Lessons from the 2020 Rich List

Posted by Callum Vallance-Poole, on May 18, 2020.

Did you read the 2020 Rich List this past Sunday? I find it a fascinating, inspirational read when they release it each year. Especially this year, as it wasn’t just about growth, after growth, after growth. Quite the opposite, due to the economic effects of Covid-19, reducing the overall wealth of the richest 1000 people down by £29bn. 

There are still plenty of inspirational stories amongst the richest 1000 people in the UK though. 

One of my favourites being that of Ben Francis, founder of Gymshark, who at 27 years old is a new entry to the list with £138m. Having started Gymshark only 8 years ago, he’s a shining example of one of the over-riding lessons I’m taking from the rich list magazine this year. Which is, the more customers you serve, the more people you help, the more successful you will be. It may sound obvious, but how often do we focus on helping more people? Is one of your priorities for this week to help more people than you did last week? 

At the top of the list of richest in the UK and the World, you’ll find the people who serve more people than anyone else. The Walton family, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Sir James Dyson, all serving more customers daily than most do annually. Having read Sam Walton’s book recently, I was amazed at the sheer scale of the size of Walmart. How a Company can grow from 1 person’s idea and individual passion, to such a size is just incredible, and such an example of what we as humans are actually capable of, when we put our minds to something. It’s the reason the Walton family have an estimated wealth of £160bn and top the World’s rich list. Just like Jeff Bezos’ Amazon, the number of customers they serve is mind-boggling. It’s easy to dismiss these enormous businesses and think of them in a league of their own, which they are now, but once upon a time they were pretty much 1-man-bands, with just a handful of customers. 

We’ve all seen the photo of Jeff Bezos in his tiny little office, at the start of Amazon.com. He didn’t serve millions of customers back then. The evolution of his Company, like many others, is the bit we should be fascinated by. Just like Ben Francis, when he started Gymshark 8 years ago from his parent’s living room, at just 19 years old. He had to turn off his website to stop taking orders after a video went viral on Facebook, which led to £30,000 in sales. He knew he wouldn’t be able to fulfil them all, given up to this point his daily sales on a “good day” totalled £500. 8 years later and his business is turning over more than £176m a year and he has his sites set on reaching the heights of Nike. He said in an article in the rich list that he’s not content with managing a £500m revenue in the next few years. He’s clearly thinking BIG, and big comes from serving more people. 

Brand power matters when it comes to achieving such size. Gymshark has a following – people who believe in what the brand represents. People who would rather be seen wearing Gymshark than Nike or Addidas. It’s the same with Amazon, everyone knows the brand – interestingly not everyone likes it – but the majority of people buy from it because of the service and ease of getting what you want. Walmart is similar, it’s a brand that some people like and choose to make their go-to store. Just like Asda who they own in the UK. People who shop at Asda choose to go their because of what the brand means to them, they choose it over other supermarkets. 

These brands have meaning to their customers. The customers buy into what the brands represent. This is why it’s so important for companies who aspire to such size to be clear on what their brand represents and means to it’s customers. It’s why some people will choose to buy a BMW instead of an Audi. It’s also why some people choose to have the Harley Davidson logo tattooed on their body! It’s what the brand represents and means to them. 

There are many great lessons we can all learn from these Companies at the top of the rich list, but my 2 big takeaways from the 2020 Rich List are; 1) serve more customers & 2) build your brand. Do these two things well and anything is possible.

Marketing Coordinator - Based at our UK HQ in Banbury, Oxfordshire, Callum is responsible for promoting Water Management Systems, Attenuation Tanks, Treatment Plants, Rainwater Harvesting Systems and more!