Brainfood: Decisions - Sumerah Ahmad, Club Asia, co-founder of the award-winning London radio station

MY BEST ... was deciding with my sister Humerah to set up the business in the first place.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Neither of us had any previous experience in radio, so we had a phenomenal potential to fail. The likelihood of brand-new, would-be radio operators winning an application for a radio licence in the most competitive market in Europe against heavyweight radio broadcasters like Emap, GWR and humungous companies like Disney - that's just preposterous! We decided to do it anyway, and I think that our naivety worked for us. Maybe if we'd had a better understanding of how tough the market is, we would have given up. Sometimes, what you don't know works more to your advantage than what you do know.

We really did have to devote our entire attention to it and there was absolutely no guarantee that we would get the licence because, when someone else is making the decision, you can only do so much. At the end of the day, it was out of our hands, so we just had to do the best we could and then sit back and wait.

MY WORST ... was going too fast too quickly - we just got way too excited.

We wanted to do everything yesterday, and we thought it was fantastic and couldn't understand why everybody else didn't think so. That was detrimental, because we pushed everyone in the company too hard, to the extent that they needed a holiday, but we couldn't give them any because we were on air.

We overextended ourselves and really put a lot of pressure on our teams - they were overworked and a little bit confused. No-one really knew what to focus their energies on. There wasn't much structure and we were doing a lot of firefighting. When the entire company has that attitude, you know that something is wrong. We wanted to hit the ground running, but instead we hit it at a sprint.

You can't sustain that and therefore you need to find a good pace you can keep up with. So we reassessed the situation and slowed it down. Some things we continued to do to cement our position in the market, but we did hold back a little bit.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime