You’re the new owner and landlord of Frank Lampard’s pub The Pigs Ear in Chelsea – how did that come about and what plans have you got for it?
The Pig’s Ear is Chelsea’s oldest pub and we’ve got great renovation plans. Over the summer, we are going to completely refurbish both the inside and out to retaining the character and charm of the pub. We are going to move the toilets to the basement to create a larger gastro pub that will welcome families and friends from across London. For the summer months, we are also going to create an outdoor terrace area on the first-floor roof of the pub subject to planning permission being granted.
You’re quite the serial entrepreneur, owning businesses across multiple sectors – how have you achieved this and what is your secret?
I always invest in businesses that I have either experience or a strong interest in and if I don’t know much, I make sure that I learn as much as I can before I invest – knowledge is power!
When I purchase a business, I have a four-stage strategy that I have curated that works for me. Firstly, buy in at the right level with a flexible deal, build a great management team, bolt on other acquisitions with synergies and finally, bugger off, as you should be working on the business not in the business, so leave your chosen team to it. Don’t be precious about being the leader of all your businesses. I know my own weaknesses and strengths, so instead of trying to be the jack of all trades I employee specialists to lead each company. As a result, I know that the businesses will be steered in the right direction to profit.
We understand that you have experienced a few setbacks in your business journey – what happened and how did you overcome it?
Timing is everything and I happened to grow my company just before the dreaded year of 2008. The financial crash wiped me out completely, I lost £6m and to rub salt into the wound, was run over and broke both my legs! It’s fair to say, I wasn’t in the best place.
However now, I would say that this has made me into the man and business owner I am today. It was a huge learning curve, one of patience and determination. Just like a property, I rebuilt the foundations – I went back to working on building sites to save money to establish a nightclub group from vacant buildings. From there, I went back into both residential and commercial property development and the rest is history! I am incredibly fortunate.
You fly your own plane and have sailed across the Atlantic on a yacht. Tell us about that side of your life.
I’m a strong believer of if you work hard, reward yourself. You shouldn’t forgo your passions for work and flying and sailing are both big passions of mine. I love travelling and exploring new countries and cultures across the world and flying and sailing allows me to do that.
I got my pilot’s licence when I was 24 and I still fly as much as I can. I’ve recently bought a Cirrus SR22 plane, which is an absolute beauty. I’m happiest night sailing under the stars in the ocean with friends – I raced across the Atlantic in a classic 72ft yacht and after that, went sailing all over the world with 10 friends. It was fantastic!
You’ve earned yourself the nickname in the media as ‘The Doorman Turned Dealmaker’ – how did that come about?
I started my career as a doorman in numerous clubs, and met all sorts of people, sparking conversations about our future careers. Many doormen have ‘day jobs’ so I started running large building sites for a property developer and started myself. I loved the process of building nothing into something amazing and property development fitted that bill perfectly! I transferred a few skills from my time as a doorman: being fair but firm.
Making deals with struggling businesses is all about speed and reliability and REL Capital prides themselves on getting a deal done in 7-14 days. I always try to have 10+ deals on the go at one time, all which have different offerings so it’s a very exciting time.
What’s next for Andy Scott? We heard you’re tipped to be a dragon on Dragon’s Den
I admire all the Dragons and it would be a fantastic opportunity to get a seat! I really believe in the advice and help from like-minded people, to help you grow as a business person but also a person. Helping other aspiring entrepreneurs build their foundations for a successful venture would be a privilege.
For now, I am focusing on all my new projects, including the refurb of the Pig’s Ear and building it into a great west London establishment. I love west London and I think there is so much potential for building new properties to help bring the community together.