Ed is the co-founder of Betfair, the online betting business that is listed on the London Stock Exchange and currently has a market cap of £3bn. He is also an early stage investor and board member of various FinTech businesses such as Funding Circle, LMAX, Property Partner and Prodigy Finance.
Don’t be afraid of failure
If you are scared of failure you will be scared to innovate. Every business will make mistakes. They are not something to be scared of, they are something to be embraced. You learn much more when things go wrong than you do when they go right. Acknowledge when things go wrong and react accordingly – don’t try and bury the bad news. But do be wary about repeating a mistake because that means you haven’t learned from it.
Be honest with yourself
Before you do something make sure you know why you are doing it. Write down on a piece of paper what a successful outcome looks like and measure the subsequent outcome against what is written on that piece of paper. Be honest when it comes to analysing the results – if they aren’t what you expected what do you change? And, as above, if it didn’t work recognise that, learn from it and move on. Whatever you do don’t try and tell someone (or, more importantly, yourself) that something worked when it didn’t!
Surround yourself with great people
Great businesses are always a lot more than a founding team. Great businesses outlive their founders and so it is a case of when, not if, you bring in the future leaders of the business. When you find a great person get them involved in your business even if you don’t think you have a role for them – if they are great then they are better than others in your company and so bringing them in, even if it means replacing someone else, means you will be improving the quality of the business. Make sure the people you hire have the same philosophy and are always looking to hire great people themselves.
Have fun and keep it in perspective
Building a business is hard work and can undoubtedly be stressful at times but it should also be fun and exciting. You need to find the right balance between work and play and keep everything in perspective. There are many more important things in life than building a business and without the right balance you will make increasingly poor decisions. Never make a decision that you don’t feel you could justify to someone else.