Telling the truth about SME life today

Peter Jones gets a grilling

What is your all-time favourite invention”It has to be the mobile phone. I don’t know what I’d do without it now. To be able to talk from anywhere in the world and email/surf the web at the touch of a button is fantastic.

What’s your favourite city to do business in”I love London apart from the traffic but my media work has meant frequent recent visits to LA which has the benefit of all year round sunshine.

Apart from yourself, which famous businessperson do you think would do best at The Apprentice Probably Theo as he is almost as competitive as me and would be great in any task that involved selling.

What was your first ever job I helped out my local tennis coach when I was 12. This meant I learned first hand some of the skills of teaching tennis, as well as how to organise the business. As soon as I turned 16 I took my LTA exams and started my own coaching business.

In a nutshell, what is your morning routine My days are so varied that there is no normal routine, often I’m up very early to get to meetings or filming sessions in which case it’s a light breakfast and then I start working in my car which is almost a mobile office. If I do have time I enjoy taking my children to school because I know it’s important to try and balance your business and personal lives.

Who is your perfect date My girlfriend Tara but if she was away then dinner with my four girls would be great.

What are your top desert island discs”Cosmic Girl by Jamiroquai and Iceland by Hamfatter.

What is your favourite TV show (apart from Dragons’ Den)As you can imagine I don’t get much time to watch television but I enjoy Top Gear and it was great fun being on the show earlier this year. Another one of my favourites is Prison Break and CSI Miami.

Which public figure / celebrity would you most like to see pitch on Dragons’ Den?Watching Jeremy Clarkson pitching for investment in a new environmentally friendly car would be fun.

What is the most important piece of technology that you own”My Sony VAIO is an essential part of my working life and my blackberry is pretty essential.

What do you look for when you’re deciding on a new piece of ‘kit’ – does it have to look good or is it all about functionality?Functionality first but work takes up so much of my time that I enjoy playing with any new gadgets

What do you think is the secret to achieving success in business”There is no one secret but good advice is to treat setbacks as a learning experience rather than a decisive blow. I also think that with the availability of information these days there is no excuse for not researching thoroughly.What excites you most, big business or small start-upsBoth have their challenges but there is nothing like that moment when you see someone who realises that their business dream has become a reality.

If you could be someone else for one day, who would it be and why”I don’t really envy other people but because of my love of tennis I could cope with being Roger Federer for a day.Describe yourself in one sentenceEnthusiastic, driven, passionate and ambitious.

When you were younger, did you have a dream career, what did you want to do?From a very early age I knew that I wanted to have a successful business career and I’ve been lucky and had experience in lots of different sectors.

If you could do any job in the world, what would it be I honestly wouldn’t swap with anyone.

What’s the best advice you could give someone starting out in business”It’s always hard work setting up a business, so make sure you’re doing something you genuinely care about. Doing it just for the money isn’t enough.Tell us something interesting that we don’t know about you.I’m 6ft 7ins so shoes and socks are a bit of challenge!

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