Mind your business: Matthew Storey

Mark, left and Matthew Storey
Mark, left and Matthew Storey
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Matthew Storey’s career began at just 12 years old when he and his brother Mark joined their father Jack selling sweets from the boot of the family Skoda on a market stall in Bletchley.

They built a network of stalls from Brighton to Birmingham and in the late 1980s moved on to a small wholesale business.

They morphed into M&M Supplies (UK) PLC and purchased a 68,000 sq-ft warehouse and offices.

Using everything they learned Mark and Matthew pioneered Storey Homes, based in Denbigh West Industrial Estate, Bletchley, purchasing land for development in Milton Keynes and the South Midlands.

Here Matthew, 38, tells us what makes him tick:

What are your business qualifications?

None

Do you think business leadership can be taught or is it something that comes from a natural instinct?

Yes, I do think business leadership can be taught. The key is hard work, willing to take onboard new stuff and new ideas, establishing the correct information then making the decision. I think most people can learn this if they are committed enough.

What is the name of your main business and what does it do?

Storey Homes Ltd – housebuilders

What was the turnover of your main business in the last reporting period?

July 10 – June 11 will be £16 million turnover

Where would you like the business to be in 10 years time?

We really feel this business can grow at a very quick rate. We have large landholdings in good areas, we truly believe we can be a £100 million-plus turnover company in less than 10 years. We are putting a lot of money into the company’s infrastructure at the moment so we achieve this goal.

What positives can you extract from current economic conditions?

I think the way the economy is at the moment makes you more focused, it makes you focus on the basics of business. This is a good opportunity to take on quality staff and we are finding we can get better deals and services for more realistic rates than pre-recession.

What motivates you to get up in the morning and go to work?

I am motivated to get up in the mornings and work hard so that myself and the people close to me can enjoy the benefits that running a successful business can bring. It also really pushes me forward when I see what we have achieved as a company which pushes me on to achieve more.

What is the most important thing in life and why?

My partner, family and friends obviously come first in the ranking then I think it is satisfaction that I know I am running a large successful company which has good ethics etc.

At what age do you aim to retire and what will you do after that point?

I don’t think I would ever like to retire, I think as you move forward in business you tend to just delegate more of your responsibilities to others within the team.

What does your partner do?

Financial controller

What is the most important thing you learned at school?

I cannot think of any important things that I learnt at school – I’m sure there were many, though. My school really began when I started work on a market stall at the age of 12, by the age of 15 I was doing markets full time this gave me a big overview of everything about life and business.

What extra subject should be placed on the curriculum?

Rather than adding an extra subject, I believe children should be given the opportunity to gain valuable work experience at an earlier age.

Starting work at 12 was ideal for me as it gave me a head start in learning about general business skills.

Obviously I don’t think all children should start working at 12 years of age.

However, I do think they would benefit from spending some time realising what the working environment is all about.

Have you ever had to sack someone on the spot and why?

We are very fortunate that we have a really good team of people around us that know how we work and what we expect of them.

We have an extremely low staff turnover and in the 22 years I have been in business we have never had to make redundancies.

What percentage of your success is inspiration?

25 per cent inspiration – I think inspiration comes from everything you know and have learned in your life.

What percentage of your success is perspiration?

75 per cent perspiration – you need to work harder and smarter and make sure you have good people around you.

Who is your inspiration in business and why?

People like Philip Green are a big inspiration – he had a similar start to me in life and it shows anything is achievable.

What time do you get up on a working day?

I like to do 8am – 5.30pm but if my workload goes up I will start very early in the morning to get in front of myself, this week alone I have been at my desk at 5am twice.

How do you switch off and relax?

I work hard all week and I am constantly thinking about work of an evening. But at weekends and holidays I totally disconnect from the business.

In my leisure time I enjoy flying – I have a private pilot’s licence on two types of helicopter – plus all the normal stuff.

How do you measure business success?

I was on The Times Rich List as the 85th richest person in the UK under the age of 30 in 2004 then in 2008 number 23 on The Times Profit Track and also in The Times Rich List that year.

It is things like this that shows you are succeeding.

What is your favourite piece of business jargon and why?

I’m not really a huge fan of business jargon. I find it saves time if you are just straight talking.

What is the most pointless piece of red tape you’ve had to deal with?

I never worry too much about red tape, we just get on and deal with it in the most efficient way possible, it would take up to much of our time to argue against it.

Where does your confidence come from?

My confidence comes from the experience of my market days and nowadays when you push forward and hit your goals it then gives you the confidence to set new higher goals.

How do you ensure that people don’t go to sleep in meetings?

I am a very focused person in meetings I always have a clear strategy of what I need to give or get from a meeting, I like to keep everyone on their toes in a meeting.