The North East entrepreneurial community has been told to focus on ‘what they do best’ and to ‘build their brands’ by one of the UK’s leading business figures when he visited the region.
Jonathan Warburton, chairman of Warburtons, one of the UK’s biggest brands and most bought products, delivered a masterclass to 75 entrepreneurs from across the region at an event hosted by the Entrepreneurs’ Forum at Brewin Dolphin’s offices in Newcastle.
After spending the day visiting two of Warburtons’ bakeries in Newburn, Mr Warburton, a fifth-generation member of the Warburton family, who has worked at the company for 40 years, challenged northern business leaders to ‘manage their weaknesses and dial up their strengths’ in order to develop their companies.
He said: “I’m very keen on supporting entrepreneurs on a national basis, wherever possible. We’ve been entrepreneurial for 100-odd years and there’s nothing more noble than sticking out on your own and proving you can do it.
“I would encourage people to be incredibly focused in a simple manner on their opposition. We’re all led to believe that you have to be a master of everything; I’m quite the opposite: you have to manage your weaknesses and dial up your strengths. Just be world-class at doing what you know best.”
Warburtons has grown to become a £540m turnover organisation, which makes approximately 730m sales annually and 19,000 deliveries every day.
Mr Warburton also spoke about the importance of developing a brand and believing in it, while explaining how Warburtons is 100% committed to developing its own products, as opposed to sub-contracting manufacturing for other brands and companies.
Gillian Marshall, CEO of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, said: “We regularly bring inspirational business owners to the region to share their experience with others. Welcoming Jonathan has been a real pleasure and it was wonderful to hear the story and progress of Warburtons, which is one of, if not the, UK’s most recognised brands. I’m sure our members and those in attendance took a lot away from the evening, which they can apply to their own businesses and ventures.”
The Entrepreneurs’ Forum represents more than 300 individual member companies, which have a combined turnover of more than £2.3 billion and in excess of 25,000 employees.