Raised in Germany, as one of his parents was in the Army, moving from school to school in the Army was normal for John Gower. He learned to make friends quickly, which may have prepared his future passion in the networking industry.
At the age of 14, John dropped out of school and found work in Telesales, door to door canvassing, and night work in warehouses as a temp. Before he was 16, he had his own flat and was working for himself. “Thinking positively, learning quickly on making relationships, and learning to push forward helped me in business.” reflects John.
By age of 17 John was running his own business, a lettings companies from a bedsit, which become one of the largest and fastest grown property management company in Kent. However, the estate agency endured challenges due to an unhealthy partnership and John was unable to continue with the business.
A job offer came up in France, which led John moving to France. While residing there, he went on to set up a drinks business in Calais, supplying drinks to the cafes, bars and nightclubs from Calais, Lille and Paris. He became a partner in a company in Paris, distributing drinks to whole sellers to all of France. During this time, John launched several products, including Magners Cider. The company grew quickly, and they had to divide the territory into North and South. John’s time with the drink business came to an end and with a successful distribution network going strong; John decided to take redundancy within the company. The company was then sold for £1 Million Euros.
the Jupital had the opportunity to speak with John and ask him some questions:
1) What has been your most rewarding accomplishment?
“I recently achieved the award “Business Of The Year” and was a finalist for “Business Services to the Community” at The Kingston Business Excellence Awards. I am also part of the Young Enterprise Scheme at Kingston University and have successfully mentored a team to the National Finals, where my team BeaBra won £15,000. I aim to help as many people as possible, and seeing the success of others is where I get a sense of achievement.”
2) How do you do to constantly challenge your underlying beliefs and assumptions in business?
I rarely change anything, which works. My Gran offered me some great words of wisdom which I carry with me throughout my life – always be polite to the person you speak to on the bus, because you never know who knows who, and one hand washes the other. I do my best to help others as they may help you in return.”
3) What is some advice you may offer to someone who is about to set up a new business?
“There is an expression, business is far from personal, yet, the success or downside makes it feel personal. Make sure there is a business in what you are doing by conducting market research. Understand what you are getting involved in when running a business. Build a good business plan and forecast what the business may look like in three, five and tens year’s time. Understand marketing! This might be the DNA of sales, which then produces the cash for your business. Be absolutely passionate about what your business does and persistent in making the business work. Passion is of importance, ensuring your numbers stack up, and you are willing to work hard and take some risk – these are some key ingredients to make a business work!”
4) What is the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned and how is it valuable?
“Treat people who are working with your business well! Any business you set up eventually may become a peoples’ business. Hire someone you are able to keep. Train EVERYONE on how your business works and keep on training! Pay what is fair and if you are unable to afford to pay as much, be honest and show how things are improving. Have strong communication about your expectations, ambitions and future of where you want to go. If you treat others how you expect to be treated, you may get loyalty you are unable to buy.”
John moved back to the UK recently and set up a Magazine in Kingston along with running a Networking Business, Omni Local Business Networking. It is the fastest growing Networking Business in the UK now. Omni Local Business Networking is a business-to-business networking chain of groups who meet every fortnight, and monthly at London meetings exchanging ideas, experience, contacts, suppliers and business referrals. Often meetings are at breakfast times, lunch and evenings and usually last two hours. Omni Local is a vibrant, energetic, growing community of like-minded local business owners, spread over a range of different professions or trades, who have a wealth of experience and expertise, working within a network to pass business, connections and advice to each other. Officially John set up in April 2016 with only a handful of groups to test this concept and see if the marketplace had space for Omni.
Since 2017 Omni has 20 groups, over 350 members and are on target to achieve 60 groups at the end of 2018. John drives Omni business forward by connecting as many people as possible. “I aim to help as many people as possible, and seeing the success of others is where I get a sense of achievement” smiles John.
Omni groups spread across Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey, Essex, London and Bedfordshire. This makes Omni one of the fastest growing networks in the UK. To learn more about the Omni Business Networking organisation, touch base with John Gower:
LinkedIn – https://uk.linkedin.com/in/johngowerkingston
How might networking events bring more profit to businesses?