Paul with co-Director Josh Bicknell. Click on the photo to view Paul’s LinkedIn profile.

We are delighted that having won Entrepreneur of The Year 2011, Paul won High Growth Company of The Year at our Awards Ceremony & Dinner on Friday night. ?Find out more about him in the interview below.

What was your first job after leaving school/further education?

After leaving University, I got a role as a Sales Rep for a Sports Equipment Company in Auckland

When did you start your business & what prompted you to do it?

Set up the business in 2008. Always wanted to go it alone and it took until then to get the knowledge, experience and confidence to do it.

What did you find most challenging at the beginning?

Juggling all roles until we got enough scale was the biggest challenge.

Who did you ask for advice & why did you choose them?

Friends who had their own business, as experience of similar issues/challenges was key. Duggie Carlyle was a great help.

How did you fund your business?

Savings and borrowed against mortgage.

What would you do differently now looking back?

We?ve made some mistakes and taken wrong choices, so it?s too easy to say I?d get rid of those. But some of the mistakes etc have also been great lessons (some quite expensive mind you)!

Probably one thing I would do is implement tighter procedures across business earlier which can ride out fast growth as we hired staff.

What or who has helped you to grow your business the most?

Getting Jonny on board to join Josh and I was the thing that jumped our growth. As a team we have a good balance of skills and different approaches.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced?

Growth itself has been challenging as it has highlighted any stress points in the business and areas we needed to strengthen ? usually all at once!

What are the future plans for your business?

We have a solid strategy in place to continue to grow the business across Scotland, Ireland and the rest of the UK. We are building up multiple divisions which can all stand up in their own right to ensure we have diversity of products and customers: Commercial Fitness, Retail Fitness, Pilates, Education & Training, Commercial Sport, Retail Sport, Team-wear, Flooring, Service etc. We are also focused on driving business via multiple channels: Direct Commercial Sales, Online Sales, Trade Sales.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to set up their own business?

Know your market inside out and/or research the pants off it.?Hopefully you really do have a passion for what you are planning as it?s been a massive bonus for us.?Then just do it, but be prepared to roll your sleeves up and be flexible as things change quickly.

Tell us something about you that isn’t commonly known.

I?m way taller than Josh as he isn?t even 6ft. (Comment from WeDO: ?we think the photo above gives that away but you didn’t know we were going to use this one!)

And finally, why did you join WeDO?

It was a great chance to try and meet and learn from people who had been in our position before.

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