All Be an Entrepreneur

Spring avoids complacency

Stephen Archer is CEO of business growth consultancy Spring Partnerships. Established in 2002, the company now boasts annual sales of £3.2 million and an impressive list of blue-chip clients, though reaching this level has not been easy.

Cash Generator plays to its strengths

Brian Lewis opened his first outlet selling second-hand goods in 1994, offering televisions, trombones and a lot more besides to the residents of Bolton. Now, there are 80 Cash Generator stores across the UK and annual turnover exceeded £50 million last year.

Brilliant British business ideas

Great business ideas are often very simple. But to make them work, you need a dash of luck, a helping of inventiveness, inspired leadership, and, very often, a desire to think in unconventional ways.

Thomas’ TMTI looks to the future

Entrepreneur Crispin Thomas hopes to raise up to £10 million for TMTI, a company that helps consumers use complex mobile phones, ahead of a projected AIM float.

Media companies making an impact

Business XL identifies five innovative companies intent on dramatically transforming – and dominating – their particular niche of the media sector.

Mitchell Tonks: Respect your shareholders

Mitchell Tonks has proved seafood restaurants do make money – Fishworks, the OFEX-listed (Now PLUS Markets) restaurant chain he founded in 1994, turned in its first annual profit this year. With five sites now up and running, Tonks has plans for another 15 establishments.

Wiping out the competition

Taking on your competitors and winning needs more than just energy and commitment. Clever thinking, creative ideas and the time to think strategies through with clarity are all on the menu too.

10 high-flyers on AIM

Introducing cat litter to the UK market, pioneering online entertainment centres and putting caravan parks back on the map are just some examples of AIM’s most successful companies.

Healthy future for KWL

Ken Wells originally wanted to be an architect, but carved out a career in the health and beauty manufacturing business with brands such as L’Oreal and Garnier. Now he has grand designs for his business, KWL.

Gareth Senior of Axion Systems - What I wish I’d known

Gareth Senior is the founder of software concern Axiom Systems, a business demerged from network reseller Connectivity Plus. It grew 250 per cent last year and just recently moved into profit.

Graham Duncan is back for more with Glen Group

Graham Duncan, founder of IT and telecoms provider Glen Group, is no stranger to public markets. His previous business, Atlantic Telecom, once enjoyed a market value of circa £1.1 billion. But when the markets turned nothing could prevent its collapse.

Wade Lyn: Expanding into other product areas

Wade Lyn founded Jamaican pattie producer Cleone Foods in 1987, intent on bringing Caribbean cuisine to the mainstream market. The business, which employs 44 people, is now looking to expand into other product areas.

From lemmings to leaders

Russell Kay created the best-selling computer game Lemmings, and made enough money from the royalties to set up his own business, computer games developer Visual Science.

Eagle Technologies: an entrepreneur's diary

Business angels wanted too much equity. VCs weren’t interested. Undeterred, Chris Rayner, founder of plastic card printing business Eagle Technologies, last month secured the investment he needed.

Back to the drawing board: Arthur Rackham

To safeguard his father’s 15-strong off-licence chain, James Rackham took the rather courageous step of closing every store bar one. Fortunately business has since thrived.

Sanderson sails a steady course

It’s been a tough climate for software ventures, but Christopher Winn’s Sanderson Group is one company looking as if it might outperform the market.

Maiden profit for Netcall

Under the guidance of chief executive Henrik Bang, call centre technology developer Netcall has seen a remarkable turnaround in its fortunes over the last 12 months.

Jonathan Clark: What I wish I’d known

Jonathan Clark founded direct marketing agency Clark McKay & Walpole in 1995 with Janet McKay. By September this year he had created a business boasting revenues of £9.1 million and operating profits of £900,000.

Video Island: Combining online technology with efficient distribution

If you haven’t heard of Video Island yet, you soon will because in less than two years the group has built itself into the largest DVD rental operation in the world.

Peter Cochrane: Know the difference between good money and bad money

Peter Cochrane worked for BT Laboratories, developing a range of technologies, systems, networks and services. He left in 2000 and founded Concept Labs, which supports new technology enterprises.

More from GrowthBusiness

Growing A Business

Doing some simple market research can reveal the true scale of something

Top tips for growing your start-up business

Before going full steam ahead with ramping up business growth, consider what must be done initially to give the best possible chance for success.

Comment & Analysis

Sportsman, like business owners, must possess leadership skills

What we can learn from great sporting leaders 

When it comes to picking role models and mentors, the sporting world offers an inspirational range of leaders who are great at rallying troops to achieve a collective goal.

Research

What moves small-cap share prices?

Research report into the top-performing 100 companies below the FTSE 350 and on AIM.