Apparently, 81 per cent of small business owners don’t believe that entrepreneurs such as Lord Alan Sugar, Richard Branson and Peter Jones reflect real life. As an independent business owner myself – who is occasionally referred to by that misleading term and has seen, first hand, some of these big hitters in action – I just can’t agree.
I deal with the day-to-day running of Pimlico Plumbers and all the problems that come with running your own firm in the midst of a recession, so I believe the media work I do gives a realistic view of what’s going on in the real world of business.
I’ve met the likes of Duncan Bannatyne, James Caan and Charles Dunstone – entrepreneurs who freely give up their time to mentor and support people who want to start their own business. These guys are as real as they come and in no way reflect a distorted view of what it’s like to manage a business.
Small business owners should embrace the advice and experience of these entrepreneurs, not partake in a cheap shot at some of the best practical business brains in the country.
Meanwhile, it was nice to welcome Lynn Duffy from the Honeyrose Foundation to London last week. Lynn runs one of the charities I worked with on Secret Millionaire and I invited her to Pimlico Plumbers to meet the remarkable Barry Daniels.
Barry runs the Rhys Daniels Trust, a charity he set up with his wife Carmen in tribute of their son Rhys, who lost his battle with Late Infantile Batten’s Disease when he was just eight years old. The charity, which I have supported for many years, provides “home-from-home care” for the families of children diagnosed with a serious or life threatening illness. As anyone who knows me will testify, I am not one for meetings. However, helping Lynn gain new fund-raising ideas and inspiration from Barry was one sit down I did not regret taking part in!
Charlie Mullins launched Pimlico Plumbers in 1979 with just a bag of tools and a very old van bought at auction. It now has over 133 professional plumbers and a support team of around 35 staff, with a turnover of more than £15m.
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