Apparently the first three letters are banned on MT - v annoying.
So I copied the interview:
Q&A: Oliver Cookson, Founder of Myprotein.co.uk DATE: 27/07/2009
Ben Lobel quizzes Oliver Cookson of sports supplement company Myprotein.co.uk
By Ben Lobel Oliver Cookson left school at 16, set up in business and ultimately took his sports supplement company Myprotein.co.uk from zero to £5 million turnover in four years. Exec Digital catches up with him What is your business history?
I have always been interested in business; I left school at 16 with one GCSE to buy and sell computers in Loot, making around £1,000 a week. Then I set up a company importing computer equipment from Hong Kong. After that I taught myself how to make websites, working for various clients as a full-time web developer. I started working on the internet in 1996. That must have been the dark ages of the internet.
Absolutely. I have nearly 14 years commercial experience in regard to the internet, which is pretty much as high as anyone has got in the UK, really. So why the move into online retail and sports supplements?
I’ve always been interested in fitness and I loved the internet so it felt like a marriage really. It fitted together nicely.?? Was it a smooth start for the firm?
We never had any loans or investments and we were profitable from week one. The company just grew organically from then and we’re expecting to turn over £10 million this year. I did everything myself from day one, from packing and mixing the products to ordering, purchasing, cleaning, everything. Biggest challenges?
For any company that’s growing at triple digit growth year on year, the main issue is managing the growth, making sure each department scales up at the right speed. It’s easy when you’re growing 10 or 20 percent a year but at 100 percent it’s difficult to manage that growth. A more recent challenge was building a high quality senior management team who can take away the day to day running of the business without jeopardising it. More and more companies are conducting their business online. What are the key considerations when you move to the internet?
SEO is clearly a key issue. Marketing, SEO and web development I have a passion for. If you search online, you’ll see we rank well. The key to SEO is research. It’s about searching the internet and trial and error – if you were a search engine, what do you feel would weight the site better than the one above you? Any awards?
The CBI National Young Company of the Year award; it was the pinnacle of my career. The panel of judges were second to none, including the likes of Peter Jones. It was great they could see the passion and results; they could see we’re a very successful company and there has been a lot of good PR which has been very beneficial. Any personal investment interests?
150 percent of my time is taken up with Myprotein. It’s still the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last at night. It’s still 16 hour days, weekend work; there’s a lot to do in the next 12 to 16 months. There’s a key strategy that I want to see out. The long term plan is to become Europe’s number one in sports nutrition.
post edited by Mobster - 2009/07/28 21:12:40