The manifesto of SMEs champion Mary Portas

Known as “Mary Queen of Shops”, Mary Portas has long been as a champion for SMEs, rescuing failing independent boutiques in a BBC2 series, while in 2011 she conducted an independent review of the high street for the government.

Speaking at the QuickBooks Connect event in London, she gave a crowd of SME owners some words of wisdom on how to create great company culture when it comes to running your own business – what she calls “The Portas Manifesto”.

Keep hold of your ethics

We will not build our business by adopting a scorched earth policy of focusing on the bottom line at any cost. We will be ethical and respectful of each other and the people will work with and the relationships we build in order to achieve both profitability and longevity.

Be flexible

We do not want to distinguish between work and play, so be where you want and need to be, from flexible hours or remote working, from a choice of holiday times or maternity leave. All my board and all my management teams can take as much holiday as they like.

Productivity, not activity

I am not interested in how long you sit at your desk or what time you come in or what time you leave. What I am interested in is how effective you are going to be. I would rather you produce one good idea a week than 25 bad ones.

Trust your instincts

If a potential client does not feel right instinctively then it isn’t. We will not promise what we can’t deliver. We will not succeed at the expense of others, but we will aspire to progress and be excellent.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Employ happy people. We employ people for their character. Everyone has a voice – too often smaller voices get lost. No question is a stupid question.

This article was published in our Business Reporter Online: SMEs.

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