Tyre tycoon Sir Tom Farmer urged businesses to value and empower their employees if they wanted to succeed.
In his keynote speech at The Courier’s latest Business Briefing breakfast event at Dundee’s Apex Hotel, the Leith-born Kwik-Fit entrepreneur said firms needed to incentivise and reward staff appropriately for a job well done.
“This applies to businesses big and small,” Sir Tom said. “The real key to success in your business is your people.
“If you don’t have the right people then you will never succeed. People have to be looked after, they have to feel they belong and they have to be rewarded for the jobs they do.”
In his address, Sir Tom walked delegates through his remarkable business career from his first day working as a stores boy in a Edinburgh automotive firm to his decision in his early 20s to set up on his own.
He sold his first company in the late 1960s for £475,000 and retired to America with his wife Anne and young children.
But the lure of the business world was too much and he returned to the UK and went on to found the Kwik-Fit empire that made him famous.
He eventually sold Kwik-Fit 28 years later to Ford in a £1 billion deal.
“Ford was our guardian angel. They came along at the right time,” Sir Tom told guests.
“I sold the business as the timing was right. There is a right time to get off the bus and that is at the second last stop.
“If you can judge it properly and get out at the second last stop then you don’t risk turning back on yourself.”
In a question and answer, guests at The Courier Business Briefing also heard from Alison Smith, service manager with Angus Council’s economic development team and Alison Henderson, chief executive of Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce.
The event was supported by Business Angus, as will the next briefing on Ocotber 28, which will feature Weir Group chief executive Keith Cochrane as the main speaker.Further details are available at www.thecourierbriefings.co.uk