I ask Adam when his fascination with computers begun and what spurned a flair for business at such a young age. "I loved computer games and had inherited a very old computer to play them on. At the time the larger brands such as Dell and HP were dominant in computing and very, very expensive. I started researching the components of a computer and it turned out that there was a massive markup on these constituent parts.
It then became apparent to me that I could save a lot of money by building the computer myself. I spent months reading and studying online and eventually built my own computer. I then built computers for friends, and the next step was to advertise online. The rest took off from there!"
As his first line of distribution, Adam began to sell computers via online auction site Ebay. When I ask Adam for the figures, he tells me he was selling 4 computers a day during the summer months when he was not at school, with a production line set up in his living room. So far Adam made it look easy, so I ask him to break down what he thought were a few key factors for the triumph of his first business. "Firstly, I knew the target market, being the target market myself. This allowed me to offer exactly what consumers wanted at a reasonable price. Competitors without this information were forced to copycat product offerings in order to keep up. Also, it became my job to know exactly what components had the best performance for its cost in multiple price ranges, as well as keep up to date with product releases up to 12 months in advance. Combining this with my technical knowledge I was able to ‘overclock’ computers, giving up to 40% extra performance at little or no extra cost to the consumer." In terms of advice to budding entrepreneurs launching their first business, Adam suggests SME's do their homework. "Equip yourself with a knowledge of your market so that you immediately have an advantage. Plan out your sale from start to finish so you can debug problems before you begin. Do trial runs and make sure you know your numbers! I generate excel spreadsheets with 100’s of columns wide to evaluate a new product line. The final thing is to just go for it and be willing to work. Success doesn’t come easy!"
To any average 20 year old the level of accomplishment reaped by Adam would be enough. Was being the Director of his own company the end to Adam's ambitions? "In 5 years I would like to end up in Silicon Valley in the US. The level of entrepreneurial experience out there is unrivalled throughout the world and there are so many high growth tech businesses.
I also hope to be a senior executive at a large organisation or at the helm of a small but high growth tech start-up. I know I have more experience to gain so hopefully the next 20 years will help me achieve this."
Displaying an abundance of self-belief and vision, as well as an inspirational story of teen achievement, Adam assures me that there has been a negative element in his efforts to challenge an already established market, dedicating every waking hour to advancing his level of knowledge within the IT field. "It's been a lonely road. It's inevitable that the more success you receive the easier it is to become a target of jealousy. I've just had to expect it and move on." Although he doesn't go into specifics, he assures me that criticism aside, customer feedback is essential. "I didn’t understand this for a while but all feedback, whether good or bad, is great for your business. The worst thing that can happen to a supermarket for example is for a customer to have a bad experience, not to return and never tell them why. Feedback allows you to improve and gain information."
We look forward to tracking Adam's future victories and are happy to have given him well deserved recognition through our Young Masters programme. Adam won his award as sponsored by Google for his extraordinary displays of innovation that only seem to be charging constantly to the next level. We wish him the best of luck in what can only be a bright future and career!