How two very different entrepreneurs made their millions

Business jetWhat drives people to success? Is it their backgrounds and upbringing, or is it a built-in genetic function that pushes one or two outliers ahead of everyone else?

In this programme, successful UK multi-millionaire and Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones interviews two very different entrepreneurs to understand how they arrived where they are today.

The show begins with Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent – a smoothie company with a £165 million annual turnover. Reed started the company nearly 20 years ago with two friends from university and likes to lead his business with a sense of mission to do good for other people, rather than just focus purely on profit.

A somewhat different character is introduced in the form of Michelle Mone.  Michelle’s story is the classic rags-to-riches tale,  starting with an unhappy childhood in Glasgow’s East End, before entering the highly competitive lingerie market with high-profile PR campaigns to gain huge amounts of free advertising for her Ultimo brand.

Both entrepreneurs have very different management styles.

Whilst the offices of Innocent could have been pulled straight out of Silicon Valley, with a homely open plan kitchen, swinging seats and indoor grass; the Ultimo office is probably the tidiest and most organised that I have ever seen, reflecting the Michelle Mone’s OCD personality.

However both entrepreneurs share the same characteristic of being very highly driven and Peter Jones does a very good job of digging into the background of both.

My biggest takeaway was a comment from Sir Tom Hunter, a private equity investor who invested in Michelle and Ultimo, who explained that highly successful people are driven by self-doubt and a need to prove themselves to others.

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