The Entrepreneur: Jamie Martin, Hochanda

The CEO of the £10m craft TV channel gives quickfire responses on business mistakes, trading internationally, and his biggest luxury - Arabian horses

Co-founder: Jamie Martin
Company: Hochanda
Website: www.hochanda.com
Description in one line: The home of crafts, hobbies and arts
Previous companies: Bidmedia Broadcasting
Turnover: £10m
12 month target: £20m

Business growth

Describe your business model and what makes your business unique:

  • We offer crafting demonstrations 24 hours a day
  • We have a no stock “portal business model”
  • We are available in 30 million UK homes

 What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Turning Hochanda from a business plan into reality.

What numbers do you look at every day in your business?

Sales per hour, new versus existing customer ratios, cash flow, and margins.

To what extent does your business trade internationally and what are your plans?

We trade in the UK and Germany and will soon launch in Holland and Scandinavia.

Describe your growth funding path:

To date we have raised a significant amount of money through equity and debt. Our plan is to either float or exit via trade sale.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

We use remote-controlled cameras in our studios which significantly cuts down our overheads.

Where would you like your business to be in three years?

We would like the sales to be over £50m and have customers buying from every country in the EU.

Growth challenges

What is the hardest thing you have ever done in business?

Internal management decisions such as letting people go if necessary are always difficult. Making big direction changes within the business is also very hard.

What was your biggest business mistake?

I launched a live jewellery shopping channel in the Ukraine which went wrong and cost me a lot of money.

Piece of Red Tape that hampers growth most:

None!

What is the most common serious mistake you see entrepreneurs make?

They don’t do a proper business plan, kid themselves as to the way their new venture may perform and execute it badly – generally without enough money behind them.

How will your market look in three years?

I think it will be more IPTV (Internet Protocol television)-led and more demonstration-based with more tuition for crafters.

What is the single most important piece of advice you would offer to a less experienced entrepreneur?

Know your marketplace before you attack it.

Personal growth

Biggest luxury:

Eight Arabian Horses and a few race cars.

Executive education or learn it on the job?

The ‘university of life’.

What would make you a better leader?

48 hours in a day instead of 24.

What one thing do you wish you’d known when you started?

How to really build value instead of making a good living.

Business book:

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

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