In the late 1990s, Adam Balon, Jon Wright and Richard Reed came up with the idea of a device to automatically fill your bath, but, on account of the dangerous mix of water and electricity involved, they changed tack and started selling fruit smoothies instead.
In just three years Phil Harvey and his fellow founding directors have grown media, design and advertising agency JPMH from start-up into a business generating £2 million of turnover each year.
‘We were already in the nursery sector, but not in a big way,’ explains Ringo Francis, chairman and chief executive of cleaning products supplier Zenith Hygiene.
Most entrepreneurs are optimistic types who might regard insolvency as the last thing to focus on when growing their business!
‘We want to be the leader in the UK, we want to dominate Europe and we want to make a lot of profits in the process,’ – so says Gerry McKenna, chief executive of Match Day Media (MDM), Europe’s first ‘transmedia television network’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Business XL identifies five innovative companies intent on dramatically transforming – and dominating – their particular niche of the media sector.
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.
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.
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.
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 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, 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Research suggests price cuts in the final quarter encouraged more customers into stores.
Esther McMorris, founder of business consultancy Nine Feet Tall, shares her advice for ensuring a smooth merger or acquisition process.
Margaret Kett discusses the issue of gender diversity in the boardroom and what can propel women into the higher echelons of management.
The gap in businesses’ measurement of customer experience means they don’t know what customers really want, research finds