'Foolish' Small Business Idea: Spotted potential for mobile phones in the consumer marketplace.
Start-up Capital: Savings of £6,000.
How small business idea was launched: Put an ad in the Evening Standard. Did business over the phone at first, working from a flat on London's Marylebone Road.
Sales: Opened first Carphone Warehouse UK shop within a year. There are now over 180 branches to buy mobile phones carphone warehouse in the UK and 160 overseas.
Earnings: Charles has a half share of the company profits which last year were about £20million.
Charles Dunstone worked for the Japanese electronics company, NEC. When he got transferred to their mobile phone division as a sales manager, he began to see the potential of selling mobiles to the consumer market place.
He left NEC, and using £6,000 of savings, he hired three staff and started up Carphone Warehouse uk.
From an advert he placed in the Evening Standard, orders came in by phone. He knew a few people in the business who could supply him and within the first year, Charles and his three staff moved from working at a flat in Marylebone Road to opening the first Carphone Warehouse uk Shop.
Charles's target was to be known as an honest broker who recommended the best and most cost-effective mobile for people's needs. That dedication paid off when they won a concession to sell mobile phones in Harrods. Although the profits were not high, it gave the company credibility. Every day Charles, gets up early to review the pricing of all their competitors, in order to stay one step ahead.
He puts the success down to:
Giving top quality service, good value offers, good ads, location of shops and coming up with exciting new ideas to impress customers. Charles spends a lot of his time with people in networks and supplies negotiating good deals for his customers. Selling mobiles has paid off for Charles Dunstone, company profits (around yr2000) were about £20million, of which he has a half share.