This is the kind of business wisdom you only hear from family businesses: "Business is terribly simple and people who try to make it complicated are missing the main point," says Edward Atkin, founder and now former owner of Cannon Avent. "If you just make the best product you know how to make, everything else looks after itself, because the costings will always come right in the long term as the volumes grow. We make everything up ourselves. We don’t farm out manufacturing. So, as we become more successful, the volumes grow, we put more automation in and more mass production. We can afford finer tolerances and better-quality machines and better-quality tooling and better-quality everything, so the quality gets better again. The costs come down, we can spend more money on marketing, we sell more, the costs come down even more and so on. So it’s a virtuous circle." Click here to read more from Atkin and our 2001 ranking of the UK’s best family businesses.
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