Serial entrepreneur Graham Leslie delivered a masterclass to aspiring business people in Huddersfield.
And he told them: “Building a business is not about being an overnight success, it’s about mistakes you make along the way and what you learn from those mistakes.”
The event, How to reinvent your company and improve profits, was held at the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre (3M BIC).
Graham, who is resident professor of enterprise and entrepreneurship at Huddersfield University, entertained guests with a light-hearted account of his personal journey in business, sharing amusing anecdotes as well as providing a unique insight into companies he has invested in since his Galpharm days.
From forensic science and photography to first aid and baby products, he talked about why he invested in each business, the challenges they faced and how he was able to reinvent each business so they became financially stable.
The event attracted businesses of all sizes as well as students from the university. It was designed to inform guests about the pitfalls of business, how to overcome them, how to learn from mistakes and how turn a business into a success.
Prof Leslie gave the audience with a number of useful tips and talked about a how treating employees as part of the family can bring better productivity and better employee retention.
He answered questions from the audience about his career, provided advice on how to support enterprise in the public sector and gave tips on how to improve employee satisfaction.
Prof Leslie founded Galpharm International in 1982 and steered the company to become the UK’s biggest supplier of non-prescriptive medicine, before selling to the Perrigo Group for $88m in 2008. He also led the creation of the McAlpine Stadium – later the Galpharm Stadium and now the John Smith’s Stadium – alongside Kirklees Council, Sir John Harman.
In 2011, he became the university’s first ever non-academic resident professor of enterprise and entrepreneurship and is based at the 3M BIC.
He said: “I think it’s important for businesses to learn and understand how successful entrepreneurs got to where they are now. For me it wasn’t plain sailing and I took many knocks along the way, but I learnt from them.
“Building a business is not about being an overnight success, it’s about mistakes you make along the way and what you learn from those mistakes. I hope the audience took away at least one thing that they can implement in their business or at least now have the drive to trust their instincts and back the right jockey.”
Prof Leslie’s masterclass is the first in a string of Business Leader Masterclass events taking place at the 3M BIC.