A SECTION FOR ENTREPRENEURS: Coming up fast - Decisions

A SECTION FOR ENTREPRENEURS: Coming up fast - Decisions - MY BEST ... Earlier this year I appointed Paul Fray as COO for Benjys. As a management consultant, he didn't have a classic retail background, but he was a first-class executive whose exuberance an

by IAN RICKWOOD, Benjys Group
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

MY BEST ... Earlier this year I appointed Paul Fray as COO for Benjys. As a management consultant, he didn't have a classic retail background, but he was a first-class executive whose exuberance and energy would be a great fit. I debated in my own mind and with the board the benefits and risks of choosing a known performer/off-profile background rather than an unknown performer/on-profile background. The decision to back known talent proved right. For a hands-on CEO, passing over key decision-making and internal communication is hard, but with Paul running the operation I can focus on brand and business development and an appropriate exit strategy for my VC backers.

MY WORST ...

All my bad decisions have a common theme: trying to do things too quickly. Having lots of ideas is taken for granted in an entrepreneur, yet if the execution fails the idea fails too. In our quest to open new sandwich shops around London, we took a unit in a prime West End location that relies on evening trade. But we didn't change our format and range sufficiently to cater for that market. The result is our first-ever lossmaking unit. We have to decide whether to drop the unit or play with the format - either way it will cost money. I've learnt that business is 20% strategy and 80% execution.

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