You are hereJames Cann: From a Cupboard Room to Business Tycoon
James Cann: From a Cupboard Room to Business Tycoon
"I always knew I wanted my own business. I started my entrepreneurial activities at school. My father ran his own business, making leather jackets for west London boutiques. I remember taking them to school and selling them to my friends for £10 profit. My father was impressed. From an early age I had been absorbing lessons from him, but one piece of advice that always stayed with me was his appreciation of the ‘win-win’ formula. He was adamant that you could only operate successfully if you put yourself in the other person’s shoes – whether that was supplier or client – because to him the art of success was making the other person feel like he’d won. If you did that, they were more likely to come back again. “Successful business,” he would say, “is not about good transactions, it’s about good relationships”.
"So not too long I decided to go with my instincts and take the plunge. I returned to recruitment and set up a business called Alexander Mann. At the time it was really important to me that my business had a prestigious address. I wanted clients to feel that the company was professional and established. Unfortunately that meant that all I could afford was a broom cupboard sized room in a Pall Mall building with no windows! So there I was in a cupboard, starting out, just as I had done years earlier, with just a Yellow Pages and a phone."