Dmitry Leus, the director of London-based Imperium Investments and founder of the Leus Family Foundation, speaks to Business Matters about his commitment to helping young people from all backgrounds discover the self-belief and drive needed to become an entrepreneur.
Dmitry Leus, a businessman living with his family in the UK, feels every young person should feel a huge sense of possibility about creating their own business, believing his own story, from his birth in Turkmenistan, the poorest corner of the Soviet Union, to a business built up from the bottom rung, means it is possible for anyone. But Leus believes that attitude is everything.
He explains why he holds the belief that anyone can become a success in business: “Any success is energy. Like all energy, it does not spring from nowhere, but is converted from other energy. To get the results you want, you need to be ready to dedicate significant resources. When I talk about resources, I really do not mean money. Resources include time, effort, and the ability to sacrifice something important.”
He expands: “All people from birth have enough energy that nature gives us. Enough to convert into what we need. This resource is much more important than, for example, initial capital, connections or a gifted mind. From my point of view, the importance of the mind in business is greatly exaggerated. I have met successful businessmen who, in my opinion, did not shine with intelligence. They had something different. It is best summarised with Churchill’s phrase: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
A willingness to take risks is important for Leus. He explains: “There is no need to be afraid of making mistakes, you just need to take it and start doing something. Most likely, there are many difficulties and mistakes ahead, but this should not scare you, because a mistake is the best thing in the world. It contains everything we need for the future. If you make a mistake, you will gain experience, if you do not make a mistake, then you will move closer to your goal.”
He goes on to explain how crucial is to build resilience. “The main thing after a mistake is to have the strength and courage to correct it and to take the next step taking into account the previous experience.”
For him, there is great advantage in being able to hire smart, educated and capable managers. He believes there is a big difference between “manager mindset” and “owner mindset.” For him, it differs primarily in the level of responsibility and risks that a person bears. He explains: “When you work as a manager, you realise the goals and objectives of the company and act within the framework of business interests, but your responsibility is limited. When you are an owner, you must think strategically, covering a wider planning horizon and it is you who sets the goals and objectives that the manager implements. Only you see the full picture and the ultimate goal. The manager should avoid risks. The owner should not be afraid of mistakes.
For Leus, there is a huge potential for future projects and solutions in the mistakes: “I firmly believe that a business that is managed remotely cannot be successful. The owner needs to be inside, keep his finger on the pulse and have leverage – because no one except the owner is ready to take on all the risks associated with the emergence of different situations.”
He believes that to get the maximum engagement of a manager, one should give them a share in the company: “As soon as an employee becomes a partner, their effectiveness increases significantly. Because they is no longer invested in someone else’s success, but in their own.”
Leus also brings this philosophy to his choice of business partners or contractors, explaining: “I intuitively have deeper trust in those companies in which the owners are also top managers. In my projects, I also always participate personally, especially when I open new directions, regardless of the size of the business.”
What advice does he have for young people dreaming of launching their first business? “If you are ready to open your own business but doubt whether you will pull it off – do not hesitate! Just start! Desire is already a huge energy. The only thing that holds us back from achieving our goals is our own limitations that we create for ourselves. Be sure that the path on which you have taken will definitely lead you to the result and you will get great satisfaction from achieving your goals. The reason we are here is to realise our goals and our potential.”
Dmitry Leus is the founder of the Leus Family Foundation.