I’m Stephen Taylor, a prominent Jewish businessman, CEO and founder of Sweet Concepts and Propaganda (part of the Promo Concepts Group) one of the UK’s most successful promotional gift suppliers, Inventor, Innovator, and Philanthropist. I’m a resident of London and am an active member of my local business community and proud supporter of a number of local charities.
I’m a firm believer that you should give back, especially to your local community and I hope to encourage others to live their best lives while supporting their communities. There are many ways to offer support from donations, offering advice, fundraising, promoting awareness and volunteering time. I find that there is nothing comparable to offering time and getting involved with the granular operations of the organisation, there is little to compare with the satisfaction of seeing a campaign through from start to successful finish.
I started Propaganda nearly 30 years ago, after noticing customers at restaurants dipping their hands into bowls of unwrapped mints located on the reception counter. ‘Surely there has to be a more hygienic way!’ was my instinctive first thought, followed by ‘If those were wrapped, and branded with the company details, surely companies would want to buy those to give to them to promote their brands and say thank you……the ‘Thank You’ mint then became the first ever sweet product that I sold.
It turns out that yes, they did want to buy those – but in those early first days, it was far more about perseverance and persistence than I think some people realise or are prepared to undertake. Rejection either breaks people or makes them tougher and more resilient. Being an inventor and entrepreneur isn’t a matter of just designing something and sitting back and waiting for people to buy it: you also have to be a master of many trades and learn on the job. Tasks you have to master will include marketer, salesperson, client account handler, problem solver – and all combined with a phenomenal old-fashioned hard-work ethic.
Entrepreneurship doesn’t come easy, and it definitely isn’t for the faint-hearted. I’ve loved every second of this journey because I’ve always been able to look up, see the road ahead, see the journey for what it is, and realise that it may be a long old slog to get there but at least I’m headed in the right direction (overall!). Although, ‘if at first, you don’t succeed try, try, try again’ is for sure an absolutely true saying that all businesses would do well to remember, however that does not mean that you just stick to one methodology and you may need to adjust and or rethink the business strategy.
Alongside successful entrepreneurship comes, I believe, a responsibility to embrace your community as a charitable individual. Helping others and sharing the skills accumulated on your journey to make others successful.
Some of the charities I support are the Boys Club House, Jewish Care, UJIA, the National Trust and a number of food banks. Links to all the charities I regularly support can be found at the foot of this page.
I believe that a successful business isn’t just about the amount of money that is made, it is also about the amount that is given back one way or another to the community as well as the contribution that you make to the wider world. Once we depart this world, the only value we leave behind is the good deeds accumulated.
Successful business results come from a well executed business strategy, tight management controls across all aspects of the business, not least tight financial discipline, keeping costs to a bare operational minimum, and measurements of key business objectives and monthly business accounts versus the projected goals. Other key contributions include invention, innovation, hard work, and a certain ‘never say die attitude that simply can’t be under-estimated. If I – or any other successful entrepreneur – had given up at the first, or 100th, hurdle, there would be significantly fewer companies in the business landscape than there are today.
So never take rejection personally, use it as a positive driver, learn lessons from negative feedback and harness that powerful energy into driving yourself and the business forwards. Remember, the only place that success comes before hard work is in the dictionary! So keep moving forwards and thinking about what you can do differently and better tomorrow than you did today. Remember that economic markets change quickly from boom times to recessions and so you need to think ahead of the economic curve and adjust your products and services accordingly.
I always believe there are good business opportunities in all market conditions, you have to work harder and smarter in tougher economic climates. Success is not an overnight given, it often takes many years of trial and error and consistently applying good business practices to get to the top of your game. It is no different to high achieving sportsmen and women who train relentlessly daily and stick to hard dedicated training programmes, always looking for the smallest of performance-enhancing adjustments.
Anyone can get lucky but true sustained success never came to anyone easily, nor at the first time of asking – everyone out there had to work for it, so why should my story – or yours – be any different?! Having put the hard work in over this last 30-year period, I have a broad business vision enabling me to see clearly the paths leading to success and business achievement and also those who don’t and regrettably fail sometimes at huge personal and financial costs. My desire is to help others achieve success and reach their business goals.
I enjoy business and charity and want to focus this blog and other similar sites across my digital world around these topics of helping others.