After his first furniture business, Ocean, imploded under the stress of too much growth, Ahmad took time out to consider just what went wrong after selling the company for virtually nothing.
“I really forced myself to take the blame,” he says. "I’ve met a couple of entrepreneurs who have blamed something else – the banks, the environment, the market; I think that’s a bit cowardly. You don’t progress if you blame other people. I spotted my own weaknesses and what I needed to fix.”
Ahmad was subject to a year-long non-compete clause under the terms of the sale. After the 12 months were up, he decided he wanted to do something similar as “I didn’t want to lose all the experience that I’d gained, as painful as it had been”.
He’s certainly learnt from his experiences: Dwell now turns over £35m and employs 250 people. Ahmad adds: “I’m much more pragmatic in business now. I try lots of things but if something doesn’t work, I ditch. I’m more honest with myself and more realistic. I’m not so starry-eyed.”
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