Timpson has been a thriving family business ever since it was first established in Manchester in 1865. It is now Britain's largest shoe repairer, key cutter, engraver and watch repairer - with James and his father at the helm and 3000 'colleagues' operating over 900 shops. They are also the largest recruiter of ex-offenders in the country.
The management culture is designed to ensure that those serving customers are treated as the most important people in the business; everyone else is there to help. With a policy of recruiting personalities and giving them authority to run their shops, James claims to have created a culture that allows them to lead the business "standing on our heads."
Timpson has won several awards for customer service and employee satisfaction. As he shows in presentations, James believes in 'upside down' management with a clear focus on delivering customer service. And after starting as a branch manager, he understands exactly what motivates the front line team.
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Management by common sense
Running a company standing on your head
£2.5K TO £5K
AFTER DINNER SPEAKERS
£2.5K TO £5K
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JLA: What's your priority in 2011?
JT: To batten down the hatches! The vat increase impacts on us significantly, so we'll look at ways of securing additional revenue. Regular reviews of promotions and offers tend to provide a cash boost and give customers the opportunity to make savings.
JLA: How do you encourage innovation?
JT: We operate a 'tell James' scheme and reward colleagues for sending in ideas even if we've thought or heard of them before. Most of our best ideas emerge this way - we just help to orchestrate them.
JLA: How does a mature business stay entrepreneurial?
JT: Everyone must remain vigilant and open to new ideas. Great money making tips and business opportunities usually come from the most unlikely of people - and when least expected.
JLA: Are you as ambitious now as when you first entered business?
JT: Definitely. 2011 will present many business, economic and social challenges - but I'm in training for my next triathlon and very much up for the contest!