Dutton, who grew up on a council estate in Nottinghamshire, founded Synseal in 1980, starting out with just £200. Today, he employs over 700 people and pulls in sales of £90m.
The straight-talking entrepreneur has some great tips for running a business: “Each man should have no more than seven people reporting to him. I’ve got my seven directors, and they’ve got seven people below them, and so on. If you’ve got 30 people reporting to you, the only thing you’ll have time for is lip service. You’ll end up being overwhelmed”.
And despite his claim that he could “likely buy out James Caan and Peter Jones” this man has his feet planted firmly on the ground. “When you start believing in your own publicity, that’s when you’re going to be ripped off.
"I’m lucky in that I have a wife who reminds me that I’m still the same prat that I was when she married me.”
Dutton warns entrepreneurs against keeping all their eggs in one basket. “You have to be adaptable and flexible to survive. Especially now,” he says. Sticking to his own advice, he’s just started new composite door business Door-Stop, headed up by his son Nick who’s worked alongside him for 18 years.
“As a patriot, I’m delighted this country honours the ordinary man,” he says of being made an MBE at the Queen’s birthday honours last week.
“It is quintessentially British and in some way puts the ‘great’ back in Britain.”
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