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Last Updated: Monday, 14 June, 2004, 07:38 GMT 08:38 UK
Sometimes you've just got to say 'no'

Before deciding to go into business for himself, Nick Ogden undertook a diverse number of jobs including policeman, breakfast cereal salesman and engineering company director.

Before his latest venture Mr Ogden launched internet payment system WorldPay in 1997, helping online retailing take-off.

By 1999 the firm which began with zero revenues, one employee and one customer had blossomed to 20,000 customers in 120 countries with 270 staff and revenues of 1bn. In 2002 it was sold to the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Now the Jersey-based entrepreneur has launched his latest venture OnInstant - a global business to business communications network.

What was your first car?

My first car was a 1962 3.8 E Type Jaguar. It was a fantasy from heaven and a technical reality from hell.

On the odd occasion the brakes did work my passenger was always grateful to get out of the car.

Sadly my passion for fast cars started then and has only continued to get worse and one day I am determined to fulfil my dream of driving a Formula 1 car around Magny Cours.

What was the first house you bought?

A three bedroom semi detached house in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. The mortgage was around 9,000

Who is your biggest inspiration?

Clive Sinclair who you could describe as the quintessential and eccentric father of British electronics.

I remember playing in a pop group when I was a teenager using a Sinclair research amplifier, the only optional extra it needed was a portable soldering iron.

Clearly Sir Clive learnt to remedy the challenge of mass production and bad solder joints when he moved into computer manufacturing and also had the guts, drive and determination to launch the C5.

What's the best bit of business advice you've had?

Focus and say no.

As a business grows and new managers are hired it is inevitable they will come laden with fresh ideas and visions on how the company should be run and the direction it should be going.

It is imperative that as a business leader you foster and encourage idea generation but also learn to temper these to ensure that the business goals are in no way compromised.

What can the government do to boost business?

The UK is not a society that readily supports and encourages innovation.

Whilst there are many arguments that hold true - one being that businesses suffer from the increasing burden of completing government paper work and tax returns - I personally think that significantly more should be done to bring business, entrepreneurship and innovation into the educational process.

If the government provided financial initiatives to support and sustain educational and development programmes it would be far more beneficial than short term quick fix political initiatives.

In turn this would provide longer term benefits to the country as a whole.

I have no political allegiance and was once quoted as saying that I wasn't intelligent enough to be a politician, but I do strongly feel that whether in business or politics you have to make decisions and stand by them.

The current situation in the UK is that we are in "dither mode", whilst the political agenda has been set it is really not conducive to the national interest as a whole.

In business I have adopted, and used on many occasions, the term "it's a just do-it moment" - surely a sentiment the government should seriously consider adopting as well to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in the UK.

What do you believe is the biggest issue for business at the moment?

Globalisation is the biggest challenge facing businesses at the moment.

There is an increasing feeling, for example, in Europe of the status of European businesses versus non European businesses.

The reality is that irrespective of the political niceties the UK is not viewed as part of the European 'club' which can be challenging when trying to conduct business on a European and global scale.

However, I do suspect it is inevitable the UK will become a fully integral part of the eurozone as common currency pricing makes it easier to understand and to judge competitive quotations.

What was the proudest moment of your career?

When I realised that WorldPay had the potential to become the leading global payment brand.

The fact that the company grew in four years from a team of one to well over 200 employees supporting businesses in 119 countries was simply breathtaking.

It was a very proud moment not only for me personally but everyone who was involved in making the business an outstanding success.

On Instant is a global business-to-business communications network, delivering a range of services from an internet based phone network.

It aims to save money and time for businesses with targeted information.

The service, which delivers voice services to the client's computer or lap top, launched in April this year.


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