... was in my first company, Ninah Consulting, where we had a model that optimised sales in the pharmaceutical industry. We did a deal with SmithKline Beecham whereby we allowed it access to the core of our IP (intellectual property) in return for a global agreement. That gave us a solid income stream, work in multiple markets, and a great reference brand, so that all the other pharmaceutical companies were keen to work with us. It looked scary, because we were effectively handing over a bit of our IP. To a small business, corporates often look scary, but having a parent like that worked really well for us.
Another great decision I made was in buddi. I hired a salesperson who everybody said was really expensive. We were very much a start-up and some of our investors said: 'Are you sure you should be doing this?' But it was exactly the right decision, because the revenues that they bring in make it so worthwhile.
Don't be too scared to take on a big cost if it's the right person.
My worst decision was to sell too early another company I founded - it is now confused.com. A lot of investors said it was the right thing to do, but the company is now worth more than 10 times what it was then. You have to follow your conviction, practise what you preach and have faith, because if someone offers you cash, it's tempting to take it.
Typically, people offer cash only at the point where you've done the hard work and the company is turning into something great. A start-up is exhausting, and if someone comes along just when you're turning the corner and says: 'This company looks like it's going to be great', and they offer you money, you tend to take it. When you've been living on nothing, the offer can seem like a lot of money.
With buddi, we're just turning the corner and we have firms sniffing around us. It's tempting, but I'll try not to succumb. It's a difficult market and it could still go wrong - there is no stage as an entrepreneur where you can think: 'I've finally made it.'