The Business Pharmacy: Dirk Anderson

You've reached The Business Pharmacy, where entrepreneurs share their prescription for prosperity, their recipe for success.

Dirk Anderson is the CEO of BlakYaks. A team of Microsoft Azure specialists who help customers set up cloud native solutions.

Dirk-Anderson

Hi Dirk! Let's start with your routine. What do you try to do each day? 

Start each day with purpose.

During the working week, I'm always listening to those around me no matter how tempting it is (when I'm busy) to sit in front of a screen and get on with the backlog of tasks. Ideas come from everywhere if you have time to hear them.  

How do you fuel your day?

My ideal day starts with a long walk, grabbing a coffee along the way and taking time to think about our short and long term goals. This energises me and keeps me focused. 

Where do you find inspiration?

I look for inspiration outside my business sector. It’s amazing how many great brands and companies did not exist a decade back.  

How do you sleep?

I really need to wind down my day as I approach bedtime. I try to avoid thinking about work for a couple of hours before bed. I like to find something that switches my brain off before bed.

I don’t sleep well at all and never have so I must try to get to bed as soon as I am dog-tired as I don’t know how much sleep I will get on any given night.  

And relax? 

If the thing you are doing to relax, feels more like a chore and not helping your state of mind then find something else. Everyone needs at least one thing that truly allows them to switch off and re-energise. 

What tools do you count on?

In my line of work, it’s important to invest in the tools that make it easy for me to be productive from anywhere. I think that’s becoming increasingly important for more and more of us.

So, a good laptop, quality internet connection, headphones, the right phone apps, video conferencing tools and a decent office setup (in town and at home).  

BlakYaks

What are your thoughts on strategy?

Treat your business venture as a project with a clear outcome that the management team are fully bought into. Have clear milestones along the way that measure your progress.

Be prepared to pivot/rotate in line with market change as our business is all about serving up quality relevant solutions to our customers. 

What to avoid? 

Some of the smartest people can be the biggest assholes and that’s toxic for you, your business and your customers. So, hire smart people that also enhance your team culture.

Remote or non-remote?  

Do both. Everyone should be tooled up to work effectively from anywhere but people must spend quality time together physically to build a great culture. 

That’s harder to do remotely so I'm a huge advocate of getting this office-home blend just right. 

Share scheme or no share scheme?  

Share options are important. All staff should be fully engaged in the business plan and share in the reward along the way.

By way of example, we will reward all team members with stock options and top up our highest performers with stock through an EMI scheme managed via the Vestd platform.

Fantastic!

For those who aren't familiar, an Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) is a tax-savvy employee share options scheme specifically for UK-based SMEs. 

Thanks so much for your time Dirk, it's been a pleasure.