In the Spring 2019 issue of the Great British Entrepreneurs Magazine, we spoke to one of the UK’s most exciting young entrepreneurs, Ben Francis, the founder of Gymshark. He’s coped with just about everything running a business can throw at a person, but can he cope with our quickfire questions.
Having launched Gymshark from his parents’ house in 2012 at just 19, Ben Francis has gone on to build one of the fastest growing companies in the UK. With a hugely dedicated social media following and a team of influencers promoting the brand, Gymshark is on course to break the £100 million turnover milestone in 2018.
Ben is used to smashing it in the gym, so we gave him some quickfire questions to smash as well.
Tell us about the business
Gymshark exists to inspire people to be a visionary in all that they do.
Gymshark was founded in 2012 and is now a leading, sports and fitness clothing brand, which delivers superior gym wear and accessories. In 2018, it is on course to hit a £100 million turnover.
In its short existence, Gymshark has already served over 1.2 million customers, processed over 2.3 million orders and currently employs more than 160 people.
What’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur?
Working towards a greater purpose and creating something that is bigger than any individual.
What’s the hardest?
The relentless nature of our insane growth. There’s no time to rest.
What are the biggest barriers you’ve faced as an entrepreneur?
The most difficult thing for me was learning to trust others to do the things in the business that I used to do.
What has been your most stressful time as an entrepreneur?
Learning to trust others. I will always be the Founder of Gymshark and will always have an active role in the company, but for Gymshark to continue to thrive, I have had to learn to trust others with the day-to-day running of certain parts of the business.
Is being an entrepreneur different to how you imagine it would be?
It’s a lot more people-oriented than I thought it would be. Starting Gymshark was quite solitary. The bigger it gets, more and more people join the company, so it has become a much more people-oriented life.
What motivates you?
I want to inspire as many people as I can and leave a legacy.
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Gary Vaynerchuk.
What has been your best day in business so far?
My favourite day was opening GSHQ – our new state-of-the-art 42,000 sq ft headquarters based in Solihull. It launched in April this year and will allow us to continue to grow as both a brand and a team.
How do you start your day?
Breakfast at GSHQ!
How do you stay productive during the day?
Gymshark has a unique dynamic and collaborative working environment, which helps me to perform at the best of my ability and benefits the productivity of the wider company too.
What do you do to unwind?
Spend time with my girlfriend, Robin, and ride my motorbike.
What’s your favourite business book?
Instead of reading, I love listening to podcasts such as Russell Brand, Joe Rogan, Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris.
You can take a look at the full, digital version of the spring issue of the Great British Entrepreneurs Magazine here.