Richard Reed on his favourite entrepreneur [Video]

30 years ago becoming a businessman, you were either Del boy or Arthur Daley- Richard Reed explains how a certain renowned entrepreneur has made business sexy.

Richard Reed, co-founder of healthy smoothie brand Innocent Drinks, talks with Startups’ about the UK entrepreneurs and business leaders he most admires.

Crediting Virgin founder Richard Branson as leading the start-up trend, Innocent’s Reed asserts that “at the end of the day Branson has written a licence for everyone in the UK to become an entrepreneur” and goes on to say that Branson has made starting a business “sexy”.

Tracking how the business and start-up landscape has changed for the better, Reed argues that 30 years ago if you were a businessman you were either seen as a Del Boy (of Only Fools and Horses fame) or Arthur Daley ( the crooked serial business owner in Minder).

Reflecting on this ‘Del Boy’ attitude, Reed says that when he left his job at an advertising agency to start a business, a girl he was trying to impress at the time remarked “you sound like a right Del Boy”, but Reed says that today Branson’s branding and image has helped changed the perception of entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Reed also points to a lesser-known entrepreneur; Gordon Campbell Gray of London hotel business One Aldwych, as his business inspiration. Reed heard the hotelier speak at a marketing conference where Gray seemed to “absolutely abhor the idea that he had a brand and that he had to market it”. Instead, Gray’s view was that he just wanted to run “his hotel brilliantly, treat all of his guests like proper guests and give them genuine hospitality”.

Explaining why he admired this view, Reed says it that it was “refreshing” to hear someone so passionate about what they wanted to do and rather than trying to “lifestyle it up”, Gray was solely concerned with the business core.

Reed says he came away with the message that he should “focus on delivering something of genuine quality”.

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