Assean Sheikh

Assean Sheikh graduated from the Saltire Fellowship in 2014 and is now leading Flavourly, the UK’s fastest growing gourmet food, snack and craft beer discovery service.

Prior to Saltire Fellowship, I had been running my own venture, Direct Mechanics and experienced burn out from over 18 months working in and on the business. It was this experience that made me seriously consider the Fellowship.I had always known that I wanted to build a successful business, leaving my secure graduate banking job to create Direct Mechanics. After Direct Mechanics, it therefore made sense, to give myself the best possible chance of success in the long term, in terms of skills, network, mindset and experience. The Saltire Fellowship seemed the perfect fit.

The Saltire Fellowship really changed the way I approach business. The learnings are vast and very practical, but specifically in three main areas:

  • Getting the right team & culture is the most important aspect of a successful venture. I have spent a lot of time hiring the right people who are multi-skilled and fit into our culture - this has been crucial and is now paying dividends. Too many companies hire too fast and fire too slow, which is extremely costly in a start-up.
  • Focus on the key metrics that drive results. Using what I learned at Babson, I created a dashboard of our key metrics, which we use to monitor our progress and growth. It helps the whole team stay focused on our goals.
  • Form partnerships, not transactional vendor relationships. We've taken time to really understand the drivers and wants of our stakeholders to ensure that we are aligned so that we both benefit together - this is a longer term approach that has yielded some strong results.