Anita Roddick’s biggest regret whilst running The Body Shop

We all make mistakes and Roddick admits hers here

The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick reveals what she feels is the biggest mistake The Body Shop ever made – the company’s decision to float on the stock market.

Taking a company public can have myriad advantages – it can allow you to raise a huge amount of money instantly, raise your profile, and drive up the value of your business. Despite this, Roddick says she “really, really, really wants to underline” that a public listing was “the biggest mistake of all time” for The Body Shop. “It restrains you from being as experimental as you want to be,” she says.

Roddick opines that whilst a stock market listing can raise a lot of finance, it puts the company under the rule of what she terms “financial fascism”. “There’s only one measurement, which is a financial bottom line,” she explains. “If you come in with an agenda, like how are you impacting the environment, how are you dealing with the taboo subject of slave labour… This isn’t included in the financial bottom line.”

She advises viewers to go out and buy an “amazing book” by US author Bo Burlingham, entitled Small Giants, in which the author explains how to create an influential company that focuses on being great instead of being huge. “If I had read that book, I don’t think we would have gone public,” Roddick reveals. “So be a small giant.”

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