10 top business tips from West Ham chairman David Gold
When it comes to business, there are few success stories in the UK quite like that of DAVID GOLD. Now the joint-chairman of West Ham FC and chairman of Gold Group International, incorporating Ann Summers and Knickerbox, he rose from beginnings of abject poverty in East London to become one of our most highly regarded entrepreneurs. Today, the Caterham resident devotes much of his time to speaking with other would-be entrepreneurs to provide them with inspiration, and here he reveals his top ten tips for getting ahead in the world of business…
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2012
1 Don’t expect an easy ride It might sound obvious, but no one is going to hand business success to you on a plate. You’ve got to put your heart and soul into it, especially these days. One of my biggest moments in business came when I was forced to sleep on the floor of a shop I ran with my brother in South London. Because I was there late, we got more passing business and it took off from there.
2 Be your own inspiration Work out what drives you and never lose sight of it. One of my driving forces was the hardship my family and I suffered in East London in the 40s and 50s. We were desperately poor. I never wanted to go back there.
3 Be brave You’ve got to take calculated risks in business. Have the courage of your convictions; believe in yourself. The last time I heard, no one ever got rich by standing around waiting for things to happen.
4 Have the courage to admit mistakes If something isn’t working, there is no good sticking your head in the sand. I once kept a magazine going when I should have closed it down. The day I made the decision to put a halt to it was difficult – but it was the right decision to make.
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5 Listen Your customers are everything. If you aren’t giving them what they want, they will walk away. Can you afford for that to happen? The answer is no, so make sure you are speaking with your customers.
6 Embrace the modern world It’s important to use all the tools available to you in promoting your business. Ann Summers has a fantastic online operation that boosts the business. Around a year ago, I had never heard of Twitter. Now I am on it every day. It’s a great barometer for hearing what people are thinking.
7 Don’t be afraid to be innovative My daughter Jacqueline is the CEO of Ann Summers and her idea for the Ann Summers home parties was a key moment in the businesses success story. One idea can transform a business so go with your gut instinct.
8 Hire the best people you can In my career, I have hired around a hundred managers across my businesses, including football. You can’t always get it right but you should always go for people who you believe will carry your business forward.
9 Be the master of your own destiny There is no point blaming others for anything that goes wrong in business. You are the chief, the Number One – if something goes wrong, you are the person who will need to fix it.
10 Be in it to win it You’ve got to take that leap in business. You can’t have 30 shops before you’ve even had one. We now have 150 Ann Summers stores across the UK – but we started with just two.