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Second time lucky: The art of launching your second business

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For some lucky/talented entrepreneurs lightning does strike twice, or even three or more times, and they are able to create a business that emulates their earlier success. 

Having been part of the family that built the Forte Group of hotels and hospitality group, Rocco Forte lost out in a takeover with Granada. However he took his expertise, and crucially his name, regrouped and re-entered the hospitality sector with a new upmarket offering, Rocco Forte Hotels.

Clothes designer George Davies was a serial success in clothing retail, from establishing Next in the 1980s, through the George at Asda ranges, to Per Una at Marks & Spencer.

More recently, Ultimo bras boss, and Prime Minister David Cameron’s latest business tsar, Michelle Mone has put her entrepreneurial zeal and personal brand behind the launch of a new jewellery business. Michelle Mone for Diamonique claims to live up to her “work hard, play hard” philosophy, which has also seen the Scot launch a tanning brand, UTan into Boots stores.

For every Forte, Davies or Mone who manages to relaunch a successful business in an area where they have already thrived, there’s a Gerald Ratner or Freddie Laker who never quite regains past glories. So what makes the difference?

Past performance is not a guarantee of future success

One of the most important things that entrepreneurs must remember is that past performance is no guarantee of future success. Entrepreneurs can be headstrong and with a track record of business wins can think that they know best, and that everything they touch will turn to gold. 

But that is not necessarily the case. Even the mighty Steve Jobs had limited success with his first post-Apple project, Next Computers, after being booted out of the business he founded. Although Next was in some way ahead of its time, it was pricey and sales were limited. When Jobs returned to Apple his eyes were set more firmly on the mainstream.

Getting the business case right is therefore key. 

Continue reading on page two…

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