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Flashback to 1988: Catching up with Andy Mead

Thu, 25 October 2012

Andy Mead was in the UK Finals for the 1988 Shell LiveWIRE Awards with his business, The Fishing Line.
Still going strong, Andy talks to us about his early days in business and offers some excellent advice for young entrepreneurs starting up now. 

What can you remember about your involvement with Shell LiveWIRE?
A picture on my office wall serves as a constant reminder of my involvement with Shell LiveWIRE. It is a picture of me receiving my award from Victor Kiam, the famous entrepreneur of the 1980s.  The two days of judging at the National Final were extremely intense but I remember the tremendous support we received from the LiveWIRE Team, helping us with mock interviews and really building our confidence. I remember how nervous everyone was because there was a rumour that the winner was going to appear live that night on BBC1’s The Wogan Show, as if there wasn’t enough pressure already! Winning a Significant Progress Award in 1997 was a real honour for me, recognition that I had stuck with it. I thoroughly enjoyed my involvement with Shell LiveWIRE, the energy, the learning and the comradeship was infectious.

How have things changed for you since you won your Shell LiveWIRE award?
Things have certainly changed for me over the past 25 years since I started The Finishing Line. Back in 1988 I was working out of 1,000 sq ft of space, today we occupy over 60,000 sq ft and employ over 200 people. I have learnt so much from being in business and enjoy it as much today as I did back then. I have developed a wonderful team around me which has enabled me to get the work/life balance right.

How have you had to adapt as an entrepreneur over the years?
As an entrepreneur you constantly have to adapt, always aware of threats but above all responding to opportunities. It’s true that we live in extremely challenging times but with the right mindset anything is possible.I’ve learnt many lessons over the years, I’ve invested in training and I’ve also learnt a great deal from various mentors, but most of all I’ve learnt from my mistakes. I’m now sharing my experiences with other young entrepreneurs who I think show the same passion and determination. People are always the key, truly empowering the right people to do their best and enjoy what they are achieving.

What has been the biggest obstacle you have overcome in business?
I’ve had many obstacles in business, some too raw to mention but we’ve always got through and most importantly learnt from the experience.

What are your top tips for a young entrepreneur who is about to set up in business?
I am still as passionate about my business today as I was 25 years ago, I’m proud of what we have achieved and would encourage any young person to explore it if they’ve got what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. They should look for their VISION, if they can WORK HARD and above all if they can KEEP GOING when some will want them to give-up.

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