I met with Lord Bilimoria today, (the Chairman of Cobra beers) and others at a conference held by the Hounslow Chambers of Commerce in Hayes, London. Inspirational guy indeed. He started with little, but through perseverance has accomplished so much in his life. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karan_Bilimoria,_Baron_Bilimoria
A very straightforward and humble individual I thought, although the military background of the family came through a little too. His small lecture was very interesting. He talked about the fact that there are now about 500 million people under the age of 24 in India and they are the consumers of today and tomorrow. This is out of a population of 1.3 Billion.
His thoughts about what the UK has to offer the world. The first class education, even though we do not have the funding as do other countries. The greatest majority of Nobel prizes have been awarded to England and in particular, Cambridge University. (A bit biased he said, since he went there). He talked about the other brands, inventions, enterprise, methods and business that we have in the UK
And then the need for courage in exploring. His colleague Ash from Gateway of India told us that if “we want to explore the ocean, we need the courage to leave the shore”. I did not know but Belgium does more business with India that the UK. In the UK it is around 12 billion per annum only. I was surprised to learn that, since the UK has so many links into India. Far exceeding that of Belgium in any case. Hands went up in the room to show how many people were doing business with India and it was a trickle. ” What are you all doing he said!”
A story about one of his key sales employees that he hired 20 years ago was a good lesson for those business owners hiring staff. The potential employee did not have the qualifications and experience, but had the drive. He became Cobra’s best sales person and now heads the department. The moral: “we hire for will not skill”
Need to get his book “Bottled for Business” and “Against the grain”. Look forward to it.
He closed by repeating a quote by Gandhi that I heard a long time ago:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”