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“My role is about bringing everyone together so we can work out solutions as a team.”Tim Bittleston on his first 100 days as CEO at Panacea.

“Try and accommodate what the customer wants. It’s a very quick route to go out of business if you try and tell the customer what they must have.”Mike Keaney, Plaxton Coaches’ managing director, on growing a 100-year-old business.

“Sometimes you have to duck and weave a bit, and if you see a great opportunity, go for it, even if you can’t tick all the boxes.”Vue Entertainment CEO Tim Richards on breaking the £100m barrier.

“Our culture of encouraging and supporting innovation means that people are strongly motivated to stay with us and develop their ideas as well as their careers.” Robert Davis, EA Technology managing director, on keeping the company’s 100-plus employees happy.

 “You don’t have to be in a fashionable sector to achieve fabulous and sustained growth. It’s just as possible from doing pretty boring things.” Lessons learned from the Real Business Hot 100.

“There are fashions in business behaviour and there are cycles in economic activity. We shouldn’t be surprised by these.”Dr Terry Gourvish, director of the Business History Unit at the London School of Economics, on the history of business.

“Focus on the business from a resource perspective. For example, we look at what resources we have and then look at what we need to commit, if we are to meet demand from existing customers and also new customers.”Mike Pickles, founder and managing director of Really Useful Products Ltd.

“You’ve got to know where ultimately you want the business to be. There’s no use having a good strategy that means you’re as good as the next guy. You’ve got to have a differentiator.” Mark Gouldthorp, managing director, Raleigh UK.

“Business more than any other occupation is a continual dealing with the future; it is a continual calculation, an instinctive exercise in foresight.” Henry Luce, co-founder of Time Inc, publishers of Time, Fortune and Life magazines, among others.

“One of our biggest lessons early  on was to do the research to find the right customer, then serve them very well.” Adam Balon, co-founder of innocent drinks, on finding the right customers right from the start.

“Get your retailers lined up and your internet distribution strategy in place before you launch, otherwise you will waste all the publicity that you generate.” Chris Wright, co-founder, Moixa Energy, on keeping customers happy.

Source: IBM publication Now we are 100 in association with the CBI.

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