Start up lessons from Jason Gissing and Ocado

Choose how you judge your business

Ocado has’nt made a profit in any year since it started trading. Some entrepreneurs might call that failure. But, for over a decade, Gissing has been building a recognised brand that will make a lot of money in the long term. While Ocado hasn’t turned a profit, it has grown through huge investment. In 2012, investors and directors came together and raised £36m to keep Ocado alive despite £100m debts. It takes a lot of confidence in a business to make that happen.

Gissing never judged his business by the profits it made and, if that’s not what you think matters, neither should you. If you’re building a strong brand with huge potential, the profits will come one day. But if you spend the first few years full of fear of losses, you’ll never get there. Of course you need the funds to keep your business alive, so make sure you have a plan to secure a business loan or investment backing, but once your future is safe, judge your business by what matters to you.

Know who’s going to make your business succeed

Gissing’s final achievement with Ocado may be the one that changes the business from brand-in-development to gold mine. A successful launch of a distribution deal with Morrisons has given investors the confidence to come out and claim that the business’ prospects have been transformed. With this deal complete, along with other historic partnerships like Waitrose, City analysts are now predicting 2014 to be the year when Ocado hits profit.

When you’re growing a business, you need to know the people who are going to change the course of your future and turn your dreams into realities. Maybe it’s a mentor who know’s your industry, maybe it’s a partner with the audience you need to reach or maybe it’s a new employee with the skills you don’t. Always be on the look out for the people who are going to breathe new life into your business.

Exit at the right time

Gissing is leaving Ocado to spend more time with his four children and to work on social causes. After 14 years, his proprieties have cleary shifted away from growing a business. Ocado is entering a new stage of its journey, one where its consistent inability to deliver profits may not be accepted anymore. Jason Gissing has helped take a business idea into one of Britain’s leading modern brands, and he is stepping away at the right time to let someone else deliver on Ocado’s potential.

When you start a business, there’s a huge chance it’s going to be one of the most significant areas of you live. That’s the way it should be. But, things might not always stay that way. If you find your heart filling up with other priorities, it might be time to move on. When that time comes, make sure you choose the right way of exiting. You want to hit the next stage of your life as strong as possible.


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