The Entrepreneur: Luke Mohr, GO Mammoth

Pioneering 'social sports' for adults, founder of GO Mammoth Luke Mohr talks learning on the job, trying not to get distracted and the value of the graft...

Founder: Luke Mohr
Company: GO Mammoth
Description in one line: The UK’s largest social sports club
Turnover: £2.5m-£3m estimated
12-month target: £3.5m

Business growth

Describe your business model and what makes your business unique:

  • GO Mammoth provides after-work sports programs for adults across the UK.
  • We are the only provider in the UK that delivers multiple sports products (i.e. over 15 different team sports/fitness activities on offer, as well as bespoke corporate wellness programs and events).
  • As the pioneer of “social sports”, GO Mammoth is also unique in delivering mixed gender formats in sports such as football, basketball and volleyball.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Over the past seven years, as the world is getting less active, my greatest achievement has been getting over 100,000 people out after work, playing sports with friends.

What numbers do you look at every day in your business?

Mainly retention rates from season-to-season, player feedback ratings and key cost drivers.

To what extent does your business trade internationally and what are your plans?

Currently our programs are based in 15 cities throughout the United Kingdom, including Wales and Scotland. International expansion could be on the cards… watch this space!

Describe your growth funding path:

I took out a personal loan to get the business launched. Profits have been re-invested as we’ve gone. We haven’t required external financing to this point as the model is low capex and cash in advance from customers, which means we can self-fund reasonable growth.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

We’ve invested quite significantly in our own technology to make it easier to manage the business and automate previously human-intensive tasks. Particularly email automation has helped significantly both for customer service and marketing.

Where would you like your business to be in three years?

I’d like to continue to grow a solid, scalable business with exceptional customer satisfaction in all our sectors – team sports, group fitness and corporate programs – whilst navigating the market opportunities and challenges strategically as they arise.

Growth challenges

What is the hardest thing you have ever done in business?

Learning to adapt as a business owner through the different business life cycle stages. To succeed as a start-up requires a very different set of skills to that of steady growth and stability.

Your personal journey is often reflected in the business journey, and as a leader you are often the greatest constraint or opportunity to the business.

What was your biggest business mistake?

Becoming too distracted with horizontal market ideas that I thought complimented customers' needs, but actually just meant it took us longer to become excellent and a market leader in our ‘core concept’.

Piece of Red Tape that hampers growth most:

For our business specifically, local planning restrictions around sports facilities are a big pain.

For example, there are many facilities with floodlights but they can’t be used after 6pm in the evening – so kind of pointless when the nation needs to be more active in order to help the straining public health service.

What is the most common serious mistake you see entrepreneurs make?

Presuming that just because the business model is based around technology, it will succeed.

How will your market look in three years?

  • Tech: More virtual fitness classes and sports.
  • Corporate: Greater onus on the employer to keep their staff active and healthy.

What is the single most important piece of advice you would offer to a less experienced entrepreneur?

Try to find a business idea that you are truly passionate about and that connects with your life’s purpose. It’s 10 times easier to continue to work hard for something if you believe you’re creating something of value to humankind rather than purely generating wealth. Be proud in what you create… the success will follow.

Personal growth

Biggest luxury:

Beer and crisps!

Executive education or learn it on the job?

Definitely learn on the job, especially now more than ever. I think education in general is 20 years outdated versus the daily skills required to succeed in both business and the workplace. It’s almost impossible to teach these skills from a textbook in my opinion.

It doesn’t matter how well you can retain and regurgitate information now, Google does that. Commercial aptitude, adaptability and emotional intelligence are the value-add skills that separate us from the robots.

What would make you a better leader?

A few things, I think…

  • Sustained focus (not getting distracted by opportunities that arise which aren’t in line with the core mission)
  • Being more present day-to-day with work, family and friends.
  • Making better strategic decisions.
  • Ensuring the internal office culture is not compromised over business growth.

What one thing do you wish you’d known when you started?

Silver bullets don’t exist, even though sometimes you want them to. Nothing of worth can be achieved without the graft. The graft is what gives you the sense of fulfilment after all…

One business app and one personal app you can’t do without:

Headspace (a mindfulness app)

Business book:

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari. (Not really a business book, but it did have a profound effect on my outlook for both my business and personal life.)