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From C-Suite to entrepreneur: Jeannette Linfoot’s journey



Former Saga CEO Jeannette Linfoot shares her transition to entrepreneurship, the lessons learned from her corporate career, and her insights on the economic landscape for 2024.

In 2018, Jeannette Linfoot made the brave decision to step down from her role as CEO of Saga to build her own multi-million pound business portfolio. Here, she shares her motivations, the lessons she has taken into her entrepreneurial ventures, and her perspectives on the future economic landscape.

Transition to entrepreneurship

Why did you make this decision?

“I have always enjoyed the roles I have held in my business career and am immensely proud of the global companies I have led and the fantastic teams I have had the opportunity to work with. But I had reached a point where I wanted more freedom, choice and flexibility, and felt the time was right to start a multiple career.

“I have always believed that it is important to have multiple streams of income, including passive income. My move into full-time corporate CEO allowed me to focus on a broader portfolio of investment opportunities.”

Lessons from business

What lessons have you learned from your business life towards a more entrepreneurial world?

“I have learned so many lessons from my 25 years in business. Just a few of these include having a clear vision, purpose and strategy not only for your business but also for your personal life, and having financial discipline, especially in the area of ​​investment opportunities to ensure robust decision-making.

“It’s very different investing your own capital than that of a large company, so accuracy and attention to detail will serve you well.”

Impact in the past five years

Where do you think you’ve made the biggest impact over the past five years?

“Creating the ‘Brave Bold Brilliant’ brand has allowed me to open a world of possibilities for business leaders, entrepreneurs, corporations, executive teams and aspiring future leaders. I truly believe that every person has greatness within them, and by being brave and bold, everyone can unlock their Brilliant!

“With Brave Bold Brilliant as a golden thread, I have had the greatest impact on the companies I advise on strategy, growth, turnaround, internationalization and board performance, as well as on the individuals I work with as a business mentor who are advancing their careers and company would like to scale up.

“On a broader basis, my podcast Brave Bold Brilliant, which is in the top 1.5% of all podcasts in the world and listened to in over 120 countries, allows me to reach a global audience and have incredibly rich and real conversations with good high-achieving business leaders who genuinely inspire others to go the extra mile.

“On a personal level, my partner and I have a very different lifestyle than when we both had jobs at a large company, lived in London and often traveled abroad on business. We have created a life by design. These days we live on the beach in Caswell, on the edge of The Gower in South Wales, and our properties in London, and base ourselves abroad for three months in the winter.”

Economic forecasts for 2024

How do you expect the economic landscape to change in 2024, if at all?

“I think economic headwinds are coming our way in 2024, driven mainly by interest rates, costs of capital, inflation, skilled labor shortages, environmental concerns and a global slowdown.

“I don’t think we will see an economic crash, but I do expect global growth to slow to around 2.6% versus 2.9% in 2023, with certain markets experiencing a ‘mini-recession’.

“However, there will always be opportunities in any market. In fact, there are several examples of unicorn companies that started during recessions, such as Microsoft in 1975, Airbnb in 2008, and Apple in 1975.

“Some developments taking place in technology, such as AI, create interesting opportunities. The increased focus on ESG means that companies that go the extra mile on environmental, social and governance will be leading in 2024 and beyond.”

Insights from the Brave Bold Brilliant Podcast

After interviewing many CEOs, entrepreneurs and business leaders about their own journeys to success on your podcast, what do you think are the common traits of a successful business leader?

“High-performing business leaders share many common qualities. They plan strategically and do so with a clear understanding of their ‘why’. They manage their time effectively and demonstrate adaptability, flexibility and willingness to step outside their comfort zone.

“The best CEOs are constantly looking for new ways to improve themselves and their organizations.”

Entrepreneurship: innate or learned?

Do you believe that entrepreneurship is something people are born with or something they can learn?

“When I was in the corporate world, I told myself that I wasn’t very entrepreneurial, that I was a great corporate CEO, and that was where I needed to be. Of course, that voice in my head was talking nonsense at the time, because I now see that I am good at operating in both roles. I therefore think that entrepreneurship is something that people can learn. Surrounding yourself with the right people and being in the right environment is crucial so you can learn from others.

“Having an appetite for risk is also important, as is having a healthy approach to failure. If you can embrace failure as learning and become comfortable with being uncomfortable, then you can be an entrepreneur.”

Mindset versus skills in business leadership

What do you think is more important in business leadership: mindset or skills?

“Skills are of course important, but personally I think mindset is the most critical aspect for any business leader. It really starts with ourselves, and by having faith and trust in yourself, you can unlock the greatness in others: your customers, teams, shareholders and the world we operate in.

“Being a strong leader is about recognizing where your skills lie and where your gaps are so that you can recruit people who are more skilled than you in certain areas. That shows real strength.”

Jeannette Linfoot’s transition from corporate CEO to entrepreneurial powerhouse underscores the importance of adaptability, a clear vision and the courage to embrace new challenges. Her journey offers valuable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders.