Staying Positive As A Business Owner Through Tough Times

By Tony Restell

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Ketan Dattani InterviewI recently had the opportunity to interview Ketan Dattani of Buckingham Futures. We talked about experiences of being an entrepreneur and staying positive during the pandemic. In particular we tackled:

1) How did you adapt your family and business life when the pandemic struck - and what can we learn from your experiences to be more successful over the coming months?

2) What are some of the things you'd recommend to other business owners and leaders to sustain positivity and optimism during times like these?

3) Any tips on managing your time and finding ways to cram more responsibilities into your day?

Hopefully will be a great help to fellow business owners out there.

Watch the full interview

Here's the full video, a transcript of which follows underneath


Sure. Well, thank you very much, Tony.

I am not sure exciting is quite the right word about the year that I have had.

So I'm Ketan Dattani. I'm the CEO and Founding Owner of Buckingham Futures.

We're a specialist in Environmental Health Recruitment Agency.

Covering the length and breadth of the UK. So, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Established the business in 2013.

And based in Stanmore, North West London.

Fantastic, and when we were first speaking you were telling me,

how you'd had to adapt your family life, your business life when the pandemic struck.

What are some of the things that you can share with us that you learned and others could learn from what's worked for you?

I learnt a lot and I'm still learning.

Lockdown just came in all of a sudden.

As I mentioned to you previously I've got four children.

So juggling the business remotely, which is something I'd never done before and homeschooling which is something that I've never done before. That was a challenge.

So I was running the business, but at the same time, I was a PE teacher, I was a Maths teacher, I was an English teacher.

Me and my wife we were chefs, we were pseudo friends.

So the first couple of days it was a challenge and it's just a new way of doing things really completely for everyone as well.

But I was of the mindset that I need to really get some sort of structure to the day if this is going to work, because it was, as I said it was really, really difficult.

So if we were going to get some kind of structure to the day.

We would have to have set times for like breakfast time.

We kind of worked around the school timetable as well, because the schools were sending stuff home, it was really getting the children in the mindset of learning without the teacher being present and without their peers there and with their different ages there's different sort of learning abilities and different homework.

So that was, the real challenge was just adapting to the new way of doing things.

And also personally, on a personal level what I found quite challenging is to run a team remotely because we are office-based and with it being a recruitment business we like the buzz, I like being around my team members, and I like sometimes bouncing ideas off them, and I find it quite lonely.

Even though there's a lot of people in the house, No one I could talk to about the business.

I was of the mindset that it took a long time to sort of build that whole culture and you had to be there in person in order to maintain that culture?

But, thankfully I have been proven wrong and I'm excited to look, I know that you need to be a lot more versatile in terms of home working, and it works and it took me a long time to realise that actually, it is really about having set times and breakfast time and we'd have break times and we'd have lunch and we sort of do that as a school day, really.

Not so much now with the school holidays.

But also, it wasn't just the school because obviously the children couldn't go to the after school clubs or the activities.

And I couldn't even drop them off to my parents.

So you know we were in each other's pockets.

Thankfully the house is big enough to sort of hide from each other.

If we didn't want to interact, we didn't have to.

But yeah, that was really the sort of main challenges in the early days.

But I think for me a lot more positives came out of that than sort of challenges, because I saw that I wouldn't get the opportunity to spend so much time with my family again.

I don't know when was the last time before lockdown that I had three meals a day with my family for seven consecutive days.

We do lots of local walks and I've got to know my local neighbourhood and there are gems on my doorstep...

Natural gems, I would jump on a plane to go and see that stuff, waterfalls hills, and the views.

It's made me appreciate where I live a lot more.

And I have used this time to meditate.

I've used this time to read a lot, webinars, just upskill and I'm lucky that I've got a really good network around me of like minded individuals Keeping each other motivated and really sort of growing together through this pandemic.

That's something I wanted to touch on really was if you had any particular tips around how other business owners can stay positive during these kinds of times, with limitations on what they can do, disruptions to the way they would normally work.

Any other things that you found have really kept you motivated and positive?

Absolutely, so really having a good network around you.

It's not like you can meet people and go for a coffee, or go for a pint.

It's meeting them by video.

We can't even shake hands with anyone anymore, At best you may touch elbows if you do meet them.

It's really having a good network of like minded individuals and really encouraging each other.

So I do know a lot of business owners around me and some of their struggles would be different and I don't know any businesses that haven't been affected by it.

So everyone has been affected in some way.

But it's really looking at it and analysing it.

It has also given me and my circle of friends that are in a similar situation.

In terms of analysing our own businesses, so I look at it from the outside in and look at what we need to streamline and what's really working and what's really not when you're so engrossed and you're so busy you don't get a chance to do that.

Make the most of the opportunity.

By nature, I think I tend to procrastinate but I don't give myself the opportunity to do so.

So I structure my day.

So I plan my day once the children are in bed the night before, I plan my day.

Assign tasks, what I'm going to do and at what time and I try not to multitask as well, because I personally believe if you're trying to do too many things you're not going to do any of them properly.

So I actually set different times, and I give myself designated times in the day to do a task and I start off with the hardest tasks in the morning.

But also, my day starts very early.

So at five o'clock, I'm up doing breathing exercises, and I do a bit of meditation, then I do a power walk with my dog, I do 40 minutes of fitness exercises using body weight or resistance bands.

By which time, I help my children to get up and breakfast.

It's changed a little bit now because they're on school holidays, we're not rigid with wake up times and stuff.

So by the time actually sit at my desk at 8:30, I'm so fired up and I know what I want to do.

I really actually just want to go through my tasks.

So, I'm challenging myself every day and this is the way because I can't meet with other people and I've got to be more in competition... and I've got to better myself every day.

So that's the mindset I'm trying to take.

And having said that Tony, there are days when I'm not, I'm not firing on all cylinders and I'm up flicking through social media. but I keep that to a minimum.

So if I got my day planned so that I'm limiting myself to procrastinate or even get distracted.

Because I have got the whole evening to get distracted, haven't I?

So that's how I try and do it and that's what I would recommend people do.

If you've got things planned and if you've got time to do them, you're only going to let yourself down if you don't do them.

Ketan, really interesting and I'm sure other business owners will appreciate the insights and the fact that you know, this impacts everyone.

So it's a question of finding ways of getting through things, finding ways of staying positive.


No one's exempt are they, COVID doesn't discriminate.

So we're all in this.

It's a case of trying to find the positives in this situation and using it to our advantage.

Using what we can find the steps of positivity and sharing that.

Terrific. If people would like to find out more Ketan, is there a phone number, a website, anything you would like to share?

I'm very active on Instagram, don't laugh but my Instagram name is Ketanova.

So as in Ketan, but Ketanova It was like a rip off of Casanova, my wife really hates it but so Ketanova on Instagram or I'm active on LinkedIn which is my full name, Ketan Dattani.

And also I have published a few articles during lockdown, which are available online about how to plan your day and how to stay positive also how to exercise without the use of the gym.

Some of these articles have been published online, so that could be sort of the final line.


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