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A story of friendship in business from Richard Reed CBE

What do you get when you combine 3 mates, a hangover and a simple idea – well, if the story of Innocent is anything to go by, the result is a multi-million-pound company and worldwide brand.

But as Richard explains himself – the story of Innocent is not one of empire building, in fact, it is ultimately one of friendship.

Here the top things I took away from this conversation with the formidable Richard Reed.

Fun fact… Innocent is the largest manufacturer in the world of knitted hats! 10th year = 4.1 million hats!

The power of co-founders
When you find the ying to your yang the power of that connection is dynamite.  For Richard, he recognised this at university, for me it was slightly later with Sophie for NOTHS, and Carrie and Gabi with Holly & Co.  In order to find that right partner though, you must first really understand yourself, be honest in your strengths, but most importantly you must recognise your own weaknesses, it is only then, that your partnership can flourish.

There is beauty in simplicity
Sometimes, the best ideas can be the most simple. This is not to say the journey to build it and get it to market is simple, but

Entrepreneurs are the yeast through which society grows its bread.
Being entrepreneurial in your mindset, taking a problem and solving it – is making the world a better place – there is no ‘perfect’ time to start, just go for it!

Two Plump Nuns…
Your tone of voice can never be too bold if it’s authentically ‘yours’. Tone of voice is a phrase that everyone knows, and as founders we all know we should have one – Innocent though is probably the best example I can think of when it comes to the gold standard. Funny, authentic and seamless across all its mediums, even its twitter account is hailed as a brilliant example.

The theory of Kevin Bacon
6 degrees of separation! It can be tempting to keep your new idea to yourself, but help is out there, and more than often enough someone, will know someone, who might know someone who can help you.  Don’t be afraid to put your idea out into the ether – because as Richard said more often than not, humans are kind and will want to help where they can.

Altruism and ambition
The twin engines Richard looks for when hiring a member of staff – I hadn’t heard this description before, but it is agreat way of looking at the attributes you need to search for when hiring a team.  Because it is a brilliant team, that will drive the success of your vision.

Related podcast

The ultimate British success story, with Richard Reed CBE, co-founder of Innocent and JamJar Investments

21st July 2020

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