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James Lohan

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Name: James Lohan

Age: 41

Company: Luxury and boutique hotel experts Mr & Mrs Smith

Turnover: £24m

First job: Packing videos in a warehouse for six weeks over the school holidays. It was a terrible experience but it taught me to work hard and focus – I didn’t want to have to work in a warehouse ever again.

Dream job: Professional tennis player (if you can call that a “job”).

Car: Something classic with great-smelling leather, an exhaust that sounds wonderful, and a wooden steering wheel.

Economy, business or first-class: It depends how far I’m going and how tough the schedule is on arrival. Never first-class though. I’m afraid I’d never be happy behind the curtain again, and I can’t afford it.

Most extravagant purchase: A vintage Rolex watch. I’m not telling how much.

Most played song on iPod: “What’s the Story in Balamory?” My four-year old son insisted on it daily for two years, and now my younger daughter has taken over. It’s driving me nuts.

Best business bookDelivering Happiness by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh for its clear-eyed emphasis on the importance of customer service.

Worst business moment: Being turned down by every publisher we approached with our first Mr & Mrs Smith hotel guide.

Proudest business moment: Publishing it ourselves.

Business mentor: No-one specific – just great business partners and a brilliant advisory board. 

Next big thing: Recommendation-driven social commerce. Every web user will have the opportunity to make money from their personal networks.

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