Brearley talks about why he doesn’t want to change the company; however, he focuses on long-term sustainable business goals. For example, for him, success is about things like having high employee engagement and low customer turnover. He also talks about why he’s always taken a long-term view of his business. For example, he believes that being an owner is the best way to run a business. He believes that this is true because everyone leaves the company when they retire, and no one can tell him what to do.
James Brearley also talks in detail about one of its core values – investing for the long-term – and explains how this affected Inchcape’s decision to build up its online sales channels. He also talks about how Inchcape has tweaked its business model to meet changing business needs. For example, it primarily used to be a distributor of other people’s brands. However, it has now embraced the opportunity to become a brand in its own right, keeping with Brearley’s long-term view on the company. He wants Inchcape to take more of an active role in driving itself forward.
James Brearley also explains how his long-term approach applies to the recruitment process of new employees – giving examples of how he’s used this approach to find critical people. He also talks about his awareness of employee retention and the importance of encouraging employees to give feedback – both positive and negative. He believes that it is essential for a company to have positive and negative comments to learn and grow. The interview concludes with a discussion of Inchcape’s approach to sustainability. Brearley believes that companies need to do their bit and build a sustainable business that works for the long term. He also talks about how this will take time for Inchcape – but about how he’s got the business on the right track – meaning it will be doing things like making a healthy return and retaining future employees, both of which are critical for it to be successful in building long-term value.