Having being impressed with Steven Bartlett on Dragon’s Den I have become a bit addicted to listening to his podcast ‘The Diary of a CEO’. I find it a great way to increase my knowledge, understanding of other business models and be empathetic to other business leaders. It is comforting to know that even the most successful people have had their ups and downs on their business journey.
The latest one I listened to was with Ben Francis, the founder of Gymshark, which he launched in 2012, aged just 19, form his parents’ garage with his school friend Lewis Morgan. Lewis left the business a few years later (although did retain a 20% stake initially).
The first interesting point was that Ben admitted he and Lewis had a different vision for the company and that is partly the cause of them going their separate ways. Neither vision was particularly better than the other but it was the fact they were on different journeys.
- If you are in business with a partner do you share a vision?
The second interesting point was in 2015 Ben stepped down as CEO to become the Chief Brand Officer and recruited a CEO. He said this would allow the company “to grow even more quickly” and give him time to “work on my weaknesses and become a more rounded businessperson”. He then went on to become Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Product Officer before recently resuming the role of CEO.
For me it takes great strength of character to ‘step down’ from leading your own company and to learn from an experienced CEO what ‘good looks like’
- Are you aware of your development needs and what are you doing to address them?
I can help you work on your vision and also help you address where the capability gaps are in your business that need to be addressed.