From Dragons Den to Parking Entrepreneur

Harrison Woods is a Director and investor in He was previously a Director and owner of Primal Parking Limited which he sold on the day he graduated from Manchester University with a degree in geography. He established Primal Parking after an offer of investment on the BBC’s “Dragon’s Den” programme by Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis.

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Here, Harrison talks with Alan Lewis, Partner in our Manchester office employment team.

Alan: “ What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?”  

Harrison: “I never thought that I was an entrepreneur in my early days. I just found business exciting and I engaged in it. The term ‘entrepreneur ‘ was something I learned when I was already entrenched in business.”

Alan: “Do you have a favourite success quote and can you give an example of how you have been inspired by that mantra?”

Harrison: “ My favourite quote is by Arnold Schwarzenegger: ‘Break the rules, not the law. It is impossible to be a true maverick or a true original if you are too well behaved and not wanting to break the rules.’ An example of how that has inspired me is the way I persist in getting through to CEOs when their PA simply won’t put me through. I know it may sound a bit odd, but I have even gone so far as stalking CEOs to coffee shops to meet them. I am now good friends with many of them.”

Alan: “Describe a failure you have had and what you learned from it.”

Harrison: “I believe that failures are our greatest success. I had a failure when I applied for a number of corporate positions at top four accountancy practices. I was rejected by all of them. It is probably the best decision that was made for me, because it has driven me to make myself a success. We even work with some of those practices now.

Alan: “ Do you have a favourite internet resource, like an Evernote?

Harrison: “Yes, I like Podio a lot. It is a CRM management software and you can create your own apps on it.”

Alan:”Describe a time when you had a light bulb or ‘aha’ moment.”

Harrison: “When I was 12 years old I was selling golf products. I was undercutting the golf pro shop on every golf product they sold. I did this just by buying from an online site that everyone could use. The golf pro asked me to stop. He ended up paying me for information about where I was getting my supplies. I learned a lot from that. I realised that nothing has to be unique to be successful. You just need to find a different and better way to supply it.”

Alan: “What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?”

Harrison: “Don’t follow the crowds. The CEO of Cammell Laird, John Syvret told me that when I was in a difficult patch after following the wrong people and acquiring bad habits. He told me to stick with what I believe in and be relentless.your parking

Alan: “What is the next big thing for you?”

Harrison: “Delivering on all the hard work I have done for several years to produce a value added service for the UK. I just happen to have found myself in the parking industry. I want to create a win-win situation.”

 Alan Lewis

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