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The Business Show 2018

Much like The Business Show itself, many of the speakers who appear at this biannual event have started from the most humble of beginnings.

And similar to the journey that’s seen The Business Show become the largest exhibition of its kind in Europe, these speakers all have incredible tales.

This rags to riches story perhaps applies to no one more than keynote speaker at May’s show, Simon Woodroffe OBE – the founder of YO! Sushi.

Recently divorced, unemployed and running out of money at 40, what did Simon do? Used a loan to open a sushi bar, of course!

Recently, The Business Show caught up with Simon on his houseboat in Chelsea to pick the brains of the multimillionaire:

TBS: How important is it to network as an entrepreneur or business owner?

SW: Really important. We’ve all got to meet people and tell them what we’re doing, but more importantly, it’s learning how to be somebody who others can trust and who can inspire others to come along with a vision.

TBS: What’s the most important element to starting a business?

SW: Inspiration. It’s about inspiring other people, but also about inspiring yourself. But how do you become somebody who really believes in what you’re doing? That’s the question we’ll be addressing during the seminars.

TBS: What are your tips for wannabe modern entrepreneurs?

SW: Firstly, start now! You can start anything by taking a notebook and writing your ideas down. So many people sit around going ‘shall I? shan’t I?’ Start immediately and spend money that you are willing to lose. When YO! Sushi came way out in front, I got to believing it.

Secondly, ban yourself from thinking about whether it’s going to work or if it’s not going to work. Instead, put the research in. If you do that over a period of time, incrementally you start to believe it and that negative voice in your head is goes.

Thirdly, practice promoting yourself. When you believe something and you have confidence – it’s infectious to other people. A modern entrepreneur is someone who can be themselves, not being some fake person. I actually try to use non-business, childlike words to help me connect.

I’ve never met a person who went out to do what they really dreamed of and regretted it – regardless of whether they succeed or failed. But I’ve met many people who have looked back later in life and said: ‘I wish I’d taken more chances when I had the chance.’

TBS: What are the risks involved in becoming an entrepreneur?

SW: People say I’ve taken lots of risks, and I guess I have at times, but I don’t like taking risks. I want to reduce the risks as much as I possibly can. But you have to allow the world to unfold and know if something does come up, you can find a way to go around stone walls and build golden bridges.


On 16 & 17 May, Simon’s seminar will be one of 250 educational talks taking place at The Business Show 2018 at London’s ExCeL – with the rest coming from the founders of organisations such as Poundland, Mallet Footwear, Grenade, University Cribs and more.

Go to to register for your free ticket.


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