7 lessons learned: Barinder Hothi, MD of The Knowledge Academy

Barinder Hothi, MD of The Knowledge Academy looks at the seven lessons she has learned since starting her and her husband’s business, with the benefit of hindsight.

Barinder Hothi-left, Dilshad Hothi-right

1 Innovate

We have found that it is important to use technology to automate, innovate and improve our quality of service. The Knowledge Academy are pioneers of new technology and try to use it wherever we can to streamline a process or make a job easier.

2 Go global 

There is money to be made in the UK, but the world is a big place and there are hundreds of different markets to move in to. Of course The Knowledge Academy established itself in t he UK market first, however, as soon as it was financially viable we expanded into America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The Knowledge Academy now operates in over 200 countries.

3 Be brave 

Starting a new business is scary, especially if you are going into a market with well-established companies. Nevertheless, you have to forget reputations and believe in your business, what you are selling and what makes you better than your competition. You need to be prepared to punch above your weight and be willing to upset the apple cart.

4Don’t be complacent

Gaining initial success doesn’t mean that you have arrived in the marketplace and are there to stay. You have to continually work to keep your business moving forward because early wins don’t guarantee longevity. You need to remember that your business was once the new kid on the block and if you have succeeded, why can’t someone else? You and your business need to constantly evolve.


As much as you would love to, you can’t do everything yourself. Admitting that is the first step to putting a successful team in place. Relinquishing control can be difficult at times, but it is vitally important to acquire or grow your management structure early on. These are the people that will be at the forefront of innovating and pushing your business alongside you.


You cannot succeed in business, or in anything, without being dedicated. In order to get The Knowledge Academy off of the ground, we were working extremely long days to try and acquire clients and accreditations. We believed in our business and our products so we pushed through being a small start-up company to now being the market leading PRINCE2® certification supplier.


It is very easy to get carried away with success, especially if it comes very quickly. You have to remain calm and constantly put on a logical and rational business head. It is important to take risks in business, particularly when you want to evolve, but these risks have to be calculated and evaluated before any drastic action is taken. More often than not, you will find that these risks will be worthwhile and pay dividends.