What inspired you to start Le Col?
A couple of reasons. Firstly, I needed to build myself a job for when I retire. I had this idea when I was 28 years old so I have been preparing for a while, secondly, I truly believe we can make better products than other brands. Last of all I am inspired to work in teams that excel, and this business offers me the chance to build a team and motivate people to achieve really great results, who also enjoy and feel fulfilled in their roles.
How did you balance pro cycling and running a business for so long? How do they compare?
Really good question, there are key similarities that I identified and focused on. Cycling is all about performance, and it’s possible to work in business in the same way. Break things down to the performances of ad campaigns, processes, products, people, designs and most importantly the performance of time within our business. Targets have all been projected against time so we need to make sure the time we spend in business is effective.
The big similarity in cycling and business is that cycling is about building alliances, working together and creating a teammate out of those riders in your group. Business can benefit from the same approach. It’s about understanding and identifying overlapping incentives, and working hard to align everyone to the same goal so there is no conflict within the work-space. Business and cycling have been a good balance for me, one is physical and the other is mental, which means I can balance that while working with my managers to deliver our targets. It works well for me personally.
After 20 years as a professional cyclist what is the most important lesson that you’ve been able to transfer to business?
Ha ha.. Honestly so many. I would select discipline and work ethic. Sport offers a Schwarz and white result of how well you did, usually the outcome over time of your work ethic and commitment.
What is it like changing the results sheet for a spreadsheet and power data for website conversion data?
It’s a pleasure. I love data spreadsheets and web stats. It’s frankly a relief that I can find a new way to transfer that data analysis experience to be beneficial to us as a business.
You’ve ridden for Team GB and Wales at the Commonwealth Games, how has your life as a pro rider given you the edge as an entrepreneur?
I’ve been fortunate to have been invested in as an athlete by some of the best physiologists and psychologists in the world. So I benefit from that experience, which means I understand the components of success at its most basic human level. This is something I am aware of and working on all the time, inspiring myself to work hard and achieve my goals, while also inspiring a team to work hard and be effective in their roles in the business.