Name: Benno Wasserstein
Company: Box UK
Job Title: Managing Director
Location: Cardiff and London
What is the most valuable piece of business advice you received?
One piece of advice that I was given early on and found valuable despite it being slightly clichéd is to surround yourself with people who are both smarter and more experienced. This extends to not only your employees, but also your mentors and advisors. When setting up a business there is always a temptation to try and do as many things as you can by yourself, but the right expert will often do things far quicker and more effectively.
What was the worst piece of business advice you received?
I started the business whilst at university, so I was eager to listen to any advice people would offer. However, not all the advice I was given was right and I quickly learnt that I had to be far more diligent before acting. For example, does the person offering the advice have the relevant context? Are they in your business or on the periphery? Is their experience truly relevant or do they come from a different industry or background? Would their advice be any different if it was their money on the line? These and other relevant questions can be worth running through before making any drastic decisions.
What advice would you give to someone starting their career in marketing?
Marketing as a discipline is developing so quickly that it opens up huge opportunities for people starting out. You obviously need to follow your passion and interests, but it is worth researching both the areas of marketing that are getting attention right now and more importantly, those that might develop and grow in the future. If you identify those areas and spend time learning everything, you can become one of the early experts. The benefit of doing so is clearly seen in social media, as those early adopters and practitioners are now reaping the rewards.
What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?
The responsibilities and expectations of a c-level position will vary greatly from company to company, but it is often a considerable step up. The buck stops with you so expect to be challenged and tested at a deeper level than you might be used to. Research the c-suite at the type of companies you wish to work for and look at the profiles of the different individuals – how do they position themselves? What experience do they have that you don’t? Identify the skills you will need but may not have experience in and put a plan together on how you will develop these, whether it’s writing board reports or understanding financial statements.
Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?
As a company we work hard to develop people’s careers and we’re extremely proud to have seen so many of our people do incredibly well. While the advice and mentoring we give may play a small part, it is what you do with it that really counts and that’s down to the individual.
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