Magazine article Management Today

You Live and You Learn: Mike Clare - Founder of Dreams, and Amazing Venues

Magazine article Management Today

You Live and You Learn: Mike Clare - Founder of Dreams, and Amazing Venues

Article excerpt

I went to the University of Life; my brother went to Cambridge. He was academically brilliant, but couldn't have been less entrepreneurial if he tried. It's one of the reasons I started my own business, wanting to beat him in some way. He died suddenly of a brain haemorrhage in 1999.

I tried starting businesses from home when I was an area manager at a Wycombe furniture chain, but you can't make a success working out of your bedroom in the evenings. There comes a point when you've got to commit, and if you have a safety net there's no reason to go the extra mile.

My accountant wanted me to call my business Clare's Beds. That's why he's an accountant. I wanted a brand with hundreds of stores that would still be there in 20 years. Dreams said it all.

There are some setbacks you just can't write into your business plan Warehouse fires, leaking roofs and gypsies camping in the car park come to mind. We used to call our stores stars or dogs, depending on their sales. I regret the dogs.

I've always meddled in every aspect of my businesses and it drives my staff mad. It can be a fault not to trust them, but they need to earn trust. Besides, it's healthy to take a view on things. …

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