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04 April 2004
Sunday Herald
Business Diary - Green's Wise Words

Philip Green, the retail entrepreneur, who owns about 15% of the British high street and is worth a measly 2 billion or thereabouts, was in good form at a speaking engagement in Glasgow last week.

Speaking ruefully of his unsuccessful takeover of the retail chain What Every Woman Wants, he said:

"Nobody told me they had scored out the word 'Not' in front of it."

The 500 people who attended th Entrepreneurial Exchange event last Monday evening were treated to a range of Green's wit and wisdom.

Speaking of cash-flow difficulties, he said:

"There is no harm in losing money - just don't run out."

He also revealed his own investment philosophy:

"I personally have never invested a penny in any enterprise outside the family business."

Green said he could not focus on anything beyond his main business.

Depite his wealth he is still putting in long hours at the age of 52.  He told BBC business editor Jeff Randall who was compering the event:

"I once tried giving up work for about three months in the late 1990s.  I thought it was better to come back to work than be done for murder."  

Green also refused to speculate on how much he was worth on paper. He said:

"I believe you're only worth what you have in your pocket.  In other words your assets aren't worth anything until they have been converted into cash.  That's something we saw in the dotcom boom, where some people were worth a fortune on the Monday morning but by Friday night they were skint."

But the thing he stressed above everything else is that you have to believe in what you are doing.  He said:

"If you're not passionate, if you don't love it, don't do it."

He also said that if he lost the buzz for what he did he would sell up.

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