Theo Paphitis interviewed at Spring Fair
The Retail Bulletin team was wowed by this week’s Spring Fair, the marketplace for wholesale home, gift and fashion, where retailers including the likes of Next, Argos, Sainsbury, Tesco, Asda, Fenwick and Quiz Clothing were in attendance.
The show’s Retail Stage hosted an interview with Theo Paphitis whose retail brands include Ryman and Robert Dyas.
Speaking to a packed audience of retailers, Paphitis, interviewed by The Sun’s business editor Ashley Armstrong, said: “I’ve had an incredibly vibrant career being an entrepreneur, it was never a career in my day. Hunger and passion is key, but it can’t be taught. There are different levels of entrepreneurial success. Most entrepreneurs are dreamers. I’m still dreaming, the dreams drive us, but you have to make those dreams come true and that’s the difference, having the drive the realise it.”
Paphitis then talked about the support he gives to start-ups through #Small Business Sunday. He said: “#Small Business Sunday came about as I’d just joined Twitter and got all these followers from starting on Dragon’s Den. One Sunday I thought why I don’t I use these 50k followers to some benefit and thought the first half a dozen that tweet me telling me a little bit about their business I’ll retweet.
“We read them all, picked six and left it at that. The following Sunday my phone goes off again and #SBS was coming in. On the third week I took it to the office, retweeted on the Monday. Every Monday morning we did it and now it’s grown to our event, self-help groups, and forums.”
He also gave some words of advice to fledgling businesses: “Business is common sense – don’t be shy, stick your elbows out and know your numbers”, adding that “50% of all small businesses fail in the first two years because people don’t know their numbers, they haven’t done their homework. Lots who fail the first time, go on to succeed the second. Learning from their mistakes, finding places to get help, understanding the things that really matter in business. The things you need to sweat and the things you don’t need to sweat because they don’t really matter.”
Asked how small businesses can manage cash flow post pandemic and through the cost-of-living crisis, Paphitis replied: “You’re absolutely right it has been difficult. You couldn’t make it up, with Russia and Ukraine, cost of living, inflation and energy costs, it’s been very difficult for us to plan. We have to build in what we’re doing with some margin for error, but I still believe there is opportunity. As a small business, if you remain agile and survive for the next 3 years and do it in this market you’ll have great foundations.”
Paphitis’s #SBS Small Business Sunday winners are now hosted in the #SBS Village at Spring Fair where twelve new winners and two past winners presented their designs this year.
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