FROM RAGS TO RICHES
|Ken Wills shares his tips on
making it to the top
Have you've ever wondered what it
takes to become a top business mogul? Inside Out follows three self-made
South East entrepreneurs and their stories of rags to riches.
It could be you...
Think of top businessmen and household names like Richard
Branson, Bernie Ecclestone and Easyjet's Stelios Haji-Ioannou spring to
But have you ever wondered what special qualities took them to the top
of their respective business trees?
They share several common characteristics with three South
East business entrepreneurs who have enjoyed a spectacular rise to riches
from humble beginnings.
Inside Out investigates what it takes to run a business
empire, and shares the secrets of three southerners success.
From rags to riches
Burfoot is the new kid on the block, with a penthouse and luxury lifestyle
The world of business can be incredibly cut-throat, high
powered and difficult to break into.
So where do you start if you have dreams of becoming
a successful business man or woman?
One of the keys to success is having a clear goal and
You've also got to be incredibly focused and driven to
make it in the business world.
Paul Burford runs a chain of hairdressing salons and
a hair products business.
Keep Your Feet on the Ground
From working class routes, Paul started working on building
sites until he swapped his hod for hair crimpers in his early 20s.
"When you're young, you're kind of fearless," he says.
It's the ability to take a risk that has contributed to
his impressive business turnover of £3 million per year.
Paul hasn't forgotten where he came from though. It makes
him more grounded and realistic. He believes in "longevity"
rather than the "one big cash-in".
A Business Empire
Ken Wills started with nothing and has worked his way
up to a business empire with a turnover of £20 million.
|Ken Wills works
and plays hard in his native Kent
Ken's fortune was not made through a lucky lottery win,
nor did he inherit his wealth.
Ken came from modest beginnings, growing up in a semi
in Ashford, the son of an auxiliary nurse and a jobbing builder.
It was sheer determination and hard work that rocketed
Ken Wills from obscurity to a lifestyle complete with a big house by the
sea and expensive cars.
Today he boasts a jet engine maintenance shop, a helicopter
firm, a fire prevention company, a restaurant, a jewellery business and
a radio station on the Isle of Thanet.
"If you do what you love, you're going to be better
at it," advises Ken to budding entrepreneurs.
But Ken isn't resting on his laurels. His low boredom
threshold means that he's always keen to find new pies to put his fingers
into. Success breeds success so it seems.
|COULD YOU BE THE
NEXT BIG NAME IN BUSINESS?
What does it take to be a top entrepreneur?
Here's a few tips from Inside Out:
Be focused and have a clear vision of what you want to achieve.
Have a passionate belief in your ability to succeed.
Hard work, determination and having amazing foresight
Don't be content
to rest on your laurels.
See everything as a positive. Make negatives into positives.
Success can breed success but don't overreach yourself unless
you have a sound business plan.
Be 'hands on' and know your business inside out. But don't be
afraid to delegate to someone you trust.
Be opportunistic - know how to back a winner.
Know how to network.
Do your homework and write
a Business Plan
on Business Plans from BBC
Frank Thornley's game is the pub and club business.
His company owns thirty businesses with an annual turnover
of £20 million.
Frank's love of the South East led him to invest in his
first pub in Broadstairs and an empire was born.
Today he's one of the best known businessmen in Kent.
So what's the secret of Frank's success in the business
For a start Frank knows how to back a winner and he's
a sharp operator when it comes to business investments.
He was also in the right place at the right time.
In his youth the Kentish coast was still frontier country
and a fertile ground for enterprising young people looking to make their
mark outside London.
Secrets of Success
So what do these three successful
businessmen have in common, apart from a love of Kent?
All of them has a classic rags-to-riches story to tell,
but the real secret of their climb up the business ladder runs much deeper.
All of them are dedicated and determined, and they're
very grounded by a knowledge of where they came from - their modest Kent
To be successful you also need to have a good eye for
Setting up a successful new business depends on a combination
of factors - self-motivation, a bit of brains, luck, good planning and
knows a business winner when he sees one
Hungry for Profits
You also need to have absolute self-belief and determination.
Ken Wills is the first to admit that you've got to be hungry if you want
to get to the top.
If you want to succeed, you may have to elbow other people
out of the way.
"I've trodden on people on the way up, I've very
much regretted it. My want to succeed was initially at the cost of others,"
says Ken Wills.
Ken is also a fan of delegation - it enables him to juggle
several different business interests at a time.
"It's not important to delegate - it's essential. Really, my job
is to say what needs to be done and how we can best do it. It's a question
of applying yourself, making the most of opportunities, and sticking at
it," he recommends.
Last but by no means least, it's no coincidence that all
three entrepreneurs have been successful in Kent.
Their passion for Kent has meant that they've invested
their money and time in the area they know and love.
It's a tale of rags-to-riches that many others will
be keen to emulate.