Theo Paphitis Quotes

  1. If you really want to sort out the High Street, you ask someone like Kate Swann at WHSmith, who has done a fantastic job of running profitable shops.
  2. I’m incredibly passionate about business, about small businesses, and about kids being given the right skills so they are successful.
  3. If you cannot bore your friends to death about your own small business, then something is seriously wrong.
  4. Young people are the entrepreneurs of the future, and we should be looking to them as one of our sources of innovation for the high streets of tomorrow.
  5. I started work at 13, had three or four part-time jobs, and learnt very quickly the values of work.
  6. The high streets I remember best were Seven Sisters Road in north London and then sunny Peckham in south London after we moved there. They were where my parents used to shop. They were great, part of being a teenager.
  7. Souvenirs always tend to look great when you see them in some exotic souk but awful when you finally get them back home. They tend to start in my study and eventually get demoted to the garage or the loft.
  8. Entrepreneurship can be taught to people with average academic abilities – the proof of that is everywhere you look.
  9. I admire people who have passion and energy.
  10. Retail is my game. I spend every waking hour thinking about it. I started in the industry at the age of 18 after trying various other things that were mind-numbingly boring to me.
  11. On Saturday, I don’t want to be woken up until at least nine: I like a bit of a lie-in, a cup of tea, toast and marmalade, and the newspaper.
  12. The statistics for investing in small businesses are such that the vast majority fail.
  13. Immigration has been good for this country; I know the value of it – hopefully I’ve given something back.
  14. In Cyprus, our house was right on the beach. I could walk out of our front door, cross a road, and there was the sea.
  15. The Internet has heralded a revolution in our society. It has transformed the way we do business, entertain, communicate, and travel. In many ways, the change has been positive. The web has brought new freedoms, spurred economic growth, and extended the boundaries of knowledge.
  16. I’m not into cats; they aren’t my bag.
  17. I try to support local traders. The service makes up for any extra cost.
  18. Small does not mean insignificant.
  19. I’d rather be rich and miserable than poor and miserable.
  20. The high street is not a retail thing: it’s a social thing, part of the British lifestyle. And I say that as someone who started his life on Limassol high street in Cyprus.
  21. I’m a shopaholic. I really am. I can’t help myself. I do go into, browse, and purchase from my own shops, too, although the CEOs who run my businesses wish I didn’t.
  22. When I was on ‘Dragons’ Den,’ most of the letters I received were from people under 16. They wrote about their ideas, their views, their challenges. The audience is actually a very young audience.
  23. A small business can survive for a while without making a profit, but if its cashflow dries up, the impact is fatal.
  24. My family come from Cyprus. Both my father and my grandfather worked on the British bases there, and as the British government granted independence to Cyprus, they granted British passports to those who worked with them.
  25. I’m not massively academic. I’m a commonsense person.
  26. In my early teens, I was working in a Wimpy Bar and delivering cab company cards to make cash. I also ran a tuck shop at school. I struggled academically because of being dyslexic. When I saw other families and what they had, it inspired me. I thought, ‘I can get that, too, if I work hard.’
  27. I love the English language, but I’m crap at it, so I might as well do what I’m good at. The same goes for my kids, who are also dyslexic. I won’t pressure them to do anything. They’ve each got a trust and a mortgage-free property, which is a lot more than I had, so I know they will always be fine.
  28. Wherever I go in the world, I put aside several days to go visit the stores.
  29. Good businesses will survive good times and bad times.
  30. What I’ve achieved with Boux Avenue is what I always wanted to achieve with La Senza.
  31. My family’s challenges meant we lived hand to mouth. There were weeks when we had neither electricity nor heating.
  32. I know I have been lucky in business, and I am keen now to spread goodwill to others, of course not forgetting that very often, you make your own luck by making use of every opportunity.
  33. My vision is that everyone who has ever won an #SBS retweet from me becomes part of a friendly club. Like-minded individuals can share successes and learn.
  34. Both my sons are dyslexic, and so, too, in a much milder form, is one of my daughters.
  35. I didn’t have a great childhood, and neither did Debbie, my wife, so we both try to give the kids not only the material things we never had but also the hugs and the love.
  36. When making an investment, the people are more important than the product.
  37. What the entrepreneur gets on ‘Dragons’ Den’ is direct access to people with masses of experience who can actually make quick decisions.
  38. I am a great believer that the risk should reflect the reward.
  39. I was lucky enough to find my passion early – in retail – and I have done well but, most importantly, loved doing it.
  40. In the 1960s, my first-generation immigrant parents were gifted the olive branch of a blue British passport when working for the British Army in Cyprus. It completely transformed the Paphitis story.
  41. The great virtue of the web, its ease of communication, has also become its Achilles’ heel in that it has polluted the air with meaningless babble and egomaniacal drivel.
  42. I’m a very considerate spender. I’m a shopper, and I do spend money, but I think about it first.
  43. People in emerging markets want to do business with the U.K. I don’t see why the U.K. should be penalised for this.
  44. If someone underestimates you because you are warm and approachable, then you have an advantage over them.
  45. When I went to school, most parents wanted their children to get good A-levels, to go to university, and get a degree so your children had a better life than you. The way out of poverty was through a degree. But the whole world has moved on from that.
  46. The government must recognise that taxing retailers differently is reckless.
  47. I was absolutely astonished and could not believe my eyes at the outrageous interest rates that people in need have to pay to get loans.
  48. I’m not a risktaker. I’m the total opposite.
  49. Becoming a campaign representative for the somewhereto_ re:store campaign was a simple choice.
  50. I’d like to think people know what I stand for, which is straight-talking honesty and telling you not just what you want to hear but where it is at.
  51. I used to see Triumph TR7s and E-Type Jags, and I used to think, ‘One day, I’m gonna have one of those.’ I remember seeing an E-Type and walking round it 40 or 50 times.
  52. No major technological change has ever been instituted by mankind without an array of negative consequences. The motor car has meant liberation for millions, but it has also caused congestion, environmental damage, and a disturbing death toll on the roads.
  53. What makes business exciting is that you don’t need a fancy degree, and anyone can do it.
  54. What’s crucial in a High Street store is a compelling reason for people to shop there. Shops must offer excellent customer service – and ‘theatre’ is a must.
  55. I am for a transactional tax at the point of purchase for both online and physical retail.
  56. Women have to work harder to be in the same position as a fella because they often have to balance work with running a family.
  57. When we arrived in the U.K. on the banana boat, we settled right by Old Trafford.
  58. Without hope, the very fabric of our society will fall apart.
  59. The decisions you make when you leave school define the rest of your life. So, in terms of making the right choices for your financial security as you get older, my best advice is to do something you have an interest in and are passionate about, as you’ll be working for a long time.
  60. It’s called common sense, but it’s not common. Most people don’t have it.
  61. Entrepreneurship is just one thing that needs to be in schools.
  62. Every successful high street needs a catalyst that starts making people want to come there, and independent shops can be that catalyst. If you want a new idea on the high street, you’ll probably find it in an independent. I know I shouldn’t say this, but new ideas rarely happen in chains. What we do is adopt it once we spot it in an independent.
  63. I like the odd day relaxing by the pool, but I couldn’t stand to sunbathe for an entire week.
  64. I am the most conservative person you will ever come across, and that’s because I’m good at reducing risks while leaving the potential rewards high.
  65. I cringe when I watch myself on camera. I’m not articulate, and I’m dyslexic, but somehow it works.
  66. I was born in Cyprus, but my family moved to England when I was about six.
  67. The minute I stepped foot on the shop floor and started serving in a retail environment, I knew it was the career for me. I was a shop assistant for just one day, and I thought, ‘This is it. This is the rest of my life. This is all I want to do.’
  68. The more we learn about dyslexia, the more able we will be to help those with it.
  69. Showing your emotions is not a weakness.
  70. I don’t really sleep until gone midnight anyway. It takes me a while to calm down before my mind allows me to switch off.
  71. Online is not contributing in the same way as the high street in terms of business rates and to the local community.
  72. The eight years I spent at Millwall were among the best times of my life.
  73. If the cash runs out, it’s like a heart attack for you and your business. Keep that front and centre of your mind, and you will have financial security and not be struggling to pay the bills.
  74. I’m an avid sailor, and my first time exploring the Dalmatian Coast and the Croatian islands was very special.
  75. I was useless in the classroom; I would spend my time looking out of the window after the first 10 minutes. But when you do an apprenticeship, you don’t have to wait for the teacher to tell you when it’s time to start, because you are on the shop floor learning for real.
  76. My whole business philosophy is based on a risk-reward ratio. But it’s got to stack up. If it doesn’t, don’t do it. You might as well go to a casino.
  77. Stack the cards in your favour, and in a casino, you’ll get arrested and put in prison, but in business and in life, it’s the right thing to do.
  78. Ultimately, if you don’t have an interest in what you do, it will be so much harder to make money from it.
  79. Businesses might have been helped by the ability to promote themselves on the Internet, but they have also been hit by the web’s encouragement of time-wasting by their staff.
  80. I’ve always maintained the basic business principles of keeping it simple, doing your homework, hard work, and common sense.
  81. ‘Dragons’ Den’ and ‘The Apprentice’ have opened people’s eyes to what they can do.
  82. I can walk all day in malls, shopping centres, high streets – I love it.
  83. I hate mornings.
  84. For me, the high street is a key part of how we live, what sort of community we are, how we get our news, and how we get our gossip.
  85. My parents divorced, my brothers and I ended up living with my mother, and we were living with the choice of heating or eating. My mum was working, but she needed financial support to make ends meet. I had to have free school dinners and free school uniforms.
  86. If you look at all the investments made during ‘Dragons’ Den,’ the ratio of those that make it to those that don’t is actually extremely high.
  87. Save money; never rely on other people to lend you money. We call it having ‘walking the streets’ money – money in your back pocket or bank account that belongs to you.
  88. Take calculated risks and limit your downside.
  89. A lot of multinationals have long, drawn-out processes and are pretty useless at putting products on the shelves quickly.
  90. I’m a traditionalist, a family man. I love my kids. I believe I have brought them up the right way. They are all very different: they have different drives, different ambitions. They are never going to be me. They are going to be themselves.
  91. We survived for hundreds of years under the old banking structure. You’d have clearing banks, then merchant banks doing the racy stuff, and then building societies where you’d join a waiting list for a mortgage. But then banks started buying stockbrokers, doing mortgages, and you ended up with these big banking groups doing everything.
  92. It’s very difficult for an entrepreneur to let go. It’s very hard to sell a successful business. People sometimes hold on until the business has no value at all.
  93. I liked Tom Bower’s biography of Bernie Ecclestone, the former Formula 1 boss.
  94. Making the first million is hard; making the next 100 million is easy.
  95. Great customer service does not come by chance. It is the result of training and ensuring there are enough assistants to serve the customers.
  96. Business isn’t complicated; we complicate business.
  97. Politicians are elected to do what is right, but too many are just doing what is right for the party.
  98. The reality in business and in ‘Dragons’ Den’ is you win some, and you lose some.
  99. The wider the exposure that we give children of the real working world, the better.
  100. There are huge misconceptions about people on benefits. They are labelled scroungers or cheats. The reality is that many who need that level of support are working, but their income is not enough to get out of debt or pay for basics like food and household bills. It’s so close to the way I grew up.

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