Each week, we ask small firms key questions. Here we speak to Edward Obi, owner of Aberdeen firms HR Hub Plus and Peridot Recruit.
How and why did you start in business?
There were a lot of factors that led me to start HR Hub Plus, but the driving force was my passion to create a platform to support a diverse variety of businesses looking to hire people in a cost-effective manner, without becoming unnecessarily exposed to employment tribunal claims.
I could not perform either function working for my previous employers as I could only support the internal teams.
I felt I had the necessary skills to make it happen, considering the issues local businesses without an internal HR resource faced on a daily basis, and didn’t see a reason why it shouldn’t be me.
How did you get to where you are today?
I often say I “fell into” HR. Growing up, I wanted to be a diplomat and as an undergraduate student, I majored in history. I then did a postgraduate course in strategic studies at Aberdeen University.
I started my HR professional journey at Aberdeen University as an administrator, added a postgraduate course at Robert Gordon University and then worked for organisations in both the private and public sectors as a senior HR resource.
Starting my own companies was inevitable and here I am, the owner of two multi award-winning companies focused on managing people and recruiting the best talent for employers.
Who helped you?
I’ve started two businesses from scratch, with only my skill set and determination to rely on.
What also kept me going was my three lovely kids, who were my “why”.
Being a single dad, my parents and a group of close-knit friends also gave me the right nudge – the sky is the limit if you put your mind to it.
I have recently become a member of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). It has been a huge help, as it gives business owners like me a voice and the opportunity to be heard. I love my association with the FSB and long may it continue.
What has been your biggest mistake?
Being too trusting. I have not allowed that to define me though, as every mistake is a learning curve.
What is your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievements are building two award-winning businesses from scratch and my three lovely children – David, Harry and Bella.
I had to endure and stay focused, especially when my new professional direction started a few years after I moved on from my marriage.
If you were in power in government, what would you change?
I would put legislation in place to stop parental alienation. This is a huge issue within the UK.
Approximately four million children in the UK do not have any contact with one of their parents?
Cases that involve parental alienation make up between 11 and 15% of family court cases. This means between 440,000 and 600,000 children may currently be alienated in the UK.
Children should never be a pawn when parents break up. The psychological impact is huge.
What do you still hope to achieve?
I hope to achieve a life of compassion and humanity, striving to make the world a better place with my small deeds, behaviours and attitudes.
I would like to be like Nelson Mandela, who had no bitterness or hatred despite being incarcerated for 27 years.
What do you do to relax?
I listen to music, travel, go for walks, watch movies and play racquet sports.
What are you currently reading, listening to or glued to on TV?
I am reading A Mindful Day: 365 Ways to Live Life with Peace, Clarity, and an Open Heart, by David Dillard-Wright.
A “mindful” day is an easy way to quiet your body and mind. With 365 affirmations as well as soothing mindfulness meditations, you can learn in the book how to take a break from your day and find peace whenever you need it the most.
Simple exercises like focusing on your breathing or listening to the sounds in nature can calm your nerves and melt away the demands of modern life.
What do you waste your money on?
Paying for unused memberships and subscriptions.
How would your friends describe you?
They know I am outgoing and energetic. They’d also say I am determined and never give up.
What would your enemies say about you?
I really make an effort to be co-operative and friendly so, fortunately, I don’t have many enemies that I know of.
I am mentally wired in such a way that I rarely have time for distractions. I don’t give anyone a reason to be my enemy.
People in that category create their own little drama out of jealousy. Let’s face it, if you do not like me but still watch everything I do, then you’re a fan.
I also consider my enemies motivators more than anything else. I love everyone.
What do you drive and dream of driving?
I drive a Toyota CH-R hybrid, but my next car will definitely be a Tesla.