What I wish I'd known

Mar 10 issue
A long and distinguished career in retail came to an abrupt end for former Woolworths CEO Trevor Bish-Jones when he left the chain shortly before it went into administration. He’s now throwing his weight behind recruitment website mypeoplebiz

What I Wish I'd Known

Five years ago Adam Stafford’s search engine optimisation (SEO) and web design agency Fresh Egg was on the brink of bankruptcy. Now the business has sales of over £2 million and Dragons’ Den star James Caan recently joined as chairman.

Katherine Corich: My best business decision

Dec 09/Jan 10 issue
After qualifying as a commercial pilot, New Zealand-raised Katherine Corich decided to pursue a career in information management. Her company, Sysdoc, now turns over £12 million globally and UK sales grew more than 42 per cent last year

Michael Norton

Nov 09 issue
From setting up a fresh pasta business to running a pineapple factory in Costa Rica, Michael Norton has experienced all the highs and lows that business life has to offer. Currently, he is the managing director of 

What I wish I'd known: Scott Nursten

Oct 09 issue
After Scott Nursten’s entrepreneurial dreams fell apart in Zimbabwe, he came to the UK and started IT company s2s. The business has won numerous awards and was acquired by technology company Bailey Teswaine in 2007. He is still managing director

Chris Murphy

Sep 09 issue
Chris Murphy set up his marketing company, Fox Murphy, in 1997 and relaunched the business as Balloon Dog last year. But reinflating the business to give it a much-needed lift wasn’t easy

Barry Norman

Jul/Aug 09 issue
Behind Barry Norman’s languid exterior and velveteen voice lies a firebrand who squared up to John Wayne and Robert De Niro. The legendary film critic is now heating up the taste buds of consumers throughout the country with Pickleodeon, his range of spicy onions 

John Schnatter

Jun 09 issue
Twenty-five years ago in Indiana, Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter sold his car to buy his first pizza oven. The franchise now has sales of more than $1 billion and just opened its 50th store in London

Hedley Aylott

May 09 issue
BAFTA-winning Hedley Aylott trained as a composer in Manchester and, while working with felons, released the first-ever record from a British prison in 1995. In 2000, he co-founded digital marketing company Summit Media

Margaret Wood

Apr 09 issue
Following the death of her husband, Margaret Wood founded high-tech windscreens company ICW UK at the age of 46, as a means of supporting her three teenage sons

James Frost

Dec 08/Jan 09 issue
Coast Digital CEO James Frost sold his price comparison website,, for more than £12 million, but he’s the first to admit it’s been a bumpy ride

What I wish I'd known

Nov 08 issue
Film school graduate and former Panorama documentary maker Nick Glynne gave up a successful career in the media to open a computer shop with £3,000. He now runs IT company Easycom, which is about to hit sales of £100 million

Andy Woods

Oct 08 issue
Andy Woods stepped off the corporate ladder to join independent UK brewer Adnams 14 years ago. Having steered the company to sales of £50 million, the managing director believes that in business clarity is everything  

Richard Denny

Sep 08 issue
Gentleman wheeler-dealer Richard Denny is a direct descendant of Sir Walter Raleigh and former partner of Tariq Bin Laden. He has written five business books, runs his eponymous training company and tours the world giving motivational speeches 

Jane Asher

Jul/Aug 08 issue
Jane Asher has starred in movies opposite Michael Caine and Lawrence Olivier. She’s written novels and regularly treads the boards in the West End. Despite all that, nothing could prepare her for the highs and lows of running her own business, Party Cakes

Tom Weston

Jun 08 issue
Back in 1999, Tom Weston hired a chief exec to take the reins, allowing him to become chairman of the company he had founded, Sunrise Software. Three years later, Weston discovered Sunrise was on the verge of going under.

James Butterfield

Apr 08 issue
James Butterfield is a serial investor in fast-growth companies. He has over 25 years’ experience advising small and medium-sized businesses on a range of activities, from stock market listings to mergers and acquisitions and fundraising

Rachel Elnaugh

Mar 08 issue
Rachel Elnaugh shot to fame in 2005 as one of the investors on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den, but crashed back down when her gift experiences business Red Letter Days went to the wall, along with her career as a dragon

Felix Velarde

Feb 08 issue
In 1996, Felix Velarde founded eCRM specialist Underwired. A year later, he launched B2B multimedia company Head New Media, which he went on to sell to Lowe & Partners, the fourth largest advertising agency in the world at the time

Rich Ambler

Dec 07/Jan 08 issue
Rich Ambler runs Brighton-based language training specialist Cactus. It provides courses in 25 languages across 45 countries and its clients include Channel 4, BT, Burberry and The Royal Bank of Scotland

Mike Southon

Nov 07 issue
Mike Southon co-founded The Instruction Set in 1984, following a period treading the boards and working as a site manager on oil rigs. Five years later it was bought by global IT consultancy Hoskyns and since then Southon’s worked with numerous growing companies. He is co-author of The Beermat Entrepreneur

Tony Moloney

Oct 07 issue
A year after Tony Moloney started Anthony Alan Foods, the company won the UK licence to manufacture cakes under the Weight Watchers brand. In its first four years it achieved organic growth of 7,600 per cent to £20.6 million

Chris Mottershead

Sep 07 issue
Chris Mottershead is a travel industry veteran. He was president and CEO of North American leisure group Airtours before changing course to steer online travel specialist Travelzest through a turbulent period for the sector to land record profits

Jennifer Irvine

Jul/Aug 07 issue
Jennifer Irvine launched The Pure Package in 2004 as a home-delivery meals service tailored to meet customers’ individual dietary needs. In its first year, The Pure Package delivered 70,000 meals and achieved a turnover of £200,000. It has since grown into a multi-million pound operation

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones

Jun 07 issue
Three years ago, Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones launched his food brand ‘The Black Farmer’, daring to take on the big stores and their labels dominating the market. Based in Devon, his range of sausages, burgers and barbecue products is now stocked in major supermarkets across the UK.

Dave Brooks... wish I'd known

May 07 issue
Dave Brooks is CEO of cakemaker Finsbury Foods. Since taking control in 2002, he has seen profits rise as a result of his hands-on approach to management and business.

Charles Cockell: What I wish I'd known when I started

Dec 06/Jan 07 issue
Charles Cockell, managing director of hotel and conference management company Booking Services International (BSI), worked his way up to lead a management buyout of the company in 1995. He now jointly owns BSI with chairman Simon Milstead and during 2006, was recognised as one of the top ten travel management firms in the UK by Business Travel World...


Mike Tobin: What I wish I'd known when I started

Nov 06 issue
Charismatic Mike Tobin is CEO of data centre provider TelecityRedbus, as well as a member of the Magic Circle and one-time Father Christmas to a children’s ward. He joined Redbus Interhouse in 2002, grew turnover to more than £50 million and has now completed a reverse takeover with TeleCity Group. In 2005, the London Chamber of Commerce and Business awarded the company ‘Business Turnaround of the Year’...


Christian Nelleman: What I wish I'd known when I started

Oct 06 issue
Serial entrepreneur and high-flyer Christian Nelleman founded XLN Telecom in 2002 to offer an alternative telecoms service for small businesses. The company’s growth was phenomenal, advancing 800 per cent in the first year and has continued in the same vein...

Simon Tate: What I wish I’d known when I started

Sep 06 issue
Simon Tate took control of family pharmaceutical business Wallace Manufacturing Chemists at the age of 22. Seven years later, as managing director of spin-off Kew Health and Beauty, he’s providing bespoke luxury health, beauty, cosmetic and personal care solutions and the company reports year-on-year growth in excess of 85 per cent...