Charlie Mullins: Who wants to be a self-made millionaire? asks self-made millionaire Charlie Mullins, who built his company, Pimlico Plumbers, into a multi-million pound business, to give us his top tips.

As many as seven million people in the UK believe they will become a millionaire, according to new research from the Orange Business Service. Over half of these expect the money to come from an existing or future business venture within less than ten years. asked self-made millionaire Charlie Mullins, who built his company Pimlico Plumbers into a multi-million pound business, to give us his top tips.

Where did it all start?

I left school at 15 to become an apprentice plumber and eventually started my own business and built up a clientele around Pimlico in London. I never expected the business to become this big but I knew I was going to be successful.

Is that positive attitude important when starting a new business?

You’ve got to be ambitious and you’ve got to be confident, but a lot of making a business successful comes down to simple common sense. I had no experience of running a business and just had to rely on a lot of instinct, but if you keep your business as simple as possible success will come naturally.

Lots of new start-up owners are afraid if getting it wrong because starting a business seems so daunting. What’s your advice?

I go by a lot of sayings, one of which is ‘a man who never made a mistake, never made anything’. If you want to be a leader in business you can’t be afraid of making decisions or you’ll never move forward.

So how were you able to build such a successful business with no experience?

Well, there was a time when I dealt with all the marketing and PR on my own but you soon realise that no one person can grow a business on their own. You need people around you who are experts in what they do. In fact, trying to do everything yourself can have a negative effect on your business. You have to realise your own potential and understand where you lack skills too.

What were your strengths and weaknesses?
As I said, I had very little experience of things like marketing, but what I could do was spot a potentially lucrative situation and make the most of it. I knew that there were a lot of good tradesmen out there and that there was a lot of bad publicity surrounding them, so there was a gap in the market for a business like mine.

How did you get the message across to your customers?
I am a strong believer in providing a quality service; if you offer quality people will pay for it. Most of the business came from word of mouth and you’ll find that there is no better form of marketing that a recommendation. Around 80 per cent of our business comes from previous clients.

One thing I would say, though, is that there’s no point in holding back if you think you have done a good job and you might be able to get a testimonial from a customer. Don’t be frightened to ask for a recommendation.

See also: Charlie Mullins takes part in the Small Business Snippets audio podcast. Click here.

Adam Wayland

Adam Wayland

Adam was Editor of from 2006 to 2008 and prior to that was staff writer on sister publication BusinessXL Magazine.

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