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Navman MD Tony Neill answers Barker's Dozen

Date: 26 April 2010

BusinessCar's Paul Barker puts 13 testing questions to another victim

1. What was your first job?

Selling lemonade door-to-door at the age of nine all day Saturday and some Wednesday evenings for £2 a week plus perks (unlimited free lemonade and a burger for lunch). Then followed by many other jobs including being a groundsman at a hospital when I was 16 having just left school. First 'real' job was a sales and marketing role for Rank Xerox on my placement year from university when I was 19.

2. What was your first company car?

A burgundy Vauxhall Cavalier 2.0 GLS at the age of 22 when I worked for Pitney Bowes. I was delighted!

3. What did you listen to on your last car journey?

Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol and Justified and Ancient by The KLF.

4. What one thing do you wish you could do better?

'One' isn't enough for me! Learn to speak another language and exercise more than I do.

5. What's your biggest achievement?

Personally it is raising a happy family and in business founding Navman Wireless from start-up and watching it grow into a global market leader operating in 13 countries.

6. Who is your role model?

Don't have one. I think it is dangerous to put anyone on a pedestal! It is better to always be yourself and remember no-one is perfect. I think admiration so often leads to people being unhappy with themselves, which is sad, especially as they often admire the 'perception' and not the person.

7. What's the stupidest thing you've done?

While at university I jumped down a flight of stairs during a halls of residence party, while carrying a fire extinguisher (don't ask - needless to say there was no fire), and hit a wall closely followed by the fire extinguisher landing on my head. The party continued at the A&E of the local hospital while I got stitched back together.

8. What was the most hotly debated topic at your last meeting?

Sales people using discounting as a sales crutch. We set the price fairly and competitively and I encourage people to focus on the benefits that our system brings to a business, so I find discounting very frustrating as a selling technique. However, I realise we are often responding to the tactics of competitors who have run out of ideas and have little confidence in their products and services!

9. What's in your garage?

A diesel BMW X5, but more importantly a Yamaha 350cc quad bike.

10. What's the worst thing about your job?

Never enough time to do everything, but I absolutely love the variety of business areas I get involved in day-to-day, so it's a problem I will just have to live with!

11. What one law would you make or change?

The law on capital gains in the UK. Entrepreneurs should be encouraged to stay in the country and keep re-investing their wealth rather than being driven away or put off by a high tax culture. It is businesses that get economies moving and create employment and opportunity for all. Restricting their ability to do what comes naturally strikes me as counterproductive to the detriment of everyone in society.

12. What keeps you awake at night?

Thinking about new business opportunities and possibilities I don't have the time to act upon!

13. Who is your ideal celebrity date?

All of the 80s girl group The Bangles, but if it had to be one person then lead singer Wendy James from Transvision Vamp. Although they would all still have to look like they did 25 years ago - come to think of it, so would I!



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