douglas is no stranger to our StartMeUp Pitch judging panel having participated in every competition we've held so far.
Zach started working in the serviced office industry in 1996 as a salesperson. In 2000, he and co-founder, Paul Finch, launched their own serviced office business, Orega, and opened their first business centre in Staines in 2001. During the first 18 months, the business faced many challenges and Zach learnt quickly what it would take to make the business successful. Almost 20 years later, Orega operates in 17 business centres UK wide with plans to further expand in the future.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR IDEA OR CONCEPT FOR OREGA?
I've always wanted to run my own business, I didn't know at the beginning what that business was going to be. I worked for a serviced office provider and became keen to explore the opportunity to create one for myself. I was introduced to Paul Finch by a mutual friend, and together we spent a year exchanging ideas and creating a business plan. We got the funding we needed and created Orega in 2000.
WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE LIKE STARTING OREGA?
It was tough and a lot harder than I thought it would be because you only find out what you didn't know once you're already operating and believe me the challenges and barriers flow thick and fast in the early days! I never thought that running a business would be easy, there were certain challenges that I couldn't foresee and macro events the world just throws at you. We got through most of these challenges with sheer determination and the belief we had a great operating model and a good business we wanted to bring to the world. If you can cope with the curve balls and have the grit and determination to get through the early days then I think you've got a shot at building a successful business.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ENTREPRENEURS LOOKING TO START THEIR FIRST BUSINESS?
Entrepreneurs should be passionate about their business idea and be determined enough to make it a success. Don't rush your business plan; you need to have a long think about what it is you want to do and work through your business model until you understand it inside and out and apply the variables that you think might affect your business. It's worth thinking outside the box on this one as the unforeseen invariable happens in my experience!
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS FOR PITCHING YOUR BUSINESS TO POTENTIAL INVESTORS OR CLIENTS?
Know your numbers and be confident. You must try and get the clients and investors to believe in you and your business as much as you do.
WHAT WILL YOU BE LOOKING FOR IN A SUCCESSFUL APPLICANT IN OUR STARTMEUP PITCH COMPETITION?
I will be looking for a great business idea, one that has been well thought out. I will also be looking for a keen, motivated and determined entrepreneur who has got a business that I can believe in.
Thanks for answering all our questions, Zach!
To enter our StartMeUp Pitch competition, in Glasgow, visit www.orega.com/startmeup-glasgow.
Don't forget to follow us on social media @oregaofffices for more updates on the competition.