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“My wife gives me better advice than my non-exec”

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A recent survey by MGR found that the most popular choice for advice remained the company’s accountant (38 per cent). Second in the rankings came the partner or husband/wife (15 per cent), follwed by the non-executive director (13 per cent).

Bankers performed the worst. Hardly surprising given that they’re responsible for this economic mess.

Real Business columnist John Timpson, owner of the eponymous chain of cobblers and key-cutters, says he has always bounced ideas off his wife Alex, to whom he has been married for 41 years. "I fell in love with her personality, not her business acumen but on a number of occasions she has told me what to do with the business," he says.

He claims his best decision was made in the late eighties: "The Sock Shop and others were floating at fantastic price/earning ratios and people were making a lot of money. We were going to be next. We were talking to merchant bankers when Alex said to me: ‘You won’t like being told what to do by analysts and fund managers.’ So I told my six shareholders we weren’t going to float and I had to buy their shares back. It cost me about £4.5m, but it was my best decision. Today, Timpson turns over about £150m, and it’s because of Alex’s advice that we own 100 per cent of it."

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Related articles:"The government won’t help us, so we must help ourselves"John Timpson in the Guardian

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