Iqbal Wahhab

Job title  Founder
Start-up Roast
Location Borough Market

What does a typical work day look like for you?

I work very odd hours. I get most of my day’s work done between 4 and 6am when I sweep through all the e-mails of the previous day and set tasks of my team and write any documents or articles I have pending. I have begun in my fifties doing an hour’s exercise daily after which I head to Roast for a breakfast meeting then in the office to meet any managers who have things to discuss and then I’m either viewing properties for our expansion plan or meeting one of the social enterprises or mentees I support and then it’s a lunch meeting after which I head home, work until about six then switch off for the evening.

What are the main skills have you developed since working in a start-up?

When you start a business, invariably first it’s just you and so learning to delegate was the biggest skill to learn. It took me ages and now I’m so good at it that I joke I don’t actually end up doing much at all these days! Leadership doesn’t necessarily mean getting your own hands dirty.

What are the challenges of working in an entrepreneurial environment?

You don’t want too many entrepreneurs in your company. One of the things I encourage our managers to do is to challenge any new idea I come up with rather than just follow orders.

How does your current role reflect your overall career plan?

I’m at the stage of preparing a five year exit/sale plan of the business – growing it, bringing new investment in to enable that, finding the right brands to develop and in that process probably bringing in more senior people who are experienced in multi-brand growth operations. I’ll probably drive it from a executive chairman role, rather than as a CEO.

Do you have any top tips for any students considering entrepreneurship as a viable career path?

Go and work for someone else first – learn at someone else’s expense before taking the leap on your own.