Adam Pritchard

The period when he ran the pomegranate juice brand he founded – PomeGreat – were some of the best times for Adam Pritchard.

At its peak it had a retail value of £25 million, it was lining the shelves of most supermarkets, and Adam was a rising star in the hugely competitive world of fast-moving consumer goods,.

The years in question – which pretty much spanned a decade from the mid noughties – could also be very, very challenging. It was a yo-yo-ing period of ups and downs which ended up being profitable enough financially for Adam, but has proved even more lucrative in what it taught him.

“These were formative years,” says Adam, in his office at home in Shrewsbury. “The PomeGreat brand went up at a meteoric rate and it drifted back down again, then went up again, and so on.

“You definitely learn so much more on the downs than you ever learn on the ups. How to manage and get through those difficult periods and stay calm were the critical business lessons for me.

“It is those experiences which allow me to empathise with the challenges that the business owners I work with are going through. The challenges are so multifaceted and so all-consuming because when you’re in your own, that’s how business has to be.”

Pritchard Foods, the consultancy Adam created in the aftermath of his involvement in PomeGreat – is now going great guns, with his clients growing at the rate of knots. He has an equity stake in them as well, so it would appear that he is sitting pretty.

He left school at the age of 16 with six not-overly-impressive GCSEs to his name. He also left home, determined to make it on his own.

“I did my FSA exams, before getting a job with a relatively small stockbroking firm in London,” he recalls.

“That lasted a year. I remember sitting on the train looking at the other passengers doing the same thing day after day, and I realised it just wasn’t for me. That was the last time I was employed.

“I started setting up businesses after that. My first business was a company selling T-shirts with brand logos printed on. That wasn’t very successful, and then I started a car business called Motor Resolve. I didn’t know much about cars and I didn’t sell any, so that was a bit of a disaster.

“I then set up a telephone counselling business and didn’t receive any phone calls – it was a spectacularly unsuccessful attempt at starting a business!

“I was getting seriously concerned about my future so I thought I’d better go back into the City to retrain. When I was retraining, a friend got in touch and asked if I knew anything about pomegranates. And I said, no, I don’t. And he said, well, would you interested in learning and looking at a business selling pomegranate juice? Yes, I said . . .”.

Love Hemp is getting Adams pulse racing at the moment

The next six months were largely spent in the British Library. Adam researched all he could about pomegranate production, having learned the lessons of his first two businesses he ran, about which he admits he knew practically nothing.

Allied to that, he didn’t want to go back into the City, so motivation wasn’t hard to find..

“Long story short, I ended up in Iran just before second Gulf War, where I managed to find a suitable source of pomegranate juice which I knew I could do something significant with.

“I started importing very small amounts from Iran and I create the PomeGreat juice brand. I raised £150,000 to get going and ultimately turned it into a £25 million retail brand within three years from launch.”

Adam left the business in 2015 after a series of twists and turns, and what he learned along the ways has proved invaluable.

It was during the early PomeGreat years that Adam met Naomi who went on to become his wife. Without Naomi’s unstinting support, Adam’s journey would have been a great deal more agonising. As he admits, the life of an entrepreneur is very much a family affair.

He took six months off before setting up Pritchard Foods, and quite quickly lots of different opportunities started to come his way.

The owners and leaders he now worked with could see what he brought to the table – the full gamut of experience, from finance, strategy and execution, through to marketing and sales.

“It has all been borne out from my time in my fruit juice business,” he says. “I am now working with fellow entrepreneurs who require that knowledge and experience and empathy – that emotional connection that can only come from understanding the hardships and challenges they face.”

This connection is strengthened by Adam’s insistence that he has a part ownership of his clients’ businesses.

“I like to take have equity participation in any business that I’m involved with. To have a long-term relationship in any business, you must have an ownership in it, and to be able to properly empathise with the business owner.

“I am also very happy to be fired within the first few months without any notice. My overriding ambition is to add exponential value to any company that I go into and if I am not then the last thing I want to do is be a burden. I’ve seen it happen too many times.”

Adam has come a long way since his days as an employee, busting a gut in the City in an industry which he knew, deep down, wasn’t for the long term. Could he ever see himself working for anyone else?

“I’ve been incredibly fortunate that I’m completely unemployable with my skill set and qualifications,” he says. “I only ever been able to work in a leadership role or be part of a leadership team. I would find it very difficult to take orders – and I think that might have come from my days in my late teens of just having to survive.”