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Phil Redmond and Dan Germain on succeeding

Confidential ask two speakers at this month’s Business North West conference for a few wise words

Published on November 13th 2007.

Phil Redmond and Dan Germain on succeeding

Entrepreneurs are usually great company. You get a few who disappear right up their own jacksies but most are affable and worth listening to: people who’ve usually started off at the bottom, had a great idea and run with it.

Entrepreneurs drive things forward, but they react instinctively, sometimes irrationally, compared to the behaviour of those used to a more ordered business style

At Business North West ( 21-22 November) entrepreneurs will be inspiring people with a number of presentations and talks. Confidential caught up with two of them, Phil Redmond, one of the UK’s top media figures who re-invented the way TV soaps were made with Brookside, and Dan Germain, Head of Creative at Innocent Drinks.

So what’s this entrepreneurship all about Mr Redmond?

“There’re two parts to it, I suppose,” he says. “First off, as the entrepreneur you have to have total confidence in your product or idea, the confidence to keep on going when you get the knock-backs. Also you need to be aware that you’ll be flying by the seat of your pants from time to time: what you’re doing is taking a risk and embracing it. But by doing this you’re your own boss, free, you control your own destiny and the rewards can be great.”

And the second point?

“This is for people listening who might not be entrepreneurial: give those strange people some room. Entrepreneurs drive things forward, but they react instinctively, sometimes irrationally, compared to the behaviour of those used to a more ordered business style. So entrepreneurs need to be given the right environment to thrive. I’ll be saying, their way might not be yours, but then the things they do can really profit you. In other words allow entrepreneurs some freedom, don’t try to make people think out of the same box.

Dan Germain agrees.

“It is about freedom. We were true to ourselves, which might sound poncey, but we did it in the way we felt natural for us. Our drinks are fresh and pure, that’s the way we went about expressing ourselves on the packaging. It became the ethos of the company. We took a lot of good professional advice but we had to ignore a lot of it too.”

We can feel a ‘but’ coming on here Mr Germain.

“There is,” says Germain. “The idea behind Innocent drinks is simple but arriving where we are today has been anything but easy. We screwed up a lot of things, as many as we got right. But we believed in what we were doing. Truth is there is no formula as such for success, you can’t make up seven easy steps, it doesn’t happen like that.”

But both agree on one thing.

“Get it right,” says Redmond, “and doing your own thing is the best fun.”

To listen live to Phil Redmond and Dan Germain, plus take advantage of all the networking opportunities at the Business North West event at Manchester Central, click here….

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