People

Published: August 11, 2020 | Updated: August 11, 2020

“As with all life’s challenges you have two options – turn back or run straight at them”

Sunny Ratnam, Founder and Director, Instant Access Europe Ltd and GTM Europe.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Looking back the entrepreneurial sparks were there for all to see.

Quite literally.

Just eight-years-old, and growing up in the Midlands, Sunny Ratnam took it upon himself to organise a firework display in his street.

He raised the money for the fireworks and sorted the catering, including jacket potatoes.

Sunny and his wife, Lisa. The couple met at the Bournemouth 7s Festival.

“Everyone was talking about having a display but no-one was organising it,” said Sunny.

“I stepped in – and I loved it.

“Even at that young age it taught me that anything is possible if you work hard and put your mind to it.”

Fast forward to 2018.

Now aged 35 – and more than a quarter of a century after that firework display – Sunny had reached the limit of working for other people.

In his words:

“I was in a job that I wasn’t happy in and at a company where I just didn’t fit.

“I had worked hard my whole career to get to this position.

“My salary was too much to just throw away and I was about to become a father.

“I felt like I couldn’t escape.

“Then it happened.

“A moment which pushed me over the edge, igniting the burning desire that I’d been suppressing for years.

“It was time to start my own business.”

And that’s exactly what Sunny did.

He founded Instant Access Europe Ltd and GTM Europe.

Instant Access helps brands reach millions of customers in the UK, Europe and USA using eCommerce platforms such as Amazon.

It also trades directly with select UK retailers including Dixons Carphone, Ideal Shopping Direct and Ryman.

Meanwhile, GTM Europe – the GTM stands for ‘Go To Market’ – is a full-service sales and marketing agency for brands wishing to grow sales in an existing country or tap into new markets in the UK and Europe.

Two years after their creation and annual revenues have grown from £60,000 in the first year to £200,000, then £850,000 and are on now on course for £3m.

But for Sunny, who lives in Ferndown and is married to Lisa – the couple met at the Bournemouth 7s Festival – life could have turned out very differently.

He said: “I was never someone who conformed but was always questioning and something of a natural rebel.

“I went to Loughborough University and studied a BSc Economics with Politics but spent much of my time playing rugby and working in a bar.

“At the graduation I was listed with a Third.

“My aunt, who was like a grandmother, said: ‘What are you doing with your life? You are just messing around.

“A short time after I was also very sick and hospitalised when a chest infection turned into TB.

“It was a period from hell but it made me look at things in a different way.”

Sunny, who has a daughter, Lara, aged two, moved down south and started his climb up the corporate ladder.

Sunny with wife Lisa and daughter Lara, aged two.

He worked for a variety of companies, including Data Select – owned by entrepreneur and TV ‘Dragon’ Peter Jones – Fonehouse Group, McAfee and Jabra.

The positions ranged from Head of Marketing to Sales Director.

Now – two years after going it alone – the 37-year-old has these words of advice for anyone thinking of setting up in business.

He said: “We are in unprecedented times.

“While choices may feel limited, I wholeheartedly encourage anyone who has a dream to start their own thing to do it.

“Now is the time. Tomorrow may never come.

“If you don’t put yourself out there you’ll never have the chance to succeed

“The life of an entrepreneur is not for everyone.

“It provides the highest highs but also the lowest lows.

“The road ahead is still uncertain and is sure to be full of more roadblocks.

“As with all life’s challenges you have two options,

“Turn back or run straight at them.

“For us, we’re just starting to speed up.”