Innovation within core business disciplines

Podcast transcription - 19th June

Alan Cowley:                    Welcome to another Invested Investor podcast. I'm sat opposite Simon Calver. Simon Calver is the former CEO of Love Film, and also Mothercare. He's currently a non-exec director at Moo, and formerly chair there. He's been chairman of the UK Business Angel's Association since 2015. He is head of ventures of BGF, the business growth fund, which is the number one most active growth investor in the world with over £1.6 billion invested to date across the whole business.

                                           So, with a background like that, where did it all begin?

Simon Calver:                  Great question, I often ask myself that. It's interesting, my grandfather set up supermarkets years ago and I grew up in them. And I was stocking all the products on the shelf. And so after I did my degree, which was in computer science, I decided to get back in the branding world, so I joined Unilever and went through their training programme and had a great experience working through that. And then ultimately over time I gradually migrated more and more to tech, I suppose what I was doing for a degree, running part of Dell's computing business in the UK and Ireland, and then ultimately moving over to San Francisco and the Valley, and seeing an Ed-Tech business, working through that.

                                           And then it was after that, that I came back, wanted to get back to the UK, and that's when I got involved in Love Film, or Video Island as it was at the time before we merged it with Love Film to create Love Film International.

Alan Cowley:                    Okay, so how did that merger occur? And were you involved in that, or did you come in afterwards?

Simon Calver:                  No, I came in before. I came in to work alongside William Reeve and Alex Chesterman. Saul had been founder of Video Island, and Alex and William had been the founders of Screen Select. Those two businesses merged, and at the time those two businesses merged they wanted someone to come in and help run it and scale it, which is what I did. And so it was an amazing team, and clearly incredibly talented people to work with. What became apparent quite early on is that we were competing head to head with a company called Love Film, and they had really strong management there. But as a result of that head to head competition, it was likely that there was only going to be one winner.

                                           And I flew out to the West Coast, met a guy called Reed Hastings, who was the founder of Netflix. And sat down with him, and over lunch and a couple of bottles of wine said, "What's going to happen internationally?" And he said he'd wait to see what would happen between Love Film and Video Island, and literally on the flight on the way back I wrote the business plan for merging those two businesses.

                                           Got an introduction to the chair of Love Film, and then ultimately three or four months later we'd merged the two businesses to create one company that could actually go out and do DVD rental. Because remember, it was just DVD rental at that stage, it wasn't streaming. And on the back of that we built a strong brand, which was the Love Film brand, but a great operations and back end capability, which was in Video Island. So we got really the best of both worlds, and that was the platform for us growing quite significantly, and growing across the whole of Europe.

Alan Cowley:                    Okay. How did it work with the founders? So, there were two founders of the different companies and they asked you to come in and step in as CEO?

Simon Calver:                  Yeah, that's right. I think Saul recognised that he was really passionate about start-ups, and that's how he's continued quite an amazing investor career on the back of that as well. And he recognised that he wanted to bring somebody in that could 10X where they were currently. And Alex and William were part of the team as well, and we basically worked out how that was going to work together.

                                           It was quite, I suppose perspicacious of them to think, "Okay, what do we need here? And what will we be doing?" And actually sometimes certain skillsets are required at different stages of the journey. I mean although it's still relatively early, we grew quite significantly. But just the ability to put the merger together, to acquire other businesses, to scale, we ultimately ended up acquiring a large part of Amazon's business, again, which was quite a rare and hard thing to do with a company like Amazon. But we did that to create real scale across Scandinavia and Germany and the UK.

                                           And then on the back of that, we built a platform that would enable us to build our digital technology, which was the streaming platform. And that streaming platform is now the basis of Amazon Prime Video globally. And we built a strong team that could execute against that. And I think that was part of the attraction for Amazon when they ultimately acquired us in 2011.

Alan Cowley:                    So, you'd already acquired part of Amazon at this point?

Simon Calver:                  Well it was the DVD rental business. So, what we had built is a platform that managed return DVD rentals incredibly well. Amazon had an amazing platform for one way returns and selling and there's nothing like it in the world. We all know that and use it on a regular basis. But returning and managing returns and processing those and putting DVD's back in meant that we had an amazing customer experience. And of course Amazon are passionate about customer experience. And when we weren't going to do any M&E with them, we then decided why don't we think about bringing the Amazon customer based into Love Film, rebranding it Love Film, and growing together?

                                           And Amazon joined the board, they put some money in, so they became a strategic investor and on the board with us at the same time that we were doing everything that we did with Love Film.

Alan Cowley:                    Did the original founders stay in the company then?

Simon Calver:                  William and Alex stayed in for quite a while as we worked through. I mean Alex has gone on to amazing things with Zoopla and other activity, and William has continued to stay very heavily involved and is an experienced chair and leader in the tech ecosystem. And Saul clearly on the local globe. But it's interesting, there are lots of other people, Jim Buckle our CFO has gone on to be one of the COO's and leaders in Feel Unique. Graham Bosher who was involved early on created Graze, and then he created Tails.

                                           So, actually that group and cohort of people we had in the business, I mean it's a great example of when you get amazing talent together, you can achieve great things. Andrew Ground who was our chief commercial officer if you like across the whole business went on to found Tutor Fair and he's still working through that. So, we spawned a large number of people who continue to go out into the ecosystem and to begin to build the UK's tech capabilities.

Alan Cowley:                    An absolutely, prime example of a brilliant team there, that's obviously gone on to do amazing things elsewhere, which is great.

                                           Let's go back a little bit, what was it like working for global corporates at the early stage of your career?

Simon Calver:                  What you learn from global corporates is you learn the fundamentals or disciplines of running a business. You get very smart people, because if I go back into the late 80's, the ability of large corporates to attract some really good talent was amazing. They put them through very disciplined and structured training for the first three of four years, which means that you have the framework of how to think about business. I was part of the cohort involved with Dave Lewis, he's now the CEO of Tesco. You've got Alan Jope who's now taken over at Unilever. You had people who went through amazing early business experience, and you're all part of that cohort working together and learning together.

                                           So that enables you to know what good looks like, and then in your career you're able to then assess quality of talent, opportunity, business processes against what you think good looks like and how that should be. But what you have to apply to that is you can't then take the often treacle that gets involved in large corporates, you sort of have to move and think entrepreneurial. And it's really interesting how some of these large corporates now are beginning to set up their own incubators, beginning to set up their own venture funds, and beginning to think about how they can bring innovation back into their core business.

                                           And often it's hard to do it purely from inside, because you've got very busy day jobs. And so often what you do is you annex new opportunities, or new ideas, or new innovations. Or you potentially even invest in early stage companies. And that's why we're seeing a real acceleration and explosion of corporate venturing. That's why we're seeing a lot of businesses now looking to get their first customers from large corporates through accelerator programmes like the John Lewis programme is another good example of that. And I think that is a great foot up for a lot of early companies that just wasn't around 20 years ago as corporates begin to think about innovation and how they're going to change, and interestingly, put money against it.

Alan Cowley:                    As an investor yourself, do you think that it's beneficial to have a corporate background, or even a year or two if you are founding a company?

Simon Calver:                  Not necessarily. I think the key thing is, is to ensure that the basic principles of how you do business are pretty clear in your mind. Think about customers all the time, how do you put the customer first? How do you assess everything that you're doing against the impact it will have on a customer? Try and have real clarity around the product issue, or the market need you're trying to fix. I think something we can all get a bit intoxicated by technology but the key thing is how are we fundamentally changing what's happening in the marketplace? And is this a sustainable change that we can provide barriers to entry for other people trying to replicate what we're doing?

                                           So, for me, the expression product market fit is hugely important, it's to spend time early on in a business. Now, if you get that experience of understanding consumer and consumer insights, or client or customer insights by being in a large corporate, great, you can get that. But you don't necessarily have to have been through that process in order to get it. I think it's more of a mindset and thinking about business generally.

Alan Cowley:                    Okay. When did you step down from Love Film CEO?

Simon Calver:                  The business was acquired by Amazon in 2011, then it was in 2012 that I left. So, I was there for about a year after the acquisition, and that was fascinating, worked quite closely had a few meetings with people like Jeff Bezos, understanding the vision of what they wanted to achieve. And also the benefit of the capital they could deploy against new initiatives and new ideas. You'd think that Netflix had a real advantage, and clearly they do in terms of being close to DVD rental, and then ultimately digital streaming, way ahead of Amazon. But Amazon have amazing balance sheets, they have amazing management, amazing talent. And they said, "Right, we're going to play in this game." And they're going to bet, and they bet big, and they put big money against it to make it happen.

                                           So, that was a really quite exciting process to be part of. And you got a real sense of the ambition behind an organisation like that, that has continued to do clearly incredibly well on the back of that ambition and vision.

                                           So, I was there for a year and then I began to think about other opportunities. And I had a young son at the time, and was in and out of a company called Mothercare. Heard what was going on at the top of Mothercare in terms of CEO changing and thought actually that's an interesting business to get involved with. And secondly, what a fantastic company to try and turn around and help lead some of the transformation and growth plan, which is the turnaround plan for Mothercare, which I did two to three years.

Alan Cowley:                    So, how did you approach restoring Mothercare to profitability?

Simon Calver:                  We all know the story of what's happening in retail. The retail high street is a tough place, a tough place to operate, and increasingly it's going on online. So we need to ensure, first and foremost, that Mothercare had the capability to accelerate its online sales quite significantly. Kiddicare had just been bought by Morrisons. Morrisons put over 200 million invested into that business to try and grow it. They ended up writing it off. But they put a lot of money behind that, and clearly you had the growth of all the online retailers and the general online retailers going on in parallel.

                                           But in order to grow an online business, what you need is data. And you need to understand the customer. I come back to my customer insight point at that stage. And what you really need to understand is how can you sell more. The beauty of a mother and baby retail outlet, or retail proposition, is that if you have a baby who's six months now, you know that in six months' time, they'll probably be a year old. It doesn't take a finance person to work that out. So what are you going to require at different stages as your children grow and develop, that will be a proposition, that Mothercare can offer you. And if you don't have that customer data to start with, then you're just caught in a difficult place right from the start.

                                           So what we had to do was to collect customer data. About 10% of our business was online at the time, and we collected customer information on 10% of that, so we had 1% of all customers' information. That was never enough to scale an online business. So we then worked in-store. How could we collect the information in-store that will enable us to begin to grow the customer base from an online perspective.

                                           And so we introduced e-receipts. We introduced other ways that we could do it. Mothers are busy. If we could say, "Send us your email. We'll send you the details of what you've just purchased. We stand by the guarantee, it's all there, and you can come in-store and access it online at any stage." And on the back of that we were able to radically increase the amount of customer information that we had, moving from 1% through to 20 to 30% of all customers that were coming through. So we built against each store a catchment area that we could take online. And now online is sort of well over 25% plus, 30% of the business, and it's important that continues to grow. We're competing in that area, at that stage.

                                           The other side of the business is while that's happening if your business is transferring, you need to then descale and reduce the dependency that you have on bricks and mortar. And that was a tough challenge to work through in a very competitive environment, and so prove that the business really needed to go a lot quicker than the original plan, in order to get out of bricks and mortar and to concentrate a great customer experience at a fewer stores. And indeed that's what a lot of retail chains are now doing, and that's the appropriate way to do it.

                                           The advantage of Mothercare is they had a great international business, so we had to ride the cycles that happens in different international markets, and make that grow at the same time. And that was the basis of the plan. And ensuring that we had the underlying profitability growing at the same time in terms of gross margin of the product. So it really was a 7000-people organisation, touching all aspects of it and managing that, beginning to manage that transition through.

Alan Cowley:                    And how many years were you there?

Simon Calver:                  I was there two and a half years, and we made a lot of changes in terms of the growth, the business, like-for-like sales began to improve rather than be negative. But ultimately I think the business needed to move more quickly than it was. And so, I sort of, moved on and got back into pure technology.

Alan Cowley:                    Okay. Well just a quick question about going international. So with Mothercare, how did you approach each country that the company was situated in?

Simon Calver:                  So, there are many, different ways to go international. There's not just a, "We'll open a new office and we'll do that," and that can be high-risk. In fact, there're some companies that I'm working with in the portfolio at the moment who are looking to go international, and working out what is the best way to do that.

                                           LoveFilm was an acquisition. So we'd buy at infrastructure, we'd put proper processes in place to help manage that and improve the efficiency of it, and have local management. Why did that work? Because there was a lot of on-the-ground operations that we needed to have and control, that we were the only people that knew how to sort of operate the DVD rental part in Europe the way that we did. So it sort of made sense to buy those brands and to give a scale across a northern European footprint.

                                           At Mothercare, managing a large number of stores in all those different areas, that scale was going to be a harder challenge. So the model that was originally set up way back when, which was the right model, was working with franchise partners to build that out. Centralised design of the product and the clothes and the home products, and then roll through an international franchise network that they would then use their capital to invest in new stores, open those up. So you were then specific to whether you were working in Brazil, or whether you were working in India, or whether you were working in China. Each would have local people managing those businesses as local franchise partners.

                                           Again, very similar to how we managed the model at Pepsi when I was in charge of sales operations globally for that business. And what we saw, was we saw rapid expansion and rapid growth. Although the margins you get are less, the operational footprint you require is less. So there's different ways to do it. And clearly another way to do it nowadays is if you're selling in a business-to-business environment or a different environment, is potentially to have channel partners working with you that are going to market for you in those local areas.

                                           So there's not just one way to go global, or one way to go international. There's lots of different things. And your own business model will determine which you are likely to have more success with, and also assess to you individually what is the element of risk you're prepared to take and how much capital you're prepared to put in going to those different markets.

Alan Cowley:                    That's hugely interesting and insightful for a lot of businesses. So you then transitioned to venture capitalist?

Simon Calver:                  That's right. Poacher-turned-gamekeeper, or gamekeeper-turned-poacher, I'm not sure.

                                           When I came out of Mothercare, I got back into chairing in companies including Moo that you referenced at the start. And a lot of discussions that I was having with the founders, with Richard, amazing founder behind that business, but other businesses I was involved with as well, Chemist Direct was another one where I was chairing, was all the experience and insight was really interesting. But ultimately businesses that are growing, at the scale they were growing, need cash. And so how could I help them get cash. And what became increasingly apparent to me is, as well as actually having all those roles and supporting those companies grow, if I could actually have access to capital, personally, in terms of enabling me to help make investment decisions by those companies, then I could probably add even more value, and I may even become useful to them, heaven forbid.

                                           So that's what I did. I began to look around and think about it. I was working with some people I knew from business and thinking of a fund. And then purely by chance one of my previous board members at LoveFilm, a guy called George Crichlow, had been working with Stephen Welton who's the CEO of the Business Growth Fund, BGF, and been talking about early stage investing, and introduced me, and it sort of became apparent that it was good fit. I understood corporates and the large organisations, which BGF is larger than most sort of typical venture funds, because it invests not only early stage but also growth and quoted investments, but also my experience in running companies and doing things would be good value-add. And so in 2015, I helped set up, with two other partners, BGF Ventures, which was initially targeted at early stage opportunities in the UK that we could put capital behind, and really try and accelerate their growth.

                                           And now on the back of that, we're beginning to take some of those companies from the early stage through to growth stage. The advantage of BGF and the scale that we have and the scale of our balance sheet, means that we can invest through the journey with them as they begin to grow at scale, that they sort of begin to hit targets that we've set for them, and that's now sort of bearing fruit. And we're seeing some quite exciting companies coming through that I'm really quite pleased about how they're growing, developing, with some amazing founders.

Alan Cowley:                    So, what sort of companies have you got on your portfolio, and why do you choose them?

Simon Calver:                  So, what selection criteria we use is often the most asked question in the venture and early stage world. The key thing we're expecting for is as you would expect to look for if you were making your own personal investment as an angel or seed investment. And those are things like, as I touched on earlier, what is the product market fit, how well are the customers using the product, what's their reaction and how sticky are they to staying with it on an ongoing basis. We'd look at what the total size of the addressable market is, you'd look at the experience that the team have. And ultimately the quality of the management team is the most important determinant. And the question is, is how do you assess that right up front. Clearly you can look at experience and track record, but it's also about attitude. And one thing will happen in start-up, and it happens in every business, is you'll hit a speed bump, and how well are the team going to work together to resolve it, to move on, and to learn from it. It's really critical.

                                           And so spending time on getting that quality of team around you early on is really, really important. And LoveFilm, in the early days I probably spent 30% of my time as CEO in recruitment and hiring people. So that's one thing, right, which is the positive, which is spending getting that right.

                                           The other thing that you've got to do, which is the tougher part of the job as a founder or a CEO, is when it's not working, you have to make a call, and understand why. And if it's people-related, people issues do not tend to improve with age, right. I haven't met one yet that really does. And so where it's not working you've just got to act swiftly. And you've got to make a call, and you've got to say, "It's not personal. I'm just trying to do the best thing I can for the business," and move on.

                                           And that's one thing that I think we tend to probably not move as swiftly. I've never ever regretted making a quick decision in that area, because when you do make the decision it's amazing how it can galvanise a team that is probably struggling a bit with some members of the team. If you make that call and people say, "Yeah, that was absolutely the right call," you can really energise the team and move on. So not only is it spending time to hire the best talent, but also where it's not working just be honest with yourself and honest with the person and move.

Alan Cowley:                    As you're looking to invest in these companies, do you tend to go for founders that do have prior experience, or have set up a company before?

Simon Calver:                  It's a mix. It's not one way. I don't think there's one fixed formula. I think the attitude and smarts of the people is as important as their experience. Clearly a track record gives you confidence that the person can do it and can overcome some of those issues. So there is a natural bias to thinking about people that have that, but it's certainly not exclusively you'd only consider people in that scenario.

Alan Cowley:                    So, have you used your experience from a successful exit in LoveFilm to Amazon with any of your portfolio? How's that experience helped you?

Simon Calver:                  So, if I go back to the Amazon experience at LoveFilm, talked about going over to the West Coast, meeting Reed Hastings and talking about the business. On the way back, I stopped over in Seattle, and met the head of corporate development for Amazon. We had a few beers,

We just chatted. We got to know each other, and that was in 2005, right? It was in 2011 they ultimately bought the business. So actually building relationships with potential acquiring partners, building trust, building and understanding and actually beginning to like each other that the fit and chemistry works is hugely, hugely important. So that's something that I do encourage the companies to do, which is to think about where the business is going. Think about what partners you can have along the way or even what potential exits exist along the way, and just begin to build relationships with those people.

                                           That's not at the expense of the day job, right? It's part of the day job, but it's just being smarter about understanding objectives and goals. Because a number of companies who come to me and say, "Well ultimately this is going to be an exit to a Google or a Microsoft or an Amazon. It looks like this and this is what the exit is going to be." You know? They ask the question, "Well have you spoken to them or do you know what their criteria is for making acquisitions?" The answer's typically no, right?

                                           So I think validating to yourself and building relationships is key, and you never know where it's going to be. So, you know, spend time building relationships across the board. As well as understanding the people agenda and driving that pretty quickly, and an important part of that is the culture that you build, and how you build a culture within an organisation and what should that be? The answer is there's no single fast rule for that. But increasingly as we're looking to attract more millennials, more post-millennial people into our organisations, the importance of having a mission and being purpose-driven is really, really important. I think we need to spend more time thinking about that.

                                           Why should people come and work for us as a brand and as a company, as much as how do we retain the people that we have? I really thought that we were onto something at LoveFilm when three years in or so I had lots of calls from head-hunters who would say, "I've just had somebody in my office and I asked them what type of company they'd like to work for," and they're using your company as an example. I suddenly thought to myself, our ability to attract talent, our ability to retain talent is now significantly enhanced. That's really important to think about your company as a brand and how it can attract and retain people. You've got to work at that.

                                           Now, one way to think about that is to say, "How can we begin to build the values of the organisation?" I'm not a huge fan in going out and getting consultants and paying them £200,000 to do that. I think most of us intuitively know what's important, and let's get the teams together to help us decide what's important and use that as a cultural yardstick. But importantly then benchmark, you know, how we perform and behaviours is the most important thing in culture, and ensuring that our behaviours are consistent. When we don't take action against bad behaviour, we're basically saying we support that bad behaviour, and that's not appropriate, right?

                                           You've got to be quite ruthless and hard on yourself when it comes to those types of decisions. So getting the culture right and letting the work environment match that culture. If you're talking about caring about your employees, yet your toilets never get cleaned, you're not really demonstrating that. I know it's a small example, but you've got to be consistent in how you think about that and give yourself a good work environment, now we have WeWork and all those other things which was never available years ago.

                                           The other thing that I think is really important is to understand the drivers in the business and embed that into the business. There's an expression I use is what is the rhythm of the business? You know, in retail it's almost weekly, right? What's happening? What's the metric saying, you know, who owns what metric? Are we sure that we're driving it and owning it. Typically in an organisation, if you work through a typical spider diagram and try and identify what are the three or four most critical things. So for example, in SAS businesses, it could be pipeline, in subscription businesses it could be retention rate, but what are the three or four things that are most important for us to drive?

                                           Then ensuring that they are owned by a person in the business and that person is tracking it and looking at it and you're clear about the goals that you're setting in those key areas. Often just focusing down on a few critical objectives, making sure everybody understands, aligning the organisation, whether that's giving people incentives to say, "Right, when we become profitable or EBITDA positive, we'll give everybody a recognition or reward or you get to a retention rate of X we'll give a recognition reward." But celebrate success on the way with those key things and get people together, and make sure you are spending time just getting people together and having fun. Because in a start-up it's tough, and as a leader and a founder of a start-up it's incredibly tough because you have to make a lot of decisions on your own.

                                           So surround yourself with great advisors, focus on a few KPIs and then drive that into the culture of the business.

Alan Cowley:                    That was brilliant. Let's just go on to the UK Business Angel Association that you've been chair of for now nearly four years.

Simon Calver:                  Yes.

Alan Cowley:                    So, we've heard about large corporates, we've heard about start-ups, CEO, we've heard about VC. What about the angel network, angel ecosystem both within the UK and globally? Where do you think we're at and where do you think it's going in the future?

Simon Calver:                  I think the angel community in investing is incredibly important to get companies off the ground. You know, typically it was friends and family around, can I borrow some money to help me set up a business? Now it's a little bit more formalised in Angel Communities and syndicates that are growing, and this is the lifeblood of start-ups, right? This is what gets them to a stage where they can get institutional money. The trouble is, it's incredibly fragmented. So it's hard to communicate and talk with them, work with it, which is why I chose to get involved in the UK Business Angels Association, chairing it with Jenny as the CEO and really driving that forward because it's important that that community has a voice, whether it be tech structures or whether it just be sharing ideals and deal flow, whether it be training, which we've now introduced as the UKBA, which is online, you know, accredited training, that's important.

                                           It's important to really understand what's driving that and what we could be doing differently. I think across the UK in particular, and therefore also globally we're seeing different levels of investment in different areas and we need to become more consistent. We're working on building Angel Hubs outside of London, the southeast where we can begin to get Angels and founders together to talk about their businesses so they can find opportunities, and filling in some of the gaps that we see in the ecosystems. You know, whether it be in Newcastle, Leeds, Glasgow or Bristol, right? Then what are the gaps? How can we get more people investing? How can we bring more people into Angel investing?

                                           I think the crowd platforms have done a good job of just raising awareness, but there's nothing better than actually sitting down and looking people in the eye and saying, "Okay, how can I help and support your business?" Remember the Angels that get involved are typically not just providing capital. They're also providing contacts, network support and advice for those companies as they scale and grow to help first time or second time founders through the growing pains, which is pretty important.

                                           So it's hugely important for the UK, and therefore also it's hugely important globally, and I think we just need to ensure that we're speaking with one voice and we're being consistent in how we approach that, and actually networking and sharing information with each other. Because the thing is about early stage investment, very early stage investment, especially at the seed stage, is it's not all going to work. You've got to recognise it's not all going to work and you've got to put your hand up and say, "Okay, well therefore I'm going to invest in three or four or maybe a dozen different companies because I know some of them may work," and you've just got to ensure the ones that do work do incredibly well so net, you know you've got good return for what you're doing.

                                           But also a lot of people, as I said, who do it because they want to give something back after a reasonably good career in business or in investing or whatever, and I think that's hugely valuable.

Alan Cowley:                    As a summary, would you agree that the behaviour of internally your staff, the behaviour of your customers, the behaviour of your investors is paramount in getting a start-up to scale?

Simon Calver:                  Yeah. What's really interesting is there's a lot of data around on those various things and you can collect data and speak to people, but how do you turn that to insights that give you real strategic advantage and real understanding? So understand your customers better than anybody else so you can provide the best product or service to them. You know, work alongside your investors, whether they be angel investors or institutional investors to assure you're all aligned with the direction that you're heading and what you're looking to try and achieve together. So work as broad as you can and just be tireless and relentless in just understanding those. As a founder, as a leader, as a manager in a business, whether it be a start-up or corporate, just ensure you're modelling the sort of behaviour that you expect people to model them self, and be a role model and an inspiration for other people, and bring them along with you on the journey.

                                           I mean, I think there's three things that successful leaders need to do well. The first thing is they need to do the right thing. All right, so what does that mean? That means have the capability to understand what is the focus area or the market or the customer base they're working on. Second thing you need to do it the right way with integrity, with honesty, but also focus on the execution to get all that right. The final thing is for all founders or leaders is you've got to bring everybody with you. It's not okay being a leader out there at the front on your own with nobody around you because you'll never get stuff done.

                                           So bringing your company, bringing your team, bringing your customers, your board, whoever with you on that journey is hugely, hugely important. So telling the story, inspiring others is one thing that we should never lose sight of doing and doing well.

Alan Cowley:                    Simon, this has been absolutely, fantastic, inspiring, so thank you very much.

Simon Calver:                  Pleasure. Really enjoyed it.

Peter Cowley:                  Thanks for listening to another Invested Investor podcast. You can subscribe to all future podcasts via our website or via a number of podcast platforms online. Remember, you can order our book online, and be sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to get the most up to date, interesting and insightful content from the invested investor.