Don Fisher, who died this week, founded Gap because he had an idea that he could make it easier to buy a pair of jeans. It was 1969 and his business went from one shop to 3,100 and sales of $14.5bn. In addition to having a neat idea, he also hired some great people.
Will Adderley, whose parents set up what has become Dunelm, the 97 outlet and growing soft furniture chain, says his company is successful because it retains the values of a small business: cost control, tight recruitment and a focus on the core customer. Dunelm is 10 years younger than Gap but is now being talked about as a competitor to John Lewis.
It may be that our businesses will never grow like these but we need to take inspiration from the success of these family businesses. When you get up every morning, be optimistic and think about how you will make your business work better for your shoppers.
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