Lara was recently interviewed by We Are The City to profile her excellent work as an inspirational woman in business. We are The City are an online networking group who support women in business and promote the future pipeline of female talent by centralising as much information as we can that relates to women in business and the City.
Inspirational Women – Lara Morgan: Serial Entrepreneur Founder of Pacific Direct in her twenties – a company selling toiletries to the hospitality industry – she sold it recently for £20 million. Cold headed, Lara Morgan preaches – in her down-to-earth style – on how Britain is too shy at selling and she believes many do not work hard enough. Driven to help entrepreneurs to grow and grow fast, she is a mover and a mind-shaker. Join Myriam O’Carroll in a conversation that does not beat around the bush.
What is the most important thing you teach your children?
The value of earning money and also the fact that everybody has value to offer in the world – it does not matter who you are, you need to be able to communicate with all types, all shapes, all sizes.
You sold Pacific Direct for £20 million. What was the first thing you did with that money?
I took the family out of school and we went travelling for 5 months.
With hindsight what would you have done differently with your company?
More growth. We may have been the 57th fastest growing company in Britain but we could have done better. I would have had bigger goals and been more ambitious. I would have educated myself in business earlier and been braver at employing more expensive and more talented people sooner. Although I am very privileged to have built a global company, I think we could have been even more assertive about the way we approached the global network.
Pacific Direct sold in 110 countries. Which culture have you learnt from the most?
I am English and grew up in Asia. The Asians have taught me a great deal about work ethics and also being smart about what you should focus on.
The British nation taught me how not to go about doing things.
We don’t have enough ambition and we don’t have enough humility in our role in the global market. We’re arrogant, we’re not very good salespeople and I don’t think enough people are willing to make the leadership sacrifices it requires to build a sustainable company.
You’re pretty harsh
I know, but I’ve seen many nations that work a whole lot harder for a lot less. We are very spoilt here. In Britain, we are very weak at selling. We have to start becoming a proud sales nation because nobody owes anybody a living. You’ve got to go out there and ask for it, I never intend to be rude, but I do like assertive professional people who deliver on their promise. That builds success.
Read the whole of the interview here
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Lara Morgan is best known for growing Pacific Direct, from start-up to successful exit, 23 years later. She now invests her time in fast growth companies and represents UKTI as an Export Ambassador, having previously exported to 110 countries. Her vast experience and business knowledge includes specialisms in licensing luxury brands, manufacturing toiletries and selling to the hospitality environment through complex global distribution chains. She's also an expert in leadership and developing talent having learnt through her own experiences of employing 500 employees in an open fast growth sales culture.