Ink-cartridge retailer John Sollars, founder of Stinky Ink, on being a grumpy old man, fraud scams and the Wolves.
Name: John Sollars
Age: A wrinkle-free (I wish) 57!
Company: Stinkyink.com selling ink cartridges for every make and model of printer
Turnover: 2011 forecast is £3.8m
First job: Sailing the oceans as a radio officer in the Merchant Navy
Dream job: Rear Admiral in the Navy, so I can play with my own full-size aircraft carriers – not just in the bath!
Car: Mercedes Benz SL350
Economy, business or first-class: Long haul, it’s first class. The levels of service and comfort far outweigh the costs, especially when you are 6’2” and getting a bit of a grumpy old man. Short haul, I can only fly a maximum of four hours in economy without getting very ratty.
Most extravagant purchase: Mercedes Benz SL350! Closely followed by my season ticket for the Wolves (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC). Albeit not as expensive as my car, and over the years it has given me more grief than pleasure, but every year it gets renewed more in hope than expectation.
Most played song on your iPod: “Private Investigations” by the Dire Straits which, to my mind, is just about the very best pop song every written and recorded.
Business book: Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh – every business should be about over-delivering what your customer expects, but also making sure that everyone in the organisation is signed up to that core philosophy.
Worst business moment: When my second business went bust in 1992.
Proudest business moment: Hitting £1m turnover with Stinkyink.com in our fourth year of trading (even after a fraud scam nearly bankrupted the business within weeks of opening).
Business mentor: Hugh Bird-Jones who is a friend of many years, and a businessman and entrepreneur in his own right. He always talks sense and helps me work out a very clear view of where I want to be and the best way to achieve it.
Next big thing: Technology shifting onto the cloud.