David Atkinson - Yorkshire Meatball Company

You can hear David’s story by clicking below.

‘I wrote an award winning PhD which in one sentence probably translates into my management leadership and philosophy. Sometimes in the face of complexity and uncertainty it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do something. ‘

David Atkinson, The Yorkshire Meatball Company

Graduate College, PhD Critical Management, 2006

David Atkinson is Managing Director/Founder, of an award winning, speciality Meatball Bar. According to David, they are ‘all about balls; meaty balls, fish balls, veggie balls and sweet skewered balls served pretty much any-which-way you like’. They champion local produce, local beers, and local people.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing has it?

The life of an entrepreneur is not an easy one and we all know what happened in 2007/2008 when the wheel fell of the economic wagon, and I went into the office one morning in August 2008 and my business partner turned round to me and said ‘David, I have had a terrible weekend and I have had a lot of phone calls with the members of the board, we want you out’.  In effect they threw me out of the business I had founded and I didn’t have a leg to stand on and they held back £30,000 of my money until I had agreed to leave.

I couldn’t take them to court, because there was hardly any money in the company, I would have won but they would have closed the company and put it into administration and walked away. So all I could do was pack up my desk and walk out. And I left with nothing except a mortgage and, typical of many entrepreneurs who have invested anything their business, a lot of credit cards to the hilt. I think I had about £40,000 of credit card debt. So what then? Well what then, this is an advert, no it’s not an advert…I publish a novel about a man who gets thrown out of his own company!

What has kept you going through the ups and downs of various business ventures?

I believe my values and priorities have remained consistent, it’s a strong work ethic, a desire to do more and an intense dislike of the hundred or so reasons that I hear every day about why someone shouldn’t do something, and a champion of the one reason to do so, and that combined with an understanding of and a willingness to embrace risk.

The Yorkshire Meatball company seems to be going from strength to strength…

We have nominated for a host of awards we won the Harrogate hospitality and newcomer award in 2014 after a nomination received in the first four weeks of opening.  Last month we were the Yorkshire regional winner in a national a business start up competition… The thing I am most proud of is that I have been able to start all this with the help of one of my own sons, cue a bit of emotion…

What would your advice be to someone starting or growing a business?

You don’t have a business unless you can walk away from that business and it stills carries on. That’s my definition of a business.

You can see David’s LinkedIn profile here.


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