Fast Track: CV: Richard Emanuel founder and MD of mobile phone retailer DX communications
Seven years ago, Richard used a pounds 3,000 overdraft to set up his own company, selling mobile phones on Glaswegian door steps. Now, at 30, he is one of the wealthiest young men in Britain
Thursday 26 February 1998
I wanted to go into the leisure industry, I thought health and fitness was beginning to boom, it was a very Eighties thing. So I worked as a trainee sales manager at a health and fitness club where part of the work was selling vitamin pills on a commission basis. I was the top seller in the company, making about pounds 40 extra a month. I got quite excited about seeing my name at the top of that list. I still take those vitamins today.
I worked at the club for two years but always wanted the next challenge so while I was there I began planning my own health club. It was very capital intensive, you needed a building and equipment, but the only collateral I had was a bass guitar. Not many banks were willing to lend me money, which was probably a blessing in disguise. There I was, a 19-year-old talking to banks about business plans and loans. It was a great experience. The health club discovered what I was planning and I had to leave; it was very depressing but sometimes you can use these things to spur you on.
At the club it had become increasingly common for members to ask me to look after their mobile phones as they exercised. I realised that telecommunications was a growing market and someone had told me there was a job going in a telecom firm in a sales management role. I worked for them for about two years before I set up DX in 1991 at the age of 23. With the experience I'd had in the telecom industry and pounds 1,300 of savings, I talked the Bank of Scotland into giving me a pounds 3,000 overdraft to set up the company in an industrial unit in Govan. I began knocking on doors selling mobile phones but I quickly learnt there was more to running a business than just selling.
It was a hand-to-mouth existence, I remember driving an ancient Hyundai and parking it around the corner so customers didn't see. It was hard going but it was a good grounding.
By 1993 the price of phones had dropped and we opened our first high- street shop in Glasgow. Suddenly the buzz felt real, the company name was above the door. From then on we have opened a DX store every 18 days. Now with just under 700 staff and a turnover of pounds 40m, the problems are the same as when we were started, the numbers just get bigger.
The name DX came from a management philosophy book. A chapter about goals said you have got to have a burning desire to achieve your goal and you have got to expect to succeed. I took the D from desire and the X from expectancy, the name stuck and that philosophy has stayed with me through the hard times.
To young people I would say have a think about what you want to do with your life and find something that stimulates you so you have that desire. If you want it badly enough you will get it. Life can grind people down and they sell themselves short. Not everybody needs to start a business, but you do need that spark in what you do.
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 This is what the one in ten British men who pay for sex need to know
- 2 Lee Evans announces retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 3 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Angelina Jolie confuses everyone with 'ay up me duck' East Midland's greeting to Derby actor Jack O'Connell at awards show
Lee Evans announces retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Willow and Jaden Smith talk duality of apples, holographic realities and the melancholia of the ocean in incredible New York Times interview
Winnie the Pooh banned from Polish playground for being an 'inappropriate hermaphrodite'
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie confirmed to enter jungle
Drawn Blank: Bob Dylan exhibition showcases the musician's bold and vibrant paintings
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
G20 summit: David Cameron warns Vladimir Putin that Russia's relationship with the West is at a 'fork in the road' over Ukraine
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track
Coalition government has 'shifted money from poorest to better-off' through welfare cuts and tax reductions, study claims