We talk to Michelle Mone, the Ultimo Lingerie founder about her philosophy for staying ahead when times are hard
I don’t think there are any secrets to running a successful business. It really is a lot of common sense. Perhaps one reason I’ve done well is that I get stuff done. I do my homework, do my research, and then get committed. I’m cool, calm and critical. But when I make a decision I always follow it through.
We talk to Lesley-Ann Simmonds, Managing Director of Shoes Galore Limited in New Milton about her experience of taking part in the hit BBC2 programme Dragon’s Den. Her experience is set to be broadcast on Monday 4th August on BBC2 at 9pm.
Shoes Galore is a franchise giving women the opportunity to work around their family commitments selling shoes, bags, belts and accessories mainly by party plan, at corporate’s, charity events and shoe fashion shows.
The Experience in Lesley’s own words…
They met at Anita Roddick’s funeral. Clive Stafford Smith, founder of Reprieve, had a word with Mo and Mark Constantine, co-founders of Lush, about the plight of prisoners held without trial in Guantanamo Bay. “He had a slogan, Buy one, set one free. It was too good to miss,” says Mo.
Canary Wharf is synonymous with men and women in suits, business and sky scrappers. And unless it is an evening in the pub after a hard day’s work, fun is not necessarily the word that springs into mind when one thinks about the business district which has over 80,000 workers and the tallest building in Britain – One Canada Square. But in the cold winter days, the site is totally transformed. Laugh, fun and, for some, a lot of skills are on show at the ice rink in the centre of it all. The businessman behind such enterprise is the Canadian Brian Jokat.
James Caan is not a man to let the grass grow under his feet. By the age of 40 he was a self-made millionaire, having created and sold two executive headhunting firms.
But rather than sailing off into the sunset with G&T in hand, Caan has since graduated from the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School, become a mentor for MBA students at London Business School, and set up a private equity firm, which currently has four companies in its investment portfolio. Oh, and become the latest dragon on Dragon’s Den, where on top of filming obligations, he has already taken three entrepreneurial charges under his wing.
Jack Petchey OBE is a remarkable self made successful business man and entrepreneur, giving away his millions to help young people because he believes passionately that we all have a duty to give something back to society.
Jack, aged 82, was born in London’s East End into a loving but humble family. He left school aged 14 without any qualifications and after a stint in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, Jack went back to his job as a clerk but soon found that he was not rated very highly by his bosses and was told he would never make a successful businessman. Undeterred Jack went on to become one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Britain and a prominent businessman and property developer.
His credentials are impeccable – Harvard, McKinsey, Bain Capital, Stanford Business School. A career as a consultant or CXO of a blue chip company beckoned. But following a dodgy encounter with a ticket tout intent on fleecing him for tickets to a Lion King concert, Eric Baker turned his back on the blue chips to enter the then murky world of secondary ticketing.
Jo Russell talks to Tim Richards, the CEO of the Vue Cinema group about how he left the Hollywood party world to start his own cinema group above a shop in Chiswick.
Grant Bovey was doing business over in Dubai when he spotted a market opportunity to sell properties to people interested in investing in the UK market.
Despite having no property experience whatsoever he decided to give it try. “I came back from Dubai and thought about buying a block of properties and market there. But clearly I needed to come up with something different.”
It’s not unusual for a change in life circumstances to fire up an individual’s entrepreneurial spirit. It is undoubtedly unusual, however, when that catalytic event is triple bypass surgery.
But that’s exactly what led to Steve Hardin from Shropshire opening his online shop. At the age of 51 he was diagnosed with a heart problem that culminated in the surgery, prompting him to give up a successful career as an auditor and turn his passion for trains into a web business.
In 1999, he and his wife Rita had taken over what was a run-down and closed miniature railway in the park in Chester.
Three years ago, while juggling a full-time job and bringing up a young family, Rachel Birch decided it was time to turn her hobby into a business and become her own boss.
“Spurred on by a burning desire to be my own boss and to give people a taste of what the countryside has to offer”, as she puts it, after years of planning, research, product testing and saving up, Melton Mowbray Drinks was born.
Although her sales projection for the business were 200 bottles in the first year, 500 in the second and 750 in the third, sales have now reached almost 4000 bottles a year.