Getting to Know You: Ben Brown, CEO & Co-founder, Shopwave

What do you currently do?
I am the founder and CEO of Shopwave. We provide retailers with an omni-channel iPad Point of Sale (PoS) system, which enables them to control all aspects of their business through a single user-friendly platform. It also enables them to focus on providing great customer experience.

As CEO my responsibilities include: Defining the overall vision and strategy at Shopwave and communicating it to our stakeholders, recruiting and retaining the very best talent and most importantly making sure there is money in the bank.

What is your inspiration in business?
Building great, innovative products that are technically challenging and have the potential to scale globally.

Who do you admire?
Reading books from other founders or leaders is always inspiring. Some good examples include:

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh (Founder of Zappos), Behind the Cloud by Marc Benioff (Founder of Salesforce), Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch (CEO of GE) and Founders at Work by Jessica Livingstone (Founding Partner YCombinator).

I also enjoy reading about people trying to change the way we live for the better by using technology, especially where it is not about the money and the ideas are bold enough that some call them crazy. Hyperloop and Space X from Elon Musk are perfect illustrations of this impressive ambition.

Looking back, would you have done things differently?
I learned a lot from my last venture, a multi-channel coupon distribution platform called VouChaCha, which sold to Monitise as part of a £55m deal in 2013. The whole process of being an entrepreneur is a constant learning curve, so it’s all very well to judge your past actions with the benefit of hindsight but really you just have to allow those experiences to shape future decisions.

What defines your way of doing business?
I try to create an environment where people love to come to work, and where the office is filled with people who are smarter than me. The hope is that this helps us create a great, innovative product that our users love, backed up by a team that customers and partners enjoy working with.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Don’t wait for ‘the right time’ to start a business – just jump right in and design, prototype and build a product. The next step is finding a co-founder and building a team.

Once you’ve covered those basics you’ll be at the stage where you can begin to acquire customers, become break-even as a result or, alternatively, raise investment. Finally, you’ll be able to scale, which should be the aim of your strategy from day one so bear it in mind as you go through all the other steps.