Law was fascinating, but it was too far removed from actual business. In banking, I was involved in business processes, but it was at 30,000 feet. I couldn't be very entrepreneurial. So I went and did what I'd always wanted to do: if you don't get on the pitch and kick the ball around, how do you expect to score a goal?
It was transformational, but I quickly learned that business isn't easy. You can't have a good idea, some money and decent execution skills all at the same time - it doesn't work like that. It's not about plans and strategies; it's about the people who work for you.
Another great decision was rebranding Outsourcery last June. We'd acquired Genesis Communications in 2007 (a division of a FTSE-100 firm), and added three businesses. All four had different cultures. We spent six months talking to stakeholders to create new company values. This bold decision transformed the business: our strong single identity brought us all together.
MY WORST ... is a variation on the same theme: indecision. Sometimes when you're an entrepreneur, you have to cut your losses. People are in a better position at that point than they'll be six or 12 months down the line, when the wheels have fallen off. I've run an investment fund and seen that the entrepreneurial instinct is just to keep going, even though you can see it won't end well. For an investor, that can be frustrating: you don't always have the control you'd like, because you don't run the company.
I'd been involved in a vehicle where I was trying to raise £60m. We worked on it for six months, running up fees, but I saw after just a few months that it was going to be difficult. Rather than calling it a day, we kept going. Eventually, a cornerstone investor pulled out. By that time, we'd incurred hundreds of thousands of pounds in extra fees for professional advisers.
Business is about making more good decisions than bad decisions, and as long as it's that way around, you're OK. It's knowing when to pull out.