Paul Kenny is founder and CEO of Cobone.com, an award-winning e-commerce company he founded in 2010 and sold three years later for $40m. A former Middle East Entrepreneur of the year award winner, the Galway man is now an active investor, mentor and advisor to companies around the world.
If I were to do it all again, what would I do differently?
Nothing. I’ve made mistakes, but I wouldn’t change a thing except that maybe I’d do some stuff faster. I was 18 months into Cobone before I realised I should find some mentors. I just didn’t know any better. When you’re starting out, as I was five and a half years ago, you are so focused on winning that you develop tunnel vision. Having a mentor helps you broaden out your vision.
I was also very short-term focused. I’d make decisions that would impact the business today, or in a month’s time. But I never put aside time to make decisions that would impact the business three years out.
I do wish I’d said no more often.
“When you’re starting out you run after every opportunity you can, and you jump at all of them. As a business virgin, you don’t know any better because you don’t know what to expect. ”
You can’t fast forward through that; you have to go through it to gain experience. Now however I’m very strict on how I use my time and I say no much more often.
I’ve worked hard to establish a good work-life balance too since I became a father earlier this year. I’m still passionate about business, though. I do a psychometric test every year – I do it for all my hires so that I know what motivates them – and it tells me I’m more focused now than I ever was.