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EVNT: Overcoming All The Odds /w Dimple Patel @ Soho Works

Dimple Patel


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EVNT: Overcoming All The Odds /w Dimple Patel @ Soho Works

Dimple Patel



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Dimple Patel Trouva Love Koffee
Full transcript here

About Dimple Patel

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Enjoy this podcast recording from our live event at Soho Works with our Advisory Board Member Dimple Patel! She's the former CEO of Trouva and much more.

Dimple Patel

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Dimple Patel Full Transcript

Amardeep Parmar: [00:00:00] Today we have with us Dimple Patel and she's been on the podcast before so we're going to cover some of the stuff quickly now that she told us on the last podcast and then dive into some some of the topics that she really cares about. So I tell her stories like a million times. It's one of my favorite stories we've had on the podcast.

Amardeep Parmar: So And if I over exaggerate it as well, just like, let me know. Because I like to make the story, it's more like Chinese, just every time I tell the story, it's a bit more dramatic.

Dimple Patel: More elaborate every time.

Amardeep Parmar: So Dimple grew up in a council estate, and there was murders every other day. No, there's murders every year, right?

Dimple Patel: Probably  closer to every other day. 

Amardeep Parmar: Okay, yeah, so she came from that background, right? So she didn't come from a lot of money or anything like that. She built her way up, she went to university, managed to get a job at Goldman Sachs as a trader. From there, which we're going to talk about in detail in a minute as well, she then bought a coffee shop while she was working at Goldman Sachs that she worked at on the weekends that was failing at the time.

Amardeep Parmar: She turned it around. She grew it to 37 coffee shops. She then sold it to private equity. [00:01:00] Then joined a company called Trouva in the early days. They went on to raise 40 million. She went on to become their CEO. They then sold that company to Maid.com last year. And those of you who follow Maid. com might realize that they went bust last year.

Amardeep Parmar: So she then had to try to sell it again. And the reason behind that, she, obviously, she cared so much about the people that she worked with and the team that she wanted to then find a new home, right? And then... You've sold it again to, who's it been sold to?

Dimple Patel: We sold it to a company called Restore, so a social commerce technology platform.

Dimple Patel: So Trouva became their go to market strategy. 

Amardeep Parmar: So  last time on the podcast we weren't allowed to say that, right? So now we are allowed to say, we say, as always, I've got to be careful. That's what I know from behind the scenes that isn't allowed to be public information yet. So she's then taken it to that stage now, and there's a lot more coming in the future which we might chat about as well.

Amardeep Parmar: But I think I've told your story correct there? 

Dimple Patel:Yeah, yeah. 

Amardeep Parmar: Like lightning round, yeah? 

Dimple Patel: Yeah, yeah. It's a good starting point. 

Amardeep Parmar:  So if we start like at the point of when you first became an entrepreneur, I guess, right? Where... You work in Goldman Sachs, and for some [00:02:00] reason just thought I'd just buy a coffee shop as well.

Amardeep Parmar: Because I guess that's going to be a strange decision for many people listening. What was behind that? 

Dimple Patel: I came out of university and joined Goldman. So very much kind of a conveyor belt, um, situation. Most people that did my course at university entered the corporate world in some shape or form. So, um, I took the banking route.

Dimple Patel: Entered the trading floor, 2008 hit, um, and it was the worst possible timing, um, to, to go in. But also, really amazing as well, because it was such a baptism of fire. So, walking in, loads of people losing their jobs, we're in the middle of a recession. And I had no idea how to trade and I just had to really jump in and work it out.

Dimple Patel: So it taught me a lot in those initial years, but banking, I mean, the hours are crazy. I would be there from kind of 6. 30 in the morning. Sometimes I'd get home at 2. 00, 3. 00 a. m. Sleep for two hours, go back again. And so, you know, on the one [00:03:00] hand, it wasn't really a long term sustainable. career for me. Um, and I knew at some point I'd be wanting to start a family, etc.

Dimple Patel: But also it was quite repetitive. Um, it wasn't a culture which really celebrated colouring outside the lines. Obviously not when you're risking. Millions and millions of dollars of the bank's money. Um, but it also meant that what you were doing on a day to day basis was fairly controlled. Um, which is great over the first few years.

Dimple Patel: It teaches you discipline, it teaches you structure, it teaches you risk management. But 10 years, about 15 years of that and I just didn't see that personal growth longer term. Um, so at that point I decided I wanted to start my own business. How I got from there to a coffee shop is another story. But I didn't initially set out, um, to say I'm gonna go buy a coffee shop.

Dimple Patel: It was more, I want a simple business that I can turn around, I can grow. It's [00:04:00] almost gonna be a test bed for me. Um, and that, and then the coffee shop, just right place, right time. So you say a simple business, 

Amardeep Parmar: right? Was it as simple as you thought it was gonna be? Because obviously sometimes easier from the outside looking in.

Amardeep Parmar: Right. People start businesses. And sometimes, because a lot of entrepreneurs only tell you the good stuff. Yeah. So you think, oh, okay, I can go to a coffee shop and turn it around easily. But it's not that easy, right? And you obviously managed to do that. Yes. But it wasn't like, oh, I just did it because it was easy.

Amardeep Parmar: There was skill behind that too. 

Dimple Patel: Definitely. I mean, I think there's, there was a lot of rose tinted glasses. It's that element of you don't know what you don't know. Um, and when you're 23 years old, you don't know very much, to be honest. I went in very naive, I was going to make this happen, I was going to turn it around, um, and you don't see all the risks.

Dimple Patel: And there's a benefit to that, because you just throw yourself in really, really hard, and you know that if there's a problem, you're going to do everything that you can to solve it. The coffee shops in particular, So much operational complexity, and actually, in terms of what it taught me from building those operations, getting loads of things wrong, [00:05:00] um, I found was really transferable in every other business I worked in, but most importantly, actually, it's a very people heavy business, which I hadn't appreciated when I went in on all businesses, ultimately about people.

Dimple Patel: But that one is kind of live operations. On the ground, your customers are in your face. You do not mess up somebody's morning coffee. You will really feel the heat there. Um, but it also really teaches you how to engage with people. Um, and as an introvert, I would say that was probably the hardest part of getting that business off the ground, but also scaled.

Dimple Patel: So no, you're right. It's not simple. I don't think any business really is simple, but they each have their kind of own complexities. And obviously 

Amardeep Parmar: you scaled that right, the first seven coffee shops, which is. Quite a lot, obviously. There's not like, I don't know anybody else who has 37 coffee shops. From that, like, when did you decide you've now had enough and you wanted to move on to 

Dimple Patel: the next challenge?

Dimple Patel: Yeah, so we, we had a really interesting journey. So we, [00:06:00] the first stage was turning around the failed business. So actually, can we get that profitable? Can we get, you know, cash flow cycles that will really help us regenerate and grow the business? Then it became about kind of scale. So just rollouts. The third part, which I'm not sure if I would necessarily do third, I probably should have done it a bit earlier, was actually looking across the market and really understanding where the market was going.

Dimple Patel: And this was, you know, over 10 years ago, coffee was becoming a really hot market. Um, in the UK, we had all the chains coming across, but it was really moving into this kind of boutique independent kind of direction, which was great for us. So when, I think when I was expecting my second child, I took on this project to, to rebrand and lean into the independent angle of the business.

Dimple Patel: And that gave us a blueprint for what came next. So as we started to roll that out, we started to see a real jump in terms of performance, [00:07:00] revenue, et cetera. But that was really the proof of concept that meant that we had something valuable. At that point, it was. Do we want to do more of the operational complexity?

Dimple Patel: Do we want to raise more funding just to open more stores? It becomes again Quite repetitive and there's a bit of a pattern developing here But I think at that stage I wanted to move on to a new challenge. It had been eight years And it was really ready the the kind of the recipe for it was there It just needed somebody that was going to take on that that next piece and I think personally for me I wasn't in that position anymore 

Amardeep Parmar: and like obviously to sell a company, right?

Amardeep Parmar: most people They have the idea to start a company, but selling is a whole different challenge, right? How did you find somebody to buy 

Dimple Patel: off of you? We actually went through two rounds of trying to sell that business. Um, the first time, so both times they were financial buyers, so private equity, the rollout strategy is kind of a perfect for private equity.

Dimple Patel: Um, the first time we had the deal. It was, it was almost there. [00:08:00] Um, and then VHS went under and actually that really spooked the people that were looking to buy the business and they pulled out. Um, so kind of took a step back, focused inward again, and then tried again. I'd say about 18 to 24 months later.

Dimple Patel: So it was quite a gap. Again, knew that it was a good fit for either a strategic acquirer. So one of the big change that really, to be honest, would just want your property footprint, but you would lose the brand or again, a financial player that wanted to scale up, that wanted that kind of template and that could take it to a hundred, 150 stores.

Dimple Patel: In terms of actually getting in front of those people, it's quite difficult. There are kind of banks and advisors that will manage M& A processes. They're very, very expensive. They take quite a big percentage of, um, the proceeds. So a lot of negotiation that needs to happen there. But what was, what worked really well for us was in that 18 to 24 months, starting to build up [00:09:00] that network because we'd already kind of been through it once.

Dimple Patel: We knew the profile of people that we wanted to be speaking to. So it's just going out to kind of, you know, network events, meeting people, asking for instructions. Um, and actually the second time around. was an inbound and it was from a party that we had been speaking to for about 12 months. I think one of the 

Amardeep Parmar: hardest things with entrepreneurship as well is that when deals fall through, because I know it happens all the time, I get really excited like with the partners for the BHQ I can tell you it's like we've had different people like yes we're going to do it and then they kind of ghost you and then it's really heartbreaking because you're kind of together personally right and you also went through that with before the BHS collapsed as well.

Amardeep Parmar: How did you kind of keep going forward with that right because I think it's one of the things you didn't learn until you go through it right or. You think in your head, oh, I've got a deal, it's on the table, it's gonna happen. Yeah. And then when the rug gets pulled out of under you, you've got to 

Dimple Patel: then re...

Dimple Patel: Yeah, no, that is really hard. I would like to say it gets easier every time. It probably doesn't get easier, but you do become a little bit more [00:10:00] resilient to it. But there's still that moment where you kind of have to take a day. You have to take a step back, you have to feel the feels, you have to deal with the fact that the world has kind of come crashing down around you a little bit.

Dimple Patel: But if you believe that what you've created fundamentally has value, you're going to be, you're the only person that is going to deliver on that value. Nobody else is going to come sweeping in, pick it up for you, show you the way, do the work. But I think you do need to kind of take the time to process because when you go again you have to go fresh.

Dimple Patel: Um, and I would say. Last year was a really good example of that. So we, um, so as you said, we sold the business to Maid. That happened in May, all over the newspapers, amazing headlines, fantastic exit. It was strategically a really fantastic move for us, but also a fantastic move for them. Four months later, it all comes crashing down.

Dimple Patel: And that is. That is a really, really [00:11:00] small window. I mean, we were not even halfway through our post merger integration work. And it came crashing down, not because of anything that we had done, but because of the broader group, um, and then kind of financial issues that they were having. Because they were a public company, I got the news at the same time.

Dimple Patel: That the announcement went to the press. So at that point, calling the whole company together, I didn't have an afternoon to prepare myself. I had no speech, but standing up in front of the company and telling them that the group that we had just sold the business to. It was about collapse, and it was about to be in all of the newspapers, and I didn't know what that meant for their jobs.

Dimple Patel: I didn't know if they were still going to have something to come back to the next day. Um, and the only thing that I could offer them at that point was just being really open about what had happened. And just telling them to, you know, go and spend the, spend the afternoon with [00:12:00] family, with friends. Um, and that I would...

Dimple Patel: Come back to them as soon as I had an update. Hands down, one of the hardest things I've ever done. And I 

Amardeep Parmar: think a lot of people underestimate how difficult management is. So it's definitely for a corporate, right? Because you've got other levels above. You've got some people there to, something messes up.

Amardeep Parmar: But when you're in that stage, right? Where, because obviously you said before, it's all during the pandemic, where from the last interview, where some, because you have a lot of independent sellers on Truvant, right? Where a lot of them, their business were at risk during the pandemic. And you had to keep those relationships going.

Amardeep Parmar: And they're also depending on you for their income, right? So there's a lot of pressure that comes with that and it's how do you deal with that kind of internally as well, right? So obviously it's what you do externally and how you try to manage the people but you also got to manage your own Difficulties you're going through right because it's very stressful.

Dimple Patel: Yeah. Yeah, so We had that during COVID, and we also had that at the end of last year. So if we had, we didn't shut down, um, when Maid shut down, and that was kind of a battle in itself. Um, but if [00:13:00] we had, we were holding millions of pounds of money for these small businesses across the UK and Europe, and it was almost Christmas.

Dimple Patel: So if we had shut down, they would never have seen that money. And we're talking tens and hundreds of thousands of pounds each. So these are businesses that otherwise would have had to close down. Like families would have lost their livelihoods. Um, and on the one hand, that was the piece that got me out of bed every morning, right?

Dimple Patel: Because the business has already been through a really bumpy patch. The team were amazing. The team stood by us through the whole thing. We did not lose a single person. They turned up every day. But on the the other hand, it's terrifying. You are literally going out there and you have 800 families who are depending on you to deliver something where the chances are really, really tiny.

Dimple Patel: Um, but you have to go out, you put on the mask, you'd be open, you'd be transparent about what you can and cannot do, and you keep pushing. [00:14:00] There were days at the end of the day. I would just be lying on the floor. Like, it was so tough. And it was just taking that moment to be like, Not entirely sure I have a handle on things.

Dimple Patel: I'm just going to have a moment. But then I've got to get back up. And I've got to build this financial model. I've got to prep this deck for a pitch tomorrow. Um, and I think it's It's okay to say that you have those moments because you're still human, but it's being able to bounce back from them and pick yourself back up and go again.

Dimple Patel: Um, and I think that's the resilience part that people talk about in CEOs, but it takes a lot out of you. It's really, really draining. That 

Amardeep Parmar: keeps mine at the front row because there's some people who've worked with dimple here as well, so if she's talking about them, say they're getting picked up here, so.

Amardeep Parmar: They can give away if they want as well. And they're shaking their heads, they don't want no attention. That piece, like I said, where there's a lot of drive that has to go through in order to get that done, right? And if we can explain a bit more about the financial situation what happened there [00:15:00] now, right?

Amardeep Parmar: Because last time we weren't allowed to. So, what exactly happened? So made. com went bust, then You then negotiated another acquisition. 

Dimple Patel: Yeah, so we had that moment where we got the news saying that they were being, well, we were all being shut down and we were told to do the same. And, you know, I addressed the company and said, this is, this is what, this is where we're at.

Dimple Patel: I don't really know what the next steps are, but they'll take the time. Um, we had also called a board meeting later that evening. And there was something between addressing the team and going into that board meeting. And just having that quiet, those two hours of just, that sense of injustice just set in a little bit and that made me quite angry.

Dimple Patel: And actually, people that know me well know that I'm generally fuelled quite well by anger. Um, but it was a case of going into that board meeting and actually saying, Financially we're in a good position. So we've got runway. We're ahead [00:16:00] of target. We shouldn't have to shut down And it was something like 10 o'clock at night.

Dimple Patel: So I didn't have any lawyers. I could phone up I couldn't validate my chain of logic at all So I did lean on the fact that if you say something with enough conviction somebody at some point will believe you And that's what I did. I you know, just Laid it out as a logical argument and waited for somebody to push back and find a flaw.

Dimple Patel: Um, and you know, the SCA were involved, we had lawyers, we had advisors, we had the board, and they listened, and there was a real fear of, well, we're a publicly listed company, or we were, we have to be really careful about how we play things. You don't want to be sued, you want to make sure that you've done the right thing by your shareholders.

Dimple Patel: But at the same time, if Truve is still trading, surely it's more valuable than if it's shut down. So over the course of, I'd say about five or six days, we went backwards [00:17:00] and forwards. Financial models were validated and then validated again. The tires were kicked. We must have had board meetings on a daily basis, but fundamentally the business kept trading.

Dimple Patel: And those five, six days were key because on the one hand, you have the group that shut down, but you have two of them still trading. And that brought us a lot of trust with our partners and our stakeholders, because ultimately you can tell somebody you're fine, but unless they can see that you're fine, they're not going to believe you.

Dimple Patel: So actually. Continuing to trade, still generating sales, making payouts to our boutiques, which was really, really important, paying our suppliers, actually those acts of trust, um, and showing integrity and actually delivering what you say you're going to do. I would say we're crucial to keeping the business going because obviously the better that is operating, the more valuable it is when you go and run a second [00:18:00] process.

Dimple Patel: And then on the other hand, loads of conversations with the board, loads of conversations with advisors, mapping out a process and actually getting the buy in from them to let us separate the business from MABE's administration process, which they did. And the board was super supportive of that. Um, and they made themselves available for board meetings, conversations, whatever we needed at whatever time it happened.

Dimple Patel: So that for us meant that we could have Truva chart its own path. Um, it also meant that we weren't allowed to be involved in any conversations around Maid anymore because of confidentiality and all of those rules. Um, but at that point it was moving ahead. We ran a separate process. We found Truva, a new home that Made strategic sense and that meant it had a growth feature ahead of it as opposed to kind of being sold off for parts Which would have been the case otherwise.

Amardeep Parmar: Is it strange to have those conversations with a company where like you're trying to explain it We're doing well still even though the parent company is [00:19:00] faltering. How do you? They're very skeptical from people. 

Dimple Patel: And what was really interesting is That is a nuance in UK law that does not exist in the States.

Dimple Patel: And the reason that that caused problems was because our payment provider was based in the US and they stopped paying out on our sales. And so I got on a call, um, and Really interesting conversation, um, because there were a lot of very experienced American guys on this call telling me that in an administration process, my money belonged to whoever was managing Maid Bankruptcy, therefore they weren't going to release our funds.

Dimple Patel: Now if our funds are not released, We can't operate anymore. So, whilst we've been through the battle with the FCA and the board and everyone else, now our payment provider's holding us to ransom. So actually at [00:20:00] that point, it's a case of bringing the lawyers back in. Showing that what is the case in the US is not the case in the UK.

Dimple Patel: Learning those legal loopholes, which you never sit down and learn as part of a business degree because you kind of hope you're never going to need them. But actually when they come into play, they're some of the most valuable levers that you have available to you. Um, so I'd say actually hurdle after hurdle while you're trying to run an M& A process, because it was uncharted waters for a lot of people involved.

Dimple Patel: One 

Amardeep Parmar: of the things you mentioned earlier, and I saw a few people laughing on the front sofa here, is about how you're being fueled by anger. And I could see specifically that your daughter right there, chucking away. And one of the things you mentioned as well is, before we talk about it, is how you've been able to be the CEO of this massive company while also raising a family.

Amardeep Parmar: And the kids look very healthy and happy there. So you want to talk about that, like how you've been able to do that and the trust you have for your husband as well, sitting in the front 

Dimple Patel: row. I would say I definitely feel like I'm in a position where I'm doing a lot of things. [00:21:00] things quite well, but never anything really well.

Dimple Patel: And I think I'm going to stop you there. I mean, 

Amardeep Parmar: you're doing very well, 

Dimple Patel: but that's how I feel. And I think that's just reflective of the juggles that you face as a parent, as an executive, as an entrepreneur, you're pulled in so many different directions. And when you start a business. That business is your baby.

Dimple Patel: It's an extra child. It's a part of you. Not the favourite one though, obviously. No, no, not the favourite one. But it's also one that will call on you at inappropriate times. And I think the benefit that I have had is... Ever since I had my daughters, I've always been an entrepreneur and a founder and I've been running businesses.

Dimple Patel: So they've grown up surrounded by that. Um, and they know that there will be points when I can't make it to something or I'll be multitasking and I'll have my massive headphones on and I won't quite hear what they ate for lunch that day. Um, but they're super patient, and on the other hand, they hear those conversations.

Dimple Patel: [00:22:00] They hear about P& L, they hear about even things as basic as day to day workplace disputes, and the people issues, or performance issues. That is the world that they're surrounded by, and it's very easy to overlook how much you absorb through osmosis. I didn't grow up with any of that and by putting that in front of my daughters I think it helps them feel like it's achievable for them.

Dimple Patel: So when I asked them about their ambitions I have, you know, my eldest wants to be an engineer and my youngest wants to be a space doctor. Great! That's amazing. We should encourage that, but you don't know So if they can't see it, they don't feel like it's achievable. And I'm sure half the time, none of it makes any sense.

Dimple Patel: Um, but I will do my best to expose them to it. 

Amardeep Parmar: Because I imagine some people, when you had your first child, right, people have the fear of like, can I manage the business and the baby at the same time, right? It's obviously, the reality is it often falls quite heavily on the woman when it shouldn't necessarily.[00:23:00] 

Amardeep Parmar: And how did you manage that kind of... Thinking I guess like when you're planning for like when the baby was coming so 

Dimple Patel: I actually do have to make a bit of a shout Out here. I do have an amazing supportive husband He's quite enjoying that one. Um, but we 

Amardeep Parmar: this is recorded you can play it back

Dimple Patel: But we were really open quite early in our relationship about what work and what raising a family looked like for both of us and it was really important to us that we co parented and we really shared the responsibility because both of us wanted careers and we both wanted a family and we didn't see that it should be one person's responsibility over the other to do either of those.

Dimple Patel: So actually when we had our first child there was a lot of sharing um but there was also a lot of Me taking the baby to work with me and actually having it sit in [00:24:00] business meetings Because ultimately if these business partners have seen me be pregnant for nine months Where's that baby gonna go at the end of it?

Dimple Patel: And when you have your own business, it's also really difficult to take a year out of work So times took took them they would sit there in a pouch or in a baby chair It was really helpful that we had coffee shops because there was always milk and cake on hand. Um, and that really kept them at least quiet for about half an hour.

Dimple Patel: Um, but I think it's being really honest about where your boundaries are. I wanted to be really hands on and really involved and that means that I won't make it to a lot of things. It means that my daughters will miss out on playdates or, you know, various other activities. But they'll also be exposed to things that they otherwise never would have been.

Dimple Patel: Um, and my husband is very much the same as well. So there's never really been kind of a gender divide in our family. And if we feel it's shifting, there's always kind of a pause for [00:25:00] a conversation. We say we're slightly off balance here. Where, where can we see it? What can we do? And practically, what needs to change and how are we going to make it happen?

Dimple Patel: And it sounds really cold. It sounds slightly operationalized. But I feel like you kind of, you do need that foundation to make it work, because ultimately it is a partnership. Um, and it is a shared aspiration. You also tell me 

Amardeep Parmar: as well how being a parent has actually made you a better entrepreneur as well, right?

Amardeep Parmar: So it's not just that you've been able to manage it. It's also made you even better. Yeah, 

Dimple Patel: I mean. Let's be honest, nobody has a clue what they're doing when they have their first child. And the reality is nobody has a clue what they're doing when they start their first business either. It's all a case of just working it out as you go.

Dimple Patel: Um, and also just recognising that you're going to make mistakes. And not being too hard on yourself about those mistakes. And fixing them and trying to do better. Um, and it made me much more... Self aware as well, you know, as a parent you're responsible for somebody else's well being over your own It's like taking a long hard look in [00:26:00] the mirror.

Dimple Patel: It helps you manage your emotions better, but it also helped me tune into Their needs better and that carried over into managing people as well fundamentally Managing people is never about you. It's always about the other person It's about helping them grow by helping them get the best out of themselves and doing it in a way where you're nurturing and supporting, but they're finding that path themselves.

Dimple Patel: I would not have been able to do that if I hadn't already had two guinea pigs at home. So, you know, I'm still fine tuning, but it definitely has made me much more people centric than I probably was before. So, thank 

Amardeep Parmar: you so much for coming on today. And it's one of those things, even as I'm listening to you speak, I feel very lucky to be sitting in this chair, being able to speak to you and share your story as well, and like, kind of getting goosebumps as you're talking as well.

Amardeep Parmar: But now I'm opening up the questions to everybody sitting here. So if you have a question, what I would do is get you to get your hand up, and then I'm going to repeat the question so that it gets on the microphone as well for the recording. So, [00:27:00] does anybody have a question? Okay, so Krishma asked there anything that you've learnt in your career that you'd like to unlearn?

Dimple Patel: I, yes, actually. Um, something that I am still working on. So, through my career I've actually found myself in Fairly male dominated environments, particularly in banking. I was the only female on our trading floor. Um, and it was one of the reasons why I left. And then I started my own business where we're raising funding or we're dealing with suppliers, again, very male dominated and then through to tech as well.

Dimple Patel: And actually. What I learnt in those repeated situations was to fall into patterns of behaviour that they expected of me because I felt like they expected them of me. And so actually, the major situation last year and everything that's happened afterward has been an ongoing process of me [00:28:00] checking myself and saying, Why am I responding to this person this way?

Dimple Patel: Is it because... I feel like they are looking down on me for a certain reason. Is it because of behaviours that I've picked up from previous interaction? I think we talk so much about bias that sometimes you feel like there's bias in a room even when there isn't. Um, and I definitely noticed that with myself as well.

Dimple Patel: Using my voice more, being more confident in the way that I present my ideas. It's still a work in progress. I still often have conversations where I feel like I'm the newbie or the outsider. Um, But I now check myself mid conversation, whereas before I used to check myself at the end. Um, at some point I hope I will get into autopilot mode, I'm not quite there yet.

Dimple Patel: Um, but it's just really reflecting on how am I responding to a situation, why am I [00:29:00] responding to it and how could I be better in flow. 

Amardeep Parmar: Okay, so that's a question from Avi there. So he said, considering you didn't have any experience in the coffee industry, how did you get the conviction to go ahead and...

Dimple Patel: I'd say I was slightly naive, which always helps with your first business. Um, because you're less likely to talk yourself out of taking that leap. Um, I think the other piece also is just having the self belief. Not, not that I would be successful. I didn't come from a background that fueled me to know that I was going to be running a, you know, FTSE 100 or whatever I did was going to be amazing.

Dimple Patel: But I did believe that I could overcome. Almost anything that was put in front of me and I could deal with whatever failures came my way So there was an element of knowing that I could survive which gave me the conviction to just go for it When I first started, I didn't leave my [00:30:00] job in banking because I knew there was a really high certainty that it was never going to work.

Dimple Patel: Um, and it was really, really difficult. It took us a long time to kind of get it going and get that cycle. And in all honesty, to this day, I still don't really drink coffee. Um, but... But I make a really good cup of coffee, I promise. Um, so I think it is that combination of, oh, the other piece, I did not have any dependence, I wasn't worrying about kind of anybody else's livelihood, it was just me.

Dimple Patel: So if that meant I was eating beans on toast for six months, I was okay with that. Um, but I think it just means that you can take more risk at a certain point in your life. Um, and all of those pieces... That's probably what gave me that final nudge. 

Amardeep Parmar: The question was, how 

Dimple Patel: important do you think to when I first started out, the ambition was always to learn how businesses work and to learn how to build [00:31:00] and learn how to grow.

Dimple Patel: For me, it's always been about the process. And less about the title. But what that meant was, I somehow got left behind when things shifted to being a little bit more about the title or the person. Which is why it's taken me so long to actually speak to anybody about what I do. I think in this market, like we said, your business is such a huge part of who you are.

Dimple Patel: And when you are running that business, you represent it. We live in such a hyper connected society now that people want to know what you stand for. They want to know what, you know, who businesses are led by, what those people are like, what their values are. So I do think personal brand is really important, but I think how you lead.

Dimple Patel: should drive your personal brand, rather than your personal brand being there for the sake of putting yourself out there, putting your face on the front of a magazine. So, it's always been about results, for me. But before, I never spoke at all. Um, now I'm trying to [00:32:00] combine the two. 

Amardeep Parmar: It's that question from of you

Amardeep Parmar: if I get the question right, but what I think it's about there is about your relationship to business, and like, how do you view it? Something which is important to you, as it means to an end, or what's the purpose behind you doing the business in the first 

Dimple Patel: place? So my first business was really just to learn.

Dimple Patel: I knew that I would get loads and loads of things wrong. Um, but I was fascinated by the mechanics of how you build a business. Truva was much more mission focused. So when I sold my first business, I did look at moving into investing. I looked at kind of a bit of a career change at that point. But I knew that I loved operating.

Dimple Patel: But I needed more than just operating to get myself out of bed in the morning. And Truva had a really strong mission component to it, which we've touched on. For all of the small businesses, it was growing in a period when Amazon was really taking [00:33:00] off. There was a lot of concern for the high street. Um, and that was, that challenge.

Dimple Patel: is, is what really drove me and what, what, you know, fueled me in terms of finding a solution, pushing back against things that other people don't think solvable. I think going forward, that mission component is going to continue being so important. I love operating. I love building businesses. I love leading people.

Dimple Patel: But we have to be achieving something together, um, and that is the piece which makes me feel like I'm not just doing something because I enjoy it, but I'm doing something because my kids are going to grow up in a better world, or we're paving the way for something else. So it's just using that skill set that I've built and actually Having a bit more of a longer lasting impact with it.

Dimple Patel: What's the plan for the future? What's next? Yeah, so obviously with Trubo we've had two acquisitions. My work over the last few [00:34:00] months has been very much kind of taking the business through that. A lot of handing over. For me, the next step is going to be finding that, that opportunity or challenge again that excites me.

Dimple Patel: Building businesses comes with a lot of compromise. So it's something that has to make that compromise. Worth it. It takes so much of your energy. You teeter on the edge of burnout very, very often. Um, but it has to excite you enough to give that much of yourself. Um, I don't know whether that will take me six months to find whether it'll take me a year to find, um, but I'm definitely at the point where I'm gonna go looking for it.

Amardeep Parmar: So that question's from vh, which who is Simple's husband, and he was saying about how used to be very introvert. And you've been able to build up a business network and growing the way you have. And that's obviously been a challenge that a lot of people might be, 

Dimple Patel: might resonate with them. Yeah. Very good question.

Dimple Patel: Bit of an insider question. You felt the brunt of [00:35:00] that. I still am really introverted. I will most likely fall asleep on the train home tonight. Um, but it's been a real work in progress. It's been really hard to put myself out there. Yeah. Um. Walk into rooms where you don't know anybody, worrying who's going to speak to you, worrying if anyone's actually going to be interested in your story.

Dimple Patel: But, a lot of, the way that I looked at it was, a lot of building a business is putting yourself out there in a different way. And... For me, there was a difference between going out and talking about the business and what we were doing as a team and Versus on the other hand talking about myself Which has been a much longer journey I would say but I think it's so important when you are leading people You have to lead from the front.

Dimple Patel: You have to learn how to engage with people you have to learn how to listen to them and I think leaning [00:36:00] into Some of the advantages that you have as an introvert. We don't talk about them enough. We just assume that Leaders and CEOs have to be really extroverted. Actually as an introvert, you spend much more time people watching.

Dimple Patel: You really understand how they work. You think about how you're going to engage with somebody before you just jump into it. Um, and over the last 10 years, that's made me really great at things like negotiating. It's really helped me navigate acquisitions because I can understand body language cues largely because I've had to just to make myself less nervous in situations.

Dimple Patel: Um, but it also means that when I talk to people, they engage. More with what I say because I do it authentically. I'm not here to speak because I love the sound of my own voice. I'm here to communicate with people. I'm here to build those relationships. So I'd say flipping it from being a network to building relationships is how I've thought about [00:37:00] it.

Dimple Patel: Because they're people that I want to continue to engage with in a non transactional capacity. And then if good things come of that.

Amardeep Parmar: So that question from Maya there was about how, earlier you mentioned how some of the bias is in your head, but then did you ever actually feel like you actually faced bias where people did treat you differently because of you being a woman, young and from an Asian background? 

Dimple Patel: Two parts to that question.

Dimple Patel: So growing up, my family lived on a council estate. We were the only brown family for at least a 10 mile radius. Um, and it was really violent. So there was a lot of aggression. There were attacks on the house, house was burned down. It was all racially motivated. So it was an environment that I grew up in, but my parents also sheltered us from it to some degree.

Dimple Patel: And I think. When you're that age, you don't really comprehend bias. You just think, well, that is kind of how the world works. When I [00:38:00] entered the working world, to some degree, I was slightly oblivious to it because I felt like I'd come out of it. I felt like I'd moved away from there. I now had an education.

Dimple Patel: I had a fancy degree. I was moving into this world where that didn't exist anymore. So actually going out on the trading floor was really hard. Because I was the most junior person there. I was female. I was brown. I also had a northern twang to my accent. Um, and I was different in so many ways. I didn't have the network.

Dimple Patel: I didn't have, um, the, the mannerisms that come from being... raised with privilege, um, and I became very aware of it in that setting, really really aware of it and I had situations where people refused to take prices from me because I wasn't old enough or whatever reason it was. I actually found that in that environment I was becoming Not aggressive, [00:39:00] but it was hardening me and I was pushing back really hard.

Dimple Patel: Um, if somebody didn't want my price, fine. So we're going to get it from anybody else. I would just send them on their way. Um, and in that environment, actually it did earn me some respect, but it also showed me that that wasn't a culture that I wanted to stay in long term. When I then moved into business, I found micro.

Dimple Patel: instances of it. Sometimes it's a tone that people use. Sometimes it's a language that people use. Sometimes it's when they ask if they can speak to a manager instead. Or they ask you to repeat something that they told you. Um, And in every one of those instances, I stood my ground. I mean, in all honesty, what manager were they going to go to?

Dimple Patel: Um, so there was that. Um, but it's really, really difficult. And I found it increasingly, um, and we talk about it a lot in, [00:40:00] um, VC and in tech. Um, and there are some really, really great organizations and funds now that are doing a huge amount of work in terms of driving diversity. But fundamentally. The stats are still really, really disappointing.

Dimple Patel: Um, so when you are in that room, people will overlook you. And I spent a long time just not saying anything in this situation. But actually when you don't say anything, you play into their perception of you. So, it's been really difficult taking a step back from that. and separating this piece of how people perceive you versus how you perceive yourself and turning up in that room how you want to be perceived.

Dimple Patel: Um, I've had a lot of really good friends supporting me through that. I've had a lot of really great advice. Um, but it is still something that I think. I will face probably for the next 10 15 years of [00:41:00] my career. 

Amardeep Parmar: So that question's from Jitatha, right? And it's about how, now that Impa's seen the success she has, how has that seen her in her own community?

Amardeep Parmar: Do they treat her differently because of that? 

Dimple Patel: Asian communities are complicated, aren't they? Not entirely sure there's a right answer to that question. Um, so I grew up in an Asian community in the north of England. Um, and it was quite insular. I was really, um, pushing boundaries growing up. I refused to learn how to cook, which I know still drives my husband crazy.

Dimple Patel: Um, you know, really leaning into education. I was so outspoken. Um, and it's been really difficult, you know, even... We've been married 15 years and I still get comments about what I wear, how I dress, how much weight I've put on. Nobody ever asks me what I'm doing, how work is [00:42:00] going, um, a lot of people come up to me and assume that I don't work.

Dimple Patel: That is just a general ongoing assumption. It's a shame because I think it could have been a positive. It could have been really changing their perception of how women fit and how they contribute to society. Um, and it could have been an example for, you know, the next generation growing up up there. We chose to move away.

Dimple Patel: My husband grew up up there as well. And we just decided we didn't want to raise our daughters in that community, because we wanted them to be independent. We wanted them to have that strength, and that fire, and the ambition, and not feel... Like, they're doing something that they shouldn't be doing. Um, I'm still really outspoken.

Dimple Patel: I will deliberately do things like, if somebody's told me not to wear something, I will wear it to every single event for the next 12 months. [00:43:00] Just those small acts of defiance. Um, and I will try and engage in conversation. With people as much I can in terms of what I do and you know, like why that's important, but Fundamentally is it is such a deep rooted problem that it just you can keep saying the same thing over and over again And I will as a mother of two daughters.

Dimple Patel: I feel like I have to But it's taking a long time to change That 

Amardeep Parmar: question from Tammy was about how a Being self employed, running their own businesses, doing their own thing, and that early stage of like, the change from the stable job to the uncertainty you're dealing with, and also the difference in perception that people now 

Dimple Patel: view you as.

Dimple Patel: Yeah. So I got a lot of comments when I left Goldman. People were like, what are you doing? You have the golden ticket, the most amazing [00:44:00] job, and you're going to go and make coffee and clean toilets. Um, which is exactly what I was doing. Um. And at that point, when you're early on that journey, you have to be focused.

Dimple Patel: And I think there's actually a lot of value to just putting up some walls and, and really thinking carefully about who is allowed to be a part of your journey and the voices that, if they're not going to be supportive, they're not going to add value to you. And I think this is actually a really important lesson that I have learned more generally in life.

Dimple Patel: But you have to be focused in those early days. There's so much at stake. And like you say, you've taken a huge financial risk. So, as long as you believe in yourself and you believe in your ability. to make something happen. Block out everyone else. Um, and then my second piece of advice would be whilst businesses are really unstructured at the beginning you're kind of feeling your way through you're thinking about well does [00:45:00] this work does that work, should I pivot should I not, build some structure around that.

Dimple Patel: Build out targets, build out some semblance of a financial model, as much as you can. Um, most of the time forecasts are miles off anyway, but what it does is it provides you with the focus and the structure, but it also shows you how one thing leads to the other, and when you have that Financial, that operating model in your head, you'll be able to see much more clearly, well, if I change this thing over here, or if I do more of that, actually that contributes to this thing over here, which is the thing that's going to drive, you know, 20%, 30%, 50 percent more growth.

Dimple Patel: So, build as much structure as you can, keep referring back to it, and then block out anybody that is not being supportive, because they are not adding any value to you at that point in time. 

Amardeep Parmar: Thank you, everybody, for coming today. Thanks so much 

Dimple Patel: Dimple for 

Amardeep Parmar: Thank you for a private event [00:46:00] for a podcast, so we did a couple of the public ones, um, at different events, so somebody sitting over there is probably going to be number two, who's going to be doing this, sitting in that seat in a few months time, so that's Nav as well, who's from the Washing Machine Project, so get you guys to be friends as well.

Amardeep Parmar: Yes. But, again, thanks everybody so much for coming today, and Like, we'll be sticking around. If you want to ask me, you'll go over at the back questions as well about the BigHQ. I'm sure you'll be tuning up to talk to Gimple as well. Amazing to have you more time. You didn't have any more than an entire time, I was impressed.

Amardeep Parmar: Um, yeah. Thanks so much again, and any 

Dimple Patel: words you want to say to everybody? Oh no, I just, thank you so much for, for coming. Um, I'm around for chat. I'm also... Super available on LinkedIn, drop me a message. I'm quite happy to grab a coffee, jump on a call, um, see if I can help as well. But I'd say just, just keep pushing.

Dimple Patel: Just keep going. It will be really hard and really awful for a long, long time. Until it all just kind of falls into place and then they come together and it is amazing. It is [00:47:00] so worth it Um, so yeah, just just go for it.

Amardeep Parmar: Hello. Hello everyone. Thank you so much for listening It means a huge amount to us and we don't think you realize how important you are Because if you subscribe to our youtube channel, if you leave us a five star review, it makes a world of difference And if you believe in what we're trying to do here To inspire, connect and guide the next generation British Asians.

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