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Watch > Episode > Simon Woodroffe - YO! Founder Talks Entrepreneurship & How To Follow Your Fear To Find Your Destiny

Simon Woodroffe - YO! Founder Talks Entrepreneurship & How To Follow Your Fear To Find Your Destiny


Founder of Yo! Sushi

Simon Woodroffe OBE has gone through many incarnations throughout his life. He’s gone from a teenager who left school at the age of sixteen to a successful entrepreneur. He’s gone from suffering depression to becoming a light of positivity for others around the world.

If you’ve ever listened to one of his speeches, it becomes very clear that his knowledge is gained through experience, and he learns through trial, error, and a sense of personal humility. His apt and humble nature is refreshing in a world full of overly vapid celebrities.

Read on to discover the insights Simon Woodroffe has to share on entrepreneurship, facing your fears, and finding your destiny.

Who Is Simon Woodroffe?

It may surprise you to know that Simon Woodroffe started his entrepreneurial career in his forties. Up to that point, he had worked as a set designer for some of the biggest acts of the 60s. Despite his success as a set designer for such acts as Stevie Wonder and George Michael, he isn’t best known for this.

Woodroffe is also known for appearing as one of the original “Dragons” on the popular British television show Dragon’s Den.

Simon Woodroffe is best known as the founder of Yo! Sushi, a popular British food chain that uses conveyor-belt technology and robots to serve sushi. Formed in 1997, his sushi bars featured call buttons, robot drink trolleys, Japanese television, and self-heating plates.

The chain has grown to over 100 restaurants located in the UK, Ireland, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Australia. In 2003, Woodroffe sold Yo! Sushi to a venture capital firm, Primary Capital for £10 Million, keeping 22% of the companies shares.

Woodroffe has gone on to share his remaining shares, yet keeping a 1% royalty of gross sales perpetuity, making him a very wealthy man. He also diversified his business by launching the YOTEL brand of airport and city hotels.

Simon Woodroffe on Entrepreneurship

One of the major pieces of advice that he shares during the interview is that in times of change, and hardship, for the right person, there is a tremendous opportunity. He expresses that people with an entrepreneurial mind are wired to see the solutions in the midst of the problem, and they can use that to their benefit.

As an entrepreneur, he discusses how you have to embrace your own creativity to change the future. That can only happen by seeing the world through your own eyes and thinking about how you can serve people by addressing a particular problem. When you find ways to innovate and change the way the world can work in the future, you’re really onto something of importance in the marketplace.

Woodroffe says, when you have an idea, don’t depend on market research, instead focus on developing your vision. By spending time on your vision, you can address the problems people may discuss if you presented it to them during the early stages.

Embracing Fear

Woodroffe explains that when you start a business, especially when you’re investing your life savings or someone else’s, there is going to be a LOT of sleepless nights. He explains that it is normal to feel that way. He goes on to suggest that if you’re aren’t feeling that way you probably aren’t doing it right.

You have to challenge yourself to do something you’ve never accomplished before, and this is something that entrepreneurs excel in. The greater you become at handling difficult things, the better entrepreneur you become.

He also explains that whether you work for a large corporation for someone else, or are managing a startup on your own, there is never any guarantees of safety. If you think of it that way, why not try to start something on your own?

Finding Your Destiny

Woodroffe explains that the future of business is most likely the fleet of foot entrepreneur who is younger, or young at heart that is set to change the world. When it comes to finding your destiny, he says you have to follow your instincts, but you must also educate your instincts along the way.

To find your destiny, you must be willing to keep moving forward, trust your instincts, and learn through your experiences.

Summing It All Up

Simon Woodruffe is a person who has gone on to massive success in business despite his humble beginnings as a high school dropout. If you’re looking to start your own entrepreneurial journey, check out our Business Accelerator program.

If you’re looking to learn more about entrepreneurship and finding your own destiny, check out our London Real for all the latest thoughts on innovation, entrepreneurship, and business success.


00:59 | Trailer.
01:28 | COVID-19 pandemic presents opportunities for entrepreneurs.
04:03 | How education could be changed to produce more entrepreneurial thinking.
08:47 | Getting back up from a knockdown in business.
15:31 | The future for retail and hospitality.
19:26 | London must be allowed to change to be reinvigorated.
22:37 | Simon Woodroffe’s views on Government and the media and his hope of today’s successful young entrepreneur’s future philanthropy.
25:59 | Follow your fear.
28:59 | The secret of this whole world.
30:38 | Why we need fact checking, and Simon Woodroffe’s vision for a future world and universe.
34:59 | Ways to destress as an entrepreneur and words of advice.
36:51 | Is the future YO! Topia for Simon Woodroffe?
40:02 | Poetic words of advice for entrepreneurs and people in business.
41:35 | Brian’s summing up.


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