Lessons in winning a contract from Michael Heseltine

ONE MINUTE BRIEFING: How the former deputy PM and founder of Management Today took inspiration from British Leyland to win his first big publishing pitch.

by Management Today
Last Updated: 14 Dec 2018

Lord Heseltine is best known as a Conservative Party grandee and front bench veteran, but he started his career in publishing, as the owner of Haymarket Media Group – and publisher of Management Today.

Here he shares his business experience of winning a big contract as a relative unknown in 1966, drawing lessons from the legendary boss of British Leyland, Donald Stokes.


"I started my career not as a politician but as a business owner. Back in 1960, my friend from Oxford – Clive Labovitch – and I did a property deal and made £30,000. We used the money to start a publishing company and buy our first magazine, Man About Town. We transformed that tatty trade rag into a stylish and pioneering men's magazine. 

"Then we heard that the British Institute of Management’s magazine – another grotty piece of trade publishing – was up for tender. Inspired by British Leyland boss Donald Stokes, who won a contract to build 32 buses in Sweden by building one from scratch, shipping it to Sweden and presenting it at the pitch while his competitors were still haggling over price, we put together a 96-page magazine in one weekend. "This is what we can do," we said.

"We started publishing Management Today in 1966 – the year England won the World Cup and the year I became an MP."

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For tips on winning contracts, see this piece. Capita founder Rod Aldridge offers his experience pitching for government work here, while to read Michael Heseltine’s response to the Government’s Industrial Strategy green paper, see here.

Image credit: Policy Exchange/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Tags:

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

What radio can teach leaders about the metaverse

"TV didn't kill radio. The Metaverse won't replace reality," says the CEO of ad agency...

Managers who are honest about failure make better leaders

Podcaster and author Elizabeth Day urges organisations to be more open about mistakes

“You are not going to get better by accident”

5 minutes with… Rachel Cook, managing director at digital design agency Thompson, who rose through...

More women on boards is key to improving employee satisfaction

Want to boost employee satisfaction within your organisation? Get more women onto the board of...

WTF is a WFH uniform?

Opinion: Dictating what your workers wear is a great way to tell them not to...

Activist investors: helping or harming?

Engineer turned activist investor Mark van Baal argues activist investors can help major oil and...