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On Tuesday 14th Nov we held our Annual Summit. 150 plus attendees, talks from two of our most successful Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs), thoughts on business problems from a panel made up of 3 EIRs and talks from Juliette Healey of the Bank of England, Alison Freer of durhamlane and Jenny Flintoft of Rock Solutions Training

Barry Dodd OBE and CBE – The Lessons-Lesson one Keep it Simple

It’s difficult to know where to begin with Barry. He founded Global Services Management Group (GSM) as a two person start-up 35 years ago and now has orders worth over £400k from automotive manufacturers. They supply bling for cars-radiator trims, door handles, dashboards etc.

The Lessons


There has never been a merger – one management always comes out on top. Many are dressed up as mergers but aren’t. He has been approached by several competitors to merge; and a few months later they went bust and he acquired the assets very cheaply. He’s done 15 acquisitions including for example Farnell’s electronics business in Wetherby, One plus one must equal more than 2 – more products or more customers – preferably both.


Everybody is bad at something; you need to include that in other members of staff.

Everyone is either an Innovator or an Operator and you need both.

And Barry marks all candidates under Attitude and Aptitude

You get to keep the people you deserve. Are they happy-happiness is the most important attribute.


Brexit has been very expensive for GSM.

John Graham

The joint founder of Go Outdoors John built a fantastic business with over 60 stores. John’s business was all about people and that was, and is, his real interest. Every week the teams must

Plan. Do. Review

So that’s 3 meetings per week

John only hired helpful people – he created an environment of people who wanted to help customers. Work to a person’s strengths.

Only do what you do well – he only wants people who love what they are doing and want to do it time after time. So in the last few years at GO John was released from other duties just to look after the staff-and customers. He in effect became an Ambassador for Go.

Building a culture is absolutely vital. Always measure the results of any trial or any marketing; if it doesn’t work, find out why and learn from it. It it works don’t change it

Do they look up when you enter a room.

Nick Butler

17th Nov 2017