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Flashback to 2007: Catching up with Stuart McBurney

Tue, 16 July 2013

In 2007, Stuart McBurney was in the South East Shell LiveWIRE Final with his business, SM Direct. We caught up with him to find out how the business is going ...
What can you remember about your involvement with Shell LiveWIRE?
It was a great day when I got the call from Shell LiveWIRE. The awards are very prestigious, and a number of major businesses have been previous winners. Pitching to the judges was a completely new experience for me but I actually found it enjoyable, and it was good to be involved and get some press coverage for the business.

How have things changed for you since you won your Shell LiveWIRE award?
When I won the award SM Direct was a very small business, so what I learnt from the event: to get out there, network and talk to people has been the key to our success. We have won major contracts with the NHS, and we have done deliveries for the MoD since winning the award. We have also been nominated for a number of other awards, and the business has more than doubled in size since the Shell LiveWIRE event.
How have you had to adapt as an entrepreneur over the years?
As an entrepreneur you are constantly having to adapt the way you do things, and improve things for the customers because they will always vote with their feet. You have got to be the best at what you do as you are only ever as good as your last job.

What has been the biggest obstacle you have overcome in business?
Being an entrepreneur can be a very lonely place, and I am yet to meet an entrepreneur who hasn't made numerous mistakes and had failures. You must learn from your lessons to overcome your mistakes. Haulage is a very tough sector and we face stiff competition and red tape everyday, but things that are worth having or doing should never be easy to obtain.
What are your top 3 tips for a young entrepreneur who is about to set up in business?
1.  Never take no for an answer.
2.  Speak to and surround yourself with successful people. If you want to be the best footballer you'd speak to Wayne Rooney so speak to the people that know. And listen to them, you don’t know it all.
3.  Believe in what you are doing. If you don't believe in your product or service, no customers will either.


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