Shane Lake is co-founder of Hungryhouse.co.uk, the UK's premier online takeaway food delivery service.
Role and company:
Co-founder of hungryhouse.co.uk
Growth forecast for the next three years:
We aim to have increased company turnover by four times in the next three years.
In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:
Hungryhouse is all about bringing a better food ordering experience to the people. Choice, convenience, reliability and quality are the key benefits for our customers.
What's the big vision for your business?
To revolutionise the takeaway industry for both customers and restaurants through continuous digital innovation.
Current level of international business, and future aspirations:
We have recently merged with Delivery Hero, one of the leading global players in this industry. The goal for Hungryhouse specifically is therefore to consolidate its position in the UK market while lending its seven years' trading experience to the 13 other markets where Delivery Hero is currently operating.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:
I started out in IT, and worked as a Lotus Notes consultant for many years. Eventually, when the arrival of internet technologies in the early 2000s made Lotus Notes mostly obsolete, I had no other immediately relevant skills to fall back on.
This is what actually prompted me to start Hungryhouse – I couldn't find a job, so I had to create my own. The learning here is to always keep an eye on where your career is heading - and keep your skill set fresh and relevant. Be inquisitive and learn new things, even if they aren't related to your day job, because you never know when that day job might be gone.
What makes you mad in business today?
Dishonesty. I think I am too honest for my own good. And I have probably made making a success out of Hungryhouse harder than what it should have been, had I been willing to cut a few corners and rip a few people off here and there. But I think in business you should treat your customers, suppliers, associates and staff the same way you would like to be treated.
It might take you a bit longer to build your successful business, but at least you will also have the respect of those people you dealt with along the way.
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?
Acceleration of the channel shift from telephone to online. Many people still order a takeaway via the telephone. This channel shift to ordering online will accelerate, especially with the improvement in mobile technologies.
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? If not, what can be done to improve things?
We really struggled raising finance for Hungryhouse until we met Delivery Hero. We even shook hands on a deal with the Dragons that fell through. £100,000 for 50 per cent of a company that is now worth millions was a deal they are probably regretting walking away from, although I am certainly not!
To raise money as a new business, I think you just have to be lucky to meet the right funder, at the right time. The government forcing banks to lend more money to small business certainly hasn't worked from my perspective.
How would others describe your leadership style?
Relaxed and fair. Being Australian, I am rather laid back when it comes to most things in life, except sport of course.
Your biggest personal extravagance?
I just bought my first ever new car - a BMW X5. Not terribly extravagant, but the first "reward" for the ten years of blood, sweat and tears that has gone into Hungryhouse. The journey isn't over yet, so any further extravagances will have to wait!
You've got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK's independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:
Continue to improve and add to the schemes that are designed to encourage entrepreneurial businesses such as Entrepreneur's Relief, EMI and EIS.
Anyone involved in entrepreneurial business, whether they are investors or founders or key staff, should have additional benefits provided by the government compared to the normal tax payer, because of the higher risks being taken, and the important part these businesses are trying to play in the economic recovery.