Guido left the world of investment banking to start an innovative ice cream and frozen desserts business based between London and the Amalfi coast with the goal to bring its product worldwide thanks to a very international team.
I am the least technologically friendly person you could possible meet (still have no smartphone), so unfortunately if you have a very tech business I am not your man (I have never used an App in my life and, much to the disbelief of several friends of mine who have App businesses, I still manage to live a happy life - I also like to upset them reminding them I have no personal twitter - much to their horror).
If you have a product/service business, a little more old school I know, especially in food or clothing, and you like the philosophy of "no assets, no employees" (a.k.a. 100% outsourcing strategy) and want to meet for coffee in central London to have a chat about it, then give me a shout. I also managed to raise money through a few avenues: friends & family, bank loan, VC... so could give a tip or two about that.
I oversee all aspects of the business including production, shipping, storage, distribution, branding, marketing, sales, HR, financing, investor relations, accounting, legal, and, most importantly, managing outsourcing contracts for most of the aspects just mentioned.
I have two other people in the management team, and have a few collaborators involved mainly in sales and distribution.
Every day is quite different as challenges vary almost by the hour: it's impossible to get bored!
After a few years of business school between Bocconi University, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, HEC Paris, and the LSE, I started working at Merrill Lynch in the Energy & Power investment banking team.
I left after almost two years to start Ice Italy.
I also took a Master in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London while starting the business, so I am basically both a run-away banker and a failed art historian!
I come from quite an entrepreneurial family: my grandfather, father and uncle were all run their own businesses. No one ever worked with food before, so the sector was actually quite new, but I could say I have entrepreneurship a bit in my blood!
The actual moment of truth came a number of times: pretty much every time I ate a gelato back home!
It took me about 3 months of full-time research to settle on the business model I wanted to follow, which basically follows the philosophy of "no assets, no employees" and we have stuck by this simple rule as long as we could, and still somehow do.
I wanted to keep the business very lean, as I knew a lot of mistakes were to come, so I started with just my savings from the banking job, to make sure I had not too much money to waste and actually not enough not to think carefully about every step of the way.
Worst: probably every day before we had to pivot our strategy in terms of products, consumers, or anything else really. Just before you pivot you feel this horrible sense of the loss that is about to hit you, in the sense that by pivoting your strategy, a lot of the work you have done that far is going to go wasted.
Best: probably every day after we pivoted, since you often realize that it was so much needed and wish you had done it earlier! Quite an emotional rollercoaster!
One good saying about this reads this way "the successful entrepreneur is not as strong as an oak, but as flexible as a bamboo tree" and I can guarantee you it is so true! You need to have grit but not be stubborn, which is far from easy!
Probably the best advice I received is in form of a quote which I always repeat "The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary."
If you are looking for easy success, nice and simple, then please do not start a business; it simply does not happen that way. If you meet anyone who tells you that they succeeded very easily and they then try to sell you a "recipe" for success, show them the door!
Instead, roll up your sleeves and start working, get your hands dirty, understand every bit of your business, especially the less glamorous ones, because they probably are the ones where you are going to face the most issues!
Remember, as a CEO/Owner/Managing Director/The Guy in Charge, you are fully responsible for everything your business does (which includes all your collaborators/partners/etc...) so you need to be comfortable with having responsibility and making the necessary choices that this entails!
But most importantly, have fun!