Working Life: The secret of my success Simon Woodroffe

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Indy Lifestyle Online
SIMON WOODROFFE launched his first YO! Sushi restaurant back in January 1997. Since then, YO! has expanded around the world. His fourth restaurant opens this month in Finchley Road, north London.

"I designed rock shows during the Seventies and Eighties and had some of the biggest acts as my clients including The Moody Blues and Motorhead. The biggest thing I learnt from the rock shows was how to sell and market a brand. I then spent seven years selling TV shows around the world, but in my early forties I realised that I wanted a retail business. It was one of those very focused moments when I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do.

"One day I sat in a restaurant with a Japanese man and he said I should do a conveyor belt sushi bar. I researched it and a week later found out that there were two and a half thousand conveyor belt sushi bars in Japan. I was amazed that nobody had done it before in England. At the same time I had been developing a brand image called YO! and YO! Sushi seemed to work well.

"Our success is due to the fact that we tried to do something that was completely outrageous, innovative and that would make people smile. People are attracted to businesses that have that sense of fun because it has an integrity to it.

"We won the Design Week award and, one day two summers ago, Microsoft called me up and said could we make a TV commercial about you. They spent over $20 million on TV advertising for YO! Sushi all over the world.

"I never saw myself as being successful. I've tried to fail as much as possible because the one thing I noticed about all successful people is that they all fail a lot. Really it's only by failing that you're going to succeed.

"You have to follow your fear to find your destiny. When I feel uncomfortable I know I'm in the right place. To be scared is a very healthy place to be because it means that you're doing something."