Saturday, 29 March 2014
I set up my first business when I was sixteen dealing in personalised number plates.
My parents had a friend who ran hotels and I was inspired by him. He also had cool cars so I probably put those things together and thought, well that looks like a good route to life.
We were very focused on the customer service point and we thought, if we really look after these customers they’ll come back and we’ll build a good business.
Having worked in a bank helped us understand what motives the banks
I could probably open an office in Germany tomorrow because, once we’ve got internet connection, we can pretty much turn on and go.
I think when you are starting off it’s difficult to look too far ahead.
It wasn’t really about the money.
We have always looked to hire people with five key personality traits: nice, friendly, bright, professional and pro-active.
More and more people seem to be choosing to break free from the corporate shackles.
We subscribed to the philosophy of, ‘Start small, think big, move fast’.
Jonathan is co-founder and CEO of World First, which provides foreign exchange and international payment services to companies and private individuals.
Founded in 2004, the company now has 210 staff in the UK, US, Australia and Singapore.
It has over 60,000 clients ranging from individuals sending small amounts, to SMEs transacting up to £20m per transaction. The business won the Customer Focus category at the 2012 National Business Awards and came 12th in the Investec Hot 100 fastest-growing businesses in 2013. It was in the Virgin FastTrack 100 fastest growing companies in the UK for 3 consecutive years, was in the top 100 most profitable companies and has just been shortlisted for a 2014 European Business Award. Jonathan was shortlisted for Entrepreneur of the Year 2012.
Jonathan lives in South London with his wife and two daughters. He previously worked for Citibank and RBS and studied Law and Accounting at Edinburgh University.