Alex Andarakis explains how he has been in a start-up mindset for his whole career.
For many people, reinventing themselves has been the key to sustained success.
Richard Branson has continually changed his line of business, while entertainers such as Madonna, Robin Williams and Will Smith have adapted and changed as their careers have progressed in order to sustain their popularity.
Change can be a positive way to stay fresh, relevant and excited about your work, but not all change can work in your favour. Making rash decisions without the required research can lead you to failure, so it’s vital you calculate your every move.
Which is where Alex Andarakis gets it right.
The Australian entrepreneur and former corporate high-flyer is well versed in the art of the re-start. Having emigrated to the UAE more than two decades ago, his career has been varied, successful, and – importantly for him – continually challenging. Something he ascribes to his constant need to be in a start-up frame of mind.
“If you go through the history of my jobs, I’ve always been starting up one way or another,” he says.
“My first job was Unilever in Australia. The company was not a start-up in itself, obviously, but the term start-up doesn’t just relate to starting a new company. I was responsible for a number of new project launches, and was part of the team responsible for making the Australian and New Zealand offices one company.
“We effectively had to think that as a start-up, and create a new version of the company. We had to launch as a start-up, look at where the market was, how to position ourselves, where the opportunities are, and so on. We had two very different models, two cultures, and we had to redefine the organisation, the structure and products to accommodate them both.”
Moving to the Middle East with Unilever, Andarakis went on to work for Aujun Industries, of which he says: “We had an existing company which had to undergo a huge redevelopment. It was another case of having to re-start.
“During my time there it went from eight markets to seventeen markets. For each new market, we were a start up. We had to reinvent the company a little bit each time according to the market we were going into, doing all the hard work being a start-up entails.
“I then went from fast moving consumer goods to real estate with Emaar, so that was a start-up for me. I had to start again in a new industry, learning new customers, new markets, new ways of selling, and so on.
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