Imran Dean Podcast Transcript

Imran Dean Podcast TranscriptListen to episode here

Imran Dean: [00:00:00] On Instagram, there was a lot of people for exports and people trying to promote quick money schemes around investments finance. And I said, there was, there's a gap there where people aren't really focusing on, well, actually investing is about the long term. And it's like a puzzle you're trying to piece together a picture of the world or what's going on.

Imran Dean: And if you can fit them together. That's where there's opportunities looking at these big, big, and what we say unicorn, which is, you know, billion dollar valuation businesses, which give you massive returns on your investment. These are the things you need to be looking at when you're investing companies.

Amardeep Parmar: Welcome everyone to the BAE HQ podcast, where we interview the successful British Asians from across the country about how they got to where they are and how they can help you to get to where you want to be. Today, we have Imran Dean. He's managed over a hundred million dollars in assets and is also founder of the Money Cog.

Amardeep Parmar: Say hi to everyone Imran. 

Imran Dean:  Hi. 

Amardeep Parmar:  So I'm going to dive in deep straight away. And what I want to understand from you is, when you were growing up, did you ever believe you'd get to where you got to today? 

Imran Dean: I think [00:01:00] you always have a belief in yourself. You always have to have a strong belief that you can do better than, than than where you are today, I think I was quite fortunate.

Imran Dean: So when I was sort of born, I was born in London, then due to my father's work, we moved abroad. So we moved to Switzerland or Geneva up until the age of three. And from there, we went to Bahrain until our seventh for seven years. I was sort of all over the place. And then when I came back to schooling here, I struggled.

Imran Dean: So it took me, it took me time to catch up. And, you know, when you read, you have reading cards and things at school where they sort of force you to read sort of books and stuff. It was a bit harder for me. And, you know, they always tell you to flower up your English and things like that, which when you live, when you sort of work now, you realize you don't need to use all these fancy words.

Imran Dean: You know, when you're sending an email, it's just easier to keep it simple. ‘Cause people struggle to read a lot. You got to keep it simple work. And then I think it was at A levels. I started to realize that actually, you know, I'm actually quite good at certain things and going in and actually having internships within hedge funds and, um, within sort of investment banks, I was, you know, everyone [00:02:00] really said, you know, you're, you're adding a lot of value and you're doing a lot of good work.

Imran Dean: And then that's when I realized that actually, I started to believe in myself more and more initially, no, just because you're, you're comparing yourself to others when actually everyone's in their own lane, everyone's in their own path in life. So you've got to figure out what works for you. And that's what happens a lot.

Imran Dean: I think what happens is we, we tend to read people's biographies, really successful people, and then we try to map our life. Oh, they went to X university or they did this and that. So we've got to do something similar. But if you look at it, their path to success is unique to them. And then somebody else who comes successfully has a different path.

Imran Dean: So you will have, you always have your own path. You've just got to figure out what you, what you're good at, what you're passionate about to figure out your, your sort of foundations of what you're good at, and then find whether it's career paths or things that suit those, suit those sort of, um, suit those skills that you have.

Imran Dean: Like, you know, for example, if you're an introvert or an extrovert, there'll be certain paths that will be better, right? An introvert doing a podcast would struggle. I'm not saying that they wouldn't be able to do it, but they might struggle a bit more because there is a skill in getting people on the [00:03:00] podcast, interviewing and things like that.

Imran Dean: So it's, it's finding out what your skill sets, skills are early on and then just doubling down on them. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And it's interesting what you said about introvert, because I think naturally I'm an introvert. And over time I've built the confidence. And I think there's a lot of time where I'm just out of my comfort zone.

Amardeep Parmar: And I'm not sure how healthy that is or whether it's good or bad. But then, once I built the confidence and tested myself, I realised I actually do enjoy this and I'm somewhat good at it, hopefully. And from that, it then continued to go on and sometimes, like, it's looking at what you're good at. And also looking at like, what do, what do you want to try sometimes as well?

Amardeep Parmar: And not being like, because of this, I can't do that because you could have said, Oh, I'm behind in English or I'm behind in this. So I'm never going to be able to do hedge fund work or do that kind of work. But you didn't, you said, okay, yeah, let me try. Let me keep going. And for the people listening who maybe aren't familiar with hedge funds or investment world, what exactly do you do in simple terms?

Imran Dean: So, nowadays I, essentially I help companies grow. So companies, think of [00:04:00] sort of start ups like Facebook at the beginning or Google where they're looking, they've got this great big idea, they're not making any money because of, because at the moment they're just building the technology. We help give them money to grow the business and then we take a percentage of that company.

Imran Dean: And over time they raise more and more. So your ownership goes down, um, but then when they do an IPO or when they go in the stock market, that's when we make our money for our investors. And you're sort of looking at these big, big, kind of what we say unicorn, which is, you know, billion dollar valuation businesses, which, you know, give you massive returns on your investment.

Imran Dean: But obviously not every startup is successful. So it's, it's a game of, again, probabilities and maybe invest in 10 companies. You're aiming for like one that will go out and sort of one, two, three, that will go and become billion dollar companies. And that will make up majority of the returns for your, for your fund.

Imran Dean: And the rest four, four might fail. And then five might just give you your money back sort of thing. So that's the way you've got to construct things. So there's a bit of art to it. And then there's a science as well, right? So the science is the construction of, of it. And obviously, find the [00:05:00] right companies to invest in.

Imran Dean: And the world is quite vast finance for those listening is, you know, people say, I want to go to finance, investment banking, but from, I mean, that might be the entry point, but there's such a big world and there's so many things that finance offers. And it's, it's a fascinating thing. If you, if naturally you're sort of good with numbers, you're, you're analytical, it's a great place to learn for me finance.

Imran Dean: And the reason I loved it was because I always said, it's like a puzzle. You're trying to piece together kind of a picture of the world or what's going on. Sometimes these pieces kind of fit together in a jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes they don't. And if you can fit them together. That's where there's opportunities to, to sort of do well and then, or, but sometimes they don't say it's, it's an interesting kind of world to be in 

Amardeep Parmar: And what kind of things do you look for in these investments?

Amardeep Parmar: Like if somebody is listening now, they want to start a business in there. Wondering how to attract investment.

Imran Dean: Teams are really important to building a strong team. But when you come up with an idea, a lot of the time it's domain expertise. So you've got to be closer to the problem you're solving. It's not necessarily the case because you might not be, but then you've got to have passion [00:06:00] because you've got to really go out and figure out, you know, it's all about market and product market fit.

Imran Dean: So you might have an idea, but then you've got to make sure quickly. Is it suitable for the market? And you mentioned the money cog a bit and we can talk about that a bit later, but it's the same thing is you have this great idea and you're like, oh, this is a brilliant idea, but actually it might not be a great business venture because there's no value in it for anyone to pay.

Imran Dean: See, that's what you've got to figure out, right? Is there actually a market and what's the right business model? Is it, is it some, is it a subscription model? Is it a, you know, payoff one? Is it a freemium model? Is it a model where people just pay one off, you know, let's say you, you build an app and you're like, just pay once and it's, it's free forever.

Imran Dean: And then there's advertising that makes you money. So it's, it's understanding the right business model. But first it's first understanding the market that you're trying to go into and the opportunity and landscape. So we'd, so when you're going to VC's or venture capital firms, they're looking for big, big markets or what we say, total adjustment markets.

Imran Dean: So the size of the market is growing. So obviously things like electric vehicles, [00:07:00] or if you're doing something within that space, it's a growing market because you say, well, there's more electric vehicles coming in the future. And you're solving a specific problem in there, but that will be that in that industry, you'd obviously have to have domain expertise, you'd have to have something and you'd have to know the industry quite well to see something different than everybody else is seeing.

Imran Dean: And then you go out and build a startup on that and raise money. Uh, so it's domain expertise, then it's, it's team. It's having the right people around you. So it's not, you're not going to be the one person that's going to build this business. It's going to be the team around you, which is really important.

Imran Dean: So what we look for is actually your ability to, you've got to be a good salesman because you've got to be a not necessarily salesman, but you've got to be able to share your vision with other people that they buy into what you're saying. So there is an element of being able to sell your story because what we look for, if you can't sell to us, how are you going to sell to a really good team of people?

Imran Dean: Because at that point, you're not going to be able to pay people well, right? So you're going to be taking people from high paid jobs to get behind your vision. And that's the skill. How do you tell that story to them that they come on board and believe in you? And then secondly, [00:08:00] it's. okay, we're going to give you some money, but you're going to need a lot more money to build this company.

Imran Dean: How can you then convince other investors? So it's all these sort of things that I think it's a bit different. I've mentioned these points because I think a lot of times you look at venture capital and they'll give you the standard answers. And, but I, I've, over the investments we've made in the most successful ones.

Imran Dean: Those are the ones where you can build a strong team. They tend to have some domain expertise, or they've just built something where they're passionate about and. And then also you've got the aspect of being able to raise in that sales skill for good founders. And then obviously there's the element of luck and timing and all sorts, which you can't predict.

Imran Dean: And that's something that is difficult to predict for anyone. I think, you know, is this the right market timing or not? 

Amardeep Parmar: I think  the question about passion there is really interesting as well, because passion won't get you there, but every, every company is really hard to build. There's no, people sometimes think, Oh, it kind of came easily to that person, but it's not necessarily that.

Amardeep Parmar: It's just that they had the passion to do the hard work. And that's where passion really comes into play because there's going to be obstacles. There's going to be things which don't quite work [00:09:00] out. If you really care about what you're doing, then you're going to try and go through that. And you mentioned there about some successful investments.

Amardeep Parmar: Are you allowed to share at all, like some of the investments you've made and where they've got to now and how the kind of team aspect and the passion played into that? 

Imran Dean: Yeah, sure. So some of the investments we, it's an interesting one because we were having conversation about something I was listening to the other day, which was your best investments when it comes to investing in startups or, uh, within the venture capitalists are companies where you don't have to spend too much time with them because they're sort of on their way doing things they don't really need.

Imran Dean: You help. So you're sort of on the, on the back front. So, yeah, no, there was one or two investments. Um, we invested in sort of last year, which we invested in. I went sort of, I can't sort of reveal the company ‘cause it's all sort of private at the moment, but, you know, it raised at a hundred million valuation, uh, 350 million valuation we entered in and now it's, it's looking to raise at 500, 750.

Imran Dean: So it's done really well. And that's just because they had a strong IP that they built over time. A strong team, the founder was basically, it's to do with farming [00:10:00] and sort of vertical farming. The founder comes from a farming background. So the main thing is he understands the problems very, very well. So he can be relatable to his end client.

Imran Dean: Then after that, he's built a big team around him and then he's got good investors around who can help him sort of with certain issues. Also, it's validation. So a lot of our, a lot of what we do in our space, if you have the right investors on board, it's the validation, right? So if you've got, you know, let's say and it's probably, so you've got some of the bigger, you know, you mentioned Excel and some of the big players on board, then suddenly it becomes easy for you to raise.

Imran Dean: And sometimes it's one of those things where you were talking about as well, where if you can raise sort of a lot of money and get the right people around you, you can build something great. And so that was it. So they've been able to raise a lot and then getting the right team and focus has really helped them, um, to do that.

Imran Dean: So what were we talking about before? So strong team, strong domain expertise, and then what's helped them is obviously the market timing because where the world has been in the last two, three years of COVID and I was saying it's to do with sort of vertical farming and growing things indoors, you know, you look at where the world is with Ukraine and [00:11:00] everyone trying to go into a world where they want to be more reliant.

Imran Dean: Um, on them sort of cells and within the nation versus being able to take a lot of imports in right. Taking that risk. So that's a tailwind, which that's a market timing that they've done well. So maybe a few years back when we first started investing in what we call ag tech, which is things around, uh, you could say anything around agriculture and technology.

Imran Dean: We started looking 2019, just pre pandemic. And there wasn't that much interest and we were sort of one of the, we were one of the early investors and now suddenly it's, you know, everybody's involved, valuations are going up and crazy, and that's just It's like you might be doing something, that's the thing we were talking about passion where don't do things because it's hot and it's on trend.

Imran Dean: Because it, they don't tend to last. And you know, anything that's that hap that goes up very quickly can come down. And you've seen that, right? You've seen with some of the, um, stocks that did really well in the public markets in the pandemic have now come back 

Amardeep Parmar: Because it's been out of 10, for example.

Imran Dean: Yeah, exactly. But it's, it's, that's a point where what you want, [00:12:00] it's figuring out who yourself, which is the hardest thing. I think the skill. It's figuring out oneself, isn't it? And really being able to self-evaluate. I mean, my good friend was saying to me, the one thing I admire about you, Imran, is that you can self-evaluate.

Imran Dean: You can basically look at yourself and say, no, I'm not doing this very well. I need to improve on it. And then I will improve on it. And that's a really important skill set, isn't it? Being self aware of everything. And I think, and one of the things I've been learning about more and maybe some, you know, whether it's in the community, people can help as well is.

Imran Dean: You're self aware of who you are and then so for me now is realizing that when you're in a room, who, who is not necessarily who's, who's the important person in the room, but who's the person that is the decision maker when you're when you're going and pitching for an investment or who is and how they how they're responding to what you're saying.

Imran Dean: How you communicate with different people is, is really important. And at the end of the day, we're human beings and business is built by human beings. So you find people who are CEOs of companies who might not be the most technically brilliant, but they know how to communicate with different stakeholders and different people.

Imran Dean: And that's the skillset for [00:13:00] myself that I've realized I need to develop more and more, um, is being able to speak to people in different ways and quickly switching, which, which doesn't come naturally to me. And I always think. And I was saying to, um, my wife, if you feel a bit fake, because suddenly you're having to change yourself a bit, but it's not really changing yourself, you're just adapting to what the situation is.

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah, and it's one of those things with self awareness and being authentic as well, right, where if you just act the same with everybody, we've also got to take into account like their feelings and how they feel, and it's not necessarily being fake, it's just saying, okay, like they prefer to be talked to in this way, I'm respecting that, as if you're just saying, I'm going to act the same way no matter what.

Amardeep Parmar: Then what about if somebody doesn't feel comfortable, then you're forcing them to feel uncomfortable for yourself, and that's not really right. And you mentioned there about like understanding yourself and like what motivates you. Because it seems like you really love the investment side of things you do.

Amardeep Parmar: And like working in that industry. But then you've also created the money cock. And some people who are listening, they might [00:14:00] be successful in their careers, they might enjoy their careers. And they might not understand why, if you're in a well paid career that's doing so well, why you'd then start sampling on the site.

Amardeep Parmar: So what's the passion behind the Money Cog? 

Imran Dean: Cog was me and my founder, Zaven. Initially, it started off with, I looked at on Instagram, there was a lot of people for exports and people trying to promote. Quick money schemes around investments finance and I said there was a gap there where people aren't really focusing on well actually investing is about the long term and you're not, it's not about the short term wins and turning 1, 000 into 10, 000 or, you know, suddenly people say I've made 100, 000 on Sporex, but you don't realize that they've got a bigger account , you know starting off with like maybe 50, 000 and that's why they're able to do that.

Imran Dean: And that it's all about risk management and all these things that people weren't aware of. So we started the Money cog, which initially was called investor hub, which was teaching people that now invest in these are the things you need to be looking at when you're investing companies. Yeah. You'll look at, um, strong, uh, strong again, similar things, strong sort of management.

Imran Dean: Uh, you're looking at cash flows, you're looking at other [00:15:00] aspects of competitive advantages and valuations. And that all makes up. What a good investment is, um, this is all about public investments because obviously for individuals and retail people, they can't invest in the private companies at the moment in a very meaningful way.

Imran Dean: So looking at investing in stocks was a great thing in my background. I thought, well, why don't I teach people how to do that properly? And the money cog is all about long term stock ideas for people. We write these short reports and the key aspect was, was people don't really understand how business makes money.

Imran Dean: So, you know, you speak to people about, oh, I've invested in Tesla, I've invested in Apple, but do you understand the whole makeup of how they make money and what are the drivers of that? Um, so what you have is you have certain drivers, which will drive value for that company. So, you know, you can think about three ways you have.

Imran Dean: You can have sales, you have cost efficiencies, and then you have sort of the capital structures as well, and that's what's driving value in terms of sales growth, operating margins, how their, how their ability is to, um, manage their cost base, and all these things will drive [00:16:00] value in the future, um, and that's what you're sort of looking at when you're looking at analyzing companies, and that's what we're trying to teach people, so it's a very short, each, it's a, you know, we have a premium and obviously a free service where we write about these companies, And we're looking at predominantly US and UK stocks, but really explaining how the business makes money, the fundamentals.

Imran Dean: So the balance sheet, the financial stuff, but we don't tend to, um, focus more on numbers. We focus more on the qualitative. So what does it mean? Because we found versus everyone else that you'd read reports and I was in the investment world that when you look at institutional reports, it tends to be just numbers focus, which is very easy to do now.

Imran Dean: And data, you know, we live in the data world, so it's so easy with Yahoo finance. To get all the numbers you need for a company, but they don't, they're not meaningful. And it's all about the story element, um, about the qualitative side. What does that mean? You know, if you say, let's say for example, Volkswagen's made Volkswagen's revenue this year was X billions.

Imran Dean: What does that mean? There's no context behind it. You've got to have a narrative. It was a really good book, actually, for those who are interested in, in understanding this world a bit more called, um, Numbers and Narratives by [00:17:00] Aswath Damodaran. Fascinating. But it's, it's all about. It's not just about the numbers, it's about the narrative that you say, and that's where the valuation is, and the value is, right, because you're buying a company for its future cash flow, and that's a story, because you don't know what the future cash flow is, that's what you're pricing in, and the more stable companies, you can say, like a utilities company, you can say, okay, and It's quite a boring company.

Imran Dean: It's quite obvious that it's going to grow as a steady space, but let's say more interesting companies, more technology driven companies like Tesla, you know, well, what could this company be worth? And that's where you look at different markets. So, well, if they entered, you know, they're looking at, let's say batteries or if they sell batteries, you know, companies and what's the potential treasure address of the market there that they can do.

Imran Dean: So you have wanted to put us market, but they're entering different markets. Or you look at Apple and you say, well, The airports have just created a new vertical for them, a new revenue stream and that market, so that's why they, you know, they can, they can have more value, they can have a higher valuation or, or this talk about, let's say the car, well, that create a massive new market, right?

Imran Dean: And new opportunities, and that's what justifies huge valuations. So you [00:18:00] look at things and say, well, this is really expensive, but it's what they can potentially do, which can justify that and actually say, well, actually, it should be worth even more. Uh, it's a skill, but that's what we're trying to educate, you know, people that, that, so it's a passion of mine, so we, we do that.

Imran Dean: And. There's a lot of learnings I've made because I've always been in the investment world. And you say, well, why can't you do this and this and that you're very structured and methodical, but when you actually do it, you realize, actually, it's quite hard just to get this one thing right. And what I found is you're always time poor.

Imran Dean: You always, you know, there's a lot of things you can do, but you just don't have the time and that's where a team comes in, right? That's where you have to have a really good team because you've got to be able to outsource that to people to do a good job of that. Because you just, you won't have enough time to do that as you want to go to the next stage.

Amardeep Parmar: How did you get it off the  ground like in the first place? Because as you said, there's so many people on Instagram giving advice, which is kind of a bit not too great to be honest. Then you're coming in with this more like sophisticated approach, more mature approach, like we want to actually help people and to actually help people understand not just help them make quick money, [00:19:00] but obviously that controversy does sell.

Amardeep Parmar: So how did you kind of get people to be attracted to? this kind of real information and get those first people to start like reading your stuff and to grow that. 

Imran Dean: So we've tried lots of things. A lot of things have failed. So we, we started off with, we just did a premium, uh, closed website where people would just sign up.

Imran Dean: And then we thought that that would work. And then realizing that. And through maybe the Instagram, we could get people where you just didn't get any traction. And then I think about 18 months ago, I said, no, um, we need to be doing free content. So we pivoted away from just doing lots of blogs and lots of writing.

Imran Dean: So we've hired two freelancers to help us with writing, all SEO focused all around, um, what's going on with the U S stocks, UK stocks. And that's done really well on SEO because we've just been doing organic traffic. So we're getting a lot of organic traffic on the website. And through that, we've built a series of eBooks that we give for free.

Imran Dean: And we also have an investment guide there as well, which, which is a, uh, sort of a feed into the service and premium service. And we give people the chance of having one or two free premium reports. So it's just being through SEO and we've [00:20:00] got a YouTube channel now. So we're going and analyzing those companies.

Imran Dean: And if people want to be the full report, they can. So it's all about just, just getting out there and building the, building the brand and all the different social media platforms where you can get reach. Uh, and then also having that email list where we can tap into people who really want to learn more about, um, companies and if they want to

Imran Dean: learn more about specific stocks, they can sign up to premium, but it's, it's a learning progress process recently. We've just started about a few months ago looking at industry reports. So we've said, and that's all for free. So if you go on our website and you look at, um, the money called common, you go in sectors, you can see, okay, how do you analyze, um, how do you look at hydrogen stocks?

Imran Dean: How do you look at mining stocks? What are the things you need to be looking at? Are the key metrics and what are the companies involved? ‘Cause that's something that I wish I had, you know, when, when I was looking at, you know, when I was an analyst. You would say, well, how do you look at oil and gas companies?

Imran Dean: If you've never been in the oil and gas industry, what do you need to be looking at? ‘Cause it's completely different industry. What are the metrics? How does this business work? You know what, you know, what's upstream downstream, who are the [00:21:00] players, what things do I need to be looking at? And I, you at CapEx, which is capital expenditure, which is basically the money that you need to invest into building the equipment, right.

Imran Dean: To go and to do the drilling or. Um, and then maintaining that there's a cost to that or growing that. So there's all these interesting things that you'll only learn once you have a good foundation. So these kind of primer documents give you that foundation. And then we got one of these emails from one of the people saying they really loved that information and that's what we realized that It's probably initially we thought it was for everyone, but we realized anyone who's interested in investing but we realized that no it's going to be people who want to read and have that extra thirst for having a bit more depth. That's going to be our market.

Imran Dean: It's a slightly maturer retail investor, which I think has emerged. And it goes back to your sort of point where sometimes it's, it's a market isn't developed straight away. It takes time. So initially you look at YouTube, right? YouTube at the beginning was cats and sort of those sort of videos. And then you had people doing just general videos and now you have sub niches of [00:22:00] niches, right?

Imran Dean: So you have people who've done really well and just built massive followings on a very sub niche. Like you saw here, the story about the XL, the girl who's built a massive thing on Tik Tok, we're just selling XL. I think, wow, she built a business just on XL, but maybe five years ago, six years ago, the market timing, which I was mentioning, wouldn't have been there because there wasn't just enough people on the platforms to do that and a big enough market.

Imran Dean: But now you've got that, and now you've got the ability to sell and all these tools. I believe that allow you to show whether it's gum road and all these things that allow you to sell information products very, very easily. Um, so yeah, it's that market timing of getting it right. And now we're starting to see on the back of Robin Hood and loads of people have invested in the markets and not having a bad time because of stocks came down, probably rethinking and saying, well, I want to know a bit more.

Imran Dean: And that's what we're trying to offer like equity research, but for the retail investor, which is a bit easier to read and shorter and more informed. And we have our own unique cog score where we rate companies from zero to a hundred, um, based on all sorts of factors. And that's done well based on our, based on our history of analyzing that performance.[00:23:00] 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And  it seems like there's a lot going on here. So you mentioned about the team, but how much do you think you spend a week on this? Like how many hours do you think you spend? 

Imran Dean: So not spending enough time for, so I want the key is I sort of realized that, you know, and we've, the way we're doing that now is we've got a dashboard.

Imran Dean: So one of the things I've realized is, and we spent a few months ago, just because both of us are sort of quite busy because it's become a side hustle. How do we better manage our time? What are the most important things? So we've looked at things which are key performance indicators, right? What is going to turn out some most value in this business.

Imran Dean: So we, I deconstructed the whole business and I said, these are the pillars. This is our content engine is what drives all the value we do that. And we always, and that's something we do a lot. So every week we are spending, you know, six to eight hours on producing content and also producing the premium content.

Imran Dean: So analyzing companies. Then it's the YouTube videos to sort of for the outreach and doing that well. And then it's the sales and marketing. So those are the functions we need to be working on and that's where we spend our time. So we've got a dashboard on, okay, just do, just do [00:24:00] the work, just putting the tasks in and then being able to do them because when you're, when you're building something on a side,

Imran Dean: there's so many things you have to do, you have to prioritize what works. And it's that rule isn't that 80 percent of your success is going to come from the 20 percent of the work that you do. So you've got to figure out what that 20 percent is and that's what you need to be making sure you get right.

Imran Dean: But then also doing the other things as well. But that's why you've got to have a to do list and a task that works or a productivity system that works for you and how you can get things done. I think that's skill. And if you look at anybody who's built sort of big businesses, the same thing that the one thing people forget is you can't do everything.

Imran Dean: There's, there's just not enough time. And it's the skill of prioritizing what you need to be focusing on and when in a given day, because you're not gonna be able to do everything. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And it's a lot of things as well, based on systems, like you said. So if you're not a system based person, then get somebody on board who can create the systems for you.

Amardeep Parmar: ‘Cause it's something I've struggled with in the past where a lot of my stuff is like creativity based. So it kind of has to come from me. But then there's all the admin stuff, which doesn't [00:25:00] necessarily need to be me. But it's still hard to let go of it because it's your baby, right? You're building your business and you want to be in control of all these different bits.

Amardeep Parmar: But I might notice something which like nobody in my audience would notice. So I'm, like, fussing over something for a few hours. But there's no actual value being generated from that. It's just me wanting to make it in a certain way. And that's the kind of thing which you said, like, get people on board to do that, help out.

Amardeep Parmar: And what's, like, something you wish that you knew before you started The Money Cog? Because you said you've been through so many different iterations, you've learned a different business model. But, like, if you were, like, on day one, and somebody could have given you that bit of business advice, What do you wish they had given you?

Imran Dean: I think it's all about that framework and structure, having, making sure that you, when you, once you have the idea, is thinking through logically, not like, I wouldn't say logically, but having an idea of a blueprint. And now that you've learnt it, you have a blueprint. So I said to my co founder, I said, look, we've now built this sort of [00:26:00] Dashboard and KPIs.

Imran Dean: We know the blueprint of how we need to get to where we need to get to. So we've wasted a lot of time by just doing something for too long and not seeing it all work. Whereas now we have the blueprint dashboard. We're analyzing that data. So for example, we look at our, we look at our own pages and we look at conversion rates and we look at how much traffic we're getting on certain pages and what's doing well and then doubling down on that and saying, well, how did we improve this year?

Imran Dean: Why aren't we doing well? But we didn't do that as much before. We would just do that and then think, Oh, it's just going to take time or um, we've just got to, um, do more content. You're like, no, but we need to figure out what's, what we need to be doubling down on. And that's the, that's the blueprint that I wish I sort of had going forward.

Imran Dean: And that just comes from saying, okay, well. I've realized that you have to spend certain amount of time on the product. So we did, we spent ages to build enough of a content base for the product and whether you're building a physical product, you do need to spend months on that to get a really, because at the end of the day, people are buying the product that you're selling, right?

Imran Dean: And if it's not good quality, then nobody's gonna, gonna stay for long. So you've got to build a high quality product. So you've got to spend X amount of times in your [00:27:00] head saying. I've got to build a great product and then I'm going to focus on sales and marketing. Uh, and sometimes people focus on the other way around.

Imran Dean: They focus on, and that's the mistake I made. I was trying to sell a market when I was like, no, we need to build a great product first. And that was when my co-founder was focusing more on it, which was, you know, let's focus on the product, um, and make it perfect before selling it. I mean, there's maybe right or wrong in it.

Imran Dean: I'm not sure. You probably have speaking to other entrepreneurs. You've seen some people where you just sell ahead of what they built. So, you know, you have pre orders for things or people upselling something before they've. Actually built it, but that comes from their ability to know that they can build that product.

Imran Dean: And I didn't have that confidence. So we were like, okay, let's just build something first and then do it. But again, it's blueprints and having a structure. That can get you from A to Z and knowing, and that's being a self aware, isn't it? Saying, well, we aren't on the right direction. And you only know that if you've got some form of roadmap that you're trying to follow and then you can say pivot, right?

Imran Dean: Okay, now this isn't working. We need to be doing this, this and that. 

Amardeep Parmar: I  think you touched on the right thing there as well, but saying how the strategy is different depending on where you are. So if [00:28:00] you come from a corporate background, but you haven't built something before, then you're going to need to spend a bit more time on it because you don't yet have that confidence you can build something where serial founders, they've got this like.

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah, they exude confidence, right? They've done it before. They can do it again and they've got no worries about it. They can pre sell. But if you're doing that as a first time founder, you're putting yourself under a lot of pressures to then deliver. And there's all these different things that you never think about.

Amardeep Parmar: And I think that's something I've learned as well, is that you're having your, there's, you make a plan, but that plan always fails in reality. You've still got to make that plan to help you get there. And then you keep adjusting the plan based on what happens in reality. And like I said, with the stats you're getting, the feedback you're getting and then updating it.

Amardeep Parmar: And there's a phrase that's often used, which is like, fail fast and often. And I believe a lot in that. It's it, rather than, for example, the BAE HQ, the logo, what it is at the moment, it will probably change. The website will probably change how it looks. But I'll get feedback based from people, like whether they like it or they don't like it.

Amardeep Parmar: And then update it. Whereas if I just sat there by myself for like a year, trying to make the [00:29:00] perfect logo. It's never going to be perfect. And I think especially in the sales marketing side, that's where a lot of people go wrong is they focus so much on, Oh, what color should I use? What fish should I use?

Amardeep Parmar: Like if your product isn't good, then it doesn't matter how good your website looks or how, ‘cause you'll get the feedback and the reviews who will say that it's rubbish and then nobody will buy it and you'll just waste a lot of time.

Imran Dean: And that's because of coming to the investment world, I know all these other things that are just distractions because you've got to focus on the product.

Imran Dean: Um, and it just, you've got to focus on, um, you mentioned a point about serial entrepreneurs because serial entrepreneurs have the blueprint in their head, so they know exactly what they need to do and when they need to do it. We need to build a really great product and we need to build it in six months, then we need to be doing this, this, this and that.

Imran Dean: So they know the journey because they've been on that journey before. So they can easily replicate it, right? And that's just the human brain that you could just replicate the model. And that's where the experience comes in, doesn't it? Um, but it's an interesting point because I've learned even for myself from the Money Cog is where.

Imran Dean: It's a great way. You, you learn a lot about yourself and what your weaknesses are. Like, you know, you have complimenting skills. My co founder is much more technical than I am. So he's got the technical [00:30:00] sides of the SEO and the website and he's built it. So you're gonna have complimenting skills is really, really important.

Imran Dean: But yeah, no, obviously with what you're building here, it's great. And like you say, it's going to change, but you're going out and doing it. And I think a perfect example is people can relate to is the fitness world or losing weight is if you go every day to the gym without a plan, you're not really going to get anywhere in life because you're constantly changing things and pivoting.

Imran Dean: Whereas, and if you follow a plan, like you say. It might not get you the best result, but you will see a change. It's just how it is. You will see a change. And I've seen it, you know, I put on weight recently since having a, having a baby girl. And, um, that's sort of, you know, not being able to spend time in the gym and that.

Imran Dean: And so I've, I've lost, I've put on weight, but I've done it before. So I know exactly what I have to do. But it's just commitment, isn't it? And seeing results consistently. And I think that's the thing is showing up every day, showing up every day is what I, you know, what I was doing, but having a plan and then saying, okay, this plan isn't working, let's kind of move on and being able to adapt because I've seen as well that the people, you know, some people have [00:31:00] great ideas and great businesses.

Imran Dean: But they don't grow it and they stay in one place. It's such a great product because they're not really thinking about a plan of where they need to be next and what they need to be doing. And they're so obsessed with this one thing that they don't think about the next step, next step, next step. So yeah.

Amardeep Parmar: You mentioned there as well about your little girl and your family. That's really important to you. And I think sometimes men, especially where it's not often wondered, like, how did you manage the money cog and your company and your day job? Whilst also like having a baby who's like waking up in the middle of the night and trying to like do your bit for your, your wife as well and make sure you're helping her out.

Imran Dean:  It's,  it's hard. It's, it's something that, you know, I've discussed with my wife and she's on board with it and I think it's really important that whether you're in, in relationships with other partners that you're discussing your goals and ambitions with them and then they buy into that, that this is what we're doing and it's for us.

Imran Dean: That's together and they sort of bind up then having times and moments where you do spend time with the family and picking your moments. It's never easy. I think it's always, it's a balancing act, isn't it? And I think people always talk about, oh, [00:32:00] I want a work life balance and thinking you can work nine to five just for five days a week.

Imran Dean: And that's going to make you really successful or doing that. It, the reality is the world is a very, very competitive place and the value that you're giving and, you know, doing just that many hours, it's probably difficult for you to build something extraordinary. If that's what your goal is, right. If you're very, very ambitious, I'm not saying there's any wrong with working nine to five, but I'm just saying, if you're very, very ambitious and you want to be, let's say the 1 percent of, in terms of, let's say building successful businesses.

Imran Dean: Then you do have to be at that level and a perfect example is sports. That you know, if you look at I mean, I'm a big tennis fan If you look at the tennis players at the top, you've got to be working at that ethic that the top players are working at to beat them. You know, you look at someone like um, what's the Australian one called Nick, Nick Kyrgios, right?

Imran Dean: he is an amazing talented player, but he doesn't have the work ethic of Novak Djokovic Or, uh, [00:33:00] Nadal, and, um, Al Khavith is the one who's just recently won, he's just really young, but he's got an amazing, you know, amazing talent, but he's obviously had that work ethic, and he was saying about it, that it's come fast, but he said, look, I've worked really hard, so it's that work ethic, isn't it, that's going to get you there, and that's where you have to commit, like, we were talking about it earlier, weren't we, we were saying, that to get to these extreme places in life is a cost, everything has a cost in life and it's knowing that price that it's going to cost you and then being okay with that, um, is what you're doing.

Imran Dean: If family is important to you, then you've got to accept that. Okay. I won't be, you know, at this level, I don't want to be a CEO because family is important to me. And you've got to know the price of that person's paying that is that he will spend less time with them. If you want to be spending lots and lots of time, there's nothing wrong with that.

Imran Dean: That's just for you to understand what you want in life. 

Amardeep Parmar: It's all about alignment, right? It's about. Because I think where sometimes unhappiness comes from is people want to have certain things, but then it's not aligned with the effort they want to put in. It's like, if you want to spend loads of time with your family, then do that, but then you're spending your time in different [00:34:00] ways.

Amardeep Parmar: And it's, it's knowing what's the right level for you, which is quite hard. And I think that's where self awareness comes in. It's, I want to build this thing that I'm really passionate about. But at the same time, I'm going to make my goals slightly less because I want to spend more time with my family and it's just knowing that, right?

Amardeep Parmar: Whereas if you're trying to do both at the same time or say you want to spend like 12 hours a day for your family, but also 12 hours a day working because you've got sleep too. So you've got to like work that out, right? 

Imran Dean: And you mentioned the point about happiness, which is really interesting and, uh, touching something for you personally to you as well, which is.

Imran Dean: This concept of happiness, I think, is overrated because you want to have all emotions in life. You want to be human, you want to be experienced, you want to have, right, grief and sadness, right? When something personal or a tragedy happens personally in your life, you want to feel that grief and sadness as part of being able to understand your emotions and say, you know.

Imran Dean: You, if you've lost a loved one or you want to feel sadness and grief, but then at the same time you say, well, I'm extremely proud of what you know in your, in your case, you know, losing, you know, losing a father. And you know, that's something that you want to say that he said an [00:35:00] ama, you know, you were talking about how he, how he's raised you and you're so fortunate.

Imran Dean: To have someone like that, not everyone else has had that, and it's, at that moment you feel sadness, but then also you feel so happy that you had that time with them, short period of your life, and you'll always remember that, so it's feeling all emotions, is really, really important, so it's more about being fulfilled and, and feeling that you've, you've had a good, fulfilled life.

Imran Dean: You know, you've been a good human being you've been, um, you've also done well in terms of you've achieved what you felt you could achieve based on your abilities, but you've also, like you said, had family, you know, you spent time with family. So if you want to have all of those, you want to have all emotions, right?

Imran Dean: Ups and downs and everything. It's just part of being human. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And like I mentioned earlier about my father's like, I am very lucky in terms of like, um, like I had him in my life for  30 years and like the kind of emotional support he gave me, he believed in me, the reason I'm doing what I'm doing now and have the confidence to get up and be in this video is because when I was nervous about going full time into the creation world and doing my own [00:36:00] business, he said, yeah, go for it.

Amardeep Parmar: You'll be fine. Whereas I was worried about like, Oh, but I don't know if I quit my job and what's going to happen. And part of that now is about like, because I have been lucky, it's trying to work out how can I use that fortune to try and help other people. And that's what this podcast is, is people might not have my background or my luck.

Amardeep Parmar: So if I can share lessons with people like you, then that's going to help the people listening. And for the people listening, like what's something that maybe they can contact you about if they're looking for help or they're looking for advice or what's something which you think that you could help them with?

Imran Dean: Yeah, so I think whether it's going into career finance, I can help them with that. Whether it's even looking at startups and investing, you know, understanding how that venture capital startup funding works. I can help them with, with that. Those are the two areas. Even if it's anything in life, whether they want to someone to call and support or some sort of mentorship, I'm more than happy to help right within the capacity I can in in helping with, um, anything to have it with their struggles or personal things that I could help with more than happy to do that.

Amardeep Parmar: And then the BAE HQ itself is a community, right? So [00:37:00] what can people in the audience who are listening right now, or even myself, what can we help you with? What's something you're looking to build upon or to learn more about? 

Imran Dean: So for me, with The Money Cog, it's understanding a bit more about YouTube, how we can grow on YouTube.

Imran Dean: Also, from the investment world, it's understanding, we're looking at things around metals and mining and things. So if people have a focus on that, that would be good to learn a bit more. Um, from that specific as well. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. So thank you so much for coming on Imran. It's been a pleasure. Have you got any final messages for the audience?

Imran Dean: No, I think my final messages are, always believe in yourself and don't think that just because of where you come from you can't achieve something. You know, anything is possible. It doesn't matter where you come from. You know, everyone, when you read a new success story, you're like, wow. I didn't realize that so and so could do it, but you know, you can, and it's just believing in yourself and putting the right work ethic in and becoming an expert in whatever field you want to do.

Amardeep Parmar: Thank you for listening to the BAE HQ podcast today. [00:38:00] In our mission to inspire, connect, and guide the next generation of British Asian entrepreneurs, 

Amardeep Parmar: it would mean so much to us if you could subscribe to our channel, leave a review, and share this with your friends.