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5 Inspirational Business Leaders In The UK and How They Became Successful

Business Leaders In The UK

The United Kingdom has always been a country that excels at producing inspirational, world-leading business people. Whilst some have been springboarded into success by fortunate starts in life, others have worked their way up from humble beginnings. From looking at how they found their start up finance, to the inspirational ways they’ve built their companies into multinational brands, there’s plenty to motivate fledgeling business owners.

In this article, we will look at the lives of five such inspirational UK business people, whose lives have taken rags to riches turn.


Charlie Mullins

Charlie Mullins decided at a very young age that he wanted to be a plumber. His inspiration was a successful local plumber who he could see was making good money and had an incredibly lavish lifestyle. Mullins started missing school so that he could go and work with the plumber. At 15, he stopped going to school completely. Most people were of the view that it was a wrong decision, but Charlie was determined to prove them wrong. After completing a four-year training apprenticeship in plumbing, he started working on his own with an old van and few tools he had. He registered his company in 1979 and named it Pimlico Plumbers.

With his commitment and positive approach, Charlie turned the company into an industry leader. Pimlico Plumbers has changed the way plumbers work in the United Kingdom today and how they are perceived among the general public. It is considered the foremost private plumbing company in London, and currently has more than 350 employees and a revenue of ‎£20m.

Alan Sugar

Lord Sugar might be famous for his role as the host of The Apprentice, but there’s so much more to him than just being a television personality. He lived in a council flat in Hackney, East London and his father was a tailor. He attended the nearby Brookhouse Secondary School and for his first job he worked as a greengrocer, getting up at dawn every day to boil vegetables. After he finished school he bought a van and started selling electronic products and for a short time also worked as a statistician for the Education Ministry. In 1968 he inaugurated a trading company called Amstrad with the intention of building it into an import-export business.

He started producing turntable covers using the injection moulding technique, and from then onwards the industry began gathering pace. By 1980, he registered his company on the London Stock Exchange and started producing electronic equipment. The business had its ups and downs but kept on progressing. Currently, Alan Sugar has a net worth of £1.5b and is one of the wealthiest people in the United Kingdom.

Duncan Bannatyne

Duncan Bannatyne’s life story is a perfect example of how it is possible to start from scratch and still reach the heady heights of success. He was born in Dalmuir, Glasgow and lived with his large family in one room of a house that was shared with several other families. He was a talented student at school who participated in many different activities. After the completion of his school education, he worked for a local cabinet maker and then joined the Royal Navy as a Junior Second Class Engineering Mechanic. He was dismissed from the Navy though after trying to throw his senior officer over the side of the boat one day.

The next few years were a real struggle and he switched from one job to another until he purchased an ice-cream truck for £450. The business was a success; he bought many other vehicles and eventually sold his company for £32000. He then founded a nursing home called Quality Care which was another success. Duncan later sold it for £26m and entered the health club business when be bought 26 health clubs. Currently, his estimated net worth is £280m making him one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the UK.

Brian Souter

Brian Souter was born in Scotland where his father worked as a bus driver. He used to travel a lot with his father on the buses and later started work as a bus conductor at Alexander’s Bus Company before graduating from the University of Strathclyde with a degree in Economics and Accounting. Even though he became a chartered accountant, his interest in the transport sector kept on increasing.

Eventually, Souter founded Stagecoach Group from the money he received from his father’s redundancy. Initially, the buses ran from Scotland to London, but ultimately, he was able to obtain permits for several other routes such as Hampshire, Newcastle and Manchester. The business kept on expanding internationally with operation starting in Hong Kong, and the successful acquisition of contracts that made him the biggest bus operator in the United States and Canada. Currently, he is valued at £1.4b and serves as the chairman of Stagecoach Group in the United Kingdom.

Sir Philip Green

Sir Philip Green worked his way up the business food chain a little differently from others. He belonged to a moderately successful business family but had to take the tough route at the age of 12 after his father passed away suddenly. He started working as a local shoe importer after leaving school at the age of 15 and then travelled around Europe and America for a time. He returned to the United Kingdom aged 21 and started his first venture, importing jeans from Far Eastern countries and selling them on in London.

A couple of years later he bought the discarded stock of a designer clothes company, washed them up and bought a shop in which to sell them. The business has kept on progressing ever since, and he now has a net worth of £5b. Philip Green serves as the CEO of Arcadia Group which operates several famous retail companies including Topshop, Wallis, Miss Selfridge, Outfit and Topman in the United Kingdom.

If there’s one thing that stands out about all these people it is the fact that none of them took any shortcuts in their life. They all had to work hard for their success. They have all suffered hurdles and setbacks, but none of them let it deter them. In their dedication and persistence is a lesson for all of us.

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