Matt Franklin, Managing Director of Roc Technologies, leaves the audience inspired by success that came from adversity
19 October 2017
“To succeed – and Roc Technologies is succeeding big – you have to experience failure” was the opening message from Matt Franklin, who delivered the ninth talk in the ‘Talks on Enterprise Development’ series at Henley Business School on Monday 16 October 2017.
The talk, titled ‘Creating Opportunity from Adversity’, covered Matt’s experiences as Managing Director of Roc Technologies and highlighted that success and failure co-exist and that failure should not be feared but should instead be a source of learning and inspiration.
Matt cited multiple examples of successful entrepreneurs who suffered adversity, such as Steve Jobs when he was fired and Bill Gates whose first business failed miserably only to rise and pursue a new opportunity and succeed. “Persistence and boldness” was the imparting message.
Matt, who is a former winner of the ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’, spoke with great sincerity of his early days selling farm produce by the roadside, where he learned the essential skill of ‘selling’. This experience helped spark his entrepreneurial flair and his career since then has been nothing short of a rollercoaster.
Following his graduation with a business degree Matt had set his ambition to become a corporate lawyer, but instead he changed direction and after a short spell at Cabletron he and two others founded Prime Business Solutions. This proved to be a major success and they sold the business several years later for £22m and enjoyed the ‘good life’.
Whilst the others continue to enjoy the fruits from selling the company, Matt returned to work with 2e2, which brought Prime Business Solutions. Sadly 2e2 failed and Matt talked of the sobering and life-defining experience of managing the company’s end, particularly the sadness and the pain that the employees were subject to.
Faced again with a choice, Matt joined with two others and acquired Roc Technologies, which they have built into a success story. Today Matt is the figurehead and architect of Roc Technologies, which has won multiple awards – most recently it was recognised as one of the UK’s 1,000 companies to inspire Britain in July 2017 by the London Stock Exchange Group.
For Matt, creating success comes down to:
- Focus – To quote Winston Churchill, “Don’t stop and stare at every dog that barks”
- Back to basics – No emails
- Empowerment – Trust, no blame culture, learn from mistakes
- Environment – Encourage collaboration, create a joint plan
- Time out – Blue sky thinking, ideas, move outside your comfort zone
- Invest in relationships – Customer, colleagues, industry
- Break the glass ceilings – Believe in your plan, create the BHAG (‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal’) and put everything behind it
- Get the right people doing the right roles – Ask ‘Will it make the boat go faster?’
And… ‘Don’t be afraid of failure’.
Whilst Matt was talking his story was being told against the backdrop of streaming pictures and press cuttings, making it an experience for the audience to fully appreciate.
With Matt Franklin in the driving seat the future is bright for Roc Technologies and the company might even be one of the stars of the public market in the future.
Members of the audience had plenty of positive feedback about Matt’s talk:
Erica Purvis, Founder of Technical Nature: “Great, genuine and honest talk.”
Chris Dodson, Chairman of Torftech and Business United: “Informative and inspiring.”
Danny Walls, MD of Frontline Telemarketing: “Great talk; inspirational.”
It was a real pleasure to have Matt Franklin on campus and to hear the story of Roc technologies. We wish Matt and Roc Technologies continuing success in the future.
The next talk in the series will be on 19 March 2018 when Dan Wagner, an accomplished British serial entrepreneur and founder of a string of companies including MAID plc that was sold to Thompson Reuters for $500m, will deliver the tenth in the Henley ‘Talks on Enterprise Development’ series. Look out for further announcements at: https://www.henley.ac.uk/research/research-centres/henley-centre-for-entrepreneurship/hce-news
Henley Business School is committed to work with the SME community in the Thames Valley Region for mutual benefit.
Contact and Notes:
Jurek Sikorski, Executive Director, Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship
Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship
Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship is part of Henley Business School at the University of Reading which provides a hub for teaching and research in the subject, inspiring students from across the University to embrace, develop and apply their entrepreneurial abilities.
The event was kindly sponsored by James Cowper Kreston and supported by the Thames Valley Business Growth Hub, Thames Valley Science Park and Vital Six.