Decisions: Juliet Davenport, Good Energy Group

The founder and CEO of the renewable electricity supplier on her best and worst decisions.

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

MY BEST... One of my best decisions was to get a really good PA. I've had her for three years and what I find as I grow up with the business is that my job is now to be ambassador for the company. I spend a lot of time out of the business, so, logistically, I need someone here to manage me and to tell me when they think that there are problems with people within the organisation. It's about keeping me plugged into what is going on inside the company while I'm on the go.

Another good decision was that Good Energy would always provide 100% renewable energy. People have talked to us about supplying brown energy (generated from coal or gas), but being 100% renewable puts clear blue water between us and the rest.

The decision to compete on quality rather than just on price has been important for us. Three years ago, the electricity market lost many start-ups that competed only on price. They couldn't cope with market movements. Going into recession, we've spent a lot of time making sure that people still believe in the quality of what we do.

MY WORST... was one of my hiring decisions. Two years ago, I recruited a senior manager because the business was growing to such a size that I needed to stop dealing with day-to-day matters. Entrepreneurs can be awful in terms of not letting go, but I listened to too many people telling me that I needed to make sure that I did. I brought somebody in, let them get on with it, and then people started to tell me that they weren't sure it was working. I nearly let go too much.

I managed to remedy the mistake, but the four months when I loosened the reins had a lasting effect on the business - I had to nurse it to recovery for nine months afterwards. I'd brought someone in who had knowledge of the renewable energy market - there aren't many people at senior manager level with that. But as soon as I'd seen them at work and started paying attention to what people were saying, I realised they didn't have day-to-day management skills.

Just because somebody knows the industry doesn't mean they know how to run your business.

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