Today we’re excited to bring you our interview with Barinder Hothi, co-founder of The Knowledge Academy (TKA).
TKA is a rapidly growing global education provider that offers a huge range of training programmes. You’ll find IT technical courses right through to project management courses (like PRINCE2).
The courses are given all over the world by talented classroom instructors, but are also available virtually so that those with limited access to the classroom can also benefit from online training.
Having trained over 100,000 people so far, it’s no surprise that Barinder has been shortlisted for not one, but three of our Women in Business Awards; the Inspiring Leader of the Year Award, International Business of the Year and SME Business of the Year - Growth (London and The South).
Forward Ladies: How did you come up with the idea for your business?
BH: Having worked in the IT sector most of my career (in software and professional services), sales training was an obvious choice. Plus, with technology continually evolving IT training, I knew these services would be forever in demand.
Forward Ladies: What were some of the initial challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
BH: Building a new business from scratch is always a steep learning curve. Doing it in 2009 against the backdrop of the global financial crisis was nerve racking. To secure your first clients with an unknown brand is challenging, but we focused on personal client relationships and quality.
Forward Ladies: How did you fund your business?
BH: I’m proud to be completely self-funded. I’ve built a responsible, financially stable business with zero debt. Having no debt in the business allowed us to make fast decisions and remain agile - which really gave us the edge.
Forward Ladies: What is your top tip for growing your business?
BH: Dedication, determination and discipline. Stick with it and believe that failure is just not on the menu!
Forward Ladies: Where would you recommend that people build their network and find the support they need to start and grow their business?
BH: LinkedIn and social media communities are great sources of information. I also find local business groups and banks very supportive.
Forward Ladies: How do you maintain a work/life balance?
BH: I have a beautiful 10-year-old daughter who brings balance automatically into my busy life. Children really are the best form of therapy and relaxation, especially at this lovely age.
Forward Ladies: How has mentorship made a difference in your business?
BH: I personally have mentored my own home-grown management team, as well as school leavers, apprentices and masters students.
Making a difference in the lives of young people and helping them get their careers and personal lives on track, has helped me build a loyal employee base with a very high retention rate.
Forward Ladies: Thank you for your time Barinder, it’s been great hearing about your experiences!
Would you like your business and hard work to be recognised, just like Barinder’s has been? Then apply for one of our prestigious Forward Ladies National Awards, so we can celebrate your success and inspire other women to do the same. There’s nothing we love more than promoting incredible women in business!