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Mark Stott: “Business is a bus journey”

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"I read a book about four or five years ago called Good to Great by Jim Collins," he tells Real Business. "It’s the most simple, best business book ever."

Collins proffers the view that running a business is like a bus journey. "It’s all about getting the right people on the bus," explains Stott. "It doesn’t matter when they get on the bus. Or if they’re on the wrong seat; they can move seats. As long as they’re the right person, they should be on the bus. And if they’re the wrong person, get them off the bus as fast as you can."

Stott, a serial entrepreneur, practices this philosophy in his businesses. Having run a car dealership, a software company and a bar, you’d think that he’d needed completely different individuals for each business. You’d be wrong.

“Take Giles Beswick, who’s now a shareholder and a director in Select Property,” he explains. “He joined me ten years ago. He started as a part-time waiter because he was writing a novel. Within six months he was running the bar. We were virtually insolvent so I sold that company and went back to the car business. He came with me."

Despite having a first class honours degree, Beswick worked as a driver in Stott’s dealership while the pair got back on their feet and paid off all their debts. Two years on, when Stott founded Select Property, he came too.

"Now he runs a lot of this business," says Stott. "When I met him, I had no idea what he would be doing for me, I just knew that at some point he would have enormous value.”

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