From rags to Richer

IN SOME WAYS, Julian Richer is a typical market-trader-made-good. He was wheeling and dealing as a schoolboy, even selling candles during the miners’ strike of 1974. Then he discovered the market for hi-fi equipment, initially managing other people’s stores, before opening his own shop at the tender age of 19. He opted for the trappings of wealth, buying his first Rolls-Royce at 23. After a difficult period when he admits that he confused revenue growth for profit, he built up a successful high-street chain of 52 stores, which he named Richer Sounds.

If this tale seems all too familiar, in other ways the 60-year-old Mr Richer is an atypical entrepreneur. That became clear in May when he announced he was selling a majority stake in the company to a trust owned by the staff, and remitting around 40% of the proceeds in the form of a cash bonus to colleagues. For every year of service, they received £1,000 ($1,230). His gesture reflected the management philosophy he has developed over his 40-year business career.

Mr Richer says that the penny initially dropped for him when he read “In Search of Excellence”, a business bestseller by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman which came out in 1982. The top-performing companies described in the book had two common features, Mr Richer noticed: they treated both customers and their...

via Business Feeds

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