41 - The Power of Focus - Nicholas 'Charles Tyrwhitt' Wheeler, OBE

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The Founder of Charles Tyrwhitt shirts, Nicholas Wheeler OBE, discusses his various successes and failures from childhood to the present day. We find out how to have good ideas and bad ideas and the key to making them successful.

Charles Tyrwhitt is now a ~$0.3 billion company which he started from nothing. The story of zero to 1 million is always interesting. But the further stories of going from 1 to 10 and 10 to 100 provide incredible depth and insights into how to focus and be persistent.

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Top tips



1 - Be humble

Nick is very humble and accepting of his mistakes. He would often start with comments such as ’this has been said before i’m not a genius for thinking it’ or ‘this is what i think but sure it’s not always the case.’

Which doesn’t undermine his thoughts exactly it just shows he is open to being challenged or that there could be other opinions that are right.

He is completely open to being wrong and actively encourages his employees to challenge him and the authority across the organisation to ensure that people have a say in decisions and understand why things are the way they are or have the power to change them


2 - Focus - Perseverance

Don’t quit when starting. Finding traction and getting things going takes time to become and expert at what you do and understand who your customer is and how to serve them. the world doesn’t just stop and buy into your idea when you launch, so you shouldn’t just give up.

And then when you’ve finally solved a problem don’t quit. zero to 10 is the hardest thing. 10 to 100 is much easier yet so many people do quit

Don’t lose attention and try other things because you’ll just mess up what you are doing.



3 - Don’t be Afraid to Break the Mould

For a “traditional business” Nick hasn’t done anything traditionally. He didn’t take financing or find a business partner. he launched at the time a very innovative business model and ignored all his friends telling him to get a real job and give up on the mail order shirt thing.

In hindsight, it might all seem quite easy but at the time it takes real courage to be different. Sometimes you have to zag when everyone is zigging and have the courage to do something everyone thinks is stupid.


Books


Damaged Goods - The Inside Story of Sir Phillip Green, and the collapse of BHS, and the death of the High Street - Oliver Shah

Sir Philip Green was once hailed one of Britain's best businessmen. As chairman of Arcadia Group, home to brands such as Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge, Green had prime ministers and supermodels on speed dial. But the retail magnate's reputation came crashing down when Oliver Shah, a Sunday Times journalist, uncovered the methods Green used to amass his gigantic offshore fortune, and the desperation that drove his doomed BHS deal.


Notes

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