My name is Bion Behdin, I am one of the founders of First AML. I am the Chief Revenue Officer and I focus on ensuring we meet our customer acquisition and revenue goals. Prior to starting First AML, I was working in Commercial Banking as a Senior Relationship Manager. AML was always such an issue for me and my customers, and I feel very strongly about developing a world-class solution to such a painful problem.
What time do you wake up?
I wake up at around 6:00am each morning – I usually set an alarm for 5:30am and snooze until 6:00am.
What’s the ideal way to start your day?
I love to start my day with music. It’s usually upbeat stuff that’s not too serious. When you have to be on-form at the office all day, it’s great to start the day a bit goofy. Lots of singing in the shower!
What is your morning routine?
Black coffee to start the day and 3 big glasses of water. Dehydration is a big cause of fatigue, and I find forcing myself to get hydrated early is a great way to start the day.
How soon do you begin doing work-related things each morning?
The morning is very much ‘me time’. I usually start work early but the morning rituals involve no reading of emails. I find this puts me in the right frame of mind to deliver high quality responses to emails.
What’s your media consumption or interaction like?
NBR is a great site to keep up with changes in the business community as well as information about other great New Zealand start-ups. Other than that a lot of podcasts and economic reports from the Bank. One of the main things I do miss about Banking is the amount of information flow. Staying on top of what’s happening in the wider NZ economy helps you understand your customers buying position, what’s important to them and allows you to have more meaningful conversations.
What would you do during a typical day?
My day comprises management of staff, higher end customer pitches and ensuring the revenue functions in the business are always operating well.
Where do your best ideas come from?
I get my best ideas in the shower! I know it sounds silly, but often great ideas come when you are relaxed and centred. Not knee jerking and making rash decisions is so important.
What does inspiration look like for you?
I am constantly inspired by my peers. Seeing New Zealand entrepreneurs do well really inspires me. We are really lucky in New Zealand. The innovation of founders, the ease of business, supported by a willing government and a emerging Venture Capital market makes New Zealand a very exciting place to set up global businesses.
What has been the most transformational business practice you’ve implemented at your work?
It’s more of a management style, rather than a practice, but empowering your staff to make decisions has been huge for us. As a founder there are a million and one things to do everyday. If you don’t delegate and get help, you can spin your wheels and get nothing done. We’re lucky to have such a talented bunch of individuals working for us that can pick up tasks and deliver some truly amazing outcomes. Empowering your staff in this way, leads to good staff retention, less stress for the management team and overall better results for the business.
What social or environmental issues inform the work you do, as well as what you’re aiming to do with your company’s overall vision?
Working in the AML industry we have a pretty clear social goal of reducing the harm of Money Laundering through Australasia. This comes to life when our work directly contributes to stopping ML/TF. The vision for our business is to reduce the compliance burden on regular people, so more time can be spent on higher risk decisions.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Hands down when we update our deal whiteboard with a new customer. Sales can be tough, you’re constantly faced with competitors undercutting you, explaining your value proposition and helping clients understand why we have the best in class solution. When that work pays off and you’re closing deals, it’s important to celebrate that with the staff.
What about the least enjoyable?
I’ve always been allergic to an excess of internal meetings – when they drag on I tend to want to move on.
What’s your best productivity hack?
Noise cancelling headphones! When you are in the zone, make sure the people around you know not to disturb you. Focus on one task at a time and ensure not to jump from place to place.
Do you measure your accomplishments?
I consistently measure myself against myself. That’s the best way to measure productivity and accomplishments. ‘Am I better than I was yesterday?’ is a question I always ask myself.
Do you get stressed? If so, how do you manage it?
I’m probably one of the more relaxed sort of people out there so don’t really get overly stressed. I always try to focus on the things I can change, if things are out of my control, I try not to stress about it. I have a gratitude journal which I try to write in at least 3 times a week. I write things that I am grateful for in the day. This has really changed my perspective on a lot of things and made me generally happier, highly recommended!
What is your evening routine?
As a founder I don’t think you can ever really switch off. It’s part of the journey of trying to grow a business. There’s always a part of your mind that’s focused on tomorrow, the journey of it all intertwines with your life in ways you never thought possible. However making time for cooking, or a podcast/TV show is always a good watch to try and turn off.
Any food and drinks that help you throughout the day?
Always start the day with a black coffee. I don’t tend to eat breakfast so generally fast until midday.
What time do you go to sleep? How many hours of sleep do you aim for?
I try to get to bed by 11pm each night with around about 7 hours of sleep each night. I probably should try to get some more!
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